West Coast Wellness: 3 Healthy Getaways
by Jessica Blotter
With summer in the rearview mirror, the autumn air makes for an ideal time to take relaxation and wellbeing to new heights on your next getaway. Discovering new, profound outdoor, fitness, spa, or culinary experiences can often inspire a new lifestyle routine or a refreshed way of living. Take advantage of fall’s season to reflect, the moment just before the fuss of the holidays, and kindle a new way of being with these three healthy getaways.
Breezy Coastlines, Backcountry Hikes & Spa Buffing
- Destination: Santa Barbara, California
- Location: Bacara Resort & Spa’s Sky Ranch Fitness Vacation
“It’s not always about a radical shift – it can simply be about discovering healthy food or overcoming mental barriers,” says Stuart Gildred, owner and pioneer of a new wellness retreat offered at Bacara Resort & Spa. Considered a “fitness vacation,” nestled on two miles of natural beach on the Santa Barbara coastline, healthy experience meets luxury travel with its new 6-night, all-inclusive wellness retreat. “It’s about creating good habits so when you go home you’re in a healthy routine,” says Gildred.
Stay: Nestled between the coastline and the Santa Ynez Mountains, stay along one of California’s most remarkable stretches of untouched Pacific paradise neighboring the quaint town of Santa Barbara. Soaked in timeless views of sea and sky, and wistful garden paths and hiking trails, stay in a luxury suite, guest room, or private retreat to include large soaking tubs, private patios or balconies, and fireplaces (mostly all guestrooms), and other ultra-luxury amenities. Moments of relaxation are easy to inspire after accomplished days of fitness vacationing.
Mind, Body, & Soul: Daily backcountry hikes centered on a private, 1,200-acre ranch in nearby Santa Ynez mixed with personalized, results-driven fitness training takes a fun, social approach. “It’s about bonding over nature, it’s where social bonds are formed – and you don’t get that when there’s not a 3 hour hike involved,” shares Gildred. Whether it’s about gaining physical endurance, shedding unwanted pounds, or gaining a fresh mental perspective, Gildred customizes a group fitness experience designed to meet individualized fitness goals.
The reward is the spa. Deserving therapeutic massages take place in Bacara’s award-winning spa, extending over a 42,000-square-foot spa facility. The spa experience doesn’t end in the treatment room – a new rooftop terrace offers private lounging areas and a mud bar, steps away from the spa’s saline pool.
Nourish: Healthy menus are developed by Sky Ranch’s certified nutritionist Nancy Dale and Bacara’s executive chef David Reardon – however a big part of the experience is going out to dinner in downtown Santa Barbara and experiencing the local culture. Focus on nutritious food is integral to the experience, but it’s the social camaraderie that makes for the most memorable experience. “Guests are literally hugging at the end,” shares Gildred.
Vegan in Vegas, Vitamin C Showers, & Pumpkin Peels
- Destination: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Location: MGM’s Stay Well Room, Hakkasan Restaurant at MGM, and ESPA Spa at Vdara
With pool parties and blazing desert heat in summer’s past, experience a wellness-inspired, cooler version of Las Vegas this fall and winter. And while eating delicious vegan food, taking Vitamin C showers, and pampering in pumpkin peels aren’t the first things that pop into mind for a healthy fall Vegas getaway, think again.
Stay: Vitamin C showers, aromatherapy diffusers, and energizing lighting are just a few of the unique designs aimed towards optimizing a healthier version of you in MGM’s Stay Well rooms. Designed by Delos in conjunction with wellness guru Dr. Deepak Chopra and the Cleveland Clinic, Stay Well is the first-ever hotel room to integrate medical science and technology to enhance health and wellbeing. With more than 20 evidence-based health and wellness elements infused into each room, “from advanced lighting technology to healthy room service menus, guests are assured more restful sleep and proper nourishment,” shares Dr. Chopra. Other unique features include an air purification system, a natural memory foam mattress derived from plant extracts, and an advanced water filtration system.
Nourish: Going vegan in Vegas has never been easier, especially when you dine with Hakkasan Restaurant at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. After you’ve had your fill of Vitamin C showers and aromatherapy in your Stay Well room, leisurely wander downstairs to ambient sounds and a relaxed, sensual mood evoked at MGM’s newest dining experience. Powered by Hakkasan Group, a worldwide entertainment, dining, nightlife, and hospitality company with establishments located across the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Asia, Michelin-starred Chef Ho Chee Boon inspires a creative and modern take on Cantonese cuisine, including a decadent vegan menu expressing the best of plant-based food artistry.
And while it’s easy to fall in love with its dramatic design, dining vegan allows the chance to do something even better for your heart. Preventing diabetes, weight loss, and increasing heart health are just a few of the health benefits while indulging in deliciously profound plant-dishes inspired by Chef Boon. Some of the best dishes include its tofu, aubergine and shitake mushroom claypot in black bean sauce, stir-fry mushroom lettuce wrap, and the stir-fry lotus root with royal trumpet mushroom.
Mind, Body & Soul: A journey of holistic health unfolds at the first ESPA branded spa in Las Vegas at Vdara Hotel & Spa. Known for its commitment to sustainability as a LEED Gold property and ESPA’s results-driven, natural products, discover heightened levels of wellbeing while also living green. Tucked away in Vegas’ most intimate spa setting, immerse into a Zen state of mind in an 18,000-square-foot, two-level haven with three distinct relaxation rooms, a co-ed meditation room, sauna, eucalyptus steam room, hot plunges and heated lounge chairs.
Recover from dehydration and stimulate new cell growth and collagen with its Advanced Enzyme Facial. Pumpkin enzymes activate a peel that provides a deep exfoliation designed to remove dead skin cells and uncover a fresher version of you. A smoothing massage using rose quartz crystals helps cool the skin and is followed by a lifting and smoothing mask saturated in seaweed extracts, argan oil, and menthol. Soak in the aromatherapy benefits offered with a warmed robe that waits after treatment.
Montage Memories & Yoga Mantras
- Destination: Montage Laguna Beach
- Location: Laguna Beach, California
Recognized as one of the “Top 100 Hotels & Resorts In The World” by Condé Naste Traveler’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards, not only is Montage Laguna Beach Southern California’s most coveted respite but also a leading healthy getaway retreat.
Stay: Relaxation takes on a new level when you stay with Montage Hotels & Resorts. Enjoy a 5 star experience that does all of the thinking for you – personalized, thoughtful moments – a chance to truly let go. Artfully-inspired from its artistic roots dating back to the early 1900’s, find Craftsman-style suites, bungalows, and villas, each with a sweeping ocean view just steps from one of the best beaches in the world, a balcony facing the Pacific, deep soaking tubs, and the sound of crashing waves are destined to lull even the busiest of minds into a deeply satisfying state of wellbeing.
Mind, Body & Soul: A healthy getaway has never been easier and more gratifying than with Spa Montage and its monthly Mind-Body Yoga Series workshop. Whether staying at the resort or dropping in for the day, gain access to its exquisite yoga workshops, incredible instructors, and full access to its award-winning, peaceful and glamorous spa – all 20,000 square feet – for $65 per person. Evolve through Surrender is a transformational series of dynamic yoga workshops created to help you reach your full potential – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. “The series was created to allow our guests to connect with themselves on many levels. Guests can expect to have personal insight and have an opportunity to center as well as have a great core strengthening class – while also working on flexibility and breath control,” explains Spa Director Michael Conte.
After a two-hour, blissful yoga workshop overlooking light aqua waves crashing into unique rock formations, take a refreshing dive into its adults-only, oceanfront spa lap pool, or enjoy a detoxifying sauna, waterfall whirlpool, sauna, cold-plunge, or steam room.
Nourish: Inspire healthy nutrition while lounging seaside at the spa pool. Cozy up in a lounge chair and try its consciously curated spa menu. With fresh vegetables and herbs harvested from its on-sight garden, try a kale and quinoa salad, blackened tofu tacos, or a power protein smoothie for the best of plant-based delicacies. If staying the night, The Loft offers a relaxed dining experience, panoramic views, unbelievable service, and delicious plant-based and healthy menu options designed by Chef Casey Overton. Passionate about providing guests with inventive seasonal ingredients, the Green Farms marinated tomato and forbidden black rice entrée is not to be missed.
Jessica Blotter is CEO and co-founder of KindTraveler.com, a new digital platform that rewards travelers for making donations to their favorite local and global charities with discounts on today’s greatest hotels and unique properties. As a published writer, Blotter contributes to Fast Company, Hospitality Design, Green Lodging News, BLLA (Boutique Lodging & Lifestyle Association), CBS Los Angeles, and Examiner, covering the topics of travel, wellness, sustainability, and social impact. She tweets at @TravelKindly.