San Diego is home to a wealth of award-winning day spas that offer the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation. And sure, sometimes a 60-minute massage is just the thing we need after a long and stressful week of work. But there are also other times when that short-lived session of relaxing bliss just isn’t enough. Sometimes we crave an all-encompassing retreat from our daily lives that our local day spa just simply can’t offer. Sometimes we just need to escape from our everyday reality.
In recent years, destination health and fitness spas have made their mark on the map. These destination spas offer a different kind of relaxation that you won’t find at your everyday spa. Nestled in beautiful and balmy locations, destination spas address the whole being, offering comprehensive life enhancement programs that encompass hiking, yoga, massage, acupuncture, weight, stress management and more.
Discover the best destination health and fitness spas in and around San Diego.
Greater San Diego
Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista
Voted the #2 Destination Spa in North America by Travel & Leisure World’s Best 2010, the luxurious Cal a Vie spa in the heart of Vista offers guests the opportunity to sneak away from the stresses of daily life. Tucked into the valley with stunning views of the lavender hillside or surrounding vineyards, guests will find their place of reprieve in one of the 32 Mediterranean-style villas or suites, appointed with fine Frette linens and hand crafted, antique furnishings, each accommodation is meticulously designed to offer a peaceful haven to encourage relaxation and reflection. Leave your pressures and anxiety to the tentative Cal-a-Vie staff as they provide you with a personally customized program, which you can stick to or veer from as much as you like. Upon arrival, a wellness consultant will design an exclusive program tailored to your goals and desires. Mornings are spent taking part in a variety of fitness activities including rigorous mountain hikes; various styles of yoga including Chakra, Aqua, Thai, Mandala, Anusara, and Vinyasa Flow; Tai Chi; Muscle Melt; and Qi Gong. In the afternoon, guests can enjoy a variety of massage treatments including the ancient Asian practice of Bamboo massaging to offer deep relaxation; the BodyCoffee Therapeutic Massage that utilizes essential oils to improve circulation; or the Suzanne Aux Bains Relaxing Massage that incorporates an intoxicating blend of aromatic oils to awaken your senses. After your massage, indulge in a soothing facial such as the Tre Visage, which assists in rejuvenating, toning and nourishing your skin; the Yon-Ka Signature Hot Stone Aromatherapy facial which releases toxins and calms your skin; or the Alpha-Vital Facial which utilizes fruit enzymes to improve skin texture and renew your cells. After a cleansing day of exercise and pampering, guests can indulge in a diverse spread of healthy cuisine prepared by Cal-a-Vie’s Executive Chef Jason Graham. Chef Graham's menu highlights fresh, regional produce, selected at its seasonal peak, unprocessed whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids and lean proteins. Ingredients are carefully prepared and artfully woven into mouthwatering masterpieces, proving that simple, healthy eating can be elevated to a gourmet status. Guests may choose a 3-night stay which includes three meals per day, private accommodations, 6 therapeutic treatments, all fitness classes, nutritional lecture, and a cooking demonstration; or splurge for a week-long visit which incorporates three meals per day, private accommodations, 16 therapeutic treatments, all fitness classes, nutritional lecture, cooking demonstration, and a fitness evaluation with wellness profile. For more information, visit cal-a-vie.com.
Golden Door in Escondido
Delve into a purposeful sojourn to self-discovery and inner beauty at the original Golden Door located in sweeping green hills of Escondido. Founded in 1958 by Deborah Szekely, this cherished sanctuary beckons you to achieve a deeper sense of inner peace. Far beyond the simple Southern California destination spa getaway, your stay at Golden Door will consist of guided education in the quest to truly know yourself, providing a uniquely personal experience. Inspired by the millennium-old Japanese Honjin inns - rejuvenating the weary traveler through massage, refreshing food, and absolute personal service – the guest rooms at Golden Door are designed for extraordinary relaxation and deep introspection. Each room is prepared with a traditional tokonoma (a meditative shrine on a raised platform) and also includes a private bath, fresh flowers and a complete spa wardrobe. At Golden Door, guests will begin a path of deep reflection leading to a soulful transformation and rededication to the infinite possibilities of personal evolution. Guests may choose to partake in an array of contemporary health and fitness activities coupled with ancient disciplines such as tai-chi and yoga. Enjoy personal fitness training with a dedicated trainer; dive into water classes that emphasize on cardiovascular fitness, toning and flexibility; go for a hike on one of the 20 spanning miles of private onsite trails winding through luscious avocado groves and calming ponds; or clear your mind by meditating in Golden Door’s peaceful labyrinth or tree-top Inner Focus Retreat. In addition, Golden Door also features poolside aerobic gyms, a hilltop gym for private fitness sessions, a new 4,000-square-foot Fitness Pavilion housing a 2000 square foot equipment gym, spinning gym, and additional aerobic gym; two swimming pools and a Kiatsu water therapy pool; tennis courts; and solarium. After a day of heart-healthy fitness activities, it’s time to treat yourself to indulgent salon services and body treatments that will restore your soul and leave you feeling extraordinarily beautiful. At this alluring Southern California spa, begin with a luxurious, in-room massage, then relax further with a stress-release Signature Facial, customized to your skin type. All those energizing relaxation made you hungry, didn’t it? Prepared under the artful direction of Executive Chef Kayla Roche, Golden Door’s sumptuous garden-to-table dishes include everything from Truffled Wild Mushroom Soup, and Nori Crusted Opah with Ginger Roasted Yams, to Oragnanic Pinto Bean Tostada Stacks and Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Strudels. For more information and current rates for your personal transformative journey, visit goldendoor.com.
Rancho La Puerta in Baja California
Straddling the U.S.-Mexico border, the tranquil Rancho La Puerta destination spa shares 3,000 luscious acres of mountains and meadows beneath the beautiful 3,885-foot-high Mount Kuchumaa. Founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely in 1940, Rancho La Puerta has been offering guests the space to breathe freely, to relax, and most importantly, the opportunity to reflect on spiritual significance for over 70 years. This gorgeous family-founded, -owned and –operated resort is an all-inclusive escape for guests looking to get away and relax for seven glorious days. Guests may choose to stay in the economical Ranchera, a cozy and convenient studio bedroom with double beds or a King; a roomier Hacienda casita which features a bedroom area, sitting area and private bathroom; a luxurious Junior Villa complete with two double beds, a private patio, and a sitting area with a fireplace; or a Villa Studio with high cathedral ceilings, a brick fireplace, three double beds, close proximity to the Villa Pool. Guests who want to splurge can choose to stay in a spacious Two-Bedroom Villa Suite that comfortably accommodates up to four people and houses a living room, wet bar, dining area and fireplace. As each of your balanced fitness days progresses, there is much to try, whether for the first time or to increase your proficiency. Rancho La Puerta features art workshops, colorful hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations, Yuichi dance classes, and birdwatching hikes and excursions. In addition, guests can partake in an unparalleled selection of classes and experiences during their one-week stay that are sure to invigorate your mind and body. Named the best workout in every major city, the Bar Method has recently partnered with Rancho La Puerta to offer one-hour targeted body sculpting classes. For all you athletes out there, partake in a one-on-one game of tennis; get toned with an all-new Hydro-Fit aquatic exercise program; take a semi private Pilates class and improve your flexibility; or traverse the boulder-garden foothills of Mt. Kuchumaa for a vigorous hike with friends. In addition, Rancho La Puerta’s three health and beauty centers will be your sanctuaries for the week, each staffed by skilled estheticians and therapists who have been widely trained in their field of expertise. Indulge in 19th-century body treatments such as energy balance therapy and ancient medicinal Chinese Five Elements services. Rancho La Puerta also offers soothing body wraps, custom facials designed to renew your skin’s elasticity, and hydrotherapy deep relaxation treatments. For more information on weekly rates and current specials, visit rancholapuerta.com.
Northern California & Arizona
The Oaks in Ojai
A visit to The Oaks is more than a spa vacation - it's a life affirming experience. The Oaks is nestled in the beautiful Ojai valley, just a 90 minute drive north of Los Angeles, and is widely known for being an active art community, spa retreat and spiritual sanctuary, offering the services and amenities that make every visit a memorable experience. As an American Plan Spa, The Oaks provides a well-rounded 1,000 calorie a day food plan that consists of three meals, snacks and beverages. The varied menus feature natural foods, fresh fish and poultry, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade salad dressings and soups - all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Many meals feature freshly-grown herbs straight from their special gardens. Guests can also indulge in a variety of body and skin care services including traditional Swedish massages, Aromatherapy massages, and Pregnancy massages. Unlike other energy techniques, the ever-popular Reiki massage uses the individual’s energy to soothe anxiety and depression, heal emotional or physical wounds, and help to find a deep sense of relaxation. For individuals looking to lose weight, the Acupressure Metabolism massage focuses on stimulating specific acupuncture points that affect food and water metabolism as well as energy production in order to increase the metabolic rate of the body and help strengthen the endocrine & digestive systems. Guests can also partake in a variety of group fitness activities at The Oaks which are divided between CardioClasses, Strength Classes and Flexibility Classes. Choose from vigorous 6.5-8 mile advanced mountain hikes in the Ojai Valley; add a twist to childhood fun and partake in the Hoop-La classes that incorporate weighted hula hoops to thin out your waistline; or improve your cardio capacity, strength and flexibility in AquaTone and AquaCardio. Aside from group activity classes, guests can get involved in fun-filled outdoor excursions. Nestled near the Los Padres National Forest, the beautiful Lake Casitas offer the opportunity for guests to spend the day kayaking, or the Ojai Valley boasts a vast playground for hikes and picnics. For more information on current specials and rates, visit oaksspa.com.
Mii Amo in Sedona
Inspired by the rich wisdom and traditions of Native American people, complemented by the beauty and energy of Sedona, this destination spa resort presents a luxurious spa experience where guests can find balance and harmony in breathtaking Boynton Canyon. Mii amo leads guests on the ultimate journey of discovery into a heightened sense of balance, harmony and health with a variety of well-being classes and challenges, spa treatments, and delectable cuisine. Everyone has a personal vision of the ideal luxury vacation spa experience. Whether it’s challenge or pampering; retreat or connection; honoring local culture or reflecting on the simplicity of nature, Mii Amo will exceed your any and all of your expectations. Ever been interested in Aquawork? These subtle treatments call on the timeless power of water to restore your energy flow, clear the mind and open the heart and include Flower Essence Baths, Hydrotherapy Baths, and Watsu. Guests can also indulge in invigorating body treatments such as the Blue Corn Body Polish or the Jojoba Butter Wrap; relieve stress and chronic pain with a Neuromuscular massage, align your Chakras with a relaxing Vibrational massage, or balance your energy flow with a traditional 60-minute Shiatsu massage. In addition, Mii Amo also offers a variety of health and wellness that can help you achieve a rebalanced lifestyle. Choose from the traditional Chinese Branch & Root Acupuncture medicine which helps to cure symptoms of insomnia, fatigue and weight gain; or test out a Weight in Balance consultation designed to encourage a lasting and healthy relationship with food. What sets Mii Amo apart from other vacation spas is the incredible variety of choices such as fitness, wellness, dance and art classes; cooking demonstrations; organic gardening; and a vast array of outdoor activities. Whether you choose to hike the Red Rocks, engage in new-age Zumba classes, mediatate in the Crystal Grotto or test out the combination Yogalates class, Mii Amo has something for everyone. For more information on current rates and packages, visit miiamo.com.
Miraval in Tucson
Situated on 400 acres of land in the warm shade of Santa Catalina Mountains in northern Tucson, Arizona, Miraval is an all-inclusive destination spa and resort dedicated to opening eyes, minds, and hearts. At Miraval guests will find everything from locally sourced ingredients to make gorgeously flavorful food, and growth and development activities that make the heart-pump and the head re-think; to fabulous spa resources that make the senses ignite and; and an unrivaled team of well-being specialists that can help you make positive and lasting changes in your life. Miraval boasts 117 casually elegant casita-style luxury spa accommodations and suites grouped in six villages, each with a variety of rooms and features. Guests will easily find that each of the rooms are inviting and comfortable, with natural colors from the earth that create a connection with the desert landscape and surrounding mountains. Miraval sets the standard for fulfilling group retreats with up to 6,600-square-feet of meeting space and the latest in technology. Guests can experience the ultimate challenge with Miraval’s motivational and obstacle programs such as the Quantum Leap, the Desert Tightrope, Trail Riding, Rock Climbing, and more stress-reducing classes. When it comes to dining, guests can indulge in cuisine from three distinct and flavorsome restaurants. Whether you’re enjoying vegan delicacies or mouthwatering Kobe beef entrees in the famed Cactus Flower restaurant; re-energizing yourself with a protein packed smoothie in Palm Court or; simply grazing late afternoon over pre-dinner apps and sipping your favorite cocktails in the Brave Bill Lounge, you’re bound to find a delectable meal close at hand. For more information on current rates and packages, visit miravalresorts.com.
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