PHOTO COURTESY OF SOJO SPA CLUB
Why You Should Go: A reimagined Korean bathhouse, SoJo Spa Club boasts four floors of blissful amenities. The spa’s known for its iconic rooftop infinity pool overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. It features eight saunas, nine outdoor pools and baths and everything from halotherapy to hot stone massages.
What’s Included: Access to baths, pools and saunas comes with a daily admission pass. Services like facials, nail and body treatments, traditional Korean body scrubs, reflexology and shiatsu are an additional fee and require advance booking.
What Your Day Will Be Like: A day at SoJo means detoxing in a sauna room (think salt, clay, charcoal and more), or stepping into an ice therapy room for an immunity boost. A hydrotherapy pool and foot massage walking path are also among the spa’s musts. SoJo is gorgeous all year, but it’s especially magical in the winter when you feel a cold breeze on your face while your body’s submerged in warm water. The spa’s outdoor pools and baths are fully winterized, which means there are heated pathways and outdoor fire pits during colder months.
Make sure to book time in the much buzzed-about volcanic sand bath, which launched last month. The treatment is inspired by Japan’s southern island of Ibusuki, which is rich in black lava sand that’s naturally warmed by geothermal activity. People travel to the remote Japanese island to be buried in this sand, reporting benefits ranging from relaxation to improved soreness. SoJo partnered with a spa in Japan to ship more than 120 tons of lava sand to NJ to recreate the treatment. The volcanic sand bath is booked the day of your visit on a first come, first serve basis.
Take a lunch break with Korean, Japanese, Asian fusion, Italian or American cuisine, then consider an overnight at the 28-room hotel. Cap your day off in the spa’s relaxation area featuring cushy lounge chairs and NYC views.
Details: Located at 660 River Rd. in Edgewater, SoJo’s daily admission during the fall and winter is $50 on weekdays and $65 on weekends and holidays. During the holiday season, SoJo is offering free admission to anyone who books a qualifying treatment. A $190 winter body retreat, for example, includes a 60-minute massage and admission to the spa for the day. The spa is open 9 am-10:30 pm daily including major holidays.
Why You Should Go: Tucked away near the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, this retreat is all about calming and clearing your mind. Founded by Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living movement, which has global programs around the world, promotes a stress-free lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to relax, from guided meditation and yoga to spa treatments, nature walks and pottery. Retreats focus on happiness, silence and meditation.
What’s Included: Your stay includes three meals per day at the center’s dining hall. Because the focus is on detoxing, alcohol and meat are not on the menu. Many of the vegetarian offerings are sourced from an on-site garden and range from hearty soups to dishes like chickpea stew and bean and lentil cakes with fresh fennel and cranberry compote. All classes and outdoor activities are also included. Spa treatments are an additional fee, but if you stay at the spa’s hotel (other accommodations include retreat rooms and apartments), you’ll have access to the fitness room, steam rooms and relaxation lounge.
What Your Day Will Be Like: Start your morning with an early breakfast in the dining area which boasts stunning mountain views. Head to a class, break for lunch and explore the ground’s expansive wooded trails and labyrinth, which guests can walk through as part of a contemplative practice. End your night with a fire circle under the stars.
Make time for an Ayurvedic spa treatment, (scheduled in advance). Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of healing that focuses on diet, yoga and meditation for optimal health. Try a royal treatment which starts with warm oils massaged into the body, designed to loosen toxins and relax the nervous system. Warm oil is poured on your forehead to promote mental clarity and massaged through your hair as a deep conditioner. The spa was recently expanded to include a kitchen where guests can learn to cook Ayurvedic meals. There’s also a meditation and yoga studio, resistance pool sand hot tub and sensory deprivation tank. Sensory deprivation promotes a deep state of relaxation via floating on water.
Details: Located at 639 Whispering Hills in Boone, NC, the center is about a two-hour drive from Charlotte. Nightly rates start at $95 and there’s a two-night minimum stay.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DEERFIELD HEALTH RETREAT & SPA
Why You Should Go: Situated on 12 acres of rolling hills, this retreat focuses on detoxing your mind, creating healthy eating habits and taking on new fitness goals. It also offers spa treatments like seasonal facials, reiki and reflexology, plus an assortment of massages, body treatments and healing practices.
What’s Included: This all-inclusive retreat comes with three meals and two snacks per day. Meals are prepared by an on-site chef with health and wellness in mind, so don’t bother counting calories. The chef prepares a special dessert daily, too, so you can still feel a little indulgent during your time away. All fitness classes, hikes, lectures, pools and the hot tub are part of your stay. Spa treatments are available for an additional fee.
What Your Day Will Be Like: This Victorian home accommodates a maximum of 33 guests at a time, which means you’ll get lots of individualized attention. Early risers can start the day with yoga. After that, take a guided hike on the Appalachian Trail, where even beginners can make the trek to see the stunning Dingmans Falls in person. Take advantage of the Poconos’ scenic vistas with a gentle canoe trip, or stretch those aching muscles with a Pilates class.
Instructors tailor gym classes to your physical needs, from high energy cardio boot camp to mild tai chi. Be sure to take time for a chef-prepared lunch and the spa’s rotating menu of facials, many created with local ingredients. If you’re craving a little luxury, sign up for the champagne facial to hydrate your skin with bubbly. You can also fight aging with LED therapy or micro current treatments using low-level electrical impulses that promise a nonsurgical face lift.
Try a Lomi massage that channels the “spirit of Aloha” with a rhythmic dance a therapist does around your body. Maximize your R&R in the evening or after lunch by kicking back and lounging on a wicker chair, playing board games, soaking in the hot tub or napping in a hammock. End the evening with yoga or belly dancing.
Details: Located at 650 Resica Falls Rd., East Stroudsburg, PA, this retreat has a two-night minimum stay. Rates start at $560 per person for two nights. If you stay a full week, you’ll score a $225 spa credit.