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12 Amazing Spa Escapes for Winter 2014

It’s not too late to get away from Chicago. No matter what your budget is, here are a dozen places you’d rather be.

A pool overlooking the Indian Ocean at Velassaru Maldives   Photo: Courtesy of Velassaru Maldives

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$2,000 to $4,000 a Week

Best for Elegant Minimalists


Where: Canyon Point, Utah (seven-hour two-leg flight to Page, Arizona, plus complimentary 25-minute ride)
Price: About $3,850 a week per person, double occupancy, including meals, fitness classes, and one spa treatment (more info at amanresorts.com/amangiri/home.aspx)

There’s something clarifying and deeply peaceful about a landscape that resembles nothing so much as the surface of the moon. Welcome to the elegant, minimalist, utterly anti-urban Amangiri and its 25,000-square-foot spa.

Here you’ll find a fully immersive experience in relaxation. In the Floatation Pavilion you’ll float in water that matches your body temperature, a highly meditative experience that quiets sensory stimulation. When you crave activity, scale the steep faces of the surrounding towering mesas with the aid of fixed cables and ladder rungs bored into rock.

Lake Austin Spa Resort
Yoga at Lake Austin Photo: Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort
Best for Spa Treatment Fans

Lake Austin Spa Resort

Where: Austin, Texas (three-hour nonstop flight, plus 45-minute drive)
Price: About $3,640 a week per person, double occupancy, including meals, fitness classes, a $500 personal consultation allowance, and a $1,000 spa allowance (more info at lakeaustin.com/spa-resort)

Everything may be bigger in Texas. But with just 40 rooms, this destination spa—the only one in the world to be named to Condé Nast Traveler’s Platinum Circle—prefers a more intimate approach.

As its name implies, the resort lies on a placid lake (an update of lake view rooms will be finished this year). Spa treatments here are anything but afterthoughts: You can choose from 26 types of massage, 15 facials, and 17 body treatments. The decor is homey and comfortable, as if you were staying at your best friend’s place—if your BFF offered world-class massages and delicious, healthy meals.

Hiking Mount Kuchumaa at Rancho La Puerta
Hiking Mount Kuchumaa Photo: Courtesy of Rancho La Puerta
Best for Digital Detoxers

Rancho La Puerta

Where: Tecate, Baja California, Mexico (four-and-a-half-hour nonstop flight to San Diego, plus one-hour ride over the border to Tecate on a complimentary spa bus)
Price: About $3,250 a week per person, double occupancy, including meals and fitness classes (more info at rancholapuerta.com)

If you’ve ever wanted to run away to Mexico, this may be your chance. Routinely ranked as one of the planet’s top spas, Rancho La Puerta opens a world of options, from dozens of exercise classes, healthy-cooking classes, and lectures to spa treatments and private consultations for virtually every aspect of your well-being.

Guests describe the feeling as easy and casual: Do everything or nothing at all. (Do take the four-mile Organic Garden Breakfast Hike across parts of the ranch’s 3,000-acre property, concluding with breakfast at the resort’s organic farm.) If untethering from your digital self is one of your resolutions, you’ve come to the right place. Expect no in-room TVs, no cell phone service, and very limited Wi-Fi access.

Best for Those Who Want to Go Far, Far Away

Velassaru Maldives

Where: Male, Maldives (24-hour two- or three-leg flight, plus 25-minute speedboat ride)
Price: About $2,331 a week per person, double occupancy, including breakfast (more info at velassaru.com)

You know that popular screen saver showing images of impossibly blue, crystal clear water edged by silky white sand? That’s the Maldives, a tiny island republic floating in the Indian Ocean.

Sure, it’s expensive and time-consuming to get there from Chicago. (At presstime, a mid-January roundtrip economy-class ticket on Qatar Airways cost $2,000, and travel took a full day, including a six-hour stopover in Doha.) But you’ll find wonderful spa services at Velassaru, which takes pampering seriously. (Many treatments incorporate locally sourced virgin coconut oil.) And be honest: You’re really here for a beach that puts Lake Michigan to shame. You won’t be disappointed.


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