Seeking recommendations for US health spa
October 10, 2008 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a health spa in the US for a one-week getaway, especially one you've been to personally?

I am considering taking a week's vacation to a health spa this winter. My aims are to celebrate (and recuperate from) finishing a master's degree in December, and to jumpstart my dormant weight loss efforts.

I want:
A relaxing and quiet atmosphere
Food that tastes good even though it's healthy
A well-structured program with a daily schedule
Lots of exercise, but classes or workouts available for those with a low fitness level (I am overweight and take high blood pressure meds)

I do not want:
Religion (whether Western, Eastern, or new-age woo woo). If they offer things like meditation and yoga, ok, but I am not seeking a "spiritual" experience or retreat.
Fasting, colonics, or crash diets
Medically unproven supplements or herbs
Snow or freezing weather

I can't afford the really fancy places like Canyon Ranch. $4000 for a week is my price ceiling, and I'd definitely like to hear about more economical places. Southeast US is easiest but I can travel anywhere in the lower 48. Hilton Head Health is an example of a place I found in my Google search that sounded pretty good to me, but there were so many different places (not to mention regular hotels and resorts calling themselves "spas" because they have a pool and a beauty salon) that I was overwhelmed. I'd like to hear about personal experiences.
posted by Daily Alice to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is the second time tonight I've put in my pitch for Kripalu, which is a really nice yoga retreat in western Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. I've been twice. The day is broken up with a good mix of programs (yoga, natch, some personal growth kinds of stuff (workshops, nutrition, cooking classes, movies, drum circles, hikes/walks etc.) and the very healthy food is exceedingly delicious (and I am NOT a healthy food person). It's not that expensive--I think I paid $700 for 5 days, all meals included. I got a really good massage there, as well (which was extra).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:38 PM on October 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

There will be woo woo people at Kripalu, but they will more or less leave you alone. Its much more hotel-like and less ashram-like every year. The food is good but vegetarian and unless stuff has changed a lot, you have to work to get caffeine or sugar. Perhaps the admiral can correct me. I recommend eating in the silent dining room. A little vacation in itself.

posted by shothotbot at 8:46 PM on October 10, 2008

They now have a little coffee bar downstairs, so if you want that sweet sweet coffee hit, you don't have to go into town. For the record, I am not woowooist, either. It's just a peaceful place to go, and not too 'spensive.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:02 PM on October 10, 2008

It should be noted that Kripalu, by virtue of being in Western Mass, will be snowy and cold this winter, which the OP is aiming to avoid.
posted by kate blank at 6:28 AM on October 11, 2008

Miraval in Tucson and I believe other locations. Massage, food, horses, mountain bikes, all good.

I don't know what "woo woo" means so I hope I'm not leaving anything out of my answer.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:18 AM on October 11, 2008

Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe NM. I feel like you should be able to stay there for under 4000 for a week. Glorious.
posted by Soulbee at 9:28 AM on October 11, 2008

Response by poster: Sorry if I sounded dismissive or unclear with the "woo woo" stuff... I just meant that I'm not looking to get my aura re-balanced or experience my past lives, or anything in that vein.

Kripalu... brrr, but I might check it out sometime in the summer.
Miraval looks great but a little on the pricey side (looked like about $6500 for a week). Ten Thousand Waves looks gorgeous but lacking structured diet/exercise programs. (I might want to check it out for another trip though!)

Thanks to all who answered, and keep the recommendations coming.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:11 AM on October 11, 2008

posted by TorontoSandy at 11:44 AM on October 11, 2008

Miraval is very nice but pricey. The spa feel is definitely there but sort of mellow. It's all about the "treatments," so if you really into the desert and massages, might not be worth it.
posted by shothotbot at 3:34 PM on October 11, 2008

Shothotbot, since it seems you and I have both been to Miraval in Tucson, your post and my post must both be right.
I specifically remember that we each had 3 different massages out of a menu on the order of a dozen or more. There also was hiking, biking and equitation in the desert. There was lots of both yoga-type and athletic-type exercise. I remember a life-changing stretching class.
On the other hand, it's true that a wing of Miraval is dedicated to treatments.
OP, sorry Miraval's out of your price range. Please keep it on file for the future.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:13 AM on October 12, 2008

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