TEXAS HILL COUNTRY
Miraval has been pampering weary bodies and souls for nearly 25 years at its flagship Tucson, Arizona, resort, and earlier this year the company opened its second property, on 220 acres just outside Austin in Texas Hill Country. Visitors can explore the surrounding Balcones Canyonlands Preserve on guided hikes and horseback rides. Guest rooms and two infinity pools (including the one pictured above) look out onto Lake Travis, where those seeking balance—of both the mental and physical variety—can try stand-up paddleboarding.
Try the Austin Apothecary Massage, which utilizes essential oils from local botanicals. The spa also provides hair, makeup, nail, and skin treatments, including the Vitamin C Facial for glowing skin and the Nature’s Bounty treatment, which delivers the benefits of local honey enzymes. Even the Eastern practice of yoga gets a Western spin here, with Tex Zen Yoga, which is inspired by native son Willie Nelson and set to country music.
WINDHAM, NEW YORK
For many vacationers, the Catskills conjure images of 1950s summer camp resorts and Dirty Dancing. The Eastwind provides a sleek, Scandinavian-style counterpoint to those Borscht Belt spots of old. Opened last June on the site of a 1920s bunkhouse about 150 miles north of New York City, the 19-room retreat is a perfect jumping-off point for hiking, fly-fishing, and snowshoeing excursions. If you’re feeling creative, write a few jokes—these are the stomping grounds of Joan Rivers and Henny Youngman, after all—on a vintage typewriter in one of the writer’s studio suites. Or take a load off under a Faribault Woolen Mills plaid throw in one of the spartan-chic A-frame Lushna cabins. We love the barrel sauna, which is even more amazing when you have to run through the snow to get there.
It’s impossible not to relax at Japan’s newest onsen (hot spring) resort, which opened last July in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, two hours by train from Tokyo. The art-themed ryokan, a Hoshino Resorts property, invites you to slip into a yukata (cotton robe) and then do absolutely nothing—except soak in the milky, mineral-rich water piped from the Owakudani volcanic valley into a communal bathhouse and private guest room soaking tubs. Equally invigorating are 24-year-old chef Akari Sash’s inspired kaiseki dinners; with dishes like abalone grilled over nearly 400-degree stones, she’ll have you forgetting all about Western-style spa meals. We love the tenugui (cotton towel) decorating workshop, which feels like a sophisticated answer to the adult coloring book trend.
Harry and Meghan babymooned at Heckfield Place—a fitting setting for two royals who notably try to maintain a level of commoner normalcy. At its heart, this is a working farm, home to hens, lambs, pigs, and honeybees, with dairy cows coming soon; the gardens, meanwhile, supply produce for the two restaurants and the complimentary in-room snacks and cordials. Rooms feature a cozy mix of linen, cashmere, and sheepskin, plus locally thrown pottery and woven river-reed rugs and headboards. The bespoke Wildsmith toiletries, which are named for the estate’s historic horticulturist and come in earthenware jugs.
Guests checking in at Habitas Tulum are asked to burn a bit of copal, a tree resin known as much for its spiritual cleansing properties as for its (perhaps more useful) ability to ward off mosquitoes. Tucked away on a secluded beach not far from Mayan ruins, this off-the-grid retreat contains 32 air-conditioned canvas tents complete with palapa roofs, king-size beds, kilim rugs, and outdoor rain showers. You can follow the property’s jungle walking trails, join an Ashtanga yoga class, or borrow a complimentary bike, but this place was really designed for doing nothing, artfully: You’re never more than a few feet from hammocks hanging in palm thickets, poolfront beds, or the rope swings swaying in front of the bar.
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
Remote, rugged ranches have proved to be ripe settings for cinematic romances, from The Thorn Birds to Brokeback Mountain. Capture that sense of windswept passion at Annandale, a collection of far-flung villas scattered across 4,000 acres of coastal pastureland on a working South Island ranch. The owners call this type of accommodation “gumboot luxury,” but they’re selling the property short. The most dramatic of the four villas is Seascape, which occupies a plot of land so remote it’s only accessible by helicopter or a 40-minute ride in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The ultra-modern retreat melts into the hillside, with a tussock-grass roof and a glass facade that overlooks a pebble beach and private bay. The suspended Eero Aarnio bubble chair is a particularly great spot for staring out the window. In order to ensure total privacy—minus the 500 head of cattle and up to 14,000 sheep that call the resort home—Annandale’s culinary team offers “we create, you serve” prepared meals, meaning you can dine in gourmet style in the comfort of your super-king-size bed.
Italian country villas may seem romantic, but unless you want to invite both of your extended families on your romantic getaway, you’ll never fill all those empty bedrooms. This is where the pocket-size Casina comes in. Billed as Tuscany’s only luxury villa for two, this one-bedroom retreat, nine miles outside Siena, is something of an architectural oddity that pairs the stone walls of a 12th-century watchtower with a sleek glass-paneled living area that looks onto olive groves. Made for relaxation, the space is equipped with a heated infinity pool, outdoor hot tub, cozy fireplace, and steam shower. And while it’s tempting never to break the spell of blissful privacy, you’ll want to make a reservation with the villa’s on-call massage therapist.