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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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More Than $4,000 a Week

Best for Wellness Junkies

Canyon Ranch

Where: Tucson, Arizona (four-hour nonstop flight, plus complimentary 40-minute ride)
Price: About $7,160 a week per person, double occupancy, including meals, many classes and workshops, taxes, and a $1,200 spa allowance (more info at canyonranch.com)

More than any other destination spa, this 35-year-old 150-acre retreat in the Sonoran Desert has a firm footing in medicine. Staff physicians, exercise physiologists, and nutritionists offer consultations, evaluations, and customized programs that can help jump-start your path to wellness.

What’s more, you can choose from dozens of classes (more than 40 daily activities alone), services, and treatments. Restore your prewinter body with an Ayurvedic massage, learn primitive fire making, or have a night-vision-goggle experience. You’ll leave with a personalized plan to keep you healthy once you’re back in the Windy City.

Room service at Golden Door
Room service at Golden Door Photo: Courtesy of Golden Door
Best for Luxury Seekers

Golden Door

Where: San Marcos, California (four-and-a-half-hour nonstop flight to San Diego, plus complimentary 40-minute ride)
Price: About $8,250 a week per person, single occupancy, including meals, a daily massage, other spa services, classes, fitness activities, and airport transfers (more info at goldendoor.com)

You’ve had the lottery daydream: What would life be like if they called my Powerball numbers? Winning might be something like experiencing a week at Golden Door. Which is to say, pure luxury. You can show up with little more than the clothes on your back: The spa supplies workout apparel, skin and grooming products, and a customized program to suit your fitness, nutrition, relaxation, and beauty goals. Expect to rub elbows with Hollywood celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs, all drawn here by the soothing Japanese-style grounds and the chance to cede control to experts who will cater to you from dawn till dusk (there’s a 4-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio).

Miraval Resort & Spa
Pushing past limits at Miraval Photo: Courtesy of Miraval Resort & Spa
Best for “I’ll Try Anything Once” Types

Miraval Resort & Spa

Where: Tucson, Arizona (four-hour nonstop flight, plus complimentary 50-minute ride)
Price: About $4,750 a week per person, double occupancy, for the Anything Goes package, which includes meals, unlimited spa treatments, classes, airport transfers, and private wellness consultations (more info at miravalresorts.com)

Miraval has pampering down cold: It offers dozens of spa treatments and just opened a new nail salon designed by Deborah Lippmann, the manicurist to the stars. But the guests who flock to this 400-acre desert oasis tend to want a little more. “It’s ideal for someone looking for inspiration,” says Simon Marxer, the spa’s director. Translation: Miraval challenges you to push past your comfort zone, from climbing a dizzying rock wall to gentling a horse. Maybe that’s why Oprah Winfrey loves this place. You’ll return to Chicago not just renewed, but with a deeper sense of your personal power. How many vacations can promise that?


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