Spas for all tastes

Best spas

Start the new year right at a beautiful, relaxing spa

Maybe you love spas but think you can't afford a posh retreat right now. Maybe you're looking for a spa to inspire romance, or one suitable for two kids under 12, or to work off those 5 holiday pounds. Take heart: whatever your category, there is a place for you. Except where noted, lodging rates listed here are for double occupancy.

BARGAIN HUNTER'S SPA

The Palms, Palm Springs

Packages at The Palms are surprisingly reasonable, especially given the palm-shaded atmosphere and the range of activities. You can choose from 13 fitness classes daily, with an emphasis on weight loss and exercise. (The Palm's sister spa, The Oaks at Ojai, also offers reasonably priced packages; visit www.oaksspa.com or call 800/753-6257.)

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 the perfect 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 Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona

Searching for the ideal romantic getaway? Start your day together with a mountain-bike or jeep tour of the desert, then fit in a round of golf, tennis, volleyball, or croquet. Recover with a couples' outdoor massage and a soak in the heated waterfall treatment pool in the Willow Stream Spa. Reconnect while sipping a prickly-pear margarita as you watch the sun set over the McDowell Mountains from your casita balcony.

COST: $159-$589 per room; "Rekindle Your Romance" weekend package, 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 (supervised activities and crafts), "dive-in" movies at the pool, and camp-outs under the stars. Meanwhile, the adults can enjoy a hot stone massage or mud treatment. Children are welcomed at check-in with a gift pack, as is the family pet. One nearby attraction is the Arizona-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 and Spa, Beaver Creek, Colorado

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

COST: $360-$895 per room (winter), $115-$470 per room (summer); ski and spa package including ski-lift tickets and massages 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-hour drive from Las Vegas, this spa makes the most of its setting, with guided hikes, mountain-bike rides, and geo-caching expeditions among the salmon-colored cliffs and canyons. There's a serious workout center with strength-training, fitness-testing, and cardio equipment. Great food is prepared by executive chef Jim Gallivan.

COST: Packages from $269 per night per person.

CONTACT: www.redmountainspa.com or (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 spectacular to sublime. The resort continues the elegant earth-mother theme with treatments like earth-cocoon mud wrap and heated river-rock massage.

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 its lovely setting and its fine golf course, the Ojai Valley Inn added a first-rate spa facility in 1998, with such suitably Ojai pleasures 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-night minimum 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 Jane McConnell