20 Of The Coolest Spas In The States

As much as we love swapping the stresses of daily life for pampering getaways, the phrase "destination spa" makes us a bit nervous. We've seen too much Laura Ashley chintz, endured too many gimmicky massages, and heard too much Enya — so much Enya! — to feel otherwise.
And yet, the idea of focusing on nothing but rest, relaxation, and wellness remains appealing, no? That's why we've scoured the country for our favorite, well, destination spas. You'll find zero cheese factor: no tinkly-dinkly wind chimes or faux-Provençal styling here. Instead, we've highlighted out-of-the-ordinary treatments (beer pedicure, anyone?) and unusual settings. Some offer solid value, while others are mind-bogglingly luxe — but, they're all worth the trip. Read on, and be sure to tell us about one of your favorite sybaritic escapes.
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Photo: Courtesy of Miraval Resort & Spa.
Best for finding mind-body balance:
Miraval Resort & Spa, Tucson, Arizona


Long before mindfulness was even close to a mainstream concept, this resort was integrating the concept into everything from baking classes to meditation workshops. A visit could include yoga, golf, a session with Himalayan singing bowls, photography instruction, and even an emotional-awakening workshop with horses.

The spa menu includes dozens of treatments, including more than 30 that were developed exclusively for Miraval by Clarins — a few of which can be enjoyed in a climate-controlled outdoor tent. Some have called Miraval the most innovative destination spa in the world: After experiencing it firsthand, we're inclined to agree.
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Photo: Courtesy of Meadowood.
Best for those who like a little wine with their wellness: Meadowood, St. Helena, California

Few things in life are more relaxing than sitting in the California sun with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortunately, this ultra-luxe Napa Valley resort encourages just that — not only with daily wine tastings and vineyard visits, but also through treatments at its hillside spa. A body wrap may include antioxidant-rich grape seeds, while a massage may use a neck-to-toe chocolate mask.

There's plenty more to do: tennis, golf, hiking, swimming, dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant — but, lazing about is a pretty good option, too. The spa is undergoing a full renovation, due to finish next year. (So, book now before everyone finds out about it.) Word of caution: Expect to pay quite a few pretty pennies for the pampering services.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hidden Pond.
Best for those who miss their childhood tree houses:
Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, Maine

It's not the largest resort on the list, and its spa only comprises three rooms. So, why are we so besotted with this out-of-the-way spot? Two words: tree spa. Yep, it's 8 feet above-ground, with rooms connected by a catwalk. And, it's done up in the cutest rustic décor ever. It's like a spa on Endor, basically.

Treatment ingredients include flowers and herbs grown on-site, kombucha body wash, and all-natural Farmaesthetics products. While the setting is tranquil and woodsy, we wouldn't blame you for reenacting the ending celebration from Return of the Jedi between spa sessions. (Yub nub!)
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Photo: Courtesy of Post Ranch Inn.
Best for actually getting away from it all: Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California

Perched on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, this 39-room resort features plenty of 5-star amenities, from infinity pools to spa facilities set among the redwoods. Facials incorporate organic products such as virgin coconut oil and local honey, while massages use jade stones collected from nearby beaches. For a potentially life-changing treatment you won't find just anywhere, try a shamanic healing session or mandala-painting class.

Although the inn has Wi-Fi, there's no cell service and no TVs or alarm clocks. It's a place to unplug and unwind — but the property is so beautiful that you won't miss a thing.
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Photo: Courtesy of Salish Lodge & Spa.
Best for David Lynch fans:
Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie, Washington

Yes, this resort is nudged up against a two-lane highway. But, there's a 268-foot-high waterfall, and — as any Twin Peaks devotee will recognize — the exterior is the same as the series' Great Northern Hotel.

The spa, which has a steam room and dry sauna, uses its own organic honey — harvested from a hillside apiary — in treatments that will leave you as smooth-skinned as Audrey Horne herself.
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Photo: Courtesy of Amangiri.
Best for a once-in-a-lifetime splurge:
Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

This 600-acre resort looks otherworldly — and, in a sense, it is. Half an hour from the nearest town and surrounded by canyons, this desert oasis is as remote as it is luxurious. The spa alone is 25,000 square feet of serenity, with features including a sauna, steam room, cold-plunge pool, and candlelit treatment rooms.

Treatments include flotation therapy, in-water shiatsu massages, chakra-balancing, and pink-clay facials — and, you can take relaxing yoga classes. Let's put it this way: Amangiri is fancy enough for Brad and Angelina to visit the middle of nowhere. And, yes, you'd need Brangelina dollars to do the same.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Oaks at Ojai.
Best for the budget-minded:
The Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, California

Destination spas aren't cheap, but this SoCal spot serves up excellent value. The focus is on fitness, and a $180-a-day package includes full use of the pool, gym, and spa area; three healthy meals, plus snacks; access to 15 fitness classes; and a massage or facial. (Overnight options are available, too.) Its lack of pretense makes The Oaks a good choice for spa newbs. And, it doesn't hurt that the Spanish-style architecture is pretty charming.
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Photo: Via Canyon Ranch SpaClub.
Best way to satisfy wanderlust:
Canyon Ranch SpaClub

It's a spa...on a boat (a cruise ship, actually). Earlier this year, Canyon Ranch — known for its high-end wellness resorts — took over the spas on 10 Celebrity Cruises ships. The resulting full-service treatment center has a surprisingly diverse menu that includes facial peels, lymphatic massages, Reiki, and acupuncture. A salon offers nail services, hairstyling, and lash extensions; fitness classes include yoga, indoor cycling, Pilates, and more.

Choose an AquaClass room, and you'll have the option of dining on healthy fare, along with unlimited veg-out time in an exclusive ocean-view lounge. All of this, and you get to wake up in a new country the next day.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kohler Waters Spa.
Best reason to rethink H2O:
Kohler Waters Spa, Kohler, Wisconsin

Anyone who says Wisconsin is just about cheese clearly hasn't visited this place. Kohler Waters Spa — yes, it's owned by the plumbing company — is the Midwest's only 5-star spa, and it earns that designation with 25,000 square feet of pure enjoyment.

Water is the theme here, and not just in the 8-foot waterfall that sits above a 30-foot-long pool. The hydrotherapy treatments use hot and cold water to stimulate or relax the body. Our favorite treatment involves a bathtub that transforms music into underwater vibrations. Relaxation: You're soaking in it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Travaasa.
Best place to get a facial and a lei-making lesson: Travaasa Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Of course, this place is unspeakably beautiful — come on, it's in Hawaii. But, unlike so many of the islands' choked-with-tourists hotspots, this boutique resort is secluded and serene. Open-air cottages overlook Hana Bay, with rooms devoid of distractions such as TVs, clocks, and radios.

Ukulele instruction, horseback treks, and outdoor yoga provide opportunities to be active. All-organic spa treatments — including the native-to-Hawaii lomilomi massage — offer the chance to chill in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Lodge at Woodloch.
Best for beer aficionados:
The Lodge at Woodloch, Hawley, Pennsylvania

While there are plenty of wine-themed treatments, beer has been typically shut out of the spa game. Well, not anymore: Woodloch's Mud and Suds pedicure involves soaking your feet in warm beer (as you kick back with a cold one) and a hops-and-barley exfoliation. That's not to say that teetotalers won't enjoy this Poconos escape. Garden-to-table cuisine, a private glacier lake, an infinity jacuzzi, and a bevy of fitness classes provide enough variety to satisfy even the pickiest spa-goer. Cheers to that.
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Photo: Courtesy of Golden Door.
Best for Hollywood-approved pampering: Golden Door, San Marcos, California

Since opening in 1958, Golden Door has drawn a long list of luminaries — Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, and Nicole Kidman among them. In recent years, the spa had lost some of its luster and cachet, but a new owner aims to restore its shine. Major renovations will be complete this month, updating the facilities and expanding the grounds to 600 acres.

Five biodynamic gardens, Japanese-inspired spa treatments, an olive orchard, a bamboo forest, and more than 20 miles of hiking trails ensure a high level of attention and indulgence. A stay is far from budget-friendly, but for the devotees who've been coming for decades, there's no better choice.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Ace Hotel.
Best place to spa in style:
The Feel Good Spa at the Ace Hotel, Palm Springs, California

It's surprising that more Ace locations don't have spas, since the down-to-earth approach works so well there. Tie-dyed linens and macramé decorations give the small spa a vaguely George Harrison, '70s-mellow vibe. (You can get a massage in a yurt, for God's sake!) Energy work, aloe wraps, and organic massages continue the rich-hippie feel. A dog park, two pools, outdoor fireplaces, and a fantastic cocktail bar round out the offerings.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mii amo.
Best for the open-minded:
Mii amo, Sedona, Arizona

Two things immediately come to mind when you think Sedona: red-rock formations and a New-Age vibe. Both play a role at Mii amo, where services focus just as much on energy healing as they do on pampering. Think: stargazing sessions, chakra yoga, vortex walks, psychic massage, and aura photography.

It might sound a bit woo-woo to the uninitiated, but it's not like anyone goes to Sedona expecting the traditional. As for us, we'll be right here enjoying the gourd-decorating class.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ten Thousand Waves.
Best way to visit Japan without leaving the States:
Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, New Mexico

From the koi ponds to the open-air baths, everything in this spa could have been transported directly from Kyoto. Modeled after Japanese onsen resorts, Ten Thousand Waves offers authentic services — clothed shiatsu rub-downs, Yasuragi head massages, sit-down showers — set in the mountains above Santa Fe. An on-site restaurant dishes up izakaya-style small plates, while room styles range from traditional ryokan to a Sailor Moon-themed space. Stop by, take your shoes off, and stay awhile.
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Photo: Courtesy of Solage Calistoga.
Best place to sling mud:
Solage Calistoga, Calistoga, California

Okay, you won't actually be slinging mud here: Solage's signature treatment is the Mudslide, which starts with slathering the stuff on your body. After resting in a mud lounge (yes, such a thing exists), you'll soak in geothermal waters before dozing off in a "sound chair" that sends sonic vibrations through your body.

Along with pampering, this Napa Valley resort has plenty to keep you occupied: hiking trails, bike rentals, Bocce ball, a sprawling pool, and a Michelin-starred restaurant serving up organic Cali cuisine.
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Photo: Courtesy of Red Mountain Resort.
Best for an outdoor adventure:
Red Mountain Resort, St. George, Utah

If you get bored here, it's really your own fault — there's just that much to do. Red-rock canyons, lava caves, and crystal-clear lakes provide plenty of hiking and kayaking opportunities. Dozens of fitness options include Zumba classes, paddle-board yoga sessions, and Pilates.

The Sagestone spa uses Utah mud, marjoram, cedarwood oil, corn meal, and tobacco in its treatments. All of this and rates that start at $200 per night make it a downright steal compared to some other Southwest spas.
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Photo: Courtesy of Viceroy Palm Springs.
Best place to be "bad" at a spa:
Viceroy Palm Springs, Palm Springs, California

Not everybody wants a clean-living experience at the spa. Some of us prefer a little Champagne with our facial — or a Pisco Sour after our lava-shell massage. Maybe even a burger! These indulgences are exactly what's on offer at the Viceroy, a classic Palm Springs getaway done up Hollywood-Regency style.

It's not that you can't align your mind and body at this spa — you certainly can. But, in a time when so many spas are dishing up raw kale salads, sometimes it's nice to have the option of shrimp tacos, too.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Ranch Malibu.
Best place to get your ass kicked (and like it): The Ranch Malibu, Malibu, California

The Ranch is called a "luxury boot camp," which confused us at first. (Aren't boot camps supposed to be, you know, strenuous and miserable?) Then, we took a look at the program, which involves four or five hours of low-impact fitness activities, massages, and a nap each day. There are also gourmet vegetarian meals and cooking classes, but no Internet or phone — for a whole week. It all adds up to a challenging, yet appealing session meant to leave guests fitter, happier, and healthier. And, we're into that.
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Photo: Courtesy of Salamander Resort & Spa.
Best for My Little Pony fans:
Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg, Virginia

At this year-old spot's full-service spa, you can have golf balls rolled over your aching back or unwind with an oxygen facial. The design is classic (if on the traditional side) and the treatments indulgent. But, if we're going to be honest, here's why Salamander is really worth a visit: It has horsies!

Riding lessons, leisurely trail excursions, and yoga on horseback (really!) are just a few of the equine activities available, and the area's horse history is legit: Jackie Kennedy used to ride around here.
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