There's no reason that a New Year's resolution to exercise more shouldn't come with some perks--specifically, those of the spa variety. Here, a guide to 5 fitness retreats that prioritize health first, and relaxation a close second.
Groundsea Fitness, Great Barrington, Massachusetts
For the committed, but not necessarily competitive, retreat-goer, this five-day pop-up program offers a physical, nutritional, and spiritual re-boot with just the right amount of tough love (morning stretch starts at 5:30 a.m.). Inspired by their yearly spa trips to the west coast, founders Tracy Gaslow and Hollie Levy hired Marc Alabanza, formerly of the Ashram in Calabasas and the Ranch in Malibu, to build the program around daily rigorous hikes in the surrounding mountains (including some of the most scenic parts of the Appalachian Trail), balanced with yoga, meditation, personal training, and nutritional counseling. Evenings are made up of massage and activities like dream analysis, crystal healing, and chakra reading. Between all the exercise and the tasty, albeit tiny, portions of ovo vegetarian cuisine (it’s vegetarian, though dairy is not allowed and eggs are), you’re guaranteed to leave feeling quite virtuous, if not a bit lighter. Find out more: groundseafitness.com. What to pack: Hoka One One Tor Ultra hiking boots, preferably already broken in.
Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont
If you’re looking for a spartan weekend, this place isn’t it. Twin Farms is becoming the worst-kept secret of Vermont, thanks to its above and beyond offerings and surroundings. While the main house has cozy rooms with fireplaces, each of the guest cottages dotting the property is widely diverse in its architecture (editor's note: request the Aviary). Spend the morning on the Farm’s private ski runs, then repair to the Bridge House Spa for a Fireside Massage Ritual or take a dip in the Japanese style Furo, a 104-degree hot tub nestled in the middle of the woods. Find out more: twinfarms.com. What to pack: Glerups Boot Slippers
Aspen Alpine Guides
Every element of skiing--alpine, cross-country, telemark and “skins”--come into play since they are the only mode of transport in these treks through the Rockies from hut to hut, which are equipped with beds, ovens and plenty of firewood for the fireplace. But this is not for the fancy snow bunny. Huts are six or seven miles apart and high altitude adds to the exertion, but you can fancy yours up. Personal chefs, yoga teachers and massage therapists are available upon request. Find out more: aspenalpine.com. What to wear: Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Base Layers.
Baldface Lodge, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
You don’t have to be a super serious hardcore skier or snowboarder to enjoy Baldface’s miles of backcountry terrain, but three days of gliding through virgin snow just might ruin how you feel about standard ski areas. Each morning begins with a yoga stretch class, and ends with a divine massage and a visit to the sauna, tucked away in a tiny hut up the hill behind the Lodge. Find out more: baldface.net What to wear: Aether Vertical Jacket
Casa Chameleon, Las Catalinas, Costa Rica Not everyone loves snow. Should you prefer a warmer chill, head to this car-free, seaside spot that was built to encourage sustainable living (no motorized vehicles, and 80 percent of the land has been untouched, left in its natural state) on the Guanacaste peninsula. Start with morning yoga on the beach, then head out to the waters for paddle boarding, snorkeling and kayaking, or head into the backyard of dry forest hills and valleys for mountain biking, hiking, trail running or horseback riding. While, alas, there is no stand-alone spa at Casa, which opens next month, in-room spa treatments are available. Find out more: lascatalinascr.com What to pack: Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50
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