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healing retreats


May 2015

Written by
Haley Shapley


So many vacations end up more harried than your life back home. Get away to one of these healing retreats—with activities such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture—and return truly relaxed and refreshed.

No. 1: Vale de Moses | Oleiros, Portugal

At the foothills of the Serra de Estrela mountain range in central Portugal, spend a week restoring yourself on all levels as you practice yoga, take guided silent walks through the forest, sleep soundly and breathe in the fresh mountain air. A health consultation with tongue and pulse diagnosis, massage and acupuncture are included in all retreats, which have a variety of themes, from Cultivate Contentment to Slumber and Restore. Fresh food cooked according to Ayurvedic principles ensures well-rounded nourishment as you work on healing and wellness. >>

The Allison Inn & SpaNo. 2: The Allison Inn & Spa | Newberg, Oregon

Head south to Willamette Valley wine country, where between sips of the region’s legendary pinot noirs, you can take a break on the sun terrace, lounge in the whirlpool or go for a dip in the naturally lit indoor swimming pool. Get into the spirit of the region with the Grape Seed Cure, a signature spa treatment. It begins with a crushed grape-seed scrub and an organic honey and wine wrap to purify and exfoliate the skin, followed by a shea butter hydration body massage. Hot towel applications, a scalp massage and a beverage top it all off. Finish the day with dinner at on-site Jory, a garden-to-table restaurant with locally sourced ingredients and an impressive wine list. >>

No. 3: Four Seasons Resort Vail  | Vail, Colorado

After a fun day on the slopes—or just an afternoon walking around the idyllic village of Vail—there’s nothing like a treatment for tired toes. Enter the Amber Ale Foot Soak, designed for men but enjoyed by women just the same. After soaking in Crazy Mountain Brewing Company’s Amber Ale, a hoppy beer without bitterness, your feet will be scrubbed with crushed barley and malt, then rubbed with hop oil. (Don’t worry: you’ll get to drink an ale while your ailing feet are pampered.) There are other Brew and Renew treatments, including a bath and a massage, along with the traditional offerings and amazing service you’d expect from a Four Seasons spa.  >>
Four Seasons


No. 4: Spa Eastman | Eastman, Québec, Canada

Set in the quaint Eastern Townships of Québec, about an hour outside of Montréal, Spa Eastman is pure tranquility. The kitchen has quite a reputation for producing healthy cuisine that doesn’t sacrifice taste, using ingredients such as cold-pressed oils, whole grains and organic herbs straight from the garden. The spa offers any kind of service you could want, from hydrotherapy to reflexology to stone massages. Feel like you never have enough time? Go on the Anti-Stress Walk and luxuriate in the outdoors—the property is dotted with wildflowers, ponds and birches —while learning strategies to focus on the here and now. >>

No. 5: Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa | Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Travaasa Austin

When the Sports Illustrated models were in the Cook Islands to film a video for Air New Zealand, they stayed at the luxurious Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, a photogenic spot filled with white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and swaying coconut trees. You don’t have to possess cover-girl looks to enjoy this retreat, though—all you need is a desire to get away. The Overwater Bungalows are the best accommodation choice for relaxation: when you want to take a dip, stairs lead straight from your room into the impossibly blue waters. When you’re done, rinse off in your private outdoor shower, then grab a book and rest in a veranda lounger on your deck. At on-site SpaPolynesia, indulge in an aromatherapy massage that combines East and West techniques.  >>

No. 6: Travaasa Austin | Austin, Texas

This resort in the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve is just outside of Austin but feels many miles farther from the hubbub of city life. Think of it as a summer camp for grown-ups, just with nicer accommodations and much healthier food. Activities include hiking, archery, yoga, farm tours and journaling, along with Texas-inspired options like mechanical bull-riding fitness classes (a great core workout!) and two-step dance lessons. One highlight is the Equine Encounter class, which gives you a powerful opportunity to connect with a horse using nonverbal communication, intention and body language—you’ll be amazed at how much you learn about yourself in the process. >>



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