Spirit-Renewing Destinations

There are many paths to finding yourself. We asked several spiritual travel writers for their picks for destinations with the most spirit-renewing focus. Here's what they had to say.

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Golden Door Spa, The Boulders
Astoria Waldorf Spa (Carefree, Arizona)

Astoria Waldorf Spa (Carefree, Arizona)

Relax at this upscale spa at The Boulders, located in Carefree, AZ. Get a turquoise clay wrap, an avocado citrus scrub, hot stone message, back wax or chakra balancing. The Astoria Waldorf Spa is the perfect combination of traditional and outré, upscale and low-key, active and relaxing.

 

 

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The Boulders Resort  

CLAY Health Club + Spa (New York, New York)

CLAY Health Club + Spa (New York, New York)

NYC’s Clay Health Club & Spa is a full-service spa that offers patrons exercise classes, nutrition programs and personal trainers. The eye and neck mask, green tea peel and Thai massage are a few unique spa services you can try out at the 40-room Inn. The spa offers a membership and is opened to the public. 960 1280

CLAY Health Club + Spa  

Exhale Spa (Atlantic City, New Jersey)

Exhale Spa (Atlantic City, New Jersey)

Socialize, detox and unwind at the Exhale Spa located at the Atlantic City’s Revel Resort. This spa has 32 therapy rooms for facials, massages and body-slimming treatments. Enjoy a drink from the bar and relax near the bask spa pool. In addition to taking care of the body, Exhale Spa also offers Core Fusion and yoga classes that are physically and mentally challenging. 960 1280

Revel Resort  

Aire Ancient Baths (New York, New York)

Aire Ancient Baths (New York, New York)

Go on a relaxing retreat to Aire Ancient Baths. Try a session of thermal-bathing rituals that date back to the Greek and Roman baths in the 5th century B.C. Start off in the warm-water pool, then the hot-water pool, the high-steam room and lastly the cold-water pool. We recommend guests book the “Bath & Acoustic” package to enjoy the baths and a relaxing massage, while enjoying the soothing sound of a Flamenco Roots concert. 960 1280

Aire Ancient Baths  

Life Balance Spa (Tucson, Arizona)

Life Balance Spa (Tucson, Arizona)

Outdoor spa treatments, skin care and body renewal rituals are just a few spa treatments available at the Life Balance Spa at the Miraval Resort and Spa. Get a bamboo body smoother, desert rain scrub, aqua Zen massage and more. Try the Ultimate Ayurvedic Treatment, which includes Shirodhara therapy to relax and balance your nervous system. 960 1280

Miraval Resort and Spa  

Nidah Spa (Santa Fa, New Mexico)

Nidah Spa (Santa Fa, New Mexico)

Inside Santa Fe’s Eldorado Hotel, Nidah Spa helps guests rejuvenate with treatments, using natural, local ingredients like stones, plants and herbs. A chocolate peppermint sugar scrub, a turquoise-gemstone massage and a chile-honey body wrap are just some of the many treatments guests can expect when checking into this spa.

 

 

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Eldorado Hotel & Spa  

Grand Resort and Spa (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)

Grand Resort and Spa (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)

Visit Ft. Lauderdale Beach’s largest gay-owned men’s resort. Grand Resort has a fitness center, clothing-optional courtyard, 10-man Jacuzzi and a hair salon. The award-winning spa offers various packages, including the 5-night Pampered Getaway package with your choice of a 50-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, a facial, a body scrub (glacier salt body scrub or a “Jack Black” signature body scrub), an exfoliating manicure, standard pedicure and a complimentary bottle of champagne. 960 1280

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San Francisco Spa (San Francisco)

San Francisco Spa (San Francisco)

Part of the gay-friendly Kimpton Hotels, Hotel Monaco’s San Francisco Spa uses organic, eco-friendly ingredients in a peaceful setting. Among the fragrant treatments is the lavender dreams body scrub and chamomile body scrub. Try the sunless tanning treatment if you want to sport a nice tan without baking in the sun. 960 1280

Robert Bengston  

Spa Kea Lani (Maui)

Spa Kea Lani (Maui)

Try Hawaii’s signature Lomilomi massage at 5,500-square-foot Spa Kea Lani at the Fairmont Kea Lani, located in Maui. You can use their outdoor, ocean-side cabana for a secluded treatment. The sun on Maui can be crazy strong, which is one of the reasons why the Ho’ona (soothing) Facial is one of the spa’s most popular requests. 960 1280

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts  

The Spa at the Mandarin Hotel (Washington, DC)

The Spa at the Mandarin Hotel (Washington, DC)

Located in Washington, DC, The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, offers an Oriental Bamboo Massage in a Zen-Nirvana themed room, heavy on the Buddha accessories and forest green ornaments. The Jade Enzyme Facial exfoliates dead skin and enhances the rejuvenation process. It’s a full-throttle spa experience that lives up to the hype to wow the most finicky spa connoisseurs. 960 1280

George Apostolidis  

Spa Montage (Beverly Hills, California)

Spa Montage (Beverly Hills, California)

Located in the center of the “Golden Triangle” around Rodeo Drive, this 20,000-square-foot facility has separate private lounges for men and women with skylights and a fireplace, and locker rooms with steam, sauna, whirlpool and Swiss showers. Spa Montage provides fitness classes, Holistic spa services, facial therapies to address shaving irritation and more. We suggest the Montage Beverly Hills’ signature Day of Indulgence package. 960 1280

Spa Montage a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts  

Shui Spa (Provincetown, Massachusetts)

Shui Spa (Provincetown, Massachusetts)

Experience a tranquil, comfortable, unisex full-service spa environment at Shui Spa in Provincetown, MA. Special features include a warm mineral therapy tub, sauna and steam room. The spa also offers various packages, massages, healthy food menu, body treatments, and energy treatments to reduce stress, release toxins in your system and help you rejuvenate. 960 1280

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Sir Spa (Chicago, Illinois)

Sir Spa (Chicago, Illinois)

Chicago's Sir Spa offers special packages for a relaxing birthday party or an intimate date with that special someone. Guests will enjoy the private Grooming Club Lounge for mingling before, during and after treatments. A scalp massage, in-grown hair treatment, reflexology massage and a 4-layer face treatment are just a few of the many different ways Sir Spa helps its customers renew and rejuvenate. 960 1280

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AWAY Spa (Vieques, Puerto Rico)

AWAY Spa (Vieques, Puerto Rico)

AWAY Spa at the W Retreat & Spa, in Vieques, Puerto Rico, features a full-service beauty menu, covering hair, nails and waxing --just to name a few. A special mani/pedi section is perfect for social gatherings with friends or a great way to meet new ones. Treatment suites feature garden settings, some with ocean views and private outdoor shower areas. We suggest the My Away Massage to ease backaches, especially after a long flight. 960 1280

W Retreat & Spa  

Photos

Monaco

Monaco

It may be the second-smallest -- and the most densely populated -- country in the world, but Monaco sees the world’s highest life expectancy. It doesn’t hurt that the Western European country, on the French Riviera, is home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.

Average Life Span: 89.73 years
Typical Diet: Largely Mediterranean
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Macau

Macau

Macau has the second-highest life expectancy in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook. Some point to this Chinese territory’s strong (largely gambling-based) economy -- about 70% of money generated on the casino floor is invested by Macau’s government into healthcare.

Average Life Span: 84.41 years
Typical Diet: Mainly plant- and seafood-based
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San Marino

San Marino

The 30,000 citizens of this tiny microstate, landlocked by Italy, enjoy one of the longest life spans in the world. San Marino has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt, a budget surplus, and roughly half its people actively practice their faith -- all possible factors.

Average Life Span: 83.01 years
Typical Diet: Similar to cuisine in Italy's Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions
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Sardinia

Sardinia

Sardinia ties with Okinawa for having the highest ratio of centenarians in the world -- 22 centenarians per 100,000 people. The island, 120 miles off Italy’s coast, is home to rugged terrain great for calorie-burning. Come evening, locals enjoy a glass of red wine alongside humor-filled conversation -- in fact, the word “sardonic” originates in Sardinia.

Average Life Span: 81 years
Typical Diet: Plants and beans; sheep cheese and goat’s milk; meat eaten as an accent
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Iceland

Iceland

Iceland has the sixth-highest life expectancy in the world, according to United Nations’ figures. One possible reason is Iceland’s low levels of pollution (geothermal energy reliance is the norm). The country’s low levels of common illnesses, such as heart disease and depression, are also linked to a daily diet rich in fish oil.

Average Life Span: 81.28 years
Typical Diet: Fish; pasture-raised lamb and wild game; black tea, veggies, wild berries and whole grains
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Ryan Harvey, flickr  

Loma Linda, California

Loma Linda, California

Just 60 miles from the fast-paced LA scene, the town of Loma Linda, CA, is home to America’s longest living population -- and some say it’s a matter of faith: Many of the town’s 23,000 residents are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a religion whose members typically live 4 to 7 years longer (with more health and happiness) than the rest of the country.

Average Life Span: Well into the 80s
Typical Diet: Vegetarianism is a popular practice among 7th Day Adventists; most restaurants in town accommodate with a vegetarian menu option.
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ccpix, flickr  

Okinawa

Okinawa

Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest death rates in the world from common diseases -- a fact attributed to a traditional Japanese diet, with only 25% of its sugar and 75% of its grain intake. In recent years, though, younger Okinawans’ move toward fattier foods (Spam is now sometimes added to stir-fries) has led to lower life expectancy.

Average Life Span: 5 times as many Okinawans live to be 100 as their compatriots elsewhere in Japan.
Typical Diet: Lots of fish, soy and legumes
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Australia

Australia

Surfs up in Australia -- the country now surpasses the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the US in overall life expectancy rates, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A low smoking rate, coupled with an active lifestyle, is among the reasons. That good fortune isn’t universal, though: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still trail behind.

Average Life Span: For women, 83.7 years; men, 79.2 years
Typical Diet: Shrimp on the barbie, mate!
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Andorra

Andorra

This tiny European nation, wedged in quiet isolation between France and Spain, also boasts many long-timers. An active lifestyle, encouraged by some of the best skiing and day hikes in the Pyrenees, is a big reason. So is Andorrans’ focus on family and friends. The influx of tourism (and fast food) is quickening life’s pace, though.

Average Life Span: 82.51 years
Typical Diet: Mediterranean-style, with meat, veggies and fish from Andorra’s larger neighbors
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Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

In this 75-mile-long stretch of Costa Rica, longevity rules supreme: The 75,000 Nicoyans who call this peninsula home have more than 4 times the chance of making it to 90 than a 60-year-old in America. Maybe it’s because of the area’s relative calm -- it’s home to some of the country’s most isolated and beautiful beaches.

Average Life Span: Well into the 90s
Typical Diet: Meso-American diet includes beans, squash and corn tortilla; also, the area’s calcium- and magnesium-rich water, which strengthens bones and relaxes arteries, is an added benefit.
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Marissa Strniste, flickr  

Guernsey

Guernsey

This second-largest island in the English Channel sees a high standard of living -- and long life expectancy. Islanders’ relative wealth may be the reason; it’s the sixth-richest place in the world. Other life-enhancing perks include Guernsey’s low tax rates and high-paying jobs, which afford residents top healthcare options.

Average Life Span: 82.24 years
Typical Diet: Champagne wishes and caviar dreams … come true
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Israel

Israel

Israel has the fifth-longest life expectancy in the world. The top 3 cities ranked by life expectancy are Ra’anana (85.5 years), Modiin-Maccabim-Reut (84.1) and Beith Shemesh (83.1); the bottom 2 cities are Nazareth (77.9) and Rahat (77.1) -- a gap that’s been narrowing over the past few decades, with a 7-year gain among Israeli Arabs since 1980.

Average Life Span: 81.5 years
Typical Diet: Fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines
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Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria, Greece

Blue Zones author Dan Buettner has called this the “island where people forgot to die.” The 10,000 residents of this island in Greece typically live well into their 90s. Laid-back, daily socializing may be one reason. As one resident told Buettner: “When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”

Average Life Span: 1 in 3 residents lives into their 90s
Typical Diet: Vegetables from the garden, legumes, greens and lots of olive oil
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Hong Kong

Hong Kong

It’s not just remote, slow-paced corners of the world that see long life spans. Hong Kongers are among the longest living people in the world. That’s especially true for Hong Kong’s women, who live longer than most other populations in the world. Experts credit a tradition in Hong Kong of dawn workouts, such as daily swims and morning hikes.

Average Life Span: 86.7 years for women, 80.5 years for men
Typical diet: Cantonese food, big on steamed fish and vegetables
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Alexander Meins, flickr  

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore ranks as one of the top places in the world for life expectancy – signaling great strides in the country’s public health initiatives and economic opportunity. Over the last 3 decades, Singaporeans have seen their life expectancies increase by 10 years. Adult obesity is around 11% -- far lower than many Western countries.

Average Life Span: 82.14 years
Typical Diet: Mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines
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Leong Him, flickr   

Banjar Hot Springs

Banjar Hot Springs

Less than a mile from the village of Banjar in northern Bali, this hot spring is a relaxing 98.6 degrees. The hot spring water pours from the mouths of 8 stone-carved naga (mythical, dragon-like creatures) into a rectangular-shaped pool.   960 1280

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Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Head to Napa Valley for a dip in this mineral pool, one of 4 geothermally heated pools on the grounds of Calistoga Spa Hot Springs hotel in Calistoga, CA. Recline in waters ranging from 80 to 104 degrees, while enjoying the surrounding beauty of nearby Mt. St. Helena.  960 1280

Mark Zukowski  

Dunton Hot Springs

Dunton Hot Springs

A century ago, miners in southwestern Colorado soothed aching bones in these natural hot tubs. Today, the tradition continues: Choose from among 5 different pools, the hottest of which reaches 106 degrees. The wine-red waters are rich in iron and magnesium, with a dash of lithium.  960 1280

Dunton Hot Springs  

Cascate del Mulino

Cascate del Mulino

Take a dip in the most famous natural springs in southern Tuscany. Consisting of several natural pools of warm thermal water, the Cascate del Mulino are open to the public -- and free -- throughout the year. At a warm 99.5 degrees year-round, the waters contain properties that have been known to help skin, digestive and circulatory ailments since Roman times.  960 1280

davideoneclick, flickr   

Banff Upper Hot Springs

Banff Upper Hot Springs

With the spectacular Canadian Rockies just beyond, settle into the soothing waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs. Located in the town of Banff, these hot springs were discovered in 1884 and continue to draw visitors with their year-round temperatures between 98 and 104 degrees. Minerals such as bicarbonate, which may assist in opening peripheral blood vessels and improve circulation to the body’s extremities, can be found in the waters. 960 1280

banff lake louise, flickr   

Pamukkale

Pamukkale

For thousands of years, people have bathed in the hot springs of Pamukkale, located 12 miles north of the city of Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The hot springs, 17 in all, are saturated with calcium. When the calcium cools on the hillside, it forms a white limestone known as travertine. This explains the name of the hot springs -- literally translated as “cotton castle.”  960 1280

Esther Lee, flickr   

Big Bend Hot Springs

Big Bend Hot Springs

After a long day of hiking through Big Bend National Park, consider a dip in these hot springs -- 105 degrees bubbling up from a hole in the ground. The water carries dissolved mineral salts that some say have healing powers. Just make sure you limit the exposure of little kids to these warm waters -- they can feel super-hot in summer!  960 1280

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Arenal Hot Springs

Arenal Hot Springs

Until 2010, Arenal in Costa Rica was one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. Arenal has been calming down, leaving room for travelers to kick back in area hot springs, heated by an underground geothermal river.  960 1280

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Lava Hot Springs

Lava Hot Springs

Who says Idaho is all about potatoes? The small, sleepy town of Lava Hot Springs (population: 407) is noted for its many hot springs, suitable for bathing as well as a bumpy inner tube run through part of town. The waters range from 102 to 112 degrees. 960 1280

Lava Hot Springs  

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

This outdoor geothermal spa owes its steamy waters to a lava field in the fishing town of Grindavik on Iceland’s southwestern coast. The waters are rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur, and is said to help people suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis.  960 1280

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Ma'In Hot Springs

Ma'In Hot Springs

Mix a journey back into ancient times with a relaxing reprieve in the  Middle East. Situated 866 feet below sea level, this hot freshwater mineral spring and waterfall offers a refreshing spa experience. The hot springs are located on the edge of Wadi Mujib, a gorge in Jordan that feeds the Dead Sea; nearby attractions include the Tomb of Moses (Nabi Musa) and the city of Petra (about 3 hours by car). 960 1280

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Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

About 125 miles from Mexico City is a small canyon with steep walls called Tolantongo. Near the bottom of the steep box canyon are heated pools, as well as warm waterfalls that flow down the steep canyon walls.  960 1280

Carlos Adampol Galindo, flickr   

Yangbajing, Tibet

Yangbajing, Tibet

Welcome to the highest altitude hot springs in the world. Set at an altitude of 14,764 feet above sea level, these hot springs are located about 54 miles northwest of Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa. While taking a dip, visitors can view the far-off snow-covered Nyainqen Tanggula mountain range. 960 1280

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Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

"After I saw Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain take a dip (separately, of course) in the otherworldly Blue Lagoon, Iceland quickly moved to the top of my bucket list. Seeing the steamy Blue Lagoon firsthand literally took my breath away. I ended up spending an entire day soaking in the geothermal seawater and emerged feeling like a new person -- and looking like a new one, too. The mineral-rich water is a natural fountain of youth." -- Kathleen, Producer 960 1280

Heather Rai, flickr  

Spa at the St. Julien Hotel

Spa at the St. Julien Hotel

"As a man, I was skeptical at first … a spa, really? But after an evening of drinks, the only thing better than sleeping off an epic headache was to head down to the spa at the St. Julien Hotel. Take a dip in the spa’s indoor pool, then hop over to the hot tub -- fit for a king! Afterward, grab a cup of their extremely refreshing cucumber water (seriously, it was good). Top-notch facilities with a very friendly staff (not to mention good-looking), St. Julien’s spa is fit for any occasion."  -- Ben, Producer 960 1280

St. Julien Hotel & Spa   

Mii Amo Spa (Sedona, AZ)

Mii Amo Spa (Sedona, AZ)

"There’s nothing more relaxing to me than experiencing the beauty of Mother Nature, from the comfort of a spa. This past year, I put the red rocks of Sedona, AZ, on my getaway list. One of my favorite stops was the Mii amo Spa at Enchantment Resort, where you can indulge in one of the many innovative spa treatments offered daily. Take a cue from Cleopatra herself and try the spa’s milk-and-honey bath inspired by her beauty regimen!" -- Vanessa, Photo Editor 960 1280

Mii Amo Spa at Enchantment Resort  

Las Olas Surf Safari (Puerto Rico)

Las Olas Surf Safari (Puerto Rico)

"Calling all adventurous ladies! Get away from it all in one of Las Olas's open-air villas, complete with ocean view terraces, plunge pools and enough hibiscus and bougainvillea to make you feel like you've escaped to a secluded treehouse. Enjoy a yoga session, a sea mud facial or a sea salt body scrub before heading out for your twice-daily surf lesson. When you get back from hitting the waves, learn some vital life skills with on-site margarita and guacamole-making lessons." -- Amanda, Producer 960 1280

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Bishop, California

Bishop, California

“Go on a bouldering adventure in one of America’s best climbing spots. You may not think a physically demanding adventure is the best way to recharge, but not only do you escape the hectic urban chaos, you can take a few moments to relax and appreciate this stretch of California’s natural beauty, such as the view of the Buttermilks with its massive glacial boulders sitting on the foothills of the Sierras. Bishop offers a lifetime worth of climbing, so even if you can only go for a short time, be sure to grab a guidebook and escape to this bouldering mecca.” -- Arthur, Video Project Manager 960 1280

Arthur Hsu  

Big Timber, Montana

Big Timber, Montana

“One of the best places to recharge is under the wide open skies of sunny Montana. June is the best time of year to visit this expanse of central Montana. Head to a working ranch like the Rocking M Bunkhouse, located near the Absaroka Mountains. Saddle up for an authentic western experience: Ride a horse, see nearby Yellowstone (and Old Faithful), and swing by a rodeo for more fast-paced action. At the end of a long day, enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal and do some stargazing from the private bunkhouse's wide porch. You might even meet a cowboy.” -- Lisa, Producer 960 1280

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Red Fox Inn (Middleburg, VA)

Red Fox Inn (Middleburg, VA)

“Sometimes all it takes to recharge is a weekend getaway. Middleburg, VA, may be just an hour from Washington, DC, but it feels like a world away. When I’m feeling a little suffocated by city life, I make my escape to this quaint, historic town's acres of well-tended pastures surrounded tidy post-and-beam fences. Stay at the downtown Red Fox Inn, browse the antique shops, stock up on horse- and hunt-inspired gifts, and spend an afternoon just sipping coffee at the Market Salamander.” -- Allee, Producer 960 1280

andrechinn, flickr   

East Canyon Hotel & Spa

East Canyon Hotel & Spa

“Escape to California’s Coachella Valley and rejuvenate at the gay-friendly East Canyon Hotel and Spa in Palm Springs. This resort has a fully-staffed spa onsite, with a variety of massages, facials and treatments available to guests, including a heated-stone massage, an aloe vera full-body detoxifying wrap and a papaya enzyme peel. Also recommended, especially for the adventurous traveler, is a hike in the nearby San Jacinto Mountains.” -- Kwin, Managing Producer 960 1280

Matthew Bietz, flickr  

Tabacon Grand Spa

Tabacon Grand Spa

"A few years ago my best friend and I planned a last-minute trip to Costa Rica. A highlight was recharging at this spa, which harnesses the energy of the area’s active Arenal Volcano. In private open-air bungalows, we received volcanic mud wraps and rinsed off in a thermal-mineral-spring Jacuzzi. Word to the wise: The spa is a top honeymoon destination, so only couples should book appointments together -- or you might see a lot more of your friend than you intended." -- Sara, Producer 960 1280

Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort  

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