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By Jennifer Jones

If the stress of everyday life in an ever-changing world has you feeling a little run down, a wellness vacation in the Southwest will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, ready to handle whatever comes your way.

The American Southwest offers one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. This, paired with its relaxed and laid back way of life, makes this desert region the perfect escape from fast-paced life. With its fresh air and warm sunshine, it is pretty hard to feel stressed as you travel to new places to find new meaning and perspective. So, no matter if you prefer a traditional all-inclusive wellness resort getaway or an active tour off the Southwest, get ready unwind and be in the moment.

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa – SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA

Known for its relaxing and laid back vibe is the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa is surrounded by cacti, tall desert palms, and elegant rolling mountains. Here you will be able to catch a glimpse of the Valley of the Sun at its finest. The location is ideal as it is only a short drive from downtown Phoenix. Its location near downtown Scottsdale allows you to experience chic restaurants, great shopping, and beautiful art galleries.

The resort dates back to the 1930s and is decorated in the traditional Southwest style that is evident when first stepping into the lobby with its warm leather chairs, rich wood floors and large cozy fireplace. The spacious casita-style rooms feature decor inspired by the desert, gorgeous log-beamed ceilings and French doors that open onto a private balcony or patio. Some of the suites even have their own private swimming pools.

For the ultimate in relaxation, head to the Spa at Camelback Inn to experience firsthand the therapeutic benefits of the desert. Try the Natural Agave Toning Wrap which will leave you feeling more youthful. It all starts with a full-body exfoliation followed by an application of prickly pear cactus gel that promotes circulation, bringing a healthy, vibrant glow to the skin and improving the skin's elasticity. It is followed by agave nectar oil, infused with agave plant extracts, sandalwood, barley, and amurense bark, to boost skin's moisture content and give it a more hydrated, plumper and less wrinkled appearance.

Of course there are plenty other first-class amenities at JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback including two 18-hole championship golf courses, heated outdoor pools, garden terraces, and the countless desert hiking trails of the Sonoran Desert.


Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks of the Southwest tour by Tauck

For the more adventurous and anyone looking for a special outdoor experience, Tauck offers the Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks of the Southwest tour. Since 1925, travelers have trusted Tauck for seamless and inclusive travel, with all details taken care of.

Tauck’s 10-day excursion that starts in Moab, Utah at the scenic Red Cliffs Lodge. Here you’ll spend your first day at Arches National Park where you’ll experience the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches as well as a scenic float trip down the Colorado River. The postcard-worthy landscapes will keep you amazed as you explore Canyonlands National Park and its mesas, canyons, and buttes that overlook the Colorado and Green Rivers. As the sun sets, dinner will be served a la picnic style at Dead Horse Point allowing you to look back on the memorable day you have just had.

Now that you’ve caught the outdoor adventure bug, enjoy a helicopter ride over Capital Reef and its cliffs, canyons, bridges, domes, and other unique rock formations. Capital Reef is known for its fairytale landscape and landmarks like the Chimney Rock Pillar, the Hickman Bridge Arch, and Cathedral Valley. Other parks you will get to experience include Bryce Canyon, where you can hike at dawn to see the sun's rays illuminating the hoodoos (tall skinny shafts of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins), and Zion National Park, with its expansive canyon and natural rock arches.

You’ve move on to wee Pipe Spring National Monument’s historic forts, gardens, and a ridge trail. Pipe Spring served as a water oasis for Native Americans and Mormon ranchers looking for a reprise from the desert heat. And no trip to the American Southwest would be complete without a visit to Grand Canyon National Park where you can witness the grandeur and beauty of the layered bands of colorful rock which reveal millions of years of geologic history.


La Posada de Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa – SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO

Soaking up plenty of R&R is what a stay at La Posada de Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico is all about. This historic and upscale inn located near Santa Fe Plaza has an emphasis on beautiful local art. Dating back to the 19th century, the hotel has an on-staff art curator who rotates a large number of paintings on display within public spaces as well as in the rooms.

Situated on six-acres with lush landscaping, La Posada has the perfect blend of cozy outdoor spaces as well as warm and inviting indoor spaces. Originally built in classic Santa Fe revival style as a private home for Santa Fe merchant Abraham Staab in 1882, every room at La Posada is unique with charming Southwestern style interiors such as wood-beamed ceilings and wrought-iron light fixtures.

The resort’s Spa Sage is the ultimate indulgence when you want to treat yourself to an enchanting retreat. Try the Santa Fe Chocolate Chile Wrap which is just one of the many treatments offered that are influenced by Southwest traditions. Also on-site you will find a full-service salon, complimentary yoga and Pilates classes, as well as a modern fitness center. The heated saltwater pool is open year-round and features a tranquil whirlpool and a peaceful deck with cushy padded lounge chairs. La Posada offers complimentary seasonal activities such as art tours, tequila tastings, s’mores by the fireplace, and afternoon tea. Located a short walk away, the historic Santa Fe Plaza has plenty of outstanding restaurants, bars, and shops as well as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art.


The Spa Replenishment & Golf Delights vacation by Journese

Journese has built a solid reputation for making travel seamless and effortless, while creating a meticulously planned journey. The travel company is known for their world-class service, which is enhanced by first-class air and upscale once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Simply put, each vacation with Journese will leave you excited to plan the next!

The Spa Replenishment & Golf Delights vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona by Journese is an unforgettable 5 night, 6 day well-being experience. This relaxing retreat is centered around the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch in the heart of Scottsdale. Your Casita Suite overlooks the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the majestic McDowell Mountains. The resort is just mere miles from Old Town Scottsdale as well as metropolitan Phoenix, yet remains serene and peaceful.

The resort offers a 2.5-acre water playground complete with 10 swimming pools,45 waterfalls, a soft sand beach, and an exhilarating 3-story, high speed water slide that are perfect for the adventurous or for those that want to sit back and read a good book. The on-site spa, Spa Avania, offers amenities such as 19 treatment rooms, a French-Celtic mineral pool, a Himalayan Salt Room, relaxing lotus pond, trellis covered outdoor relaxation areas, steam room, sauna, hot and cold plunges, and full-service salon.

Guests will enjoy their favorite music with live nightly entertainment or can have a romantic dinner with a custom chef-prepared, four-course menu that is artfully paired with tequila and wine options for a fun and unique experience.

Golfers of all skill levels will be surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains while they tee off at one of the top-rated golf courses in the Southwest. Gainey Ranch Golf Club offers three distinct nine-hole courses, all with incredible views. But then again, you may not even want to leave the room! Your chic and sophisticated suite features a wood-burning fireplace, plush living area, a rooftop deck with magical mountain views, and Regency Club access with extra perks including a light European-style breakfast, snacks, and evening hors d'oeuvres.


JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa – PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Sitting amongst 316 acres of the breathtaking Sonoran Desert is the award-winning AAA 4-Diamond JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Located near Desert Ridge Marketplace and Cave Creek, this resort is also close to Historic Old Town Scottsdale, Tournament Players Club Scottsdale, Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix Art Museum, Desert Botanical Gardens, Chase Field, Scottsdale Center of the Arts and Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West.

The resort’s captivating desert mountain setting is highlighted by its exquisite accommodations and amenities. All guest rooms and suites feature private balconies or patios with impressive desert vistas or striking mountain views. All accommodations are spacious and gracefully designed. The 2,240-square-foot, one-bedroom Presidential Suite offers a king bed with JW Luxury Bedding, Aromatherapy Associates bath amenities, smart TV, a living/sitting area, floor to ceiling windows, and a luxurious bathtub with spray jets.

Also on-site you’ll find the award-winning Revive Spa and championship Wildfire Golf Club, home to the LPGA Founders Cup. Once you step into the Revive Spa’s peaceful lobby featuring a central water feature, your mind will be at ease as you indulge in a variety of spa therapies including massages, facials, and body treatments. The newly enhanced 3,500-square-foot Fitness Center, featuring cardiovascular machines and free weights, is available to make sure you don’t miss a step. For those looking to cool off in the desert heat, the resort is home to five pools, a waterslide, kids splash pad, and a lazy river. Reserve a poolside cabana for the ultimate relaxation experience.

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is also home to exquisite dining. Three on-site restaurants offer everything from American cuisine to Asain specialties. Stonegrill features regional and local dining in a relaxed restaurant atmosphere. For a great craft cocktail, visit Twenty6 and its sleek lounge. The upscale Meritage, located within Desert Ridge Golf Club, offers steaks and a great assortment of local beers.

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