If the stress of the last couple of years has you wanting to swap your high-energy European tour for a honeymoon that’s all wellness and relaxation, we’ve got the retreats for you. Here are some of the best, near and far.
By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey
Intercontinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa, An IHG Hotel
Mexico’s indigenous Mayans were an advanced civilization that honored nature and her bounty. Treatments at this resort’s outstanding Ikal Spa reflect that understanding and appreciation of nature’s resources.
“Ikal means ‘in search of the spirit,’ and we help guests rediscover themselves through advanced therapies intertwined with traditional Mayan rituals,” explains spa manager Sandra Palma. “The Mayan Temazcal, our flagship treatment, consists of a soul-purification ceremony based on one of the oldest forms of medicine where the physical, mental and spiritual levels come together to achieve a transforming effect.”
A couples treatment called the Mayan Ritual for Lovers begins with the temazcal, which translates to “steam house,” and continues in the couple’s suite. Think Jacuzzi, side-by-side massages and sparkling wine.
In ancient times here, chocolate was considered a gift for the gods. The spa’s Chocolate Fondue treatment combines a scrub and wrap that deliver antioxidants, as well as nourishing and hydrating benefits to the skin.
Elevate the experience by having your massage on the resort’s private beach. Private yoga classes and aqua yoga classes are also available.
The beach is free of seaweed and boasts the second-largest coral reef in the world, a boon for snorkeling and scuba enthusiasts. First-timers can sign up for instruction for exploring the Shallow Reef Adventure.
Cozy rooms are furnished by the work of Mexican artisans. Rooms and suites have a view of the pool, garden or ocean; some terraces come with a hammock. Reef Suites feature private plunge pools, while Presidential Suites boast a pool, plunge pools, fire pit and direct access to the beach.
For a taste of Mexican fare, dine at El Caribeño, one of property’s four restaurants. Faro Blanco features coastal specialties seasoned with homegrown organic herbs. You can also book a private, romantic, six-course dinner paired with wine and served wherever you like.
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort
Mineral-rich hot springs are always soothing and restorative, and The Royal Corin is a true spa-seeker’s haven.
The Thermal Water Spa at Royal Corin includes an outdoor spa garden with two natural, warm-water swimming pools, a couple of hot pools (93 to 104 F), four thermal Jacuzzis with hydromassage, a duo of thermal pools with waterfalls, and a thermal steam garden sauna built over the hot springs. For full rejuvenation, follow them with a dip in the cold pool.
“The surrounding garden makes soaking in the springs a romantic experience for our guests,” says general manager Jennie Aarts. “They also love the unique treatments we offer in our Loto Spa.”
Part of what makes the spa treatments “unique,” she explains, is the inclusion of locally sourced natural elements such as healing mud, seaweed, sea salt, green coffee, mango and passion fruit. An extravagant signature facial is made with pure extracts, including caviar and pearl.
A side-by-side couples massage tops the menu. Services can be booked à la carte or as part of a five-treatment day package that includes a relaxing lunch.
Spacious, airy guestrooms are furnished in contemporary style. Junior suites have in-room Jacuzzis. Some rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking nearby Arenal Volcano.
At the on-site Emperado Restaurant, the nutritious menu (think fresh produce, wild fish and pastured-fed beef) is as good for your health as the terrace view is for the soul.
The Lodge at Woodloch
Personal awakening and reconnection to creative and stress-relieving outlets are the mission at this posh retreat in the Pocono Mountains. Each day, 35 classes offer guests ample opportunities to discover (or rediscover) life-enhancing interests and passions.
“These classes help couples to discover each other in unique and memorable ways…maybe even creating healthy habits and passions that will benefit their relationship long after they leave,” says general manager Robert Baldassari.
The tranquil country estate sits on 500 scenic acres. Light-filled rooms and suites with private verandas offer views of woodland gardens, the private lake or rock garden.
Programs encourage “digital detox,” disconnecting from devices to reconnect with the world and self in a more balanced way. Some workshops, adventures and treatments are included; others can be added for a fee à la carte.
Yoga, guided meditation, forest bathing and sound therapy are among the many classes that bring the body and mind into the present moment, away from the everyday stressors. Others, like Bollywood, aquatic or country line dancing, help shed inhibitions. There’s also art, journaling and wine tasting.
The spa’s special features include a Himalayan salt sauna and a hydrotherapy float cabin. Woodloch also has the only snow room in the U.S., where compact dry snow and cold air gently cool your sauna-warmed skin to improve blood circulation and stimulate the immune system.
Spa treatments incorporate herbs, oils and other natural elements for deep cleansing, healing, and calming or stimulation. Couples can arrange for a private Swedish massage in their room.
Overnight packages include locally grown and thoughtfully prepared meals. In season, the chef leads intimate garden dinners and even offers culinary demonstrations. Craving a picnic for two? Request a lavish lunch to go.
Crystal Springs Resort
Hamburg and Vernon, New Jersey
There’s not just one but two full-menu spas at this luxurious resort situated in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Kittatinny Mountains. “Sleek, sexy and glamorous” is how marketing director Michelle Abate describes Reflections Spa, while Elements Spa is a “calming oasis with a warm and welcoming ambiance.”
At Reflections, indulge in the pampering Couples Rendezvous massage by candlelight.
“[It] melts tension away while gentle music takes the couple’s senses to a place that is theirs and theirs alone,” Abate says.
For its signature Chardonnay, Nectar Honey Couples Bliss full-body treatment, a chardonnay, cassis and French oak exfoliation readies the skin to drink in a vinotherapy application of warm chardonnay oil. Reflections specializes in what the resort calls “wine cellar” treatment, combining wine and grapeseed extracts with various massage disciplines. Wellness activities include mindful meditation, forest bathing and crystal-bowl sound healing.
At Elements Spa, indulge in a signature body treatment that uses earthy elements or gaze into each other’s eyes as your masseurs’ hands work out all the tension.
A tropical paradise in New Jersey? It’ll feel that way at the resort’s 10,000-square-foot Biosphere Pool Complex, lush with flowers and palms. Heated indoor and outdoor pools, a 140-foot slide, an underground aquarium, and a grotto-like Jacuzzi and steam room make this one serene sanctuary.
All-new posh suites at the resort’s Grand Cascades Lodge are contemporary in style and offer all the comforts and amenities you would expect at a grand hotel. Fine dining is a few steps away at Grand Cascades’ Restaurant Latour, where lavish fare is prepared with the freshest wild foraged, locally sourced ingredients—many right from the chef’s garden. Want some privacy? An intimate dinner in the garden can be arranged.