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OPERATIONS

Travel: Vacations of Steel
 

So work is making a mockery of your fitness goals? Lose the stress and a few pounds at these retreats.
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It's a sad truth: Putting in long hours at the office might make your company look more attractive to investors, but it does nothing for the way you look in a bathing suit. Perhaps a vacation is in order. Whether you prefer pampering yoga-and-wellness spas or killer boot camps, these fitness retreats will help you get in shape while you get away.

Om It All Away

Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos

The Regimen: This private island resort is a favorite among the harried Hollywood set and anyone else seeking tranquility and posh accommodations. The COMO Shambhala spa offers daily yoga and Pilates classes in an airy studio overlooking the water. For a more intense mind-body experience (i.e., five hours of yoga a day), plan your trip during one of the weeklong yoga retreats, featuring instruction from yoga masters such as Rodney Yee and a special menu of whole grains, raw foods, and local fish.

Sign Me Up: From $285 a night, six-night retreats from $3,120; www.parrotcay.como.bz


Workout With Southwest Flavor

Santa Fe Mountain Adventures in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Regimen: This new outfitter offers a grab bag of outdoor activities distinctive to the northern New Mexico setting. You can choose to hike through Bandelier National Monument, white-water raft down the Rio Grande, climb the towering Tent Rocks, go horseback riding, or try mountain biking. At the end of the day, you'll bunk down at one of three nearby luxury inns, where you can recharge with heated stone massages and refuel on lobster and shrimp enchiladas.

Sign Me Up: Activities from $100 a day, lodgings from $190 a night; www.santafemountainadventures.com


Beyond Shuffleboard

Crystal Cruises

The Regimen: Dispel forever the image of the sedentary cruise-ship passenger when you hop aboard one of Crystal's health and fitness cruises. Destinations and program schedules vary from year to year, but you might find yourself biking in Belize or exploring St. Barts on horseback. Onboard, you'll find a wide selection of yoga and dance classes, as well as tai chi taught by the founders of the Tai Chi Cultural Center. Adding to the holistic vibe is the 6,000-square-foot spa and fitness facility, designed with feng shui principles in mind.

Sign Me Up: Ten-day fitness cruises from $2,950; www.crystalcruises.com


Spartan Boot Camp

The Ashram in Santa Monica, California, and Majorca, Spain

The Regimen: These boot camp spas are designed to purify the mind and torture the body. Oprah is a fan, and Renée Zellwegger came to one of them to lose two sets of Bridget Jones pounds. Whether you visit the Ashram in Spain or California, the weeklong retreats will test your endurance. A typical day involves several hours of yoga and 16 arduous miles of hiking through the mountains. Meditation, weight training, pool aerobics, and a daily massage are also integral to the body makeover regime.

Sign Me Up: $4,000 for a week; www.theashram.com


The Scenic (Uphill) Route

Exum Mountain Guides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Regimen: Bored with your StairMaster? Climb something more interesting, like the stunning summits of the Teton Range near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Popular guided jaunts include a nine-mile hike up the Hanging Canyon trail and a trip up Mount Woodring, a 11,590-foot peak with views of Mount Moran and Grand Teton. When you're done pushing your body to its limits, settle into a base camp like the nearby Four Seasons Jackson Hole.

Sign Me Up: One-day climbs from $120, www.exumguides.com; lodging from $500 a night, www.fourseasons.com


Bikini Boot Camp

Amansala Eco-Chic Resort in Tulum, Mexico

The Regimen: The beach is your gym at Amansala's weeklong co-ed "bikini boot camp." On the sands of Tulum, your days can start with a power walk and ab workout or Pilates and strength-training classes. Then you can paddle kayaks in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, go snorkeling in the cenotes--swimming holes fed by underground rivers--and tour the area's Mayan ruins. Cool down at sunset with Mayan clay treatments, massages, and yoga. Rest assured, no one will bark at you at this boot camp.

Sign Me Up: $1,842; www.amansala.com


Hang Ten to Lose Ten

Pacific Surf School in Vancouver Island, Canada

The Regimen: Your introduction to surferdom begins with daily surf lessons, yoga, and a taste of the good life on Vancouver Island's pristine beaches. With year-round waves, Tofino is the epicenter of Canadian surfing. In winter, expert surfers flock to ride the massive waves kicked up as Gulf of Alaska storms lash the coastline. For beginners, summertime brings manageable surf ideal for learning how to stand up, read the sea, and not get so much water up your nose when you wipe out.

Sign Me Up: $800 for four days; www.pacificsurfschool.com

 

Last updated: Jul 1, 2006




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