Great Escape: Georgia and Utah Retreats
Posted On Oct 12, 2016
These two domestic retreats stir the spirit and heal the soul.
SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA
When we think about a vacation in the great state of Georgia, images of Atlanta nights or historic Savannah tours spring to mind. But you can soak up primo beach time in the Peach State, too—namely, with a visit to exquisite Sea Island (seaisland.com).
The sprawling resort, set on the state’s striking coastal area, is surrounded by five miles of private Atlantic beach on one side and lush marshes on the other. During the summer months, there are a host of fine accommodation options on offer. The main Cloister building resides near the spa. Another is modeled on an English manor house. There’s a handsome lodge by the golf course and 150 unique cottages throughout the property. Rooms are opulent enough for any true Southern belle. Indeed, “Tara” seems to spring alive as guests meander past fireplaces, lush carpets, and sweeping vistas.
Sea Island’s heavenly locale sets a great stage for the full range of outdoor activities—everything from ocean kayaking and sailing to clay shooting and falconry. Do yourself a favor and head out on the marsh side with a naturalist, who will tell you all about the turtles, pelicans, and the area’s other wildlife.
There are three outdoor pools at the beach club, plus an indoor pool at the spa. Two French Open champs are on hand to help with your tennis game, while PGA pros abounåd on the three champion golf courses. If you feel lonesome, group activities go on all day long. Try “kayoga”—a half-hour of kayaking through the marsh to a tranquil locale followed by 60 minutes of yoga and a subsequent kayak trip back. There’s also Sea Kayak Boot Camp, which finds you paddling down Sea Island to the southernmost tip where you engage in a boisterous boot-camp workout on the beach.
Don’t be afraid to work out those muscles, as there are plenty of spa treatments to restore you to serenity. The spa’s deluxe olive wrap sends you into an alpha state post-haste. It starts with an intense scrub using argan shells and grape seeds, then employs lemon and cypress inhalation to rid tension as you sink into a cozy cocoon and your face is soothed with a mask of mint and aloe. Meanwhile, myofascial release is a powerful and effective massage that breaks up muscle adhesions and relaxes spasms. Sea Island, 100 Cloister Drive, Sea Island, Georgia; 855-714-9201.
RED MOUNTAIN RESORT AND SPA, ST. GEORGE, UTAH
If you hail from a city, the expanse at the foothills of Red Mountain Resort and Spa (redmountainresort.com) will take your breath away. Set in rural St. George, Utah, Red Mountain’s pueblo-influenced rooms are humble enough from the outside, yet a recent renovation has brought to them a luxurious atmosphere. Villas overlooking the property’s pool feature balconies and in-room Jacuzzi tubs.
The area is best known for hiking, and retreat packages come with daily treks into Snow Canyon State Park. The intrepid vacationer can see the “adventure concierge,” who will arrange for repelling (yes, that’s heading backwards off a cliff) and canyoneering, during which you will make your way down a steep rock, sometimes in high water. Those looking for a more peaceful option can choose to view the canyon’s red rock against the blue skies from a safer vantage point while doing sunset yoga or taking a horseback ride for two.
Take advantage of the Sagestone Spa & Salon, where you’re scrubbed down with salt crystals mixed with detoxifying marjoram and butcher’s broom or a mixture of rosemary, geranium, and wild mint. One of Sagestone’s premium treatments uses warm local honey, which melts over you as slate and marble stones sink into the muscles.
The southwestern influence extends to the on-site restaurant. The menu offers a tasty spectrum of flavors—from tequila-lime shrimp scampi and orange-glazed five-grain tempeh Napoleon to grass-fed New York strip loin—and list calorie and carb counts, for all those who care to tally. (Rest assured, vinophiles, though this spa resides in Utah, there is plenty of wine on offer; and nice wine, at that.)
Even at capacity, Red Mountain maintains a serene, rejuvenating atmosphere. Relax and enjoy the peace, or spice things up with a trip to town just two miles away, where every now and then the rodeo comes through. Red Mountain Resort and Spa, 1275 E. Red Mountain Circle, Ivins, Utah; 877-246-4453.