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Ready for that relaxing, tranquil getaway you deserve? TPG International Correspondent Lori Zaino shares some retreats and escapes that fit any budget, in hopes of helping all TPG readers have a healthy and happy 2015.
As we start out February, those New Year’s Resolutions you made a mere month ago are probably well on their way to being forgotten. However, you can still stay in the game by considering a detox, yoga, spa—or simply a relaxing—vacation that will motivate you to keep yourself on track for the year ahead.
Arizona: Stateside Desert Detox
If you don’t have much time for your healthy getaway—perhaps just a weekend—the harmonious Arizona desert landscape makes for a magical and soothing space to rejuvenate, relatively close to home for many Americans.
Splurge: Miraval in Tucson is a breathtaking mountain resort (a favorite of Oprah and Ellen) which offers packages involving yoga, wellness, hiking, horseback riding in addition to healthy, creative cuisine. Make sure to indulge in the Sonoran Mud Wrap at the Life In Balance Miraval Spa, which includes a body scrub, clay mud wrap and a relaxing massage with products made directly from elements of the Sonoran Desert. Rates start at about $800 per night including all meals and a $150 nightly resort credit in February.
A Trendy, New-Age Getaway: Sanctuary Spa on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale is for those looking for more of a “light” retreat, one where you can still indulge in alcohol and delicious cuisine from Food Network star Chef Beau MacMillan as well as enjoy downtown Scottsdale and Phoenix. For those who desire more of a detox, you can enjoy tennis or golf as well as several new “interesting” treatments such as numerology, astrology, tarot and even one they call Soul Connect, where “Guests can connect with their higher selves and lift their spirits by aligning their physical, emotional and spiritual being”. Prices start at about $600 per night in February.
Price-Conscious: Escape to enjoy the vortexes of Sedona with a Yogalife Retreat, featuring yoga, hiking and life coaching. If you just can’t swing more than a weekend getaway, try the six hour mini-retreat day with picnic, starting at $225 per person. All retreats include accommodations and breakfast at the Contentment Lodge B&B, and prices for the March Full Moon five-night/six-day retreat including yoga, hikes, meditation, a massage, breakfast and one dinner is about $1400 total.
India: From Yoga to Ayurveda Detox
India’s is home to spiritual ashrams like the one featured in Eat, Pray, Love, but is equally renowned for its Hatha Yoga practice and ayurveda medicine, a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing.
For Yogis: I’m excited to embark on a yoga retreat this spring at the Little Cove Yoga Retreat in Goa, which sounds ideal for someone seeking a simple bungalow hut where one can self-reflect, plus daily beach yoga and meditation. On TripAdvisor, the main complaint about this magical beach retreat is that “the waves crashing against the shore can be noisy at night.” Prices are between $58-92 per night (depending on the season), which includes a beach hut, one yoga class and one meditation class daily, and all vegetarian meals.
For Ayurveda: Awarded several times over as the top Ayurvedic Health Center in the Kerala region, a retreat at Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort in in Kerala begins with a medical examination to determine your health history, current living habits and physical/mental state. Your dosha (or body constitution) type is then determined so that the proper Ayurvedic treatments—such as oil massages, herbal/purification treatments, and yoga/meditation—can be administered to restore your balance. Packages including vegetarian meals, doctor consultation, a diet plan, ayurvedic treatments, yoga and airport transfers start at about $300 per night.
Thailand: Detox, Plus A Little Bit of Everything Else
Thailand not only offers a chance to shed your toxins, but also to indulge in plenty of beach and island living, as well as adventure. Combine a yoga class with a scuba diving course, and even enjoy a city weekend in Bangkok.
A Luxury, Romantic Escape: The W Retreat in Koh Samui is truly an escape from reality—and you can use your SPG points! While this isn’t a hard-core detox option, it will allow you to de-stress and bond with your partner, as its stunning location and private pool villas invite intimacy. If you’re hoping to get your workout on, the property offers a 210-square-meter fitness center featuring cardio and weight equipment, as well as gorgeous floor-to-ceiling views of the sea. Group activities like Pilates and yoga, plus personal trainers, are also available. This SPG Category 6 property starts at about $800 or 35,000 SPG points per night in February.
Dive & Yoga Price-Conscious: Perfect for those wanting to get off the beaten path for a peaceful getaway far from tourist crowds, Baan Talay Resort on the tiny island of Koh Tao offers discounts on rustic jungle beach bungalows if you take daily yoga classes or participate in a scuba or marine-conservation course at their dive school, New Heaven. A seaview suite without a class will set you back about $55 per night, while with a class, your room rate will be reduced to just $36.
Costa Rica: Surf, Cleanse & Volunteer
Costa Rica’s laid-back, island culture has been rumored to instantly soothe stressed, overworked out-of-towners—might as well experiment with this concept.
Luxury with Options: Get a chance to use those Hyatt Gold Passport Points at the Andaz Papagayo in Guanacaste. While it’s not necessarily a “retreat” in the traditional sense, you can work out at their 24-hour fitness center, reconnect with your inner spirit via an Onda Wellness Spa Package, or even join a volunteer program to help local Costa Rican children. If it’s alone time you need, drop you own children off at the kids’ club and head to the Adults Only pool. The Points Guy visited this property in January of 2014 and had a relaxing, peaceful stay. Reward availability can be tough, but I found a few dates in May for 15,000 Gold Hyatt Passport points per night, or about $350. (Note that February showed rates starting at about $500 per night.)
Juice & Raw Food Cleanse: If your body desperately needs a food cleanse, Hacienda Del Sol’s jungle location in San Juanillo is the place to go. The seven-night yoga/juice-cleansing or the seven-night yoga/raw food retreats are both geared towards improving your external and internal health, and both programs, which start at $2,595 per person, come with all food and juices, jungle hut accommodation, daily yoga, and jungle hikes.
Budget Surf Retreat: Witches Surf Camp in Tamarindo offers affordable, laid-back lodging and lessons for surfers who range from beginner to advanced. Prices for a seven-day beginner retreat start at $1,239 per person and include board rental, classes, accommodation, airport transfers and daily breakfast. After just a few days surfing and chilling out at Witches, you’ll be well on your way to La Pura Vida.
Morocco: A Desert Oasis
With an exotic blend of cultures, this North African oasis will enhance your senses with spices, teas, and the country’s famous hammam spa treatments, focused around ornate public baths.
Luxury Desert Camp: Stuck in a rut and need an exciting, new experience? Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp allows you to glamp your way through the Sahara via camel and sleep in a luxury tent in the middle of the desert. Your tent includes private bathroom facilities, but due to water shortages, you get two large buckets of water instead of a shower. Prices are approximately $255 per person per night and include all meals, drinks, sandboarding, entertainment and guided camel trips.
Yoga & Sightsee: Eat, Pray, Yoga is offering a seven-day Marrakech retreat from March 8-14, 2015 in which 10% of the proceeds will benefit Project Soar, a charity outlet that helps underprivileged communities. The retreat includes daily yoga and meditation, accommodation at the boutique property Peacock Pavilions, a spa/hamman treatment, a mule excursion through the Atlas mountains, vegetarian meals, airport transfers, a guided shopping tour through the souk and is one of the rare detox retreats that offers alcohol (a free wine tasting is included) if you can’t imagine a vacation without booze. The retreat is priced at $2,695.
TIP: If you’re hoping to maximize point earnings for your retreats, charge the cost of the stay or retreat to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, where it should be coded as travel and you should get double points.
These are just some of the many options you have for detox destinations—Bali and Mexico also offer some wonderful spots to rest and rejuvenate your mind and body. Whether you end up taking one of these retreats, or are simply motivated to take a yoga class once a week, the TPG team hopes you have a healthy and relaxed 2015.