Glow Getters and Soul Seekers, Prepare to Rest and Reset in Style
Healthy living is akin to religion in today’s day and age. But before spa retreats became chic, and before wellness became a billion-dollar buzzword, there existed several wellness havens on the West Coast and beyond for those seeking a novel approach to mind-body balance. Forget goop and consider instead the OG of wellness: Rancho La Puerta, a health spa in Tecate, MX that was founded in 1940. Nevertheless, “woo woo” wellness really started to become popular during the late ’70s. Whether looking to realign chakras, hit personal fitness goals, or enjoy traditional beauty treatments, these 10 luxurious wellness retreats are sure to help you find your reset button.
A mere stone’s throw from San Diego, across the Mexican border, lies the iconic Rancho La Puerta in Tecate—a pioneer in the realm of wellness retreats for over eight decades. Cradled in a sprawling 4,000-acre nature preserve at the base of the majestic Mount Kuchumaa, this sanctuary is a picturesque tableau of serene ranches and lush vineyards. It’s a place where tranquility reigns supreme, offering an abundance of experiences—from holistic therapies and indulgent spa treatments to creatively stimulating classes and invigorating mountain treks. Renowned for being at the forefront of the wellness movement, “The Ranch” has earned a dedicated following, including notable celebrities, who return year after year. Guests find solace in their preferred casita, embarking on a week-long journey of self-discovery and rejuvenation at one of the world’s most esteemed health spas.
In lieu of the new year, travelers are invited to hit the reset button at Rancho La Puerta and take advantage of several wellness packages. The Jumpstart to Wellness package (7-night stay between Dec. 30 and Jan. 26) includes a Ranch Classic Massage, Ranch Reflexology, an Herbal Wrap, a Custom Facial and a bottle of wine from Valle de Guadalupe. Visitors can also enjoy a free night when they stay six nights between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2! And for those who want to continue their wellness journey into February, both the Jumpstart to Wellness package and Free Night on Us offer will be available that month too.
Location: Tecate, MX
Nestled in the sun-drenched landscapes of Carefree, Arizona, CIVANA offers a sanctuary for those seeking serenity and rejuvenation. At CIVANA, wellness is not just a concept, but a lived experience, intricately woven into the fabric of its offerings. The resort’s ethos is centered around four pillars: movement, spa, nourishment and discovery, creating a holistic approach to wellbeing. Guests can immerse themselves in a diverse array of activities, from yoga and meditation to hiking and cycling, all designed to align and invigorate the body and mind. The centerpiece, the award-winning spa, boasts a thermal circuit of hot and cold pools, a unique attribute that draws inspiration from ancient healing traditions. But what truly sets CIVANA apart is its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity in wellness, offering a range of programs catering to all levels and interests.
Location: Carefree, AZ
Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas emerges as a serene oasis, an idyllic escape nestled on the shores of Lake Austin. This all-inclusive luxury wellness resort redefines relaxation with its intimate and personalized approach. Here, wellness is infused in every aspect, from the thoughtfully curated spa treatments to the extensive range of fitness and yoga classes that embrace the calming presence of the surrounding waters. The resort’s famed LakeHouse Spa stands as a sanctuary of tranquility, offering over 100 unique treatments, including the signature “Tour of Texas,” which uses local ingredients and traditional techniques for a quintessentially Texan spa experience. The culinary offerings are equally impressive, focusing on healthy, gourmet cuisine prepared with herbs and vegetables sourced from the resort’s own organic gardens. What truly sets Lake Austin Spa Resort apart is its ability to blend luxury with an unpretentious atmosphere, making guests feel both pampered and at ease. With its stunning lakeside setting, an array of water-based activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding complement the wellness journey, inviting guests to connect with nature in a profoundly peaceful setting.
Location: Austin, TX
Founded 65 years ago as a health retreat for Hollywood starlets, Golden Door is the original California wellness destination spa. Tucked away in the hills of San Marcos, this exclusive 600-acre getaway is home to just 40 guests per program—all who come to take a mental wellness break, drop pounds or get pampered during dedicated coed, women’s and men’s weeks. Japanese gardens are dotted with koi ponds, bamboo forests and Ryokan-style rooms with private meditation areas. Guests even wear matching kimonos to dinner each night. A weeklong stay includes access to various fitness classes (yes, they have pickleball) and spa treatments (try a traditional Ayurvedic massage), as well as salon services and bodywork sessions. Food is a big part of the Golden Door experience, with meals that are created from ingredients sourced from an on-site biodynamic farm. And walk away feeling good about it— Golden Door gives back 100% of net profits to select charities.
Location: San Marcos, CA
If you want a challenging and transformative fitness experience—one where you will adopt healthy new habits and perhaps lose those few stubborn pounds—consider The Ranch Malibu. Set on a 200-acre working ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, tailored group programming attracts high-powered Hollywood elites and movie stars alike. Wake up to four-hour morning hikes, low-impact exercise classes and a 1,400-calorie-per-day, plant-based diet. Beautifully appointed cottages feature reclaimed wood floors and linen-dressed beds. And with a limit of 25 guests every week, the vibe is super intimate. Spend downtime lounging by the pool or take a stroll in the organic garden. Find comfort in anonymity: The ranch has a strict no photography policy. Just be prepared to give up certain vices during your seven-day program—caffeine and alcohol are verboten, Wi-Fi is limited to your room and snacks are lean and limited (like their signature: precisely six almonds). But trust us, the results are worth it.
Location: Malibu, CA
When it first opened in 1940, Two Bunch Palms was a hush-hush hangout in Desert Hot Springs—a veritable magnet for Hollywood darlings and mobsters. In fact, the property was once Al Capone’s West Coast hideout. Today, its mineral-rich waters, desert gardens and tranquil atmosphere draw bohemian types to the grotto. Soak in the pool and private tubs, then ease into a stellar spa treatment (we recommend the Good Herb CBD wrap). For a splurge, book the Capone Suite, but for direct grotto access, the Spring Rooms are great. And don’t miss the weekly schedule of free guest programs, which feature Tarot card readings, slow flow yoga and breathwork sessions. It’s such a beautiful property that you’ll want to maximize time here by staying on-site. Dine at Twine, the SoCal-inspired, veg-forward restaurant, and bring your own snacks since the rooms are outfitted with mini fridges.
Location: Desert Hot Springs, CA
Located in the ritzy residential enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, 25 miles north of downtown San Diego, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa was named the best hotel in California and ranked the fourth-best hotel on the national list by U.S. News & World Report in 2023. Within the luxurious Spanish Colonial-style retreat are 49 hacienda-style Casita suites, each with private patios that overlook the resort’s lush grounds. Ease into the day with a newspaper and fresh-squeezed orange juice (delivered to your room each morning) before heading over to the Serenity Yoga Pavilion for a deep stretch or flow class. Fitness offerings are plentiful—there’s a movement studio for boxing classes or space to work with a personal trainer—while the 53-page spa brochure offers everything from microcurrent facials to wellness rituals. Next, reserve a private cabana at The Paddock resort pool and enjoy a leisurely late-afternoon lunch.
Location: Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Larry Ellison’s converted Rancho Mirage estate caters to a wide range of personal needs, all with relaxation and nutrition in mind. You can train with a tennis or golf pro or lean into a tailor-made guided journey during your time at the all-new Sensei Porcupine Creek. Set in a secluded corner of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the resort is spread across 230 beautifully manicured acres that feature sculptures by Keith Haring and other artists. Upon arrival, you’ll be matched with a personal Sensei guide and expert practitioners who will curate custom itineraries for three- or five-day journeys. There’s even a month-long sabbatical should your schedule and budget allow. With handsomely appointed Japanese-inspired rooms and villas, a lagoon-style pool, a yoga pavilion and a guests-only Nobu restaurant, can you imagine a more serene place to replenish yourself? The estate is even outfitted to monitor sleep data, which is another way to help achieve your wellness goals.
Location: Rancho Mirage, CA
Surrounded by vineyards and lavender fields, chateau-chic wellness retreat Cal-a-Vie Health Spa could easily be in the South of France, and yet it is located just 45 miles north of San Diego. The spa is best known for its three-, four- or seven-day transformative wellness programs that are designed for fitness, nutrition and mind-body awareness. To get an idea of how accommodating this place is: the spa boasts a 5-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. And while prices might be steep (La Petite Packages start at $5,750), we’re not the only ones who think it’s worth the splurge. Celebrity devotees are said to include Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey. Some of the offerings include multiple spa sessions, unlimited fitness classes, cooking demos, nutrition lectures, three daily meals made with ingredients from the on-site organic garden and round-trip transfers from San Diego airport. Accommodations are luxurious—think spacious private villas, each decorated with French antiques and host to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, while yoga and meditation classes are held in a 400-year-old French chapel that was imported from Dijon.
Location: Vista, CA
Ojai, a tiny town in Ventura County, is famous for its otherworldly energy (we’re talking calming vortexes and nouveau hippie vibes), making it the ideal home for the Ojai Valley Inn, a lovely Mediterranean-style estate and Spanish revival hotel. With a focus on spiritual wellness, Spa Ojai boasts extensive programming. It would be easy to fill a week with property walks and yoga classes, including one set to music by The Beatles. Bookend your days with spa treatments, like the orange blossom and honey wrap. And for a deep dive into self-discovery, schedule a session with goop-approved spiritual counselor Nancy Furst or a crystal energy healing and chakra clearing with Reiki master Katie Manzella. To explore your creative visionary side, attend a workshop at the Artist Cottage and Apothecary, where they offer candle-making and mandala painting. You can also create your own masterpiece with a paint-by-numbers kit.
Location: Ojai, CA