- healthy spa cuisine that emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and nutritional education
- a full program of fitness and stress reduction classes
- therapeutic spa treatments including massage
- educational lectures that teach you how to bring your healthy habits back home
Destination spas usually require that you stay at least two or three nights to get the full benefit. Some require a longer stay. Prices at destination spas usually include all meals, classes and some spa treatments.
How Destination Spas Differ From Resort Spas:
Traditionally, resort spas offer spa treatments alongside leisure activities like golf and tennis. They offer some spa cuisine menu options and limited health and wellness classes, usually at extra charge.
Recently, though, the lines have been blurring. Some resorts and inns are calling themselves “destination spas” even though they don't match all the traditional criteria, like extensive fitness programming and education. Other resort spas are taking on the characteristics of destination spas, like offering classes at no extra charge. Your best bet is to decide what you're looking for and see who offers it.
The Food At Destination Spas:
Destination spas serve healthy food exclusively, but there are different philosophies. Some destination spas are geared towards weight loss, with restricted calories and strict portion control. Others have an all-you-can-eat philosophy. Many don't serve alcohol, while others serve wine with dinner. While destination spas emphasize healthy, whole foods, it might not necessarily be organic.
The People At Destination Spas:
Destination spas have a spirit of camaraderie. You’re with like-minded people who share your interest in health. Many have a small number of guests at any one time and you can get to know people even if you go by yourself. Small groups go on hikes, take exercise classes, and share tables together. There is usually a high staff-to-guest ratio, and staff is enthusiastic.
Destination Spa Personalities:
Destination spas have different personalities and vary widely in size, price, setting and programming. They can accommodate anywhere from 8 to 250 guests, with an average around 60. They come in a wide variety of prices, from most budget spas that are a few hundred dollars a night to $8,000 a week. Some are restricted calorie and others are all-you-can-eat. Here’s more information on how to choose a destination spa.