World's Best Eco-Spas

by Madhu Puri

Big Sur, California

The spa: Post Ranch Inn

Green peace: The Post Ranch Inn sits on 100 acres along the storied Highway 1, but only ten percent of those acres have been developed. The rest of the land is used for preservation programs for indigenous species like the red-legged frog and California condor. The part of the land that is developed barely looks it. "Biostructure" architecture blends buildings into their environment, such as cliffside guesthouses with hill-shaped roofs covered in flowering sod (which helps reduce the loss of heat) and outdoor hot tubs carved right into granite boulders. Tree houses are built on stilts to protect the fragile roots of redwoods and oaks, and heating and cooling units switch off when doors are opened. The spa uses active organic ingredients in its oils, body butters, bath salts, and skincare products, some solar-infused with the fragrance of local flowers and all containing medicinal herbs, minerals, and natural fruit acids found on site. The hippy dippy spirit is alive and well with shamans on call for "illumination," "soul retrieval," and "divination." Or you can just chill in your rustic-luxe accommodations, which belie all preconceived notions of an "earth-friendly" compound. Being green is no sacrifice when you're getting an in-room massage beside your own private fireplace.

Signature treatment: Pollinating honey from Post Ranch flowers, a resident beekeeper and her 18 hives supply the main ingredient for the spa's soothing facials ($125).

Post Ranch Inn
Tel: 800 527 2200
Doubles from $550

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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