Best Spa Retreats to Book Now for a Summer Escape

·5 min read
Photo credit: Mayflower Inn
Photo credit: Mayflower Inn


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It’s been a hard year. Murky months of hunching over home laptops, stress-eating, persistent anxiety, longing for distant places and faces. As we finally emerge into the post-vax future, it’s fair to say we all deserve a little R&R. No, better than that: We all deserve nothing-else-matters-but-this-moment indulgences in things that will make us feel better—in other words, it’s high time for a proper spa retreat. Here are the newest, most restorative programs and properties to book now—or, in the case of farther flung locales, bookmark for later. Go forth, you’ve earned it.

THE WELL at Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington, CT

Photo credit: Mayflower Inn
Photo credit: Mayflower Inn

If you know anyone who has visited the refurbished Mayflower Inn, you will already have heard the raves: Everything from the fare at the elegant Garden Room restaurant (courtesy of chef-in-residence April Bloomfield) to the whimsical-but-cozy interiors dreamed up by designer Celerie Kemble, is a home run. Best of all? The 20,000 square foot spa, now an outpost of New York holistic health center THE WELL, which brings its signature East-meets-West philosophy to the Auberge property’s programs. Marinate in the mineral biophilic pool surrounded by hundreds of plants, or book a restorative acupuncture session, a lymph-draining massage, or a cheekbone-sculpting galvanic facial. If you want to feel truly reborn, don’t miss the Forest Craniosacral treatment, which takes place underneath a canopy of pines by the Mayflower’s private lake. New experiences for summer include woodland hikes with a nature expert, guided meditation or “yogic sleep” on the bucolic lawn, and morning yoga in the Shakespeare garden.

If you’re looking for healing a little closer to New York City, good news: THE WELL’s Manhattan location—a sanctuary of calm with a slew of offerings including medical and health coaching, mindful movement classes, and even Biologique Recherche facials—is now open without membership.

One & Only Mandarina, Mexico

Photo credit: Mandarina
Photo credit: Mandarina

If the cerulean waters and lush landscape of Mexico's Riviera Nayarit aren't enough to get you on a plane, the luxurious new One & Only Mandarina Spa—the first in the world to partner with green skincare queen Tata Harper on a signature treatment menu—should seal the deal. Harper's Sensorial Resets, a collection of curated experiences designed indulge all the senses, work not just to restore balance to the skin but to the entire body. The treatments—or, as they appear on the menu, "healing journeys"—draw inspiration from Mexican traditions and medicinal plants, and incorporate copal incense, amethyst stones, and singing bowls to calm the mind and clear away stagnant energy, while Harper's results-driven, plant-based products restore the skin's elasticity and glow from head to toe.

WillowBrook Spa at The Lake House on Canandaigua, Finger Lakes, NY

Photo credit: Lake House
Photo credit: Lake House

Even in the midst of the pandemic, The Lake House at Canandaigua—a sprawling, elegant-but-unpretentious retreat at the tip of the Canandaigua Finger Lake—was among 2020's most buzzed-about openings, bringing high design and fine cuisine to scenic upper New York State. This summer, the property's salubrious WillowBrook Spa will also make its debut, with customizable bodywork treatments that incorporate aromatic medicinal botanical oils inspired by the history and topography of the region, as well as pain- and sleep-boosting elements such as LED therapy and CBD tinctures. Not to be missed: the individual space-pod-like cedar barrel saunas that are perched next to the lake, featuring unique curved-glass windows so that occupants can blissfully watch swooping birds and sailboats while sweating out toxins.

Shou Sugi Ban House, Water Mill, NY

Photo credit: Fredrika Stjarne
Photo credit: Fredrika Stjarne

A Japanese-inspired sanctuary just a stone’s throw from New York City, Shou Sugi Ban House’s socially distanced guest cabins (and divine soaking tubs) make for a Zen escape any time. This summer, the Hamptons property is also offering an H2O-assisted whole-body reset with three-day Healing Through Water private retreats available to book any time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. With nightly seasonal soaks, daily morning movement classes, private Hydrotherapy and Aquatic Fitness classes, as well as a private beach meditation and ocean plunge, the program aims to calm the mind, heal the body, and restore the spirit through the curative powers of water.

Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa, Lennox, MA

Photo credit: JAMES BAIGRIE
Photo credit: JAMES BAIGRIE

Miraval resorts are renown for a devotion to wellbeing and mindfulness, as well as comprehensive Ayurveda-inspired spa treatments. Beginning in July, all three of the Miraval properties—in Austin, Arizona, and the Berkshires—will introduce a signature facial, the Essence of Miraval, that celebrates the ethos of slow beauty. Featuring products developed in partnership with botanical skincare brand Laurel, the treatment takes guests on a sensory journey through the natural terrain of the spas' environments. Think: a heavenly Honeysuckle Sage Elixir facial mist and nourishing Wolfberry Chia Serum utilizing plants from Arizona, an exfoliating Petal Pecan Mask featuring 17 organic ingredients local to Miraval Austin, and a hydrating Tulsi Rose Balm formulated from flowers and herbs sourced from farms in the Berkshires.

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs, Napa Valley, CA

Photo credit: Courtesy property
Photo credit: Courtesy property

For a more relaxed approach to rejuvenation, how about a time warp with a modern twist? Discovered by the region’s Wappo tribe nearly 500 years ago, the geothermic mineral waters of Calistoga have been drawing visitors for centuries, and Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs has been welcoming weary souls in search of restorative immersion in calcium- and sodium bicarbonate-rich H2O since 1952. The property has just undergone a major facelift, with new soaking-tub-equipped spa cottages and a reimagined wellness experience that updates the property’s historic volcanic-mud-bath and mineral water treatments. The revamped spa features four massage rooms, seven indoor and two outdoor mineral baths, four indoor mud baths, and one dedicated geothermal mineral pool. Those needing to recuperate from over-indulgences in Napa Valley’s more hifalutin offerings may wish to indulge in the Body Brew: a mineral whirlpool bath treatment with fresh hops, dry ale yeast, malt, barley, and a local beer on the side.

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