Save or Splurge: 8 Yoga Retreats for Winter Relaxation

by  Alex Schechter | Jan 16, 2014
Gansevoort Turks and Caicos
Gansevoort Turks and Caicos / Photo courtesy of the property

Plenty of resorts promise to leave you feeling "relaxed and refreshed," but none are as likely to recharge your batteries as thoroughly as a body-and-mind-centering yoga retreat. Against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, or the beach, or, heck, the Chicago skyline, gorgeous surroundings can help boost your inner calm. And plush accommodations and endless options for indoor and outdoor activities don't hurt either. To help you sort through the pile, we've narrowed down the list into two categories, "splurge," and "save." Now, breathe in, and say "Ohm..."


1. Having officially opened last month, the Vines Resort & Spa has quickly become one of Argentina's most talked-about new properties, with 180-degree views over the Andes and easy access to Mendoza's 1,500 acres of vineyards. In addition to an underground spa, the 22-villa, wine-focused boutique resort is also a great place to get your yoga on. A variety of outdoor classes, both private and group, take place by the vineyards or the infinity pool, or in other intimate spots around the property. Rates from $1,809 per night.

2. Urban-hip brand Gansevoort has a reputation for keeping guests partying in New York, but at the Gansevoort Turks + Caicos, a focus on health and wellness leads to a more wholesome experience. Right now, the hotel's "Get Fit" package (from $925 per night with a 4-night minimum stay) is offering round-trip airport transfers, a 50-minute couples massage (followed by a free cocktail) at Exhale Spa, a breakfast buffet, fresh grilled fish each day, and, last but not least, two "exhale core fusion" classes held in an open-air yoga pavilion overlooking stunning Grace Bay. Even better, short direct flights from New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Miami make the resort practical for a weekend getaway.

3. At India's brand new wellness concept, Vana, Malsi Estate, a host of holistic health offerings (Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, Tibetan therapies, traditional Chinese medicine, spa treatments) practically guarantee guests will leave feeling better than when they arrived. The 21-acre estate sits in the foothills of the Himalayas, and is equipped with not one but three yoga studios, plus an outdoor yoga pavilion (ideal for those pre-dawn sun salutations!). Thanks to Vana's opening special, guests who book three nights receive one night free, and guests who book six nights receive two nights free. Rates from $515 per night, including all meals and access to all wellness areas and retreat activities.

4. With 24-hour butler service, 38 villas built right on the water, and an award-winning spa, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi may be the Maldives' most relaxation-inducing luxury resort. Guests can take part in pranayama (breath-based) yoga classes from the island's resident instructor. It's a great way to unwind after a taxing day snorkeling around the adjacent reef, kite surfing, wake boarding, or sailing. Rates from $3,420 per night, breakfast included.


1. If you find yourself in the Windy City this winter, a little in-room yoga could be just what the doctor ordered. After all, what could be more zen than never having to change out of your bathrobe? To help guests keep their health-themed New Year's resolutions, the Hotel Palomar is offering guests a yoga mat and fitness DVDs as part of its PaloFit Package (from $159 per night, valid for stays until January 31, 2014). Fresh fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks, along with a free class at local gym Barre Bee Fit studio, are also included.

2. Snow-covered Squaw Valley has enough peaks and trails to keep skiers happy all season long, but a new local yoga studio has added a fresh attraction to the town itself. Located in The Village at Squaw Valley, the 1,000-square-foot Wanderlust Yoga Studio (which is affiliated with the popular Wanderlust Yoga Festival) offers daily classes, workshops, and even organizes outdoor hikes. The town is currently running its "Stay + Ski + Yoga" package (from $183 per person, per night; two-night stay required; valid for stays until April 27, 2014), including 25 percent off your stay at The Village at Squaw Valley, two adult lift tickets, and a three-class pack at Wanderlust Yoga Studio.

3. We've already extolled the greatness of Sayulita, but just outside of town is the secluded Haramara Retreat, which is made up of 16 rustic cabañas and one 8-person dormitory. A central component of the resort are two expansive open-air shelters for yoga (since they face in opposite directions, they're nicknamed the Sunrise Shala and the Sunset Shala), each with high thatch roofs, hardwood floors, and panoramic views of the mountains and jungle. Rates from $298 per night, including breakfast and dinner.

4. Specializing in group yoga retreats, the AmaTierra eco-resort is comprised of ten private casitas spread across eight acres in the Costa Rican mountains about an hour west of San Jose.  The name of this back-to-nature resort even translates to "'beloved earth." Tons of activities, ranging from day trips to local hot springs to bird-watching to splashing around in the on-site infinity pool, will keep guests happy, but the resort's yoga program is one of its most popular features. A wide range of daily Hatha classes are offered to suit all ability levels, and the wellness center offers nutritional consultations, massage, aromatherapy, and other detox treatments. Rates from $120 per night, including breakfast; yoga classes ($12), lunch ($15), dinner ($25), are also available.

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