Need an escape that allows you to practice a little self-care? Maybe you’d like to jump start your health resolutions for 2021. Whichever you need, a health-focused resort provides the ideal solution. For those of us who call the Southeast home, we’re lucky to have several wellness resorts within our grasp. And, let’s be honest, a stressful and challenging 2020 has made the need for a little rest and rejuvenation even more vital for us all. Here are some of my favorites.
Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, NC
Asheville’s reputation as a wellness destination dates back to the late 1700s. The city’s moderate climate and altitude were believed to help advance the recovery of patients suffering from respiratory diseases like tuberculosis.
Perched on a hillside in Asheville’s Blue Ridge Mountains, AAA Four Diamond Omni Grove Park Inn has focused on health and wellness since it opened in 1913. Early guests even had their money washed to get rid of germs. The inn still goes to great lengths to make each resort stay memorable. Guests enjoy panoramic mountain views from the lobby and terraces.
Below the resort’s main inn, the 43,000-square foot subterranean spa blends seamlessly with the surrounding beauty of the mountains. The pool area is arguably the centerpiece of the spa — highlighted by tall stone walls, cozy fireplaces and restorative waterfalls. All told, there are 15 different water experiences, including two therapeutic waterfall pools and a lap pool with a canopy of fiber-optic stars, plus relaxing underwater music. Add to that contrast pools, inhalation rooms, saunas, eucalyptus-infused steam rooms and fireside lounges. The spa menu of skin, body, and hands/feet treatments is thorough. In addition to traditional massage treatments, they include skin care enhancements that diminish age spots on your hands or boost hydration and brighten the skin around your eyes. I tried the Blue Ridge Symphony massage and can’t remember the last time I felt more relaxed and renewed. Overnight guests always have priority in the spa, but daytime visitors are also welcome on weekdays, space available.
If you’d like to read more about the Omni Grove Park Inn and Spa, check out our Diamond Spotlight!
Hilton Head Health – Hilton Head, SC
For more than 40 years, Hilton Head Health has been known for its wellness, weight loss and longevity programs. It’s no wonder they’ve snagged numerous accolades, including the Best Health & Wellness Resort in America (for the last two years) and USA Today’s 10 Best Wellness Retreat/Resort three times.
Their all-inclusive Healthy Getaway experience is a great way to focus your mind, feed your soul and kick-start a healthy eating and fitness routine. The getaway includes spa treatments at the resort’s own Indigo Spa, a variety of fitness classes for all levels, healthy (and delicious) Mediterranean-style meals prepared by a gourmet chef. Guests also have access to several educational programs and activities throughout the day. They include classes on portion control, navigating healthy options at restaurants, cooking classes and many others.
Opening late January, the brand new 30-room Sweetgrass Inn will open to guests at the resort. The 17,411-square-foot accommodations overlooking the resort pool will have 30 guest rooms, a game room and theater room. The inn will also include casual gathering spaces in the Lowcountry style — a rocking chair porch overlooking resort’s heated pool, a community space for games or movies and a comfortable lobby for casual conversation. It’s the resort’s first onsite housing for overnight guests. Prior to Sweetgrass Inn’s opening, guests stayed off property at nearby accommodations.
Still working from home? Check out their new program, “Work from Home at H3.” Guests can work on their health and fitness without having to take time off from work. You can choose from varied packages that provide ample times throughout the day between classes, lectures and cooking demonstrations for you to work, attend Zoom meetings or other things on your “to do” list.
The Wellhouse, Blackberry Farm – Walland, TN
This sprawling rustic retreat is situated in the foothills of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. While Blackberry Farm has lured overnight guests for decades, The Wellhouse spa opened in June 2014. You’d never guess, though. The its rustic stone and wood structure beautifully reflects the original design of the rest of the property.
Guests can choose from 62 accommodations at Blackberry Farm — Estate Rooms, Cottage Suites, Hill Cottages and houses. Each room is tastefully appointed and includes antique furnishings. It’s easy to stay active during your stay. Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, hikes through the lush forest, mountain biking, paint ball, paddle sports and horseback riding are just a few of many options. If you prefer to focus on quiet reflection, renewing your mind and rejuvenating your body, you can do that, too.
The Wellhouse’s spa and wellness program gives you the flexibility to mix and match your desired wellness experience. From fitness classes, hiking and yoga to massages, nutrition consultations and skincare treatments, there’s something for every goal you have in mind.
Go at your own pace with self-guided experiences. Take a refreshing dip in the pool, detox in the steam room, build your strength in the fitness center or spend time in a good book in the meadow lounge or herb garden. Should you opt to schedule a massage, there are a variety of treatments from which to choose — Thai, deep tissue and muscle recovery, Reiki, stone and others. Treatments here are designed to rejuvenate dull skin and mitigate the effects of stress and pollution.
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort – Marco Island, FL
For some, a beachside escape provides the perfect backdrop for a health and wellness getaway. There’s just something about the salt air, warm breezes and lull of the ocean waves lapping against the sand that put you in an instant state of relaxation. If that’s your ideal, too, this resort will check all the boxes. Located on an idyllic stretch of private white sand beach, the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has maintained its AAA Four Diamond rating for the past 42 years. It’s also earned Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for the past four years (among other accolades).
The resort is also just a 20-minute drive from Everglade National Park. The country’s largest subtropical wilderness is home to alligators, birds and other wildlife and its protected area comprised of the natural reserve and 10,000 islands are ideal for varied water-based activities.
The 24,000-square-foot spa underwent a $3 million refurbishment in 2018 (as part of an overall resort renovation), which provided a fresh and contemporary take on the traditional spa experience. Instead of a varied list of treatments, the spa menu is tailored to what result you seek from your massage. Choose treatments that fall within four core benefits: calm, indulge, renew and invigorate. You can also take part in sunset beach yoga, as well as other health and wellness classes like meditation and sleep technique courses, floating pool yoga, Fitness on Demand and other offerings. Curated wellness retreats are held throughout the year, too.
In addition to spa treatments, spend time on one of their two private 18-hole championship golf courses, in one of three onsite swimming pools or enjoying a meal in one of the resort’s 10 restaurants.
Eupepsia Wellness Center — Bland, VA
Set on 256 rolling acres of farm and woodland in Virginia in the heart of Blue Ridge Mountains, Eupepsia Wellness Center takes a holistic approach to health and wellness. It was founded on the science and philosophy of Ayurveda. Developed in India more than 3,000 years ago, this whole-body healing system stems from the idea that your health and wellness depend on a balance of your body, mind and spirit.
The center’s retreats and programs are designed to help with your individual health goal — weight loss, de-stress, health rebalancing, improved energy or natural detox. Guests are provided a personalized program curated based on their individual needs and goals. Additionally, you’ll enjoy chef-created, plant-based meals tailored to your specific body type.
Stay in one of the center’s 26 guest rooms, each dressed in serene hues of slate gray and yellows. Amenities include an advanced training gym, a high-end wellness spa, tennis courts, a movie lounge and an outdoor pergola perfect for early morning reflection or end-of-day relaxation. Take part in one of the meditative yoga sessions in the Grand Yoga Hall or by the pond in an open-air studio.
The center also offers advanced therapies like halo therapy (using the healing properties of salt for relief of respiratory and skin conditions, sleep disturbances and other conditions); ultherapy (non-invasive FDA-cleared procedure that lifts, tightens and improves fine lines and wrinkles); hot stone (helps decrease pain and muscle spasms) and other treatments.
Last year, Eupepsia earned the World Spa Award for Virginia’s Best Wellness Retreat. Book an individual stay or consider a group, corporate or family retreat.
Book your wellness getaway. Call 800-398-0379 or visit your local AAA Travel Agent for reservations and more information.