Find your center at these eight close-to-home destinations
February 28, 2023
photo: courtesy of keswick hall
The saltwater infinity pool at Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia.
Exactly what constitutes “wellness” depends on whom you ask, but most people agree it’s as much a mental as a physical pursuit. These eight getaways around the South pamper mind and body alike through luxurious spa treatments, immersions in nature, and plenty of opportunities for solitude and stillness.
High in the Texas hills, Miraval has earned a reputation as much for the beauty of its luxury lakeside property as for its 360-degree approach to health. Practice mindfulness on a guided walk through the property’s labyrinth; take a workshop on chicken keeping at the on-site farm; or balance your Qi with a Pranayama dina treatment utilizing breathwork, oils, and gua sha. Or challenge yourself on an obstacle course in the trees that works on balance, coordination, and overcoming the fear of heights.
Just outside Charlottesville, this Virginia wine country landmark reopened in 2021 following a major renovation that brought overhauled guest rooms, a newly constructed golf course, and Marigold, a not-to-be-missed restaurant from Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This fall, the estate unveiled its highly anticipated spa, featuring eight treatment rooms and a tranquil relaxation room with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the wooded property. After a treatment, end the day in the heated, saltwater infinity pool perched above Keswick’s golf course.
Waynesville, North Carolina
Situated nearly a mile high on the rim of the Cataloochee Divide, the Swag looks out on four of North Carolina’s highest mountain ranges, making it the perfect place to reflect on nature’s majesty. Outdoors, take advantage of mountaintop yoga sessions and guided forest bathing hikes, and inside, visit the resort’s new spa, The Still, where you can indulge in facials, body wraps, massages, and the signature “Walk in the Woods” foot treatment.
Healthy indulgence is the name of the game at Blackberry Farm, a luxe, 4,200-acre retreat in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Come here to reset from daily stressors, sweating out everything that no longer serves you in the steam room, at yoga classes, or on twelve miles of on-site hiking trails. (Some eight hundred miles of trails await in nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park.) Or pamper yourself in the Wellhouse, a wellness center with locally inspired treatments like a body scrub made with sarsaparilla, honey, tobacco, and black silt clay.
Located in the beating heart of Virginia horse country, the 340-acre Salamander offers daily guided morning walks—the perfect precursor to a quiet sit by the fire or a treatment (or two) at the spa, one of the most sought-after in Northern Virginia, as popular with overnight guests as with day-trippers and locals. Try the Vitamin C facial followed by an hour or so in the steam room, body-temperature pool, or heated lounge beds.
Amelia Island, Florida
Following a major renovation in 2021, one of the Ritz’s main draws is its wellness offerings. Check in for full moon yoga, mindfulness workshops (including contemplative beach strolls with the resort’s resident naturalist), and guided sand mandala creation. For guests looking for a quick dip into wellness, the spa’s standout treatment is its “Heaven in a Hammock” massage, which employs the benefits of zero gravity (a hammock stands in for a massage table) and movements designed to mimic the ocean’s waves.
Asheville, North Carolina
This century-old resort has long been a respite for discerning guests, including ten U.S. presidents. Its sprawling property includes commanding views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, hiking trails, tennis courts, and a Donald Ross–designed golf course. But it’s not all about the outdoors: The hotel’s 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa offers two therapeutic waterfall pools, a lap pool with underwater music, eucalyptus steam rooms, and an oversized, mountain-view hot tub.
Since taking over the historic post office building (and former Trump Hotel) in the summer of 2022, the Waldorf Astoria has been turning heads with its Himalayan Salt Therapy Room, one of the only such spaces in the DMV region. Inhaling the fine salt particles that pervade the room is believed to aid skin conditions and improve lung health. For more traditional indulgences, the hotel spa has six treatment rooms and a private, marble-clad couples’ wing.