Charles L. Black III serves as the Executive Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Development for Hilton & Hyland. Previously, he was instrumental in creating and implementing strategies that helped expand the global presence of Montage Beverly Hills he was the Director of Sales & Marketing.
Partners Rick Hilton and Jeff Hyland established the firm in 1993 with the intention of creating a small real estate boutique that would grow to meet the demands of the market, yet never outgrow a founding philosophy for meeting the uniquely individual concerns of each client. Together they have built strong ties to the global marketplace while holding fast to the advantages of a small one-office brokerage based in Beverly Hills. As founding affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, the firm is the only Los Angeles area broker represented by a company that has been bringing the world’s most influential – and affluent – buyers and sellers together for 230 years.
1. Rancho La Puerta (Tecate, Mexico)
Food is the focus at this Spanish-colonial spa spread over 3,000 acres in the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa, where a new open kitchen (the place for cooking classes and more) is set on the property’s organic farm.
Insider Tip: Reserve the often overlooked 3 p.m. treatment slot and you’ll find extra peace and quiet; you’ll have the rooftop relaxation area, sauna, and steam baths almost to yourself.
2. Mii Amo, A Destination Spa at Enchantment (Sedona, AZ)
The Mii Amo Spa offers spa “journeys” of three, four, and seven nights. The resort comprises 16 rose-colored, adobe casitas surrounded by twisting cottonwoods at the foot of the Boynton Canyon buttes. Upon arrival, guests meet with a spa representative to map out personalized programs, which may include organic facials, acupuncture sessions, or even watsu, a therapy combining massage, stretching, joint work, and Shiatsu. Additionally, classes on topics such as cooking, dance, vortex energy, and medicine plants are offered throughout the day, as well as spiritual therapies such as tarot card readings and reiki.
Insider Tip: In addition to the traditional spa services, guests can soothe their inner spirits by visiting Native American-inspired, outdoor treatment areas called wickiups.
3. Lodge at Woodloch (Hawley, PA)
Escape from urban life at this lakeside retreat on 150 wooded acres two hours northwest of New York City, where hatha yoga sessions are followed by rounds of golf and wine tastings. The 40,000-square-foot spa is made for languid afternoons, thanks to its fireplace-equipped quiet room and hydromassage pools.
Insider Tip: Book the Rosemary Awakening, for its wrap of warm seaweed steeped in the extract of Icelandic moss.
4. Lake Austin Spa Resort (Austin, TX)
Just outside Austin’s city limits, the Lake Austin Spa Resort has 40 ranch-style guest rooms facing a sparkling lake where tame geese paddle between rowing sculls. Granite gravel crunches underfoot as you climb a garden path to the limestone-and-cedar LakeHouse Spa, the evocation of an oil baron’s Hill Country retreat. Make that an oil baron with a New Age sensibility: the slate-blue barn shelters a lap pool instead of livestock. On a screened-in treatment porch, therapist April Day administers a mind-bending craniosacral massage, which is followed by an equally impressive Tajii Moxa (Chinese heat therapy) session. But all this doesn’t mean Lake Austin has lost its twang. An exfoliating scrub uses locally grown pecans, and the hallways are draped with quilts by a blue ribbon winner at the Texas State Fair and meals are alcohol-free.
5. Sundara Inn & Spa (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
This sanctuary amid 26 forest acres has a pretreatment ritual so soothing you may forget there’s more to come: start by scrubbing yourself down with Precambrian sandstone under a rainfall shower, then enter the fragrant steam and dip into the plunge pool. There are fewer activities to choose from than at many other resorts, but that keeps you feeling totally relaxed.
Insider Tip: In winter, snowshoe while spotting eagles as they soar above the Wisconsin River.
6. Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa (Tucson, Arizona)
Arizona has handful of wellness-oriented desert retreats, but Miraval Resort & Spa, 55 miles north of Tucson, stands out for an all-inclusive nightly rate that includes some spa treatments and activities (dance fusion, cocktail and cooking classes, and Pilates, to name a few). A spa pioneer, the 1995 resort recently renovated and relaunched the already renowned Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins. These days, treatments take place in one of six new tents styled by Irish-born designer Clodagh and set in a botanical garden shaded by Palo Verde trees, or in a spacious spa facility headed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Our favorite in-room amenity? The deep soaking tubs, which all overlook the Sonoran desert landscape.
Room to Book: Catalina rooms (601-616), set along a winding path, stand out thanks to private outdoor showers.
Insider Tip: Don’t be discouraged by a waiting list for some of the 90 weekly classes; the hotel makes a concerted effort to accommodate everyone who shows up.
7. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach (Miami, FL)
South Florida hotel spas trembled at the arrival of Canyon Ranch in Miami in 2007, when they annexed and renovated the old Carillion Hotel. At Canyon Ranch, yogis replace Baywatch-style joggers, and a 70,000-square-foot maze (the largest spa in Florida) of David Rockwell–designed spaces serves as the backdrop to a host of treatments ranging from mud baths to thalassotherapy. Each accommodation in this all-suite property offers ocean views and residence-style touches such as granite-clad kitchens (these are condo-hotel rooms, after all) and refrigerators that staff will stock with healthful organic staples upon request. A two-story indoor climbing wall, in-depth consultations with Canyon Ranch physicians and other health professionals, and expert personal training are among the other on-site perks.
Room to Book: Choose a room on the fourth floor or higher, as these suites have more expansive views of the beach strand.
Insider Tip: During summer months, swing by the poolside cabana between 2 and 4pm for a happy hour that includes freshly made tropical drinks and sustainable, organic beers.
8. Ten Thousand Waves (Santa Fe, NM)
Tucked into a green hillside on the winding mountain road that leads to the Santa Fe Ski Area, Ten Thousand Waves has long attracted day visitors for its tranquil spa and outdoor soaking tubs. But it’s much more relaxing to book a lengthier stay at the property, which is modeled after a Japanese onsen, with various private and communal tubs set among piñon trees. The 13 sleek and peaceful cottages, which tumble down a bluff beneath (and out of view from) the spa, are outfitted with Bose sound systems, refrigerators and microwaves, and either decks or patios that overlook meadows abundant with wildflowers in spring and summer. Although all share a minimalist aesthetic that includes low-slung Japanese-style beds, the décor and amenities vary greatly from unit to unit. The high-tech Sailor Moon cottage, for instance, has a high-ceilinged two-person shower and lighting and electronic gadgetry controlled by wireless remote; the more traditionally Asian Suigetsu unit is kitted out with serene shoji-screen room dividers and soft, indirect lighting. Some cottages have full kitchens, flat-screen TV’s, fireplaces, and high-speed Internet access.
Room to Book: The High Moon cottage offers the utmost seclusion, with two balconies and a deep soaking tub in the bathroom.
Insider Tip: If you’re in town to ski, this is your best choice: it’s the closest accommodation to the Santa Fe Ski Area, and the tubs and spa offer supreme soothing after a day of rigorous mountain sports.
9. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens (Costa Rica)
In a country known for its natural wonders, the 5,643-foot Arenal Volcano is arguably the star attraction. Though the volcano is now dormant, travelers still flock to this lush region for its wildlife spotting, white-water rafting, and kayaking on Lake Arenal. Among the dozens of hotels in the area, we love the newly revamped Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens (the No. 1 resort in Central and South America in our World’s Best Awards, page 79). Dynamic owner Leo Ghitis has outfitted the 50 villas with spacious decks (some have hot tubs), plantation furniture, and, alas, jarring avocado-colored walls. But the jaw-dropping views of the volcano more than make up for the painting faux pas. And the just-opened wine bar serves up some of Latin America’s best vintages by the glass.
Room to Book: The new Nayara Suites (numbers 26–50) in the upper corner of the property are more secluded—and also offer great volcano views.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the daily guided walking tours across the lava field on Arenal’s western side.
10. The Peninsula Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)
370 rooms appointed with teak floors, silk-covered furniture, marble bathrooms, and high-tech control panels, set within a 37-story tower that overlooks the Chao Phraya River. The hotel’s spa was revamped in 2007 to an impressive 21,000 square foot space.
Room to Book: Grand Deluxe rooms have a lounge area, oversize beds, and unique V-shaped windows providing amazing river views and the city skyline.
Insider Tip: Ask the concierge to map out a walking route of the narrow alleys of nearby Chinatown, lined with dumpling houses and boutiques.
Source: Travel + Leisure