"Twenty years ago spas were all about pampering; now they're really focusing more on wellness, stress relief and fitness," says Betsy Isroelit, spokeswoman for Spafinder.com, an online directory. The site is searchable by category; to find spas that combine traditional luxury services with rigorous outdoor activities and fitness programs, search under "Hiking."
Here are several North American spas Isroelit recommends for their strong hiking and outdoor progams. Unless otherwise specified, rates include meals, classes, lectures and use of fitness facilities, but not spa services.
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa, Taos, N.M., 800-828-8267, www.elmontesagrado.com. "A true eco spa, with hiking and skiing," says Isroelit. Rates start at $255 per room per night, based on double occupancy, in the off season (April and November), $325 all other months. Meals not included. A one-night "Get to Know Us" package, available through Feb. 10, is $295 double and includes an hour's massage or custom facial, use of the fitness center and pool, yoga and other fitness programs.
Green Valley Spa, St. George, Utah, 800-237-1068, www.greenvalleyspa.com. "The ultimate hiking resort in a luxury setting." Rates start at $540 per person double per night and drop to $500 for a seven-night stay. The Complete Luxury Package includes one spa treatment per day, plus a $100 sports/medical credit.
Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, Edwards, Colo., 800-877-3529, www.cordilleralodge.com. "The setting and the skiing is the big thing." Rates start at $395 per person double per night and include hiking and fitness classes, but not meals. Shuttle service to the Beaver Creek ski area and use of the ski-in/ski-out facilities there are complimentary (lift tickets not included).
Miraval, Tucson, 800-232-3969, www.miravalresort.com. "A wonderful desert mountain setting. They're known for their equine program." Apparently you bond with your horse as well as find your inner self. Rates in fall and winter start at $550 per person double per night and include round-trip transfers from the Tucson airport and one spa service per night, up to $115. Summer rates start at $415.
Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa, Ainsworth Hot Springs, B.C., 800-661-5161, www.hiking.com. A small spa (14 guests max). "It's like being in Switerland, with big lakes and big mountains." The Fit Plan Weight Loss program requires a one-week minimum stay, includes meals, three massages a week, and all prescribed consultations and assessments . Cost: $2,700 (all prices in U.S. dollars). In the summer, the Mountain Hiking program has three- and four-night options for $1,300 and $1,750, respectively.
New Life Hiking Spa, Killington, Vt., 866-298-5433, www.newlifehikingspa.com. "It's not very expensive and it's really nice; their big thing is hiking." Operates May through October out of the Inn of the Six Mountains, a ski hotel in Vermont's Green Mountains. "We don't have loofah rubs," says founder Jimmy LeSage, "but we have excellent massages and facials." Rates start at $225 per person per night double for the two- to four-day program; $215 for five to 10 days; and $205 for 11 days or longer.
Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, 800-443-7565, www.rancholapuerta.com. "A huge range of fitness options, and the weather and the setting are fabulous." Weekly rates start at $2,080 per person double in summer and $2,460 in fall. Rooms with kitchenettes and villas also available.
-- K.C. Summers