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Destinations: Winter Wellness

Do the pre-holiday blues have you down? Here are five diverse places you can go to get your groove back.




Four Seasons Maui

Maui, Hawaii
For some, the mere act of clicking “buy now” for airline tickets to Hawaii is enough to lower the shoulders just a bit, but for those with more specific goals in mind (weight loss, overcoming a sleep issue, hormone imbalance or even a cosmetic lift) the Four Seasons Maui offers a “Wellness Your Way” program. Besides the daily fitness schedule, with meditation at dawn, Pilates, aqua-cardio and other activities, the wellness team here has a personalized program to guide you to your goals in the comfort of this award-wining, newly refurbished resort.

Opt for à la carte or commit to a customized package. The “Uber Health & Wellness” package ranges from $1,700 to $6,800 and starts with a pre-arrival consultation to go over dietary needs and review blood work, so you can literally hit the ground running when you arrive. Once goals are set, i-Lipo treatments, infrared thermal detox wraps, personal training and specialized menus are woven into your itinerary.

Newly redesigned rooms and suites with luxurious amenities help the treatment aspect go down easy. You can also take concierge-recommended hikes or tours such as the Taste of Island Life helicopter trip, which includes views of waterfalls, the organic farms near the town of Hana and more. Rates for “Wellness Your Way” programs vary depending on treatments; helicopter tour $16,500; rooms start at $899. fourseasons.com/maui


The Chopra Center

Carlsbad, California
Tucked into the heart of Omni La Costa’s lush acreage, Deepak Chopra’s spiritual and ayurvedic retreat welcomes guests seeking solace, transformation and healing experiences. You can check in year-round to learn to meditate, do yoga and experience the superlative spa, but it’s the multiday workshops like “Seduction of Spirit” and “Perfect Health” that capture the unique feeling of the Chopra Center experience.

Seduction of Spirit includes sunrise meditations, yoga to live music, gourmet vegetarian cuisine, mantra ceremonies and daily lectures by Chopra on everything from quantum physics to divine consciousness. You’ll float back into reality with a lighter heart, having learned how to tap into the gap between thoughts, aka meditating, which science now tells us lengthens our telomeres, lowers blood pressure and extends life.

The six-day Perfect Health program combines Eastern healing arts with modern medicine: guests enjoy mind-body consultations with Western doctors trained in ayurvedic healing, cleansing meals, daily ayurvedic spa treatments and classes in primordial sound meditation and the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. The 10-day session also includes panchakarma, an ayurvedic cleansing process meant to release toxins and stress from the mind-body system.

Programs start at $1,637.50 (Seduction of Spirit) and $2,865 (Perfect Health). Discounted room rates at Omni La Costa start at $189 depending on program and time of year. Chopra Center guests have access to the world-famous Omni La Costa Spa. chopra.com


Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel

Berkeley, California
For more than 100 years, the stately white “castle on the hill,” now the Fairmont’s Claremont Club & Spa, has been a beacon of luxury and good living in a city synonymous with progressive-minded health and wellness techniques. After taking over management last year, the Fairmont team brought in both the global design firm Gensler, for the 276 guest rooms and presidential suite, and Kirk Nix of KNA Design in Los Angeles for the public spaces and the three restaurants, including the swanky Limewood, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Joseph Humphrey. And in good news for those of us in Marin, North Bay guests can find themselves checked into the room and at the spa in less than an hour (depending on traffic) after leaving home.

The stand-alone spa famous for its expansive saline pool with views of San Francisco offers personalized services delivered by onsite therapists. For athletes, offerings include somatic training and patented muscle activation techniques (starting at $150); for the weary, rejuvenating soaks include an Herbal Krauter Bath, a Multi-Mineral Soak with magnesium and more than 60 minerals and trace elements, and a splashily colorful Vibrant Sea Salt Bath (starting at $95 each). And for the overfed, staff nutritionists and fitness experts give consultations starting at $135. The daily fitness schedule starts at 6 a.m., with classes nearly every hour, including indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, and cardio on land or in the pool.

Pick from à la carte treatments or combine all of the above for a customized wellness weekend. Rooms start at $239; also look for wellness packages such as “Choose Your Spa Moment” (two-night minimum stay) with $100 worth of spa credits and starting at $279 a night, through February 2017. fairmont.com


Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley, California
The 500-acre, gated Carmel Valley Ranch is freckled with California-centric amenities designed to help guests unwind in laid-back luxury, all encapsulating the attractions of the surrounding region. Skyward-snaking hiking trails lead to hilltop horseback riding — it is a ranch, after all — while back in the valley, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and multiple pools keep health and fitness fun. Beehives (protective suits provided), onsite lavender fields, an organic garden, a make-your-own salt house and miniature vineyards give an inside glimpse of where the ranch’s salads, cocktails and bath products come from.

And for those who love all things organic, treatments at Spa Aiyana are not to be missed: an expansive and unique collection of massages, facials, body therapies and oxygen infusions incorporate seasonal ingredients harvested from the grounds. For an additional charge, treatments are available in the comfort of your suite: indulge in an in-room session before retiring to your private deck or outdoor bathtub for a soak under the stars.

Should easy slumber somehow evade you even here, a sleep consultation with Dr. Bee Epstein-Shepherd might help. “Hypno- Health: Wellness for Mind & Spirit” uses an effective hypnotherapy method to instantly reduce stress, leading to more satisfying REM cycles. Sessions are recorded for later listening, and guests leave with techniques to use on sleepless nights at home.

Treatments at Spa Aiyana range from $105 (25-minute HydraFacial) to $350 (60-minute Hypno-Health: treatment). Suites start at $475 a night. carmelvalleyranch.com


Sun Valley Lodge

Sun Valley, Idaho
With white expanses as far as the eye can see, flying to Sun Valley feels like traveling to a distant frozen planet on the edge of the universe. The first winter resort in the country, it was built in 1936 and warrants its iconic reputation for many reasons. Bad snow days are nonexistent here — even with climate change — thanks to the 555 “snow guns” that line the runs of Bald Mountain. The exotic locale has even attracted the likes of filmmaker Warren Miller and writer Ernest Hemingway.

History and sports-cred aside, the 80-year-old property is relevant and appealing as ever. A recent massive remodel produced a 20,000-square-foot, two-story spa with 15 private treatment rooms, steam and sauna facilities, relaxation lounges, a yoga studio and a large fitness facility with the most modern equipment available. Spa services range from facials and massages to acupuncture, with offerings for kids, teens and brides-to-be. You can also get a haircut here.

Ample spa experience packages include the “Cascade,” with a body polish, warming mud cocoon, skin hydration treatment and a 16-head shower; the 80-minute session is $175. For those wanting to seriously indulge, the luxurious “Ultimate” package ($525) begins with a body polish, followed by an 80-minute massage, a 50-minute facial and a manicure and pedicure as well as a healthy spa meal — which you’ll need, as the treatment takes up to four hours.

Daily direct flights from the Bay Area arrive at the Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho, a mere 14 miles from the resort. Premier king rooms at the lodge start at $319. sunvalley.com

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