Escape to these warm, relaxing, waterfront retreats that specialize in de-stressing packages, pampering treatments, and amazing meals.
The COMO Shambhala Retreat spa is known for its holistic approach to vacation de-stressing, combining elements from the ancient
Indian tradition of Ayurveda with Asian-inspired treatments such as Thai massage. The resort is located on 1,000 beachfront
acres, where garden, oceanfront, and villa rooms welcome you with sleek Balinese furniture, white cotton linens, and natural
wood accents. Bonus: Complimentary yoga and Pilates classes six days a week.
Rest: A small pavilion built over the island’s amusingly named Boiling Hole wetlands is the best spot for light yoga, meditation, or just relaxed, solitary musing.
Relax: In the Stress Management program (from $3,312, including accommodations, meals, airport transfers, and tax), consultants build a system of therapies, outdoor activities, and well-being lectures that help you feel more balanced and rested.
Revive: Enjoy a delicious plate of organic chicken and herb-packed tabbouleh from the spa menu, which emphasizes organic foods prepared with little salt.
Rates start at $787; 877/754-0726 or parrotcay.como.bz.
Rose Hall, Montego Bay
On 400 beachfront acres of Jamaica’s northern coast, Half Moon has an equestrian center, tennis facilities, cycling trails, a golf course, a shopping village, 51 swimming pools, and a natural Dolphin Lagoon. All rooms have a balcony or patio, and villas have their own personal butler.
Rest: The Meditation Labyrinth at the Fern Tree Spa is available to all guests: Walk slowly along a designated path carrying something organic to represent your stress, place it in the center of the labyrinth, and voilà! No more angst.
Relax: The Perfectly Pampered package ($395 per night, three-night minimum) includes airport transfers, three meals, premium drinks at the bar and minibar, and a new spa treatment each day. Choose from aroma massage, West Indian scalp and body massage, Swedish massage, coconut milk and honey wrap, or Caribbean classic pedicure.
Revive: The Coffee Coconut Scrub wakes up skin with natural exfoliants and moisturizers from native coconut and locally grown coffee.
Rates start at $250; 800/626-0592 or halfmoon.com.
On a coastal bluff above the Pacific. the Montage offers guest rooms with private oceanfront balconies, local art on the walls, and feather-top beds with 400-thread-count linens. The 20,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor Spa Montage offers herbal and hydrotherapy body treatments including a Post-Travel Compress and Massage (one hour, $225).
Rest: Sink into a plush sofa indoors or relax outside in the resort’s centerpiece, the Lobby Lounge, and gaze at panoramic views of the moody ocean.
Relax: Soothe your soul—and your skin—with a Geranium and Sweet Orange Wrap (one hour, $225), specifically created to pamper and protect skin that may be irritated by the change of seasons.
Revive: The Thalassic Beach Walk (complimentary) draws on the smell, feel, and sounds of the sea to refresh the senses with strolls along the shore, a wade in the ocean, light yoga, and meditation.
Rates start at $495; 866/271-6953 or montagelagunabeach.com.
Minutes from the ocean, La Costa Resort and Spa is composed of a fragrant herb garden, lush tropical trees, championship golf courses, and stylish shops. Comfortable rooms have flat-screen TVs, marble baths, and plush beds.
Rest: Find bliss in a tucked-away nook on the property: a swinging bench overlooking grassy knolls, a cloth hammock in the garden alcove, or a seat near the Roman Waterfalls in the spa courtyard.
Relax: Get your Zen on with twice-daily complimentary meditation seminars at the Chopra Center.
Revive: The Spanish Herbal Body Rub (100 minutes, $310) uses native Spanish herbs—sage, lavender, rosemary—and olive oil to exfoliate, polish, and refresh the skin.
Rates start at $379. Mention Coastal Living for reduced rates starting at $279; 800/854-5000 or lacosta.com.
Between a flourishing tropical forest and sugar-sand beaches, you’ll get cozy in your bungalow-style villa by the sea after being escorted there via golf cart. First on your to-do list: Relax under the (in-room) rain forest shower, or soak in one of the outdoor stone tubs. Most rooms offer views of the lagoon or the Caribbean, and the intimately spaced spa has VIP couples suites, an outdoor lap pool overlooking the sea, and a boutique that sells essential oils, body lotion, and other luxuries.
Rest: Enjoy the aroma of fresh flowers and herbs wafting from the Zen garden, where native Guayacan and plum trees provide shade.
Relax: Lounge in the thatched-roof lobby surrounded by reflecting pools, or try the Nichté Ha (Water Flower) program (six hours, $550), which includes an herbal scrub, a facial, spa cuisine, and a massage focused on banishing negative energy.
Revive: The Temazcal Experience (one hour, $135) helps encourage physical healing and spiritual rebirth through a blend of natural surroundings (the ceremony is performed in an intimate clay dome), ancient Mayan customs, and guidance from a Mayan shaman.
Rates start at $475; 866/585-8575 or mandarinoriental.com.
Big Island of Hawaii
Prepare to truly unplug at Kona Village. The resort, on 82 oceanfront acres along Kahuwai Bay, is made up of individual thatched-roof Polynesian bungalows with complete and utter privacy. Deep soaking tubs, large balcony lanais, and whirlpool tubs are available, and complimentary snorkel gear, surfboards, kayaks, historical tours, and an all-inclusive option are also offered.
Rest: Stargaze with the resort-designated astronomer and learn how Hawaiians used the constellations for navigation.
Relax: Schedule an Ocean Massage (50 minutes, $165), a private, personalized treatment secluded from other guests but just steps from the water.
Revive: The Laka body and face mask (75 minutes, $210) has organic green tea, hemp, and flax to boost immunity, fight free radicals, and soften skin. Or simply suit up and snorkel the waters of Kahuwai Bay to see colorful, long-nosed butterfly fish.
Rates start at $339; 800/367-5290 or konavillage.com.
About 20 minutes south of Cancún, this holistic luxury resort is surrounded by swaying palms and sparkling blue water. Each room has a water view, organic bath amenities, and private balconies with hammocks. Visit the spa for a steam room, Swiss shower (multijet hot and cold water), plunge pool, and whirlpool. Here, the spa’s own brand of natural products are used in each treatment.
Rest: Stretch out under a shaded, open-air palapa on the half-mile private beach.
Relax: The Wellness Spa Getaway package offers four days in an oceanview room (from $499 per night) and these three words: Unlimited. Spa. Treatments.
Revive: The Mayan Goddess Scrub (40 minutes, $80) is a mixture of seeds and avocado oil, chaya (a medicinal sacred plant), beeswax, honey, and achiote plant (an anti-inflammatory) that leaves skin moisturized and replenished.
Rates start at $176; 877/545-6221 or ceibadelmar.com.
Soak up the sun, sand, and sky on Poipu Beach from your private balcony. Inside the room, you’ll find the same sea-inspired blue, white, and brown palette. Treatments at the calming spa reflect ancient Hawaiian healing practices with native oils and moisturizers containing awapuhi root.
Rest: Enjoy a pineapple, guava, and coconut smoothie while taking in ocean views at Red Salt restaurant.
Relax: Your tired muscles will melt under the Pohaku Hot Stones Massage (80 minutes, $165), with tropical oils to relieve stress.
Revive: During the Revitalizing Hot Oil Hair and Scalp treatment (50 minutes, $105), warm exotic oils are massaged into the neck, shoulders, and scalp, giving new life to hair that’s seen too much sun and surf.
Rates start at $299; 888/898-8958 or koakea.com.
Located between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach, Acqualina is 41⁄2 acres of beachfront luxury. Each guest room has polished marble floors, deep tubs, and private terraces with water views. Head to the 20,000-square-foot ESPA oceanfront spa for a sauna, steam rooms, outdoor verandas, aromatherapy, and special treatments.
Rest: Grab a great book (or don’t bring a thing!) and catnap in one of the waterfront hammocks.
Relax: The De-Stress package (two hours, $295) includes a shoulder, back, and neck massage using essential oils and aromatherapy, a reflexology foot massage, and a Shirodhara scalp treatment, in which warm oil is dribbled over your forehead.
Revive: The Contour and Firm Body treatment (two hours, $295) is a blend of cooling friction, detoxifying exfoliation, massage, and marine algae that helps rejuvenate skin.
Rates start at $525; 877/312-9742 or acqualinaresort.com.
In the heart of Florida’s Paradise Coast, the Ritz sits on three miles of soft, white, private beach. Most of the rooms and suites have Gulf-front balconies, and six onsite restaurants serve anything from fresh nigiri and sashimi to homemade gelato.
Rest: Hit the spa’s rooftop, grab a freshly squeezed carrot-orange juice from the café, and lounge near the outdoor mineral pool.
Relax: The calming Drift to Sleep treatment (two hours, $275) begins with a lavender body scrub, followed by an aromatic milk bath and a body massage. Afterward, a sleep therapist will help lull you into a 30-minute power nap.
Revive: Nature’s Elements (80 minutes, $225) restores your balance and improves your energy levels with a combination of aromatherapy essential oils (scents representing earth, wind, fire, and water), massage, body brushing, face masks, and a therapeutic bath.
Rates start at $399 for a coastal view; 239/598-3300 or ritzcarlton.com.
(Published December 2010)