Spa stays provide healthy options for multigenerational bonding, parent-child getaways or the chance to catch up with adult siblings in a relaxing environment.

Here are five destinations to consider: 

Miraval Resort & Spa. Tucson, AZ.

Gather the clan for a multigenerational spa-centered trip to this desert oasis where yoga and meditation classes are paired with inspiring life balance lectures. Embark on early morning guided hikes into the desert, learn life lessons during an equine immersion and cast off your fears during the Desert Tightrope session. Relax by the pool or in the hot tub before and after spa treatments that might include hot river stones or ginger lime salt scrubs.

For those interested in a glimpse of the future, sessions with psychic Maggie Garbarini are offered monthly.  Healthy, locally sourced meals and a juice bar provide sustenance for your endeavors.

Contact: 800-232-3969; Miraval Life in Balance

Guerlain spa New York Waldorf

Guerlain Spa. Waldorf Astoria. New York.

Retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple into the historic House of Guerlain.  Founded in 1828, Guerlain, a Parisian doctor and chemist, was the first to create scientifically based skincare. Today you can spend a day relishing in personalized services or pop in after a round of sight seeing and before the theatre for one of several treatments designed for busy travelers. A 30 minute rejuvenating Moroccan Oil head massage or body polish is sure to please. (The Waldorf is currently closed for a major renovation) Contact: 212-872-7200; www.waldorfnewyork.com.

Auriga Spa, Capella Pedrigal Resort. Cabo San Lucas, MX.

Check into one of 96 rooms or suites on 24 sundrenched acres. Then tune in to the rhythm of nature with a new series of spa offerings at this stunning 10,000 square foot spa overlooking the sea.  Signature treatments and other spa amenities, including welcome drinks and foot baths, are aligned with the lunar cycle. For example, during the Full Moon, treatments are designed to assist guests in rising to their full potential.

Josephina, a local healer, uses traditional herbs and rituals to maximize the healthy energy within the spa.  Further connect while relaxing at one of several pools, strolling on the beach, participating in cooking classes and dining on fresh seafood at the Cliffside El Farrallon, as waves crash upon the rocks below.

Contact: 877-247- 6688;   http://capellahotels.com   

Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

Check in with a loved one and then check out the innovative treatments and programs ranging from Aerial Hammock Yoga to Grotto waterfall hydrotherapy. With a focus on whole health transformation, nutrition and indigenous ingredients, you can get scrubbed, wrapped, rubbed, purified and acupunctured while learning new tips and strategies for healthier and more energetic living. Later, enjoy dive in movies or fish in one of three onsite lagoons.

Contact: (480) 585-4848; ScottsdalePrincess.com.  

Chaa Creek Spa Family Travel

The Lodge and Spa at Chaa Creek.  San Ignacio, Belize.

Tucked within a 365-acre private rainforest paradise in the picturesque foothills of the Maya Mountains, Chaa Creek and its hilltop spa provide a natural setting to explore indigenous relaxation and healing rituals.  As tropical birds serenade nearby, settle in for mineral rich mud treatments or locally sourced herbal wraps. Don’t miss the onsite Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm and the medicine trail where you’ll learn more about the native plants that provide globally significant remedies. 

Contact: (877) 709-8708; www.ChaaCreek.com.

Published in Wellness + Spa

 Hotels and resorts are wooing the next generation of spa goers with signature treatments and soothing beauty sessions.

Check out these places where spending time at the spa is a family affair:   

1.Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. Kauai, Hawaii.

Explore the island of Kauai’s famous coastline. Then retreat to the Anara Spa for a family-friendly pampering session amidst lush tropical surroundings. Teens will tune in for pineapple-coconut mani/pedis, plus eye-brow shaping, makeup lessons and a facial, especially designed for their unique skin care needs. Kids of all ages can opt for temporary Polynesian tattoos, Hawaiian princess hair styling (think gorgeous flowers in their hair), flower polishes and island hair braiding. Adults may choose from the spa’s comprehensive menu or create their own sampler package. Choose two or more treatments and save with the Pampered in Paradise package.

Contact: 808-240-6440; www.anaraspa.com

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2. Great Wolf Lodge. Grapevine, TX.

Splash the day away in the resort’s 80,000 square foot water park. Later, youngsters from four to 12 can primp for dinner in the Scooops Kid Spa. They’ll climb aboard the super-sized, banana split pedicure throne for foot massage and the chance to transform their toes with ice-cream-inspired colors. They can also opt for sherbet scrubs and flavored fizz soaks followed by an edible ice cream treat at Bear Paw Sweets & Eats. Birthday party packages are popular.

Contact: 800-693-9653; www.greatwolf.com/grapevine/amenities/scooops.


3. Four Seasons Resort Whistler. Whistler, BC.

Among the first to offer kid-focused spa treatments, this picturesque mountain resort continues to tempt the next generation of spa goers with tasty and sweet smelling options. Dip into hot fudge sundae or strawberry flavored treatments. Junior scrubs and rubs also include Lavender Lullaby Mini Bath Ice Cream, Strawberry Kiwi Shower Sherbet, and Vanilla Purity Body Icing in tandem with an Ice Cream Sandwich Pumice Stone. Ask for treatments using the ME! Bath line of bath and body products forspa time preservative-free and PETA certified ingredients.

Contact: 604-935-3400; www.fourseasons.com/whistler/spa/ 

4. Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort, Orlando.

This grand resort, adjacent to Walt Disney World, includes Bonnet Creek's Blue Harmony Spa, offering treatments for junior travelers as well as mom and dad. Designed for teens, the Clear and Pure Facial includes tips from skilled aestheticians on how to create effective home care routines that will enable healthy skin. Teens can tap in to the relaxation provided by the Sapphire Shine Mani/Pedi which includes a scented hand or foot massage, trim, cuticle and buff followed by polish and nail art. Guests six and older will like Fancy Fingers, which includes a scented hand soak and a nail polish.

Contact: 877-999-3223; www.wyndhamgrandorlando.com

5. Hotel 1000. Seattle, WA. The Spaahh , tucked within this Northwestern luxury hotel, is offers Pink Glamour Pedicures, designed for mom and her young daughter or special friend. The grown-up service includes pink Champagne and strawberries. Junior companions can enjoy a specially designed Spaahh Signature “mocktail” with strawberries. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. Also available: the Chocolate Pedicure, during which young spa enthusiasts sample a chocolate treat ( brownies or ice cream ) while enjoying a bubbling chocolate foot scrub and pedicure.

Contact: 877-315-1088; www.hotel1000seattle.com/index.php

Published in Wellness + Spa

What’s not to like about a town that serves up 300 days of sunshine, boasts an average annual temperature of 82 and continues to land on one “Best Place” list after another? That's Tucson.

It’s not surprising that this gem in the desert is tipping the population scale at close to one million people. Arizona’s second largest city, Tucson has had the collective good sense to hold on to its Wild West charm and rugged good looks while attaining status as a new sophisticate, boasting world class art, novel cuisine and luxury spas and resorts.

Natural Beauty

I am among the city’s legion of fans. For starters, how could anyone not be impressed with the neighborhood? Tucson is in a saguaro-strewn desert basin circled by five mountain ranges—the Santa Catalinas and Tortolitas to the north; the Rincons to the east; the Santa Ritas to the south; and the Tucson Mountains to the west. And if that weren’t bounty enough, three national parks lie just outside the city limits: Saguaro National Parks East and West, and the Coronado National Forest in the Catalina Mountains.

Certainly the natural beauty and conducive-to-almost-everything climate continues to attract weather-weary folks from other parts of the country. But among the city’s most appealing aspect is its authenticity.

The city’s Old Pueblo has a long and complex history that blends the cultures of the earliest Anglo frontiersmen, Native American peoples and Spanish explorers. That history and its remnants provides a richly textured backdrop for the natural playground that beckons outdoor adventurers as well as the modern-day amenities that lure other segments of today’s travelers.

So when you decide to visit Tucson, the hardest part will be narrowing your list of possibilities. As you begin to plan, know that it may be your first trip, but it won’t be your last.

Start by spending time on the Tucson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s very thorough Web site, www.visittucson.org. There, you will find a wealth of information, including money saving deals and packages, and can request a visitor’s guide. You will also find information about the Tucson Attractions Passport ($15), which provides 2-for-1 offers and discounts to major attractions.

 

Tucson Accommodations

The first decision to make is where to stay. The options are all enticing: downtown historic hotel, rustic guest ranch, luxurious bed-and-breakfast, or world-class spa, golf and tennis resort. Which will it be? This time!

Resorts

With the kids in tow, any of these resorts are good family-friendly choices:

  • Loews Ventana Canyon Resort—With two Tom Fazio–designed golf courses, a fabulous spa with signature outdoor treatments, family-friendly programs and views to die for from the Catalina foothills, everyone in the family will be happy. www.loewshotels.com

 Spas

Two of the world’s best-known spas are in Tucson. These relaxing enclaves may be best enjoyed when the youngsters are occupied elsewhere.

  • Miraval–Life In Balance Resorts—Known for its mindful approach to health and well-being, guests can design a program for each stay, integrating activities for body, mind and spirit. www.miravalresorts.com

 Guest Ranches

Guest ranch stays make for great family vacations and are an ideal way to sample the Tucson landscape. [Read our Tucson Guest Ranches article to find out more.]

 

Outdoor Activities

Like much of Arizona, Tucson is an athlete and nature lover’s nirvana. There is a whole collection of people, from professional baseball players to serious cyclists, who make this desert oasis their home base for winter training. With so many ups and downs to keep the heart rate pumping, and so little rain in the forecast, you can count on staying in shape during your holiday.

Hiking

From urban walks in town (take a walk through the University of Arizona campus!) to rugged canyon outings, you could strap on your boots every day of the year and never run short of trails to try. If you must choose one place to start, Sabino Canyon tops my list. For sheer beauty, a chance to see wildlife and plenty of easy to follow trails, this is a winner. And, no matter where you stay, you’ll likely find great hiking options out the front door. Ask for nearby suggestions. Also check www.localhikes.com.

Biking

My cycling friends concur: Tucson is a great place ride. With so many mountain trails and well-marked bike paths, it’s not surprising that Bicycling magazine has ranked Tucson as one of the country’s best bike-friendly cities. One example of the local attitude: free bicycle valet parking at Tucson special-events.

Bird Watching

If you have even the slightest interest in birding, you will be mesmerized by the plentiful and colorful species that migrate through Southern Arizona. I saw my first Vermillion Flycatcher on a Tucson golf course. Rather than focus on my son’s tournament, I spent the day transfixed by these red-chested beauties as they darted in and out of the trees. Young children delight in the plentiful array of hummingbirds hovering near brightly colored desert plants and feeders.

Golf

You could spend a week, a month, even a year playing the more than 40 beautiful municipal, public and private golf courses in Southern Arizona. Most are family-friendly and welcome junior players on the links. You’ll find desert courses (locals call it “target golf”) or more traditional links style courses. If your focus will be tee to green, be sure to check the CVB and resort hotel Web sites for the multitude of packages available. Also note, as the temperatures rise, greens fees fall considerably.

 

Don’t Miss Sightseeing The Anza Trail

Learn about the significant Spanish and Mexican influence on the region through a tour of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Anza, an intrepid explorer, led a party of 240 colonists on an expedition from Mexico to found a mission near the San Francisco Bay. The Anza Trail is a 1,200-mile marked route, beginning in Southern Arizona. While this could be a vacation program in itself, you can pick and choose from the many interesting stops on the trail. There are numerous, itineraries to consider. For suggestions: www.arizonaguide.com

San Xavier del Bac Mission

This amazing white, historic structure is often referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of North America.” With delicate paintings on the walls and ceiling and beautiful architectural lines, San Xavier del Bac is a favorite among photographers visiting the area. My children and I enjoy visiting churches during our travels, particularly in historic areas, and this stop was no exception. It remains a Catholic parish serving the Tohono O’odham community for whom it was first established in the late 1600s. www.sanxaviermission.org

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

I’ve visited this remarkable museum many times, with and without my boys, and would welcome any opportunity to return. This is a great way to introduce children (and adults) to the magnificence of the Sonoran desert and all of its inhabitants. With a world wide reputation in the scientific community as its cornerstone, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum serves as a zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden in one stop.

Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the more than 300 animal species (including mountain lions, snakes and Gila monsters ) and 1,200 kinds of plants. Check the Web site in advance to find out about special events for the day and children’s programs you will want to schedule into your visit. www.desertmuseum.org

Pima Air & Space Museum

The largest aviation and space museum west of the Rocky Mountains, Pima gets votes from my boys for the more than 250 aircraft on display, from Wright Brothers–style antiques to space exploration vehicles. www.pimaair.org

Center for Creative Photography

For photography lovers, the Center for Creative Photography is a must-see stop. Located on the University of Arizona campus, this museum holds contemporary works of nearly every major North American, 20th-century photographer, including images by Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz. And it’s free. www.creativephotography.org

Published in Southwest