Geared to shed the fat-farm stigma of the 1950s to the 1970s and with a greater focus on a more holistic approach to health, today's weight loss spas are as committed to wellness as they are to weight loss. When choosing a spa, you'll want to consider location, cost, amenities and more. No matter what your preferences or goals, there is sure to be a perfect location for you to get away from it all and focus on wellness.
Ten Great Spas to Consider
If you are looking for a spa that emphasizes weight loss, one of these great locations may be ideal for you. Descriptions and pricing are accurate as of May, 2014; contact each location directly for current information.
The Oaks at Ojai, Southern California
The Oaks at Ojai is an all-inclusive destination health and fitness spa offering everything from hikes to aquatic workouts and restorative yoga. It is located in the unique and welcoming town of Ojai, north of Los Angeles. The spa has 46 rooms and can accommodate up to 78 guests in a double occupancy status.
- Daily activities include mind and body awareness, top to bottom toning, dance, yoga, pool exercise, hikes and even rollerblading.
- It is a cell-phone free environment, with Internet connection in the rooms only, and a non-smoking facility.
- Each room, beautifully decorated, is unique with its own special features; some come with a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower while others come with their own private patios.
Audience: Guests range in age from 16 to 85+, both male and female, but the typical guest is a fifty-year-old woman wanting to relax and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Food: The menus are built on a 1,000-1,200 calorie budget, featuring foods low in fat, salt and sugar, with no artificial substitutes being used. The meals are made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood and white meat or poultry. The herbs used to season the meals are grown on-site and at the end of the stay all recipes are given to the guests. Vegetarians and people with any food allergies are accommodated accordingly.
Weight loss: The Oaks reports that weight loss is dependent on factors such as age, weight, current fitness level, and level of exercise participation.
Programs & Cost: Nightly program rates, with a minimum of a two-night stay, range from $240-$710. Multiple night packages are also available, with 5-nights ranging from $1,200 to $3,550 and 12-nights ranging from $2, 880 to $8,520. All reservations include the room, all meals, snacks, exercise classes, the use of the pool and spa and evening activities. Additional amenities are available and included in some packages.
Reviews: On the Insider's Guide to Spas, Anne M. Russell, who has an extensive background in health and fitness journalism, states, "The Oaks is different from other destination spas." She continues, "The Oaks' salt-free food is surprisingly tasty, although the portions are, of course, small."
Cal-a-vie Health Spa, California
The Cal-a-Vie Health Spa is located in Vista, a secluded valley north of San Diego, in a private forested enclave of 200 hill-filled acres. Only 32 Mediterranean-style villas are available and guests are hosted at a staff-to-guest ratio of 5:1, which makes it easy to be pampered.
- The aim of the spa is to provide a relaxation opportunity for the mind, spirit and the soul, providing an exceptional array of activities ranging from golf to yoga, and relaxing body therapies that are an essential step to quieting the body and relaxing the mind.
- Cal-a-Vie Health Spa offers walks, hikes, 100+ exercise classes, and over 20 different mind-body-spirit classes in a serene setting.
Audience: The Cal-a-Vie, a luxury boot camp, is welcoming anyone with a need to relax and be pampered.
Food: Cal-a-Vie offers menus are based on balance, moderation and variety, using fresh, regional produce selected at its seasonal peak, unprocessed whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids and lean proteins. The goal is to provide mouthwatering masterpieces, proving that simple, healthy eating can be elevated to a gourmet status.
Weight loss: This is mainly a health oriented spa with no weight loss specifications but with easy to follow guidelines, even after departure from the Spa.
Programs & Cost: Programs are run from Sunday to Sunday, for the 7-night stay, Wednesday to Sunday, for the 4-night stay and Sunday to Wednesday, for the 3-night stay. But even within the packages, there are options. Rates range from $3,995 to $8,795 plus tax, depending on the length of stay and the quantity of "pampering" provided.
Reviews: Lonely Planet describes its gym "as state-of-the-art as it gets with a high staff-to-guest ratio" of 21:32 ensuring that "anyone who asks to be challenged will be." Natasha R from Beverly Hills was quoted in Yelp.com saying: "I could not ask for more than this heavenly haven of pure perfection, relaxation and activity that this Spa Resort offers."
Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
This is an all-inclusive "desert paradise," as it is described in the Canyon Ranch website. It is located on 150+ acres in the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona. The sunny weather year-round is very welcoming and allows for a vast spectrum of activities ranging from hiking, biking, outdoor dining and lounging by the pool.
Audience: The programs are targeted toward those who want to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle, to those looking to recuperate after a surgery or illness, and to those who wish to shed some pounds. All their programs are available to teens and families.
Food: The food at the Canyon Ranch is the result of a blissful marriage between renowned chefs and top nutritionists, creating satisfying and mouth-watering recipes. The menus list the calorie count and the carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber content of each dish, allowing the guests to know what they are eating. Vegetarian options are provided as well.
Weight loss: No specific number is given to the pounds dropped while following the "weight loss program" but it is mentioned that a guest has to be "ready to commit to changing your life for the better, and losing weight once and for all."
Programs & Cost: The rates range from $3,030 per person for a 3-night stay to $27,620 per-person for a 10-night stay, and anything in between.
Reviews: A SpaFinder review by user KarenR, who has visited the facility two times and plans to return, says, "The ranch is an inspiring place to be. I always meet incredible people and feel invigorated after I leave." She also speaks very highly of the quality of food and interesting activities.
Red Mountain Resort and Spa, Utah
The Red Mountain Resort and Spa, a serene resort, is surrounded by vivid red rock cliffs and canyons as well as black lava gardens. It features 82 rooms, which are pet-friendly (with a $50 per pet, per week fee) and 24 villa suites. Activities include hikes, fitness classes, personal discovery activities, cooking demonstrations, pools, walking trails, strength and cardio studios and more.
Audience: The average age of guests ranges between 30 and 60 but the resort also offers specific programs geared toward teens between the ages of 12 and 17. About 65 percent are women and 30 to 35 percent come solo.
Food: The Red Mountain's Canyon Breeze Restaurant offers an incredible view with outdoor and indoor seating and an open demonstration kitchen. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner is ordered off the menu. The menus include the calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber content of each dish, and the variety of dishes for many dietary preferences is remarkable.
Weight loss: The weight loss rate is not advertised but the package includes:
- Seven-night stay
- Metabolic profile assessment
- Nutrition consultation
- Personal training sessions
- Cooking demonstrations
- Body contouring wraps
- Take-home supplements
Programs & Cost: Packages are varied and include programs specific to a variety of health and fitness goals. The rates start at $200 per person per night, based on double deluxe accommodations and subject to availability.
Reviews: Payton from Covington, Kentucky, was quoted on TripAdvisor saying: "I cannot wait to return to this gem of hospitality, adventure and peaceful relaxation all rolled up into one perfect package!"
Shane Diet and Fitness Resort, San Antonio, Texas
The Shane Diet and Fitness Resort runs in two locations: San Antonio, Texas and Catskill Mountains in New York. The San Antonio location is year round while the New York location is a summer retreat only. The all-inclusive Texas program is based at The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort set atop San Antonio's highest point. It is an inclusive weight loss resort offering life-changing opportunities.
Audience: Participants must be 18 years of age, however, the minimum spa age is 12 years old with adult supervision. It is geared toward people who are determined to live happier and healthier.
Food: The resort has a professional team of registered dietitians and food service experts who design the weight loss menus, creating delicious, portion-controlled meals and snacks, adapted to each guest's needs and food intolerances.
Weight loss: The resort claims that their weight loss program is proven, permanent and affordable but they do not state the weight loss expected. However, they do say that their entire approach to effective, safe and permanent weight loss lies in what they call: "The Four Cornerstones: The Shane Experience, Nutrition, Behavior Change, and Fitness."
Programs & Cost: Depending on the program and length of stay, the prices range from $995 to $4,390 per person. The Corporate Wellness Program and the Weekend Jumpstart Healthy Getaway Program both start at $995 per person. Additional packages at higher price points include a Bridal Weight-Loss Program, a Bachelorette Party Program, a Girlfriend Getaway, a Family Weight-Loss Program and a College Student Spring Break Program.
Reviews: In a TripAdvisor review, a visitor named Brian raves about his visit to the spa. He says, "In just one week, I lost 12 lbs and 4 inches off my waist! I was blown away with the success I had." He describes the staff as an "amazing group of caring, passionate, dedicated people."
Deerfield Spa, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Deerfield Spa works on a seasonal basis, starting in April and going through to October. The atmosphere is that of a large country home and the property admits a maximum of 33 guests at a time and the offerings range from aerobics, yoga, Pilates, "boxercise," tai chi, and qigong.
Audience: Adults only, but they also caters to groups and girlfriend getaways.
Food: Deerfield's spa cuisine is inventive, flavorful and satisfying, while it can be catered to each guest's dietary needs or restrictions and palate preferences. If eating for weight loss is among the guest's goals, then right-size portions and calories are available as a key element in any successful reduction plan.
Weight loss: This is purely a weight loss camp with a focus on portion control and one may drop down at least 10 pounds in 10 days.
Programs & Cost: Two-night stay rates start at $450 per person and go up to $1800 for a weekly stay.
Reviews: A customer review from repeat visitor Eileen on Virtual Tourist says: "What I love about Deerfield is the warm and cozy atmosphere, the choice of exercise classes ..., the calorie controlled but tasty meals, and the chance to meet new people and learn from them." She also speaks highly of the spa's communal meal times which makes it easy for guests to meet each other and mingle - a particularly beneficial feature for solo visitors.
Green Mountain at Fox Run, Vermont
Green Mountain at Fox Run Vermont houses 40 - 45 women at a time at a healthy living retreat for sustainable weight loss. The facility is found in the midst of a 26-acre piece of peaceful and private woodlands. It is open all year round offering blue skies and fresh snowfall in the winter, new life and rushing rivers in the spring, and lush mountains with refreshing lakes in the summer, moving round to the fall spectacular foliage.
Audience: The resort is tailored for women in need of mind, body and soul rejuvenation. Issues such as binge eating, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, etc., are also dealt with at the Resort.
Food: Delicious, balanced meals and satisfying menus are designed to prevent the deprivation-overeating cycle that diets often cause. Locally produced food products, including Vermont Grass-fed poultry, grass-fed beef and organic foods are used for meal creation.
Weight loss: It all depends on the individual.
Programs & Cost: Rates at the Green Mountains range from $2599 per person for one week in a triple room to $10,803 per person for four weeks in a private room. They also offer a 12-week extended stay program running at $20,500 per person in triple accommodation.
Reviews: Joanne Malinoski was quoted in Travelpod saying: "From the moment I walked in the door the staff was friendly and accommodating. I don't like to waste money and at Green Mountain you don't."
Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, Florida
Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa is an all-inclusive resort surrounded by 650 acres of gardens, fountains and water features. Also featured is an indoor track, two restaurants offering gourmet meals, pools, five golf courses, a spa and a tennis court. Other important things to consider are:
- It is not only a weight loss spa but also a health center (with medical screening) and an educational inspiration toward healthy living.
- According to Hubert Wewer, the General Manager, at Pritikin Longevity center: "We give you the tools you need to be successful after you've left here."
Audience: This is appropriate for all people interested in weight loss, healthy living or having medical issues that need to be addressed. Family programs are also scheduled.
Food: Leonard Riggio, Founder and Chairman of Barnes and Noble, Inc., summed up the food experience at this longevity center by saying: "Pritikin is not self-sacrifice. It's self-indulgence."
Weight loss: The Pritikin Diet has been well researched and documented. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, on average men lost 11.2 pounds and women lost 7.3 pounds within three weeks of starting the program. But their philosophy is built on three components (eating right, exercise and a healthy mind-body connection), so weight-loss is not their sole concern.
Programs & Cost: The one-week program starts at $3600 while their two-week program is starting at $6200. However, the center is now in the process of solidifying Medicare coverage rules for participants in need of intensive cardiac rehabilitation, with Medicare covering 80% of a participant's stay under certain conditions.
Reviews: Wisconsin State Journal quotes Caroline Pinkus, a 53 year old visitor from London saying that the spa made a significant and positive change in her life. She says, "I thought if I dressed nice and fixed my hair and my nails, I still looked good, but I was carrying this weight and I wasn't healthy. This place has reformed me."
Duke Diet and Fitness Center, Durham, North Carolina
The Duke Diet and Fitness Center is a residential-style center and the only weight loss program of its kind integrated within a world-renowned academic medical center, providing a multi-component approach that significantly improves both health and quality of life. It is located in Durham, North Carolina, on the medical campus of Duke University Health System.
Audience: Mainly people with weight and medical issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, disturbed sleep, pain, and arthritis, and also accessible for those living with handicaps.
Food: The executive cooking team offers delicious and nutritious meals based on each patient's needs and requirements.
Weight loss: On average, patients lose 5 percent of initial body weight (often more), and see improvement in physical fitness and other measures of health and wellness during the core four-week program.
Programs & Cost: Rates for the one-week program stand at $1960 and go up to $7585 for the four-week program with the option of adding more weeks for $865 per week.
Reviews: Reviews in TripAdvisor give this center five stars. On the site, Amanda from Alexandria, Virginia raved about her experience, pointing out that visitors have to be ready to work with the spa for the program to work. She describes the staff as "fantastic: knowledgeable, helpful, (and) friendly." She speaks highly of the camaraderie in the environment as well as the focus on education that helps visitors learn how not only to lose weight, but to experience lasting results. She states, "If I could, I'd go there every year for a kind of touch-up".
Hilton Head Health Weight Loss Spa, South Carolina
Hilton Head Health Weight Loss Spa is all-inclusive and it is located within the scenic 800-acre Shipyard Plantation on Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina.
- Fitness is taken care of with over 50 different fitness classes and activities including Zumba Latin Dance, Cardio Boxing, Water Fitness, Yoga Sculpt, Body Pump, sunrise beach walks, kayaking, biking, golfing, paddle boarding and more.
- They believe in mind and body balance, thus they nurture this connection through self-reflection and group forums on topics such as body image, life transitions, self-discovery, and stress management.
Audience: Any person looking at improving their health but also anyone fascinated by the Hilton Head Island, the planned communities, the 24 golf courses and the three tennis facilities which frequently find themselves mentioned in national magazines.
Food: At Hilton Head Health weight loss retreat, gourmet spa meals are arranged to fall within the 1200 - 1400 calorie/day allocation, with delicious flavors and realistic portions.
Weight loss: Not specified as it depends on each person.
Programs & Cost: The rates start at $3260 for a one-week stay.
Reviews: Fox News gives this resort a thumbs up and included it in their list of the ten top weight loss resort destinations in America. Juli Ackerman, a software-company executive from Newport, California, was quoted in Health.com saying that The Hilton Head Health Weight Loss Spa was: "... a great jump start for me."
These are only a few of the many terrific spas to consider when you are looking for a place to relax and focus on your wellness goals. No matter where you live or would like to travel, chances are that there is a perfect option for your needs and preferences.