Stop talking about it. Start checking out healthy vacation opportunities. There is nothing better for a dull late winter or early spring day than visiting websites and talking about where to spend vacation time.
To tempt you and make it a bit easier, here are my personal recommendations. I have visited each of these vacation destinations within the last twelve months, loved the services and accommodations and found that I can’t help but shout their praise. After you’ve visited any or all on the list below, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Claremont Hotel and Spa, www.claremont.com, is located in Berkeley, California. Opening in 1915, The Claremont Resort & Spa gained a reputation as a retreat for wealthy San Franciscans to escape the fog on, "the sunny side of the Bay." While heaped in tradition, this Four-Diamond property located on 22 acres overlooking San Francisco Bay, approximately 18 miles from Oakland International Airport and 25 miles from San Francisco International Airport and is trendy with every age group. I loved the landscaped gardens and the high-tech spa services.
On the other side of the bay you can get a big city health experience at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, www.markhopkinshotel.com. While the hotel’s fitness center is adequate, that not the reason to include this legendary place on your must visit list. It’s because it’s smack dab in the middle of the city and right near Chinatown, the financial district and the famous wharf. There are hills, parks, photo opportunities, museums and those outstanding coffee houses and restaurants all in walking distance. And walk you must in San Francisco. Then after a long, lovely day of sightseeing, you can return to your hotel and languish at the Nob Hill Restaurant, savor exceptional Californian cuisine made from the freshest bounties of Napa and Sonoma. On the 19th floor resides the legendary Top of the Mark sky-bar, a “must see” destination famed for its panoramic views and 100 Martinis menu.
Indiana’s French Lick Resort Spa and Casino, www.frenchlick.com, is a perfect Midwest getaway, but it’s the spa that will keep you content and coming back. The Spa at French Lick, now fully restored, pays homage to the great tradition of health and wellness at French Lick. The serene environment will embody the grandeur and elegance of a newly restored resort. Guests are tempted with a diverse menu of treatments including Vichy showers, facials and wraps. For over 150 years, the Pluto Mineral Spring’s healing waters have drawn visitors to French Lick, and the spa still offers guests the ever-popular Pluto mineral baths. In addition to a brand new fitness center, featuring Matrix equipment, guests may take advantage of full salon services including hairstyling, manicures and pedicures—for head-to-toe rejuvenation.
If day spas are your cup of Earl Grey tea, then you’ll love L’Espirit, www.lespritdayspa.com, in Valencia/Santa Clarita, California. Owner Marilyn Hughes will create a new look for you. The menu include spa packages to facials to hydrotherapeutic treatments fit for a princess. Do you have an upcoming wedding or anniversary event? This could be the day spa to bring your friends together and kick it off in style.
Close to my home and spa here in Ojai, California is the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, www.ojaivalleyinn.com. I recommend the signature treatment called “The Cuyama,” and also the golf course, which is fabulous.
For fitness buffs, must visits are Arizona’s Canyon Ranch and Rancho La Puerta, Mexico. I visited them both recently and give them A+, especially if you love to hike half as much as I do. Another good choice for the hiker is Red Mountain Spa, in St. George, Utah, and Mountain Trek in Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia. Very different these two and absolute gems.
A little farther a field, but worth the trip is the Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Hua Hin, Prachuab Khirikhan, Thailand. I visited there recently with spa friend Debbie Perry and she’s still raving about the incredible cooking lesson available to guests. Another personal favorite is Hosteria Las Quintas in Cuernavaca, Mexico, www.spalasquintas.com.
Now if a mini vacation is on your mind, may I personally invite you to visit my spa, The Oaks at Ojai, and sign up for the Spa Day, which includes all your meals and fitness programs.
Where can one find out about spas, resorts and fitness destinations? It’s never been easier. Visit Destination Spa Vacations, www.destinationspa.com, or pick up a copy of this must-have book available at major bookstores. When you visit this site or read the book, check out the Cornell University study on the medical facts of why spa vacations are essential.
Regardless of which health, fitness and spa holiday you select, a healthy vacation is the way to stay fit for life.
Sheila Cluff, fitness expert, television celebrity and owner of The Oaks at Ojai, is the author of Take 5: How You Can Benefit from Just Five Minutes of Daily Exercise and The Ultimate Recipe for Fitness by Sheila and Eleanor Brown. Visit Sheila’s Spa on the Internet and see all that’s happening at the resort: The Oaks at Ojai www.oaksspa.com.
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