HOTELS & SPAS

Say OM: Compelling justifications for a pampered spa vacation

August 16, 2016
Bridge at Mirbeau (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)
Bridge at Mirbeau (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Bridge at Mirbeau (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Guest contributor Nancy Monson provides 7 compelling justifications for your next spa vacation. If you’re over the age of 50, you deserve to treat yourself to this lovely indulgence! Nancy is a colleague and fellow member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).  

Spa-goers have traditionally been women, so even the International SPA Association was surprised to find that men now represent 47 percent of the spa-going population in the United States.

“The number one reason both men and women visit a spa worldwide is to learn how to manage their stress. Men and women may deal with stress in different ways, but surprisingly, they both find spas as an outlet,” says ISPA President Lynne McNees.

“Visiting a spa gives you permission to pause.”

While a spa vacation may seem like a self-indulgence at $500-$1000 a day depending on the season, research shows it can actually have long-lasting mental and physical benefits that make it almost a necessity. In fact, a study from Thomas Jefferson University concludes that a one-week stay at a spa can launch a whole new health start at home.

Here are seven reasons to book a spa trip now.

It’s all inclusive with no tipping.

For one fee, you typically get beautiful, tranquil settings and luxury accommodations. Miraval in Tucson, for instance, has a stunning Southwestern ambiance, while its property in Orange County has an LA-Pacific Ocean vibe.

Canyon Ranch in the Berkshire Mountains of New England sits on a gorgeous estate highlighted by rolling green hills and lush hiking trails. (Canyon Ranch also has shipboard spa clubs on the Queen Mary 2, and Oceania and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines, as well as resorts in Tucson, Miami, Las Vegas and Hot Springs, Virginia.) You get an allowance for spa treatments, which can buy an ultra-pampering facial and mani-pedi.

Patio at Canyon Ranch (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Patio at Canyon Ranch (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Spa cuisine is delicious and filling.

Fresh, healthy food is the rule rather the exception at high-end spas such as Canyon Ranch, Miraval and La Costa. You can order multiple entrees (portion sizes are small) and dessert if you want, so you don’t have to go hungry.

You can also attend cooking demonstrations so you can try making healthier meals at home. Some spas (like The Lodge at Woodloch) now even offer once-verboten beverages such as cocktails and coffee.

Mansion at Canyon Ranch (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Mansion at Canyon Ranch (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

There are a million things to do—multiple activities every hour, most of which don’t cost anything.

You can try yoga, meditation, hiking, swimming, gym classes, tennis, aerobics or acquasize, as well as attend lectures on different topics. At Canyon Ranch, I took dance classes with a Broadway showgirl who taught us legendary choreographer Bob Fosse’s moves for Pippin. I also walked the labyrinth and meditated, took a watercolor class, attended lectures on the link between stress and fat, healthy eating and anti-aging skin care, watched a cooking demonstration, went hiking and (whew!) had sessions with a nutritionist and a hypnotist, both of whom helped me strategize about eating less at night. Plus, I received a body scrub and massage, a facial, and a pedicure. Or you can just relax!

Yes, the spa treatments are fantastic—but you can also get health and wellness treatments.

These offer lessons you can take home with you. Canyon Ranch offers sleep studies, bone density testing, physicals and health coaching. Miraval offers integrative medicine services. Some people even visit these spas yearly for checkups and other treatments.

Sybaritic spa at Mirbeau (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Sybaritic spa at Mirbeau (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

You learn about the mind-body connection and how to reduce stress in a tranquil environment.

Spas teach you meditation, mindfulness and yoga and breathing exercises you can continue to practice at home.

“I see mindfulness as the realization that no matter where you are in life, you have the ability to tap into your breath and be completely in the present moment, thus allowing any decisions you make to be as positive and impactful as possible,”says Michael Tompkins, RN, former CEO of Miraval.

All Miraval activities and programs are created with this concept in mind (so to speak!)

A tranquil spot at Miraval (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

A tranquil spot at Miraval (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

You can go alone and have a good time, or you can bring your spouse, girlfriends or family.

You’ll be so busy, that you won’t feel lonely if you go solo, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat with other guests and interact during classes and activities.

Relaxing waterfalls at Miraval

Relaxing waterfalls at Miraval (Photo credit: Nancy Monson)

Because you’re worth it!

You don’t have to wait until you’re a smaller size to book a trip to a spa, or until you have a week or more to relax—you’ll find a wide mix of body sizes and shapes, personality types and even genders at today’s spas.

If cost is a consideration, you can visit one of the lower-cost spas, or you can stay for a weekend or just a day. (Many upscale spas like Mirbeau Inn & Spa let you stay all day if you purchase one service.)


IF YOU GO

Canyon Ranch
Lenox, Massachusetts; Tucson, Arizona; Kaplankaya, Turkey; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Spa Club at Sea.

La Costa
Carlsbad, California

Miraval Resorts
Tucson, Arizona; Monarch Beach, California

The Lodge at Woodloch
Hawley, Pennsylvania

Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Skaneateles, New York; Plymouth, Massachusetts 


About the author:

Nancy Monson is a certified health and creativity coach who supports her clients to discover their healthier selves through personalized eating and exercise habits. She also speaks frequently on creativity, health, and diet topics. In addition, Nancy is a successful freelance writer whose articles have been published in over 30 national magazines and newsletters, including Family Circle, Glamour, More, Reader’s DigestRedbook, Shape, Vivmag.com, Weight Watchers Magazine, and Woman’s Day. Nancy is also the author of three consumer books: Creative Wellness (2012); Craft to Heal: Soothing Your Soul with Sewing, Painting, and Other Crafts (2012) and The Smart Guide to Boosting Your Energy, published by John Wiley and Sons (1999).


Disclosure: Nancy Monson visited Miraval and Canyon Ranch on complimentary press trips. 

  • Reply
    Sheryl Kraft
    August 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks, Nancy – you’ve just reminded me of the reasons I love spa travel so much – and of how badly I need a fix!

  • Reply
    Phyllis Stoller
    September 28, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    There are many budget spas also; one is Ixtapan Spa in Ixtapan de la Sal Mexico. There will not be health lectures, but there will be spa cuisine, walks, classes, organic spa treatments and a tad of being out of the country. The resort is located in one of Mexico’s 100 colonial villages. Worth a look if you need a getaway at an economic cost.

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