Not into meditating? Try arts and crafts
Silent meditation sessions aren’t the only pathway to mindfulness. More spa resorts are challenging guests to be in the present by working the right side of their brains in fresh ways. Atelier d’Artiste, a new glass-paneled artist studio at Royal Mansour, a grand riad hotel in Marrakech, offers guests the opportunity to be tutored in pottery, weaving, beading, and more by top master craftsmen. You may roll your eyes, but two screen-free hours spent crafting Berber-inspired necklaces rivals the relaxation you feel after a yoga class. And at Bishops Lodge, a landmark property in Santa Fe recently revived by Auberge Resorts, local artists like Katie Rodgers, whose commissions include Christian Louboutin and Veuve Clicquot, lead workshops both on- and off-property in disciplines ranging from watercolors to chalk pastels. As a result of the pandemic-fueled pottery craze, Blackberry Mountain, the wellness-minded sister property of Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm, has broadened its ceramics offerings from wheel-thrown and hand-building to include coil building, tile work, and raku firing—a 16th-century Japanese technique. Blackberry’s studio is equipped with six potter’s wheels and two kilns. Two- to four-hour classes have a 2:1 student-instructor ratio, and many guests take a class per day, according to the hotel’s art manager, Polly Ann Martin.
Upstate New York is America’s new wellness mecca
For ages, travelers seeking a wellness reboot have headed West, particularly to California’s pioneering retreats like the Esalen Institute, Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, and Golden Door. But a slew of next-level spa resorts opening in the Catskills and Hudson Valley are shifting people’s attention East. California’s beloved bootcamp, the Ranch at Malibu, will debut a 25-room, lakefront outpost 45 minutes north of Manhattan next summer. The Ranch Hudson Valley will take the same no-nonsense, weight-loss oriented approach to programming but will offer abbreviated three- and four-day itineraries geared to the time-crunched East Coast crowd. Expect vegan meals, fitness classes held in a 2,000-square-foot gym, and endurance hikes on the trails of Harriman and Ringwood State Parks. The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in New York City recently opened a 10-suite sister property, the Chatwal Lodge on a 38-acre wilderness preserve in the Catskills. Here, a meander through old-growth forest trails in search of hawks and ospreys and the rhythmic cast of a fly rod on a quiet lake double as moving meditations. When Wildflower Farms, an Auberge Resort Collection, opens in the town of Gardiner next fall, its spa, Thistle, will specialize in rewilding (the trend of reconnecting people with nature) guests with unique nature-based therapies like a forest immersion led by a reiki master and animal communicator who specializes in connecting energetically with animals and humans. There’s also a saltwater pool, herbal steam room, and hot tubs nestled in the meadows for some old school R&R. Inness, a new golf club and hotel in the town of Accord, boasts yoga, Pilates and 60 acres of trails for hikes and runs, and will debut a kitted-out spa in 2023. And there are rumors of an outpost of SoHo Farmhouse opening in Rhinebeck. Not to be outdone, upstate grand dame, Mohonk Mountain House, which welcomed its first guests in 1869, recently unveiled a revamped 30,000 square-foot spa rooted in mindfulness.
Recovery steals the spotlight
Elite athletes have long known the secret to performance gains isn’t double gym sessions, but recovery. When the Six Senses Crans Montana opens in Switzerland this February, its spa will feature a biohacking recovery lounge geared at speeding up recovery. In Vail, Colorado, the Hythe, a Luxury Collection Hotel has a recovery lounge that offers oxygen therapy plus equipment such as compression boots and heating and DIY massage devices. In Napa Valley, the restoration and recovery circuit at Springhouse at Stanly Ranch, an Auberge Resort Collection, can cure everything from hiking-weary muscles to a hangover with therapies like a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and lymphatic system-supporting salt room.