The Best Spas for a Weekend (Or Year) Of Rest and Relaxation


san ysidro ranch

Courtesy of San Ysidro Ranch

Deep breath in. Now, deep breath out. Are you ready for the ultimate weekend, month, week, or year getaway that will reset your mind, body, and spirit? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There is no denying that the ongoing pandemic has been hard on everyone. So it’s time to pause and visit one of these ELLE-approved, world-renowned spas. (Because, let’s be real, you deserve it.) Whether you’re looking for an intense detox boot camp or wine alongside your massage, we’ve got something for everyone on this dream list. Enjoy that well-deserved R&R!

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San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Calling all Nancy Meyers megafans. This relaxing destination is nestled between the San Ynez Mountains and overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. In fact, it’s so comfortable and private that JFK and Jackie Kennedy actually honeymooned at this exact spot. The spa boasts the same coziness with fireplaces, showers, and bathtubs to make you feel warm and cozy inside and out. The oils offered in the soothing massage are infused with lavender, rosemary, and lemons, all grown from the gardens on the grounds. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy walking the grounds while waiting for your next spa appointment.

The one thing you cant miss: The Vinotherapy Wine Wrap. It wouldn’t be wine country without a wine-inspired body treatment meant to remove dead skin cells and hydrate your skin with the grape’s antioxidant properties.

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Shou Sugi Ban House in Water Mill, New York

This Japanese-inspired retreat completely fits the bill if you want the ultimate wellness immersive experience. The facility was created based on wabi-sabi principles around the belief in clarity through imperfection alongside an openness for exploration. You’ll see these notions reflected in both the grounds and class offerings. The spa features infrared saunas, steam rooms, shower fountains, and plunge pools to completely entrance you into the world of hydrotherapy (a ritual used to cleanse the mind and body).

Lastly, Shou Sugi Ban House’s founders believe in the power of food. The world-famous culinary program was designed in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Mads Refslund, co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen. The menu is a mix of Nordic and Asian influences with the ultimate belief that consuming plants can harness healing powers. We won’t argue the theory.

The one thing you cant miss: Intuitive painting, a class offering focused on global hearing art practices.

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The Four Seasons Spa in Los Angeles, Calif.

Escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles to this hidden gem of the city. For the ultimate day of indulgence, you can relax by the pool and enjoy a rubdown, or get a world-class oxygen facial or manicure in the salon. What sets this place apart is the relaxation massages that are crafted and perfected by six of the Four Season’s top massage therapists.

The one thing you cant miss: The non-invasive facial rejuvenation is the balance of state-of-the-art tech and medicinal ingredients. You’ll be able to plump and hydrate the skin without any downtime.

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Civana Wellness Resort & Spa in Carefree, Ariz.

The spa is based on four pillars of thought: movement, spa, nourishment, and discovery. Movement includes complimentary fitness classes like morning hikes and yoga; the spa layer is best showcased in the expansive 22 treatment rooms that offer an array of treatments alongside a therapy pool, salons, and more; nourishment is seen in the culinary offering of seasonal plant-based food, and discovery is accomplished through finding yourself either with a glass of wine or maybe a meditation class on the yoga lawn.

The one thing you cant miss: The Klafs Sanarium—aka the only European-designed Knepp hot/cold wading pool and Tepidarium therapeutic soaking pool in the continental U.S.—is a must-dip during your stay. The therapeutic pool works to balance oneself and promote both circulation and relaxation.

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Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas

Leave your troubles behind and escape to Austin, Texas, for adult summer camp. Start your day with a walk in the flower or vegetable garden, or perhaps a meditation in front of one of the spa’s many lake views. On the lake, you’ll be able to paddle board and kayak, and follow that with one of the European facials specifically created for the resort. The spa resort also offers Swiss cellular cosmetic treatments if anti-aging is your thing. French chef Stéphane Beauchamp isn’t about a detox, unlike the other spas on this list. You’ll get Texas-level quality ingredients and full meals during your stay.

The one thing you cant miss: The Golden Aura Rose & Caviar Facial. The name says it all. Enjoy the ultimate luxury and hydration for your face. It’s giving rich, rich, rich mom vibes.

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We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

Head to the heat for Hollywood’s favorite detox center. This detox isn’t for the faint of heart. Think: juice cleanse meets sauna, but safe and healthy. You’ll experience classes like reiki and sound healing to reset your mind and body. Also, feel the luxury of the nine spa oils that are dropped down your spine and massaged at pressure points to help with inflammation, gut health, and breathing.

The one thing you cant miss: Floating beds that are meant to rock you to sleep. Sweet dreams.

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The Ranch Malibu in Malibu, Calif.

Unless you’ve been living under a healing rock, you’ve heard of The Ranch Malibu. The spa features a no-nonsense luxury boot camp-type adventure that only allows 18 guests a week to experience the space. Like camp growing up, no cellphones, coffee, emails, or soda are allowed. (Detox, people!) Your days will be filled with reflecting, hiking, getting massages, and eating nourishing food. If you’re looking for that change-your-life spa, this might just be it!

The one thing you cant miss: You’ve only got one option here at the retreat, but if you’d like to opt for something more private, you can request a personalized visit.

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Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa in Queens, NYC

Who knew that you could find a relaxing spa oasis amidst the chaos and crowds of the US Open? Turns out, you very much can, thanks to Julien and Suelyn Farel, co-owners of the tony Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa on NYC’s Park Avenue. The 400-square-foot pop-up version of the palatial space will pamper guests and athletes alike (including Billie Jean King and Chris Evert!) with last-minute haircuts, blow-drys, and mani-pedis. Best paired with a Honey Deuce in hand.

The one thing you can’t miss: The Power Beauty menu, which offers multiple signature services simultaneously in one hour. Quick, luxurious, and efficient—we love to see it.

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