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2024-07-10 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine Escape Rooms: the AVENUE Guide to the Best Spas in the USA

Escape Rooms: the AVENUE Guide to the Best Spas in the USA

From hardcore boot camp-style fitness regimes in the mountains to remote luxury resorts with no phone/no laptop dictums and five-star organic menus, spa living has never been more varied–or pricey. Welcome to Avenue’s tour of the most unique and interesting holistic spas in America.   By Beth Landman


A favorite of Hollywood stars looking to peel-off pounds pre-awards season, New Yorkers have trekked to California (and Italy) for years to experience the Ranch. Now a new location has been unveiled, and though it looks like a historic estate in England, it’s just an hour from Manhattan. The 200-acre waterfront property accepts only 25 guests at a time to experience a four- or five-day program of rigorous mountain hikes, yoga, strength training in “The Ranch Gym” (housed in the estate’s grand former ballroom), and laps in the indoor heated pool in the 5,000-square-foot solarium. In warm months there is stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking on the on-site lake. Meals are organic and plant-based—the nutrient-rich cuisine (broccolini pesto pizza, black bean and kale enchiladas) is designed to fuel active days, promote weight loss, and build smarter eating habits. There is also IV therapy, infrared saunas, and colon hydrotherapy. Be prepared to unplug: life at the Ranch means minimal exposure to technology. Rooms have no TVs and cell phone and computer use is seriously discouraged. Think of the Ranch as a luxe boot camp where you leave with a healthier body and mind.


Established in 1974, this spartan antidote to urban life in Calabasas, California, is a weeklong program that starts with sunrise yoga and incorporates a total of 70 miles of hiking across the rugged Pacific Coast, along with functional movement, meditation, pool volleyball, and massage. Food is organic and plant-based (much culled from the spa’s own gardens) with zero caffeine, 
sugar, alcohol, gluten, and dairy. There is Wi-Fi, but electronic devices are seriously frowned upon. This year, a four-day program is also being offered.


A discreet long wood gate on Montauk Highway in Water Mill hides the Hamptons’ Shou Sugi Ban House, a meticulously landscaped five-acre holistic heaven where guests can completely focus on wellness. Behind a large stone Buddha statue in the gravel driveway are 13 minimally chic guest suites around a pool, a treatment center, yoga room, and airy dining hall with possibly the best food out east, courtesy of Chef Mads Refslund, a cofounder of Copenhagen’s Michelin-star eatery, Noma. A huge draw here: the thermal suite with an infrared sauna, a dry sauna, and three outdoor Watsu hydrotherapy saltwater plunge pools (hot, warm, and ice cold). Shou Sugi Ban House, named for the ancient Japanese weathering technique of charring a wood surface, scraping it down, and then oiling it to make it more resistant to fire and decay, attracts visitors from around the world looking for the ultimate wellness escape.


The French countryside comes to Southern California, literally in some cases, as a 400-year-old church, windmill, l’orangerie, and parish house were uprooted and transported from Dijon to  this 500-acre retreat outside of San Diego. Lavender scents the air, cottages feel like Gallic villas, and an on-property vineyard supplies wine for tastings. Hiking, cardio barre, TRX, and aquatic classes fill the mornings, while spa sessions make the afternoons more low key. Produce is sourced on property with culinary classes so guests can learn healthy cooking techniques. For those who want to get in touch with nature beyond the gardens, the star- and sun-gazing observatory has a state-of-the-art Takahashi telescope and imaging technology.


Rooms at this luxe escape in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, feel like apartments on Fifth Avenue, complete crown moldings, but views are directly onto the ocean rather than Central Park. In addition to fitness classes, there are four pools for swimmers, and on-property restaurants include outposts from New York favorites Il Mulino and Avra. Unwinding in the spa begins before the treatment session starts with headphones and a meditation app in the waiting area. Cryo treatments target both pain and cellulite, and massages run the gamut from a TMJ release for those who grind their teeth, to deep tissue with a Hypervolt gun, to the “Orange Blossom,” which includes a salt scrub, massage with herbal poultices, and aromatherapy oils.


Gazing out the window at 58 acres of woodlands and rolling hills studded with colorful flower beds is almost therapy enough at this country estate-like retreat in tony Washington, Connecticut. After a yoga or barre fusion class, experience the farm-fresh creations of Chef José Ramírez-Ruiz, whose vegetable-focused Brooklyn restaurant, Semilla, boasted a Michelin star. Must-orders: the squash broth with aged meatballs, foie gras, and herbs; and the chickpea pie in a filo pastry with cheese and honey. Dining in the light-filled Garden Room, designed by Celerie Kemble, will make you feel like you’re a house guest at a friend’s chic country house. Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection is all about style, comfort, and luxury. While you await a treatment at THE WELL (guests swear by the “Triple-Lift Facial,” which uses a remodeling machine and micropuncture lab method to revitalize and plump the epidermis), stretch out in an overstuffed chair while snuggled in a blanket. Before bed, nibble the oHHo CBD chocolate on your nightstand and drift off to dreamland.

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