Top 11 wellness retreats

Get away for a mind-clearing recharge at spa resorts, spiritual retreats, hot springs, and more

Ranch at Live Oak Malibu
Photo: Mark Adams Pictures

Work with a spiritual leader

Shambhala. Their brand of soulfulness is more about group study than zipping your lips. The 600-acre sanctuary two hours from Denver has a long list of classes—on ancient wisdom, spiritual healing, and, yes, meditation if you like—plus lots of time to just meander along trails through forests and meadows. From $285/person, including meals. 

New Camaldoli Hermitage. Founded in 1958 by a group of Benedictine monks, the Big Sur, California hilltop monastery is a silent refuge for laypeople too. The rooms are strictly, well, monastic, but solitude and breathtaking ocean views (not to mention rock-bottom prices) put serenity within reach. From $110/person, including meals. 

Spirit Rock. Even Buddhism newbies feel at home meditating at this pagoda-style center in the open, grassy hills of Marin County, California. Silent retreats are a specialty, and many include an intro session for anyone who’s new to this whole stillness thing.

Sweat, yoga, and a soak

Esalen. Most come to this cliffside edu-hippie-topia in California’s Big Sur for one of the 400 workshops (shamanic cosmology, anyone?). But you can also make an appointment to stop by for a massage (95 minutes, $165). It works like this: You strip, then soak in the stone-lined springs above the Pacific until it’s time for your rub, set to the rhythm of the waves crashing far below.

Red Mountain. The main draw here is the chance to use the red rock landscape of southern Utah as your personal gym. Plus healthy meals that are far from rabbit food. Yes, Reiki and other energy-balancing sessions make an appearance, but there’s also a good old-fashioned facial if that’s more your style. From $259/person, including meals. 

Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. At this pricey new spa, figure on nine hours a day of no-opt-out exercise (hikes in the surrounding mountains, yoga, body sculpting), plus delicious vegetarian food, no cell service or caffeine, and intense bonding with your 13 fellow sufferers. It’s rehab for type A’s, only with a sparely chic cottage of your own. And much better scenery. One week, all-inclusive: $5,600/person. 

Glen Ivy Hot Springs. For $39 on weekdays and $52 on weekends, day-trippers to this spot in Riverside County, California, soak in their pick of warm and cool pools, smear themselves in red clay, and join in classes like water aerobics and tai chi. Your call whether to spring for a massage too.

 

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