For most of the world, the jingling bells of the holiday season are an immediate cue to clock out and jump right into the indulgent revelry of the season. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the two-week sprint to New Year’s Day results in less work, more play and far more calories than self-control allows us during the other 11 months of the year.
On top of that, working in the industry means this is also the busiest time of year, making it much harder to draw boundaries on scheduling rounds with the team, late-night eats and general lack of sleep that comes with it all. That’s why we’re encouraging a reboot for the spirit, mind and body. These are nine off-the-grid retreats to help get you back to center after the holiday rush.
You know Kohler for its faucets, but what about for its hospitality? The appliance company’s resort and spa in central Wisconsin was built a century ago to house immigrants who worked in the nearby factory. Today, it’s home to five-star amenities, with plenty of opportunities to properly unwind. Stay in one of 55 adults-only, butler-serviced rooms, with a rooftop whirlpool, fireplace and the adjoining Kohler Waters spa. Book one of the spa’s many hydrotherapy services, like a Swedish massage under the soothing rain of a top-notch Kohler shower head, or a full-body exfoliation followed by a soak in the spa’s mineral-rich baths.
If you’re looking for an excursion, the property also offers complimentary transportation to a nearby 500-acre wilderness preserve, where 18 miles of woodland trails and outdoor sports like clay shooting, fishing and horseback riding will make sure you get in touch with Mother Nature. For the fitness minded, there’s also a daily menu of classes available at the property’s lakefront cycling and yoga studios, as well as a monthly F/I/T event series, featuring workshops on mindfulness, Ayurveda, intention setting and the art of Zen.
The Central Coast community of Big Sur is all but synonymous with wellness, and there’s no better place to feel it than Esalen, a decades-old retreat center that boasts natural hot springs and spiritual workshops on a sprawling 120-acre tract overlooking the Pacific. Though you won’t find a cutting-edge gymnasium or five-star spa, you can experience oceanview yoga, retreats devoted to self-love meditation, and community-style meals. You can stay the night, or week, in shared or private rooms or just come for a few hours to take a soak in the legendary bilevel hot springs. Rumor has it their healing powers were first discovered by an arthritic homesteader in the 1860s, and they’ve been soothing weary travelers ever since.
Get closer to the deities at this mesa-top wellness mecca. Surrounded by striking sandstone formations that fueled centuries-old indigenous legends of sacred healing, Garden of the Gods enjoys year-round sunshine, fresh mountain air and a spa that tilts heavily toward alternative medicine, with acupuncture, mindfulness coaching, naturopathy and pain management therapy.
Get your detox on, via halotherapy, in the salt inhalation room, where infrared deep heat therapy promises to soothe stress. Or go mainline with IV nutritional therapy to help restore your levels of amino acids, vitamins and minerals depleted by too many Hot Toddies during the holidays. The neighboring mountains offer excursions to old mining towns, historic railroads and rafting through Echo Canyon River, so boredom is a non-issue.
Launched just this year, wellness travel company Getaway offers modern accommodations in cozy custom-built cabins in the Catskill woods, where cellphone lockboxes await to encourage unplugging and oversize windows provide a more natural form of entertainment than Netflix. Fall asleep in your plush queen-size bed to soothing forest sounds, cook your meals over a fire pit, and stay busy with wholesome activities like hiking through the oaks and maples, visiting a nearby orchard and playing board games.
City dwellers needn’t worry too much about the inconveniences of roughing it: Each cabin comes with heating, wireless speakers, a toilet, a hot shower and a mini-kitchen. Those living in Boston, D.C. and L.A. can also check into the company’s other outposts. The art of doing nothing is a little easier to master when you’re not distracted by the buzz of city life, and an overnight stay in a remote cabin sounds like a pretty nice way to start.
You can’t get more off-the-grid than Tofino, with its ancient old-growth forests and rugged coastline. The area is known for glamping retreats and luxury resorts, and The Homestead Tofino focuses especially on wellness and reconnecting in the vast wilderness. Yes, there’s hiking, but there’s also a forest gym in the middle of the woods, where you can work on strength training amid the call of the birds. You can even bathe in the forest—not in a tub, per se, but through a powerful guided meditation experience (called forest bathing) intended to leave you relaxed, energized and connected with your senses.
There’s also the opportunity to connect with First Nation Culture, the people that have inhabited the area for centuries, via a canoe trip into the forest for native storytelling. The prime oceanfront location guarantees fresh oysters, fish and crab, along with local produce, prepared during healthy cooking lessons each evening led by The Homestead’s resident chef and nutritionist. After a week of stand-up paddling among orcas and eating freshly smoked salmon under the shade of cedars, it might be a rough return to reality.
What began as a restaurant on Jamaica’s South Coast has grown into a funky, dazzling collection of airy, pastel cottages and bungalows, and the heart of the Treasure Beach community. A stay at Jakes might mean early morning yoga on the beach followed by a mosaic tile workshop led by a local artist or cooking classes led by Jakes’ own chefs. The property sources many of its ingredients from sustainable farms in nearby St. Elizabeth, an agriculturally rich area responsible for 80 percent of the country’s produce.
Get off the grounds to explore the bumpy but scenic local roads. Unlike much of Jamaica’s white sand beaches, the South Coast is known for its black sands and cacti-dotted landscape and offers a wealth of outdoor adventures like snorkeling over protected reefs to find angelfish, blowfish, octopus and perhaps even a few antique treasures left over from shipwrecked sailors in the 1800s. If you’re lucky enough to visit near the full moon, don’t miss the monthly Farm & Fisherfolk moonlight dinner series, at Old Wharf Beach’s sandy-floored dining pavilion, Seaside, where beachfront feasts celebrate the local bounty and new beginnings under the light of the full moon.
It’s not until after landing in Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, that the adventure to Kinkára really begins. The subsequent hourlong charter flight over the island’s lush green hills toward the peak of Mount Chirripó is thrilling and a tangible journey from the familiar sights and sounds of the city to the peace of the untouched wilderness. At the eco-resort high in the hills, you’ll find luxe, contemporary accommodations amid the unruly beauty of the jungle, with cozy glamping tents set around a stunning mandala garden and yoga pavilion, where daily flows and meditations take place to the soundtrack of singing birds and the property’s rushing creek below.
The culinary team at Kinkára prepares each meal with locally grown herbs and produce, plucked straight from the garden, and serves up fresh squeezed juices, almond milk lattes and turmeric tonics from sunup to sundown, alongside plates of house-made nut breads, piled-high salads, coconut curries and fresh-caught salmon. Retreat excursions might include surf lessons on the nearby coast, hikes through the forest to swimming holes created by waterfalls or riding on horseback or mountain bike across the property’s 800 acres. Whether journaling in a hammock, meditating by the river at sunrise or treating yourself to a full-body massage, there are plenty of opportunities for downtime. And as far away as you might feel from the world, the property’s high-speed Wi-Fi means you can share the whole envy-inducing experience with your Instagram fam.
Buzzy Los Angeles may seem like an unlikely place to find your center, but just 30 minutes south, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terranea beckons with an 100-plus-acre oceanfront estate boasting four swimming pools, nine restaurants and an award-winning golf course, so you’re all but forced to unwind. A good place to start is the 50,000-square-foot spa overlooking the Pacific, which times its indulgent treatments according to our bodies’ natural circadian rhythms.
Grab a sprouted avo toast or fresh fresh fig salad from the Spa Cafe, where they also serve healthier cocktails, like the Tranquility, a vitamin-packed mix of açaí, orange juice, blueberry and prosecco. Or head to the resort’s oceanfront restaurant, Nelson’s, which specializes in sustainably sourced seafood, like Prince Edward Island mussels, blackened salmon and a stellar cioppino, plus live music and cozy cliffside firepits for enjoying the view.
For the creatively curious, the property also rolls out a host of classes, from learning about sea salt harvesting to plein air painting, all while sipping on Margaritas. Terranea also plays host to an Immersive Wellness Daycation series, filled with yoga, seaside cycling, healthful meals, guided meditations and workshops on mindfulness and positivity led by health experts.
Long considered sacred by its earliest inhabitants, Sedona, with its sweeping red rock landscape, is downright otherworldly. The town is known for its bohemian residents, as well as its unique spiritual opportunities that provide a different draw than the typical Jeep tours, like yoga in the desert and Native American medicinal journeys.
For the whole package and then some, Mii Amo, an all-inclusive oasis in Boynton Canyon, offers customizable journeys focusing on everything from weight loss, nutrition and exercise to spiritual healing via the ancient avenues of energy work and crystal therapy. At the spa, you can book a service inspired by Native American traditions, like an intention-setting and manifestation practice aligned with the timing of the new moon. Plus there are daily sunrise stretches, intention setting in a crystal grotto, barre and pilates classes, guided meditation walks and expert-led stargazing at night.
Mixing your cocktail