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Just like you, when I travel, I have certain degrees of expectation. For me, design and aesthetics define a role in choosing a place to stay. For the most part, experience is still the best one. In the world of luxury travel, you may or may not always get what you pay for. To ensure you spend it and get it wisely, here are my current Top Three Luxury destinations:
Life has a way of being very exciting and stressful all at the same time. We sometimes get caught up in the rat race and forget that we have to take care of ourselves. Luckily there some places that we can just go to get away from it all. I have created a list of several luxury retreats that are serious about total relaxation—from diet and exercise to spirituality and life coaching—with a focus on personal attention, luxury amenities, and myriad activities that embrace fitness, sensible dining, and holistic achievement. Read on for our top four favorite fitness and wellness resorts right here in the U.S.
1. TRAVAASA HANA
The completely secluded experiential resort still has well-appointed cottages, a pampering spa high-end dining, and that "authentic Hawaiian Aloha" feel that consistently wooed past visitors, but now with an incorporated fitness program where guests can take daily classes like yoga, hula lessons, "Bosu Workout," and "Outdoor Bootcamp." Travaasa Hana is the first hotel on the island to offer an all-inclusive structure, which includes meals; plus, complimentary shuttle service is provided to nearby beaches.
2. LAKE AUSTIN SPA
Lake Austin Spa is consistently voted amongst the world's top destination spas and with good reason: the 19-acre wellness retreat is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape with facilities that are stylish, cheerful, and cozy. A well-rounded activities program includes fitness classes, "Discovery" sessions (like "Introduction to Ayurveda"), along with staples like yoga and meditation. Its lakeside location also proposes water sports activities like kayaking, boating, and hydro-biking. Another notable highlight is the culinary program with Executive Chef Stephane Beaucamp, who focuses on locally sourced organic cuisine.
3. CANYON RANCH
Canyon Ranch is boasting outposts in Miami and Lenox, MA, though the Tucson location is the most highly touted. The award-winning resort offers one of the best "Life Enhancement" and weight-loss programs in the country, thanks to its eclectic cast of in-house professionals and experts. Wellness is the top priority here, with a full range of fitness classes, lectures on well-being, and spiritual enrichment programs. There's even an astrologer and clairvoyant in-house, as well as a sleep expert. Or, outdoor enthusiasts are pushed to the extreme with the "Primitive Outdoor Skills" program that provides hands-on survival techniques like building fires and tracking animals.
4. FOUR SEASONS WESTLAKE
Westlake Village, California
While destination health/spa resorts are typically boutique, Four Seasons Westlake offers up a tempting version from a large resort chain. Just a quick 40-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles (depending on traffic, of course), the 270-room resort is connected to the nationally recognized California Health & Longevity Institute, where guests often check in for week's-long life-rebooting programs. Four Seasons Westlake is not as strict as most wellness resorts (there's a bar active with locals and a cocktail menu at the pool), but it's a terrific option for those who want to dip their toes in the wellness-retreat lifestyle before fully committing.