Mother Nature. She's a dazzling and humbling force, as well as a place we can turn when seeking rejuvenation. And that's not just talk - research has shown the outdoors have a remarkably positive effect on our physical and mental health, so they're a natural place to turn for a wellness holiday. Here are four remote and restorative destinations to explore, each set within or next to a national or state park. Get yourself out of the urban hustle, and into a landscape where pure and delicious quiet can be achieved.
The serene hilltop retreat of Amangani sits at the edge of Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Accommodations here range from spacious suites with impressive terraces to large four and five bedroom homes built of wood and stone. Wherever you lay your head on the property, views of spectacular mountains and the Snake River Valley await you.
The wellness offerings of this luxury resort are plentiful, with many offered from a peaceful glade on the butte top. Start your days with an early morning private yoga or Pilates session, then get out to experience the wilds of Grand Teton. This national park was created in 1929, with its 310,000 protected acres encompassing green valleys, meadows, alpine lakes and snow covered mountains. Breathe in the forest air on nearly 200 miles of trail by foot, or climb into the saddle and explore by horseback.
At the end of the day, soothe your body with a treatment at the Spa and Wellness Centre - perhaps a massage with stones pulled from the Snake River? In the evening, enjoy your dinner in Amangani's refined restaurant or take it fireside in your private suite, looking out toward the mountains once more.
CANYON RANCH TUCSON
Below the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains, and on more than 200 acres of the Sonoran Desert, sits Canyon Ranch Tucson, a leader in the art of wellness for nearly forty years. Their extensive programming focuses on multiple aspects of wellness, which they know is as much about experiencing the outdoors as it is the spa. A large team of experts will support you in everything from goal-setting and healthy eating to major life transitions, and each day there are more than 35 classes to choose from. Learn to meditate; take a workshop in creative expressions; experience traditional Chinese medicine; or challenge yourself on the outdoor ropes course. And of course, revel in their organic and free range food that's designed to "to make you forget you're eating healthy."
Guest rooms are scattered amongst the cacti-filled grounds, with options that range from Deluxe and Executive rooms to Luxury suites. In each one, you'll be able to relax in a lounge chair on your private patio and watch the sky turn pink at sunset.
TRIPLE CREEK RANCH
Find peace in the wild west at Montana's Triple Creek Ranch. This remote resort is located on the southern side of Yellowstone's Bitterroot Mountains, a range named for the small pink bloom that is Montana's state flower.
At Triple Creek Ranch, each season brings new opportunities for finding wellness in nature. Wildflowers flood the meadows in spring, while summers are ideal for wandering the foothills by horseback, floating down the river or swimming. Autumn brings a plethora of colors and bracing walks through the acreage, with winter promising snowshoe trips through the woods.
But that's not all - Triple Creek Ranch also offers a powerful series of wellness-specific activities, like their Present Moment Guided Meditation or Mindful Forest Walking. Also known as "forest bathing," this Japanese practice is about experiencing a forest through the senses of touch, smell, sight and sound, and has been shown to have meaningful health benefits. Another special offering at the ranch is yoga on the mountain, which takes you on a brief hike through the Laverne Creek woods to platforms built amongst the trees.
In southern Utah, the tan and pink landscape of the Colorado Plateau is a truly astounding sight. Within its pristine 600 acres is Amangiri, a one-of-a-kind resort destination in a place so unique, it required an Act of Congress to be built. Constructed with natural materials and designed to sit organically in its surroundings, each suite at Amangiri allows guests to commune with this protected land in luxurious comfort.
This resort is a gateway to not one, but three National Parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Explore them by foot, horseback, hot air balloon or even by boat, and start your days with morning yoga classes up on the rocks, directing your sun salutations to the valley below.
Back at the resort, indulge in the 25,000 square foot Aman Spa and water pavilion, which features a variety of restorative water therapies. End your days with a relaxing meal taken indoors or out, featuring dishes influenced by local Native American traditions; think buffalo carpaccio, fire roasted tortilla soup, green chile pozole and sixty-day corn popsicles for dessert.
The following hotels are perfect for finding peace and wellness in the great outdoors. Plus, you'll enjoy the bonus amenities available through SELECT.
*Reprinted by permission from Travel Leaders/SELECT