Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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68 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A CA.SPAS & WELLNESS Retreat and Reinvigorate California's spa culture is the new R&R BY LAVINIA SPALDING In San Francisco's vibrant Japantown dis- trict, buses and bikes whiz by, teens congregate and people text as fast as they walk. But inside the Kabuki Hot Springs, the city vanishes. The only sounds in the dimly lit, Japanese-style communal baths are the gentle splashing of water and occasional strains of soothing music. In the sauna, you can lie back and detoxify as you treat your eyes to chilled cucumber slices. Then hit the steam room and exfoliate with lemon and sea salt. Follow with a long, lazy soak in the hot tub, and if you're brave, a cold plunge. When you're finished, start all over again. In fact, linger all day: it only costs $25. For people around the world, the name "California" means escape and conjures images of sunny beaches. But in today's demanding, perpetually wired world, a true vacation requires more than just a break from the office; it takes unplugging, purifying and restoring. Luckily, this is practically the state motto. California has been a resort destination since the early 20 th century, beckoning travelers with its year-round warm weather, spectacular geography and min- eral springs. The 1950s brought yoga to the state, and the 1960s ushered in a wave of young hippies passionate about all-natural food and intentional living. Today, Cali- fornia is the nation's vortex of personal health and self-improvement, with spas and wellness centers almost as ubiquitous as scenic views. From five-star luxury resorts and posh day spas to holistic NAPA VALLEY This celebrated region and neighboring Sonoma Valley are known primarily for their wine, but their appeal runs deeper than that. You can pamper yourself at luxury spas—such as Meadowood in Saint Helena, above, or the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, opposite page—dine at some of California's (and the USA's) best restaurants, shop at trendy boutiques or live a liXle rougher and explore wild state parks. MEADOWOOD SPA . OPPOSITE: SONOMA MISSION INN & SPA

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