I’m not one to seek out wellness resorts, rather they tend to find me, and I’m always grateful for the opportunity. These properties have a little bit of everything, from health and fitness classes to specialty dining and unforgettable spas. Through the years I’ve realized the importance of seeking out vacation destinations that focus on mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. These places are perfect to visit any time of year to relax, but we think they especially shine in the winter.
I was a guest of a few of the properties to review, but as always, opinions are 100 percent my own.
1. Six Senses Douro Valley
Six Senses Douro Valley Hotel & Spa is nestled in the heart of Portugal’s wine country. From the moment you walk through the doors, you can tell this is a special place. The hotel’s dog, Aqua, is the first to greet you upon arrival. She’s sweet, but she’ll quickly leave you when something else catches her eye. This is exactly what you’ll do because your eyes won’t know if they should focus on the stunningly chic lobby or the spectacular panoramic view.
The property is a former 19th-century manor house that sits on rolling vine-covered hills overlooking the Douro River. There’s a giant terrace just off the lobby that will take your breath away. Standing here is your first introduction to the property, and you know it’s going to be a magical stay.
The Six Senses brand is known for its hospitality, sustainability, and properties that are located in destinations of unique beauty. This property certainly ticks all of those boxes.
Those looking for opportunities to relax can find them throughout the property. Guests can swim in the indoor pool, try one of the specialized treatments at the spa, take a cooking class, or engage in forest bathing. There is no limit to the experiences Six Senses has to offer.
If you want to connect with nature, this will be the place for you. The resort is surrounded by hiking trails, has water sports on the river, and there’s even a wall for rock climbing and rappelling.
This property is surrounded by vineyards, so of course, many things revolve around wine. There are wine tastings, a wine library, and several on-site restaurants offering the perfect food and wine pairings.
This is only a small sample of what you will find at Six Senses Douro Valley, but we are sure it will make for an unforgettable vacation.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss an opportunity to sign up for one of the Six Senses specialty classes, such as tile painting, an alchemy bar workshop, or pickling produce from the hotel’s garden.
2. Sheraton Grand At Wild Horse Pass
Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is one of the more unique wellness destinations in the United States. The property sits within the Gila River Indian Community and was designed in partnership with the native Pima and Maricopa people. It is a stunning desert property with some unbelievable amenities.
Wellness seekers will want to head straight for Aji Spa which has created treatments tied to the traditional health practices of the native people. The word “Aji” translates to “sanctuary,” and the spa is exactly that, a place to escape all of the stress found outside its walls. In addition to the massages and specialty treatments, the spa offers a private outdoor pool space, saunas, and hot tubs. There’s nothing quite like relaxing in the Arizona sun.
Those interested in active pursuits can head to the resort’s golf course or equestrian center, or hike on the trails surrounding the property. There’s also a 2.5-mile river that winds through the resort and guests can kayak or take a boat ride and admire the desert landscape dotted with cacti, rabbits, and roadrunners.
One of the main highlights of this resort is Kai, the resort’s signature restaurant and the only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Arizona. Their cuisine is a twist on Native American cuisine, featuring locally sourced, seasonal produce. Popular dishes include the grilled buffalo tenderloin, Berkshire pork with a cactus and avocado chimichurri, and the Pee-Posh garden salad. There’s also a five-course tasting menu that’s out of this world!
Pro Tip: Schedule your dinner reservation at Kai as soon as you book your hotel. This is one experience that shouldn’t be missed!
3. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach occupies one of the most beautiful stretches of beachfront in Cancun, looking out to Isla Mujeres across the water. The all-inclusive resort boasts one of the largest spas in Mexico, Gem Spa. It’s also known for its wellness program, AAA Five Diamond Restaurant, Le Basilic, and stunning swimming pools.
Guests will love the hydro-therapy circuit at the spa that takes you through an aroma-filled steam room, an ice room, a rain shower, and a polar plunge. Follow this up with one of the signature treatments. We recommend the Seventh Wonder Luxury Massage to align and balance your chakras.
Outside of the spa, be sure to try the yoga classes, yoga paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking that are offered on the property.
Those looking for the ultimate dining experience will want to book the 12-course tasting menu at Le Basilic or a private gourmet dinner on the beach.
4. Lake Austin Spa Resort
Travelers looking for the ultimate luxury escape in the central United States should head to Lake Austin Spa Resort. Located a half hour from downtown Austin, the property is not what you would expect in central Texas. Nestled among the trees, on the shores of Lake Austin, this is the epitome of luxury wellness resorts and has been recognized as the third-best destination spa in the U.S. according to Condé Nast Traveler.
Lake Austin Spa Resort is quite intimate with only 40 rooms and suites available. Don’t let the limited number of rooms fool you, this property covers more than 19 acres, and has endless activities and wellness experiences for guests.
Lake House Spa has more than 100 types of treatments, including their signature Energy of the Glaciers, which uses massage and rare ingredients from Switzerland to leave you with a radiant complexion. Another great option is the Tour of Texas massage, which features a prickly pear scrub, agave nectar wrap, and an 80-minute full-body massage. Where do I sign up?
Since the resort sits on a lake, it is only fitting that there are a variety of water activities to enjoy during your stay. Why not try paddleboard yoga, wakeboarding and water skiing, or a sundown wine cruise? No matter which activities you choose, we are sure they will allow you to soak up some fun and relaxation.
A resort stay includes three meals a day. You’ll love the chef’s approach to healthy eating. All of the dishes are made to nourish the stomach and the soul.
Pro Tip: There is a daily calendar of activities at the resort. Check the schedule once you book your reservation and make note of your priorities. Once you arrive at the property, be sure to sign up for the classes you want to try.
5. Naia Resort
Naïa Resort is located on a 200-acre private reserve in the Belizean jungle, offering a unique wellness experience. The property has 35 beachfront bungalows, lagoons covered with lily pads, and everything you need to unplug.
Naïa Spa has over-the-water treatment rooms and a couple’s private island suite. Indulge the senses with a salt stone massage, sweet coconut scrub, or Maya cacao and cinnamon wrap. All of the treatments are enhanced with native botanicals, connecting the mind and body to the Belizean surroundings.
Travelers wanting to get out in nature will love the variety of adventure tours the resort offers. The resort sits between the jungle and the sea, so most of the activities revolve around these two places. There is plenty of hiking nearby, as well as zip lining, and river tubing. Those who want the water experience can snorkel, fish, or simply relax on the beach. We also love the tours that explore Mayan ruins and ancient caves, or those that teach about cacao and spice production in the area.
Naïa offers a variety of accommodations, from the studio beach house to the ultimate five-bedroom beach house. So whether you want to come alone or travel with friends, there’s sure to be a configuration that works for you.
Pro Tip: Naia Resort offers a variety of vacation packages to choose from, such as a Girls’ Getaway, a Zoom Mom Digital Detox, and more. We recommend choosing one of these packages because they include airfare from Belize’s main airport (BZE) to Placencia, transfers, meals, spa treatments, and more.