Affordable Spa Vacations
Don’t let financial woes come between you and a fabulous spa getaway. With some planning, it’s possible to unwind and pamper yourself on an affordable spa vacation. Melinda Minton, the Executive Director of the Spa Association (SPAA) and an industry expert, offers a variety of tips to get the most out of any trip to the spa.
For starters, look for free amenities when researching spas. “Many spas have exotic options—eucalyptus rooms, saunas, baths, relaxation rooms—that are free if you sign up for a service,” says Minton. So you might only book a facial, but can laze the day away in the whirlpool or sauna to get the most bang for your buck. Or, she suggests, “Try a sampler package—a mini-facial, a half-hour massage and a basic manicure. They will likely include beverage, appetizers and the amenities of the spa.”
When you’re looking to save money, timing is everything. “Spas need to fill in the time when there aren’t a lot of tourists. Spas in resort areas will have a slow season—in a ski town, you’ll get better rates in the summer,” explains Minton, who heads to the European spas herself in May or September when locals are not vacationing. It’s also possible to save on the spas if you head off the beaten path. “Indonesia has great rates, as well as Thailand. If you go to Bali but don’t go the touristy areas, you can get better services at incredible rates,” she says.
Finally, don’t be shy about asking for a deal. “Some spas may give you an in-state discount, so ask about that when you book,” recommends Minton, if you’re planning on staying close to home. If you’re traveling farther from home, inquire about special rates at the hotel. “The hotel may give you a discount to their spa or a partner spa. Check with the concierge,” she suggests. Some specials may not be advertised, so you’ll need to do a bit of digging to save some cash.
Here are our picks for 5 affordable spas.
In the scenic Ojai Valley, the Oaks offers laid-back and affordable California spa services. Rates include 3 meals and snacks as part of a 1,000-calorie nutrition plan and a choice of fitness classes including hikes, cardio and yoga. In addition, many of the spa treatments on the menu, including an organic Fiji lemongrass tangerine sugar scrub and body quencher and a host of massage treatments, are all under $100.
La Romana, Dominican Republic
When it comes to travel in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic continues to offer a good value for a tropical getaway. Casa de Campo has the amenities you would expect at a large Caribbean resort, including an array of dining, beach fun and golf. And the Cygalle Healing Spa invites you to build your own spa package with facials, massages and unusual body treatments, like the soothing post-sun wrap with healing cucumber, aloe and lavender.
Neversink, New York
Head to the hills for an escape from NYC at the New Age Health Spa in the Catskill Mountains. There’s plenty of personal attention at this low-key spa with just 37 rooms, stunning natural surroundings (check out bald-eagle walks in season) and holistic spa treatments and classes including meditation, aquarobics and Tai Chi. Many spa treatments hover around $100 including the signature facial, a seaweed mud paraffin facial and sugar body polish.
Da Nang, Vietnam
Globetrotters will dig the prime beachfront location along Vietnam’s My Khe Beach, where Fusion Maia Da Nang manages to be exotic, luxurious and accessible, thanks to its all-inclusive policy. In addition to the modern rooms and meals with Pan-Asian flair, all spa services are included in the daily rate. When not indulging in an aromatherapy massage, you might lounge by the pool, relax in the sauna or take a stroll in the tropical garden.
Appreciate the French flair without a pricy flight to Europe at Canada’s Spa Eastman, where the focus is gourmet cuisine that’s good for you coupled with comprehensive spa treatments and fitness classes. Spa enthusiasts can indulge with massage, body therapy and hydrotherapy where massages take place in healing water. Pamper your tresses with healing scalp treatments , or embark on a raw-food adventure under the guidance of a trained naturopath.