It shouldn't be hard work to figure out where to relax — that's why we're here with our annual Spa Poll. The list factors in votes from more than 46,000 readers on which spas have sparkling facilities, impeccable service, and of course, expert treatments.
Click through this slideshow to see the top-scoring venues in the U.S.
Top score: Mohonk Mountain Spa
New Paltz, N.Y.
A spectacular gem nestled in a pristine mountain setting in the Hudson Valley, this “wonderful, historic resort” is just 90 miles north of New York City. Activities include cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and hiking on 85 miles of trails. The “first-class spa” has 16 treatment rooms, a heated outdoor mineral pool, and “exceptional staff.”
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Meant to evoke the atmosphere of 1920 Paris, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is a place to experience the past and focus on yourself in the present. Sounds like a PR pitch, but it's true: Our readers rated this property both the No. 1 hotel in the U.S. (giving it a nearly perfect 100 for design) and the No. 1 hotel spa in the U.S. (giving it a 99 for treatments).
Mokara Hotel Spa
This hotel near the Alamo and the River Walk promises a “touch of luxury," say our readers. Creamy-hued rooms have 12-foot ceilings, expansive windows, marble baths, and hand-forged iron four-poster beds. “The service is genuine,” and the spa offers “one of the best facials I’ve ever had,” as well as treatments that employ yucca plants.
Hotel Valencia Santana Row
San Jose, Calif.
Our readers say the location of this hotel is “spectacular—the area around the hotel has so many things to do and places to have fun.” That's partly because the sleek, modern property is in the midst of the Santana Row shopping center. It's also because of the hotel spa, which offers all the essential relaxation options (deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, tension relief massage) that you'll need after a day of retail therapy.
Auberge du Soleil
This “outstanding luxury hotel” is set on 33 acres of vineyards and olive groves. “Sumptuous cottages” done in sun and earth tones have wood-burning fireplaces and refrigerators stocked with local wines and cheeses; bathrooms come with skylights and flat-screen TVs. And when you come out of your room, you'll find even more pampering at the hotel spa. As sumptuous as the rest of the property, it uses indigenous local ingredients and even has a suite for four friends that features a fireplace, a private outdoor garden, and a hot spring.
White Barn Inn & Spa
According to our readers, this “classic 1820s converted farmhouse” and barn has “the most magnificent food and service.” New England–style decor means rooms in blues, greens, and grays with hand-painted furniture and fresh flowers. Occupying two converted barns, the restaurant “serves all the fresh local ingredients they can get their hands on.” The Tuscany-inspired Wine Room holds more than 7,000 bottles in its interior of mahogany, red cedar, marble, and granite. Treatments at the spa use Thalgo, Sonya Dakar, and Molton Brown products.
Vail Cascade Resort and Spa
After a day of strenuous skiing out in the cold, you definitely deserve some pampering. Vail Cascade's Aria Spa can help with that. Sit back in an aromatherapy steam room, soak in a hot tub (your choice: indoor or outdoor!), or sign up for any number of massages, body treatments, or facials. There's even a facial for teens.
Aspira Spa at Osthoff Resort
Elkhart Lake, Wisc.
When you're done paddling around Elkhart Lake in a canoe (or letting a motor do the work in a pontoon—no judgment) retreat to Osthoff Resort's Aspira Spa. The treatment menu is a mix of classic and local specialties: The cedars massage uses a blanket of fresh-smelling cedar (native to the area), while the lomi lomi draws on Hawaiian techniques.
Resort at Squaw Creek
Lake Tahoe, Calif.
You'll find the usual at Squaw Creek's spa—facials, manicures, massages—but we like the sound of the more specialized treatments. A high-altitude massage uses aromatherapy to take care of any tension headaches, while the Olympic sports massage uses light pressure and compression to take care of your muscles after a long day of skiing or hiking.
Sundara Inn & Spa
Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.
Escape from the chaos of the Wisconsin Dells water parks at Sundara's spa—and be sure to budget some post-treatment relaxation time in the baths. You can test out the hotel's signature Sandstone Body Polish, an exfoliant made from minerals found in the region's sandstone bluffs, then soak your newly smoothed skin in peace.