Restorative travel to feed your soul

By Katia Hetter, Special to CNNUpdated 28th February 2012
You aren't heading to the gym anymore. That balanced dinner with veggies and grains seems not so appealing. And those New Year's resolutions? Who can remember what they are, let alone what you have failed to keep doing?
As we head into the last few winter weeks without much to break up the monotony, it could be time to jump-start those long-forgotten goals. Without some attention to rejuvenating ourselves, how can we ever care for all those people who need us?
About 37% of consumers plan to spend more or the same amount of money this year as they spent last year on yoga retreats, fitness cruises and other fitness vacations, according to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey taken in January. About 6% are planning to take a spa vacation in 2012, and 17% are planning on an outdoor adventure trip, according to the same survey.
Here are some retreats and trips designed to give you some "me" time, restore your spirit and your body, and return you home with just a few weeks before spring blossoms.
Stress reduction in the Utah mountains
Red Mountain Resort offers relaxation, fitness and adventure options amid St. George, Utah's, canyons and cliffs. Visitors can stay on site and enjoy the resort's spa and fitness programs; learn to cook healthy options; play golf; go horseback riding, biking or kayaking; or head out to Zion National Park on group trips or customized visits. Weight-loss and fitness-intensive retreats are available throughout the year. Andrea Hanson, who was trained and certified by Deepak Chopra, occasionally offers stress reduction workshops through hiking, meditation and yoga. The Essential Retreat Package begins at $230 per person per night and, in addition to lodging, includes meals, fitness classes and other benefits. The stress reduction workshop is an additional $450.
Head to Muscle Beach with the kids
If you can't bear to leave your children behind, bring them to the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California. Enjoy the hotel's "Fit for Fun" activities, including yoga classes and surfing lessons at Muscle Beach, guided hikes through the Santa Monica Mountains, "Run from the paparazzi" jogging sessions and adventure bike rides along Muscle Beach's star-studded bike path. If the parents want some alone time during the day, the hotel can help you get a sitter. During the hotel's "Spring Break" special starting March 15 and continuing through May 1, room prices start at $359 a night and include kids staying and eating for free. For reservations, call 800-23-LOEWS or visit the hotel website.
Yoga on a Mexican beach
Head to Tulum, Mexico, for a week's retreat to focus on yoga and writing, for beginners and veterans alike. Vinyasa yoga teacher Jennifer Schelter, who has led her oceanfront retreat for five years, has invited writer Laura Munson, author of the best-selling book "This Is Not the Story You Think It Is," to lead the writing component. "We will be focusing on taking a hunger for mind/body connection into very specific daily exercises that will challenge, deepen and strengthen the commitment to authentic expression," Munson said. "Having trouble with entitlement or self-worth? Here's a way to work through that in your body, and here's a way to work through that on the page." (Tulum is in the state of Quintana Roo, which had no restrictions listed in the U.S. State Department's February 8, 2012, advisory on travel to Mexico.) Retreat rates start at $2,005 per person (double occupancy) and include three meals daily and tip.
A "Dirty Dancing"-style resort
Perhaps you'd like to head to a resort where most meals are rolled into the rate, dancing is sometimes scheduled at night and the ice rink is open to anyone who wants to skate that day (in winter season). Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York is an all-inclusive resort, where most meals, fitness classes and many activities are included in the daily room rate. If you want to spend a little extra, head to the spa for a massage or beauty treatment or drive to the nearby Culinary Institute of America for a student-cooked meal when classes are in session. Wonderful Winter Weekend Getaway daily rates start at $270 per person (double occupancy) and include three meals daily. Midweek Winter Getaway daily rates start at $170 (double occupancy) and include breakfast and dinner.
Design your own weekend
Head to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains, where novices and yogis alike can receive training tailored to their abilities and available time. (Professional training is available for those wishing to become yoga teachers, massage therapists and Ayurvedic consultants.) Hiking, massages and many different types of bodywork classes are available. Weekends focused on specific health or wellness issues are also offered. Dormitory rooms start at $84 per night midweek ($95 on weekends and holidays); standard rooms with hall bathrooms start at $107 midweek ($122 on weekends and holidays); and standard plus rooms with private baths start at $183 midweek ($208 on weekends and holidays). Classes and other services are extra.