Best spas

Start the new year right at a beautiful, relaxing spa

Maybe you love spas but think you can't afford a poshretreat right now. Maybe you're looking for a spa to inspireromance, or one suitable for two kids under 12, or to work offthose 5 holiday pounds. Take heart: whatever your category, thereis a place for you. Except where noted, lodging rates listed hereare for double occupancy.

BARGAIN HUNTER'S SPA

The Palms, Palm Springs

Packages at The Palms are surprisingly reasonable, especiallygiven the palm-shaded atmosphere and the range of activities. Youcan choose from 13 fitness classes daily, with an emphasis onweight loss and exercise. (The Palm's sister spa, The Oaks at Ojai,also offers reasonably priced packages; visit www.oaksspa.com or call800/753-6257.)

COST: Packages from $159 per person per night Sun-Thu, from$169 per person per night Fri-Sat; two-night min-imum stay.

CONTACT: www.palmsspa.com or (800)753-7256.

BIG-CITY SPA

Nob Hill Spa at the Huntington Hotel,San Francisco

For visitors to, or residents of, San Francisco, this is theperfect urbane retreat in a luxurious hotel overlooking the city.The Nob Hill Spa Wellness Center offers massage as well as yoga,Pilates, and tai chi classes.

COST: Packages from $520.

CONTACT: www.nobhillspa.com or(415) 345-2888.

HIS-AND-HERS SPA

Willow Stream Spa at the FairmontScottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona

Searching for the ideal romantic getaway? Start your daytogether with a mountain-bike or jeep tour of the desert, then fitin a round of golf, tennis, volleyball, or croquet. Recover with acouples' outdoor massage and a soak in the heated waterfalltreatment pool in the Willow Stream Spa. Reconnect while sipping aprickly-pear margarita as you watch the sun set over the McDowellMountains from your casita balcony.

COST: $159-$589 per room; "Rekindle Your Romance" weekendpackage, including one dinner for two and three spa services each,$1,066-$1,276 per couple.

CONTACT: www.fairmont.com, (800)344-4758, or (480) 585-4848.

SPA FOR FAMILIES

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort,Tucson

Children stay busy here, between the Kids Club (supervisedactivities and crafts), "dive-in" movies at the pool, and camp-outsunder the stars. Meanwhile, the adults can enjoy a hot stonemassage or mud treatment. Children are welcomed at check-in with agift pack, as is the family pet. One nearby attraction is theArizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

COST: $250-$419 per room.

CONTACT: www.loewshotels.com,(800) 234-5117, or (520) 299-2020.

SPA FOR SKIERS

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort andSpa, Beaver Creek, Colorado

Your boots are warmed and your skis are waiting when you stepout the door onto impeccably groomed Beaver Creek Mountain. Take aguided tour with the Hyatt's ski ambassador, snowshoe beneath theaspens, or ice-skate under the stars in Beaver Creek Village.Follow it all with an aromatherapy massage and a warm honey footscrub in the Allegria Spa.

COST: $360-$895 per room (winter), $115-$470 per room(summer); ski and spa package including ski-lift tickets andmassages for two people, $872 per night per room.

CONTACT: www.beavercreek.hyatt.com,(800) 554-9288, or (970) 949-1234.

SPORTS AND FITNESS SPA

Red Mountain Spa, Ivins, Utah

In the red rock country of southwestern Utah, about a 1 1/2-hourdrive from Las Vegas, this spa makes the most of its setting, withguided hikes, mountain-bike rides, and geo-caching expeditionsamong the salmon-colored cliffs and canyons. There's a seriousworkout center with strength-training, fitness-testing, and cardioequipment. Great food is prepared by executive chef JimGallivan.

COST: Packages from $269 per night per person.

CONTACT: www.redmountainspa.comor (800) 407-3002.

SPA FOR NATURE LOVERS

Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie,Washington

There's a whole lot of nature here: set above Snoqualmie Falls,this is a place for enjoying scenery that ranges from spectacularto sublime. The resort continues the elegant earth-mother themewith treatments like earth-cocoon mud wrap and heated river-rockmassage.

COST: Packages from $515 per night.

CONTACT: www.salishlodge.com,(800) 272-5474, or (425) 888-2556.

STARSTRUCK SPA

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai,California

Jennifer Aniston has spa'ed here, as has Anthony Hopkins,presumably in non-Hannibal Lecter mode. Long a resort known for itslovely setting and its fine golf course, the Ojai Valley Inn addeda first-rate spa facility in 1998, with such suitably Ojaipleasures as fresh flower facials and citrus-honey body wraps.There's also DestinationsHealth, a health consultation program.

COST: Packages from $318 per person per night; two-nightminimum stay.

CONTACT: www.ojairesort.com, (800)422-6524, or (805) 646-5511.

SPA FOR NONSPA PEOPLE

Vista Clara Ranch Resort & Spa, Galisteo, New Mexico

COST: $235 per person per night, based on double occupancy;$360 per person per night for single occupancy.

CONTACT: www.vistaclara.com, (888)663-9772, or (505) 466-4772.

― L. Brooks Baldwin and JaneMcConnell

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