Ready for Renewal? 5 Excellent Detox Spas in the U.S.

America’s 5 Best Detox Spa Resorts

When your energy has been depleted by stress, seek out a healthy way to decompress in the comfort of a destination spa resort. Spa treatments, fitness classes, and health coaching can revive your spirits and reclaim your energy — and many of these activities are included in the cost. So power down your cell phone and power up on a retreat that will help you reconnect with your well-being.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa (San Diego, CA)
On a 45-acre compound, the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is a destination that specializes in wellness. Having recently undergone a $30 million renovation, The Spa at Rancho Valencia and fitness center boasts an impressive line-up of wellness programs for those who seek to getaway and revitalize. Take in one of the many yoga and fitness classes at the facility’s new 1,000-square-foot Serenity Yoga Pavilion, an exquisite studio featuring collapsing doors that open up to a serene shallow pond. All the fitness classes (including spin, Pilates, TRX, and tennis) are complimentary for spa and resort guests and all conclude with a fresh cold-pressed juice or protein shake. Nightly rates start at $558.

Canyon Ranch (Lenox, MA)
Escape to the Berkshires for New England’s finest luxury wellness resort, Canyon Ranch. An extension of the original site in Tuscon, Arizona, Lenox’s Canyon Ranch has transformed the grand Bellefontaine Mansion to a year-round haven of indoor and outdoor activities. The resort takes advantage of tranquil woods that encompass the grounds with daily guided hikes, bike rides, canoeing, cross country skiing, and a high ropes course. Focus on healing and restoring your health with the resort’s comprehensive wellness programs that integrate doctors, nutritionists, and world-class chefs to coach guests for optimal being. A two-night minimum stay starts at $1,485 and is all-inclusive.

Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa (Miami, FL)
The detoxification begins upon your first step on to the grounds of the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, where lush palm trees and perfectly manicured gardens greet those in need of an escape. Pritikin is the longest-running American resort dedicated to specialized programs such as overcoming and managing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The all-inclusive resort goes beyond expectations offering unique takes on holistic methods to restore and rejuvenate the body and mind. Daily nutrition workshops and seminars give guests an in-depth look at fad diets, tips for healthier food shopping, and eating strategies. Rates are per week and start at $4,400 per person for double occupancy.

Red Mountain Resort (Ivins, Utah)
What sets Red Mountain Resort apart as a truly exceptional detox spa resort is its seamless connection with its natural mountainous surroundings. Snow Canyon State Park’s remarkable red rock cliffs along with the canyons of southern Utah allow guests to connect with nature while luxuriating in Red Mountain Resort’s holistic spa. The Sagestone Spa & Salon is unique for its treatments that utilize its own custom-blend of indigenous desert botanicals, Utah honey, and mineral-rich muds. Opt for the Red Mountain Essential Retreat package where three healthy meals daily, guided morning hikes, unlimited fitness classes, as well as healthy life classes are just some of the amenities on offer to help refresh and restore. The Essential Retreat package starts at $205 per night.

Mii amo (Sedona, AZ)
The path to health and wellness leads to Mii amo, an elegant, modern resort built as a complete wellness getaway. Situated by the picturesque Boynton Canyon, Mii amo is inspired by its surroundings, using a fusion of Anasazi-enhanced colors and design elements. A host of custom spa treatments include restorative therapies such a Reiki, Cranial Sacral, and Lymphatic Drainage sessions. Opt for one of the all-inclusive packages that provides three healthy meals daily, two spa treatments a day, as well an unlimited fitness classes, lectures, and resort activities. Packages start at $2,520 for 3 nights.

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who is mr. R? ? ?

Originally from Baku, Azerbajdzan, Mr. R is now permanently based in the beautiful English countryside, near Henley-on-Thames, in the UK. With a degree in Business Studies and a Henley Business School MBA, Ana Silva O’Reilly developed her career in strategic marketing management as Marketing Director for Portugal, Spain and Turkey with global commercial real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield. She is also a New York University alumni (NYU), having graduated from its Social Media Strategy & Execution course in 2011 & 2013.

An avid traveller, Mr. R is also a good daughter, who does as she is told, religiously following her mother’s mottos: “if you are leaving home, it has to be to a better place” or “i love camping… in 5 star hotels”.

Join Mrs. O on her travels. All the posts are there because she wants them to be… not easy to buy the love! If comissioned by a third party, Mr.R will make this very clear and will always be honest. If it wasn’t good enough for her… you will know.

With over 30,000 pageviews a month and 15,000 unique visitors (monthly), Mr. RAround the World has been shortlisted numerous times as one of the key global luxury travel bloggers. She has a very engaged audience through various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), from countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Continental Europe (Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany) and Australia and Brazil, to mention a few.

How Luxury Travel Is Being Reinvented — And What It Means for You

At the beginning of the boutique hotel boom, luxury was defined by money; how much of it you had and what it could buy you. But that has long since changed. The emergence of creative “lifestyle” hotels have transformed the industry — as the annual LE Miami trade show in South Beach pointed out — with rising demand in experiences that are unique and culturally connected. These days, rather than high prices, luxury is about authenticity, storytelling, and innovation.

So how does this shift in the very definition of luxury translate to a more authentic, value-driven experience on your next trip?

Luxury Has Become More Affordable
For one of the best examples of thoughtful, modern design at palatable prices, citizenM is a Dutch-based hotel chain that prides itself on offering affordable luxury “for the people.” Its website reads: “We sold the hotel clichés and used the money to make your stay cheaper.” True to its word, as it prepared for the opening of its first U.S. property in New York’s Times Square this spring, citizenM emphasized doing away with superfluous amenities — as well as check-in desks and concierges — in favor of keeping prices reasonable. The brand believes it’s disrupting the travel industry by offering style alongside great location and affordability, with a big design focus and with high-tech amenities such as in-room tablets to control lighting, temperature, and drapes. The chain also boasts free WiFi, complimentary movies, a grab-and-go canteen, and (in New York) rates that start at $199. They also democratize the guest experience by offering only one room category (i.e no suites), so that all “citizens,” as the company calls its guests, are considered equal. citizenM has also just opened in Paris, and the brand is already at work on a second New York hotel on the Lower East Side, with plans to expand in a number of other cities including Istanbul and Taipei.

But citizenM is just one example of this trend. Other hotel brands operating in a similar vein include Yotel, currently in New York, London, and Amsterdam; Z Hotels, in London, Liverpool, and Glasgow; and Qbic, in London and Amsterdam, which sells 100 rooms priced at £1 ($1.70) each month.

Hostels Are Welcoming Grown Ups, Too
Bedding down in a hostel used to be a last resort, when affordable hotel options are scarce. But nowadays there’s a new wave of upscale hostels that may make booking a hostel your first, not last, option. Downtown México, which occupies a renovated 17th century palace in Mexico City’s Centro neighborhood, is part of design-savvy Grupo Habita‘s collection (they’re also responsible for the Hôtel Americano in New York City). As well as a 17-room hotel, Downtown operates a hostel annex, Downtown Beds, where rates start at $15 per night in an eight-person dorm, or $42 for a private room ($46 if you want your own bathroom). Either way, guests enjoy the same contemporary design, restaurants, and rooftop bar as traditional hotel guests, not to mention the chance to take part in fun activities like tequila tasting and movie screenings.

Back in Miami, The Freehand carries similar architectural clout; it’s designed by Roman & Williams, the team behind New York’s Ace Hotel, Standard, and Viceroy. Fifteen of the 60 brightly colored rooms are private, and rates start at $22 for a bed in a mixed dorm to $109 for two-room private suites. Whichever category you spring for, you’ll be able to enjoy handcrafted cocktails at the hip (and James Beard Award-nominated) Broken Shaker bar. Freehand have plans to open 10 hostels across the U.S., including one in Brooklyn and another in Chicago.

In Europe, you’ll find even more “luxury hostels” to choose from, such as the Independente in Lisbon, PLUS Berlin, and Hlemmur Square in Reykjavík (the most recent project from hotelier Klaus Ortlieb, of New York’s Hotel on Rivington and Gotham Hotel).

Contemporary Hotels Are Offering a “Lifestyle” Experience
Luxury is nowadays less about white glove-style service and more about a memorable, authentic experience. To that point, contemporary hotels are offering guest experiences that go deeper than the usual hotel stay and, at the same time, opening up to welcome the local community, says LE Miami’s trend-focused Leadership Lab. Think of, for instance, the buzzy lobbies of the Ace Hotels, the in-house nightclub at the London EDITION, and Andaz Hotels’ Cultural Insiders. As author and marketer Seth Godin observed, “rather than focusing on keeping people out, contemporary travel brands are curating unique experiences to connect a disparate yet creative and open-minded crowd.”

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Take a Mental Picture — 6 Places Where Selfies Are Banned

Take a Mental Picture — 6 Places Where Selfies are Banned

There’s a time and a place for selfies. Not knowing the rules could lead to legal woes. (Photo: Thinkstock)

People have strong opinions about selfies. Usually it’s just an annoyance with the proliferation of them in our social media feeds. Like, seriously, how many pictures of your own face does one person need?

Amongst the complaints about selfies is the argument that they should be banned due to the safety concerns attached with snapping the “perfect” photo. Last November, a woman died in Spain when she slipped and fell on a bridge while trying to take a selfie. And in August, a couple fell from the rocky edge of a cliff in Cabo da Raca, Portugal while trying to take a photo of themselves on the edge. These stories, coupled with the bragging nature of selfies, has inspired many cities around the world to ban them. Here are a few places around the world where you might actually have to put your phone away and enjoy the scenery.

La Garoupe Beach, France

A selfie like this on La Garoupe beach could get you in trouble. (Photo: Cristian Ruz/Flickr)

There’s nothing worse than seeing a friend sipping a cocktail on a beach while you’re slogging away at work. It’s, dare we say, kind of braggy. That’s why a section of La Garoupe, a popular beach in Southern France, has designated “No braggy zones.” Last August, the beach was patrolled by police who shut down anyone taking a selfie. It was a not-so-subtle way of saying, “Be happy. But keep it to yourself.”

Pamplona, Spain

This guy was fined more than $4,000 for snapping this selfie. (Photo: Getty)

You might assume that people running from a pack of horned animals would want to focus. But where there is danger, you’ll find selfies. Last summer, a man took the most dangerous selfie ever while running with the bulls. The photo went viral, and he was subsequently fined about $4,000 for snapping the selfie. Why the hefty fee? Spanish authorities have passed a law banning the use of recording equipment during the running of the bulls — and this includes selfies. So the moral of this story is to have a friend snap a photo of you running from a nearby balcony… or just don’t run it at all!

New York 

Taking a selfie with a tiger is pretty insane. Especially when you see those teeth. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Last year millions of people (mainly men) showed their wild side by posting selfies with tigers on dating sites like Tinder. While these photo ops can be impressive, they aren’t necessarily great for the animals. Typically these large cats are heavily drugged for the photos, and animal lovers everywhere deem the practice to be exploitative. To protect the animals, New York has become the first state to ban photos posing with these large and beautiful creatures. Guess those guys will have to find another way to impress women online.

Iran

You can take a selfie by yourself…just not with the team. (Photo: Getty)

Taking a selfie with your favorite athlete can feel like winning the Super Bowl. And it’s well within your “fan” rights to snap a picture should the opportunity arise. Unless you’re in Iran, that is. Ali Akbar Mohamedzade, head of the Iranian Football Federation’s moral committee, issued an order that forbids players, coaches, and other team staff from posing with female fans in Australia. He’s worried that photos with women who are not dressed or acting in accordance with strict Islamic code could use the photos for political gain. This comes as no surprise seeing as women aren’t allowed to attend games in the Islamic Republic because of gender segregation.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

A seflie in front of a large crowd in Mecca. (Photo: nazmitutuncu/Instagram)

Every year, millions of Muslims travel to Mecca to engage in prayer, participate in rituals, and take a moment for self-reflection. And what says “self-reflection” better than posting a selfie of your pilgrimage? To put it lightly, religious leaders are not impressed by the growing number of selfies being taken by Muslims on their haj pilgrimage. They believe that taking photos distracts participants from fully engaging in the experience, and we couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing harder than praying and posting at the same time.

England and South Korea

Use your selfie stick in moderation.

Ah, the selfie stick. This plastic pole attaches to your smartphone and allows users to capture the perfect photo. Unfortunately, they’re pretty awkward and get in the way when used in a large crowd. That’s why venues like the O2 Arena and Brixton Academy in Great Britain have banned people from using selfie sticks during events. South Korea has also issued a lockdown on the selfie stick craze. Some sticks use Bluetooth and, if unlicensed, can cause other devices, like cell phones, to malfunction. To crack down on frauds, South Korea will issue a $30,000 fine and possible three-year jail sentence to those using unauthorized brands. That’s a high price to pay for the “perfect” photo.

Travel to NYC’s Airports in Six Minutes? Here’s How Gotham Air Does It

Traveling to JFK can take less time than waiting in line for your morning cup of coffee. Seriously.

Gotham Air flies travelers in helicopters to JFK or Newark Liberty airports in as little as six minutes from one of three Manhattan locations.

Service can be booked via the Gotham Air website, or through the GothamAir app (coming soon).

One-way fares cost $199 to $219, depending on the time of departure, but first-time users can book a $99 ride. A 90-day testing period begins on February 9, when the company will charter a couple of flights each day, says CEO Tim Hayes.

“After that, we expect to have shared chartered flights flying every hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” says Hayes.” Of course, we can fly in and out of Manhattan 24 hours a day, but we want to focus on the peak travel periods to start.”

Complimentary Bouchon Bakery hors d’oeuvres and beverage services are available in the VIP room before the flight — which of course will start (or end) any trip on the right foot.

“I don’t think people spend their hard-earned money to visit New York on vacation with the hope of spending an hour in the Lincoln Tunnel behind a bus,” says Hayes.

The fleet of helicopters includes seven Bell 407s, one Sikorsky S76 C+, and one Bell 427. In the event of bad weather, Gotham Air will pick up patrons in Teslas and commute them from Manhattan to their respective airports.

“We have big plans in place for expanded routes, but we are focused on the airport routes now,” says Hayes. “With 50 million travelers passing through EWR and JFK each year, those routes should keep us busy for a while.”

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Hot Deals Deal Alert: Delta Puts Hawaii Flights On Sale

Craving a tropical getaway? If you can travel to Hawaii between now and March 18, the savings on airfare are huge if you book through Delta Airlines.

Hawaii’s islands are extending a little bit of “mahalo” (Hawaiian for gratitude) by partnering with Delta on rock-bottom fares. The sale — for flights between Hawaii and the 48 contiguous United States — runs through February 16 and travel must commence no earlier than February 17.

Just how big is this sale? Round-trip flights start at $434.

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Disaster Tourism: Is It Right To Go?

Disaster-Tourism

Earlier this week, Japan announced that the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was hit by a tsunami in 2011 – and subsequently spewed radioactive chemicals into the environment – is opening up as a tourist attraction, complete with restaurants, souvenir shops, a tsunami-focused museum, and hotels. The idea is to educate future generations on the impact of the disaster, as well as support the local economy with new jobs. In reality, who, I wonder, will actually be going here?

Even without the context of the tsunami, it seems like a strange idea no matter how you slice it. I consider myself an open-minded traveler, but not in a million years would ‘nuclear plant’ ever cross my mind as a place I would want to spend my vacation. Four Seasons hotel, yes. White sandy beach, absolutely. But a themed resort on the edge of a steel-and-concrete labyrinth that still tests high for radiation levels? Er, no thanks.

When planning a future trip to somewhere recently hit by a natural or man-made disaster, it’s easy to focus on the negatives – will public transportation be affected? Is the economy depressed? Are people still even going here? Whether that thinking is constructive or dismissive, it at least helps process our role as foreigners in a potentially vulnerable part of the world.

But the idea of ‘sightseeing’ through a disaster zone strikes a funny chord. Call it masochistic. Call it a waste of money. Call it “disaster voyeurism” (as a NY Times writer did last year). Either way, a surprising number of travel agencies and tour operators appear to be cashing in on destinations for the sheer spectacle of their recent disasters.

Take Haiti: A Guardian article published last month advocates tourism as a major potential resource for getting post-earthquake Haiti back on track. In it, the writer (who’s Haitian) claims Haiti is “one of the safest places in the Americas, in terms of drugs and crime, and we are blessed with some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches and unspoiled countryside.” But in the months following the earthquake, those praises likely fell on deaf ears.

Yes, there were those who made a beeline down to Port-au-Prince to volunteer in hospitals and shelters. But what about the travelers who’d booked leisure trips in Haiti before the earthquake, and who (like it or not) had little regard for the recent disaster? Their minds were fixed on one question only: When will it be okay again to visit a destination that’s still in the process of recovery?

The economic boost these types of destinations need (and occasionally, receive) from tourism cannot be underestimated. In the case of New Orleans, several “Hurricane Katrina Aftermath” tours began popping up several years ago, run by companies like Grayline and Cajun Encounters (both culprits of the NY Times‘ alleged “disaster voyeurism”). Their itineraries included shuttling visitors into the Lower Ninth Ward, where damage was the most visible, subsequently turning the ruined houses, overgrown lawns, and abandoned cars into a kind of spectacle.

Eight years later, the New Orleans issue is less sensitive (though still controversial for many), and, thankfully, most tourists today are more concerned with where to find a good cocktail in the French Quarter, and finding a good hotel deal. But for the more recent tragedies, and the ones still to occur, the moral conundrum remains: Is there a line that tourists shouldn’t cross when visiting decimated areas? Educational tours can indeed be productive, but if the disaster is still fresh in the minds of locals, how soon is too soon to visit?

We’re curious to hear your thoughts: Have you ever traveled to a destination that experienced a recent natural or man-made disaster? Would you? Let us know in the comment section below!