Man wasn’t made to be cooped up in cubicles, cars, and living rooms. Fortunately, we homo sapiens evolved to appreciate luxury alongside a healthy dose of nature. Comfort and fresh air pair harmoniously at the country’s greatest nature-centric resorts, offering that much-needed break from the doldrums.
But does Mother Nature have the power to heal? The short answer is a resounding yes.
It doesn’t take a scientist to know that stunning landscapes do a mind and body good. At these top destination resorts, opulence pairs with incredible environmental access that will connect you with nature.
Resorts like Dunton Hot Springs and The Point Resort utilize the power of water to restore, while the desert-enmeshed Amangiri harnesses the power of sandstone to invigorate. Trace the farm-to-table phenomenon to its origins at resorts like The Lodge at Primland, where the day’s harvest is the evening’s meal, or experience yoga in the serenity of the outdoors at Miraval Resort & Spa.
Destinations like Lake Austin Spa Resort have made it their mission to further integrate scientific evidence that nature heals. Last year, Lake Austin Spa introduced a new initiative called The Ripple Effect, offering year-round activities that capitalize on the resort’s lakefront setting. Activities such as floating meditation rely on the power of the lake to relax and reconnect, while a forest bathing hike brings the newest wellness trend to the nearby lake surroundings.
What is forest bathing?
Leave the soap and suds at the spa—forest bathing does not necessarily involve a cleansing dunk in water. In its simplest form, forest bathing is the act of being immersed in nature and focusing on the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings to promote physiological and psychological health. Forest bathing links back to shinrin-yoku, a Japanese healing practice that has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and strengthen immune systems.
Checking into one of these resorts, your cell signal will wane as you recharge your own battery, summoning the power of the natural surroundings to center you and re-establish your focus. Swap the buzz of the city for backyards that unfurl to mountains, rivers, and deserts; there’s no replicating the charm and healing found at these top resorts.
Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Washington
A quick 30-minute ride from Seattle, Salish Lodge is a weekend escape into nature. The resort sits at the top of the scenic Snoqualmie Falls, where a constant rush of water helps to destress and center yourself with nature throughout your stay. The resort’s 84 guestrooms all feature fireplaces and oversized spa tubs. It’s best to note that not all rooms face the falls, though the view is worth the premium.
The resort is hub to many hiking paths with access to nearby alpine lakes, mountain biking trails, river rafting, kayaking, and fly fishing. Golf lovers will also appreciate the six local courses, namely TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, the Northwest’s only Jack Nicklaus–designed course.
Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California
Home of the first-ever televised winter Olympics in 1960, Squaw Valley is synonymous with outdoor winter sport. Set on a sprawling 6,200 acres, complete with 43 lifts and over 270 trails, the slopes are one of the country’s largest ski destinations.
Once you’ve tuckered out on the slopes, check into the Resort at Squaw Creek, where you’ll get the total ski lodge experience. Opt for one of the 200 fireplace suites for a comfortable retreat, complete with incredible views of the valley, a soaking tub, and a granite kitchen.
Year-round outdoor recreation is the main draw of the region, with countless hiking and biking trails that weave around the pristine Lake Tahoe. Among the many activities besides skiing, resort favorites include ice skating, sledding, and mountain biking.
Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona
A serene aura flows through the grounds of Miraval Resort & Spa, as the energy of the desert restores and renews. Miraval expertly integrates into its surroundings, welcoming guests to a seamless nature-centric retreat. The resort’s all-inclusive standard rate includes gratuities, setting the tone for a worry-free stay, void of unexpected charges.
Three accommodation types provide a trio of distinct ways to enjoy Miraval, with standard rooms, plush suites, and The Villas, Miraval’s select private luxury living. This option represents the height of desert living, complete with modern and minimalistic interiors that give way to dramatic panoramic views.
With a focus on wellness, Miraval takes its cues from the desert with its roster of activities. Nature hikes, rock labyrinths, horseback rides, and over a dozen variations of yoga fill up the day quickly, while the less active set is kept engaged with workshops on nature photography, trips to the onsite bee hive, or the resort’s recently expanded specialty bodywork treatments.
L’Auberge de Sedona in Sedona, Arizona
The striking red rock buttes and lush desert greens of Sedona set the scene for the L’Auberge de Sedona, a luxe resort tuned into its natural surroundings. The resort’s 87 guest rooms and cottages are scattered throughout the sycamore tree-filled campus, set alongside a bristling creek that provides a calming babble heard throughout the grounds. Select accommodations are optimized to make the most of the setting, namely the suites with outdoor cedar showers and expansive private decks.
Every morning begins with the local ducks waddling their way to a playful feeding off the shallow waters of Oak Creek. The resort’s low-key atmosphere is reflected in its activities, namely gentle yoga stretches, music and meditation, and stargazing.
L’Auberge’s newly-added forest bathing aims to further immerse and commune its guests with the majestic surroundings. Visitors are encouraged to exercise a playful spirit on the creek and find stillness and meaning in the simple wonder of nature.