This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
As if you needed another reason to take a spa getaway, now there's scientific proof that it benefits your health. A Thomas Jefferson University study found that a seven-day stay can result in an average loss of 6.8 pounds as well as a significant drop in blood pressure and tension. Even a weekend away will yield benefits, says study author Andrew Newberg, M.D., but, of course, "The longer a person reduces their stresses and maintains a healthy lifestyle and diet, the better."
Auberge du Soleil
At the 50-room Auberge du Soleil (180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, Calif., aubergedusoleil.com), the 7,000-square-foot stand-alone spa overlooks the resort's 33 acres on the edge of Napa Valley. Newly renovated rooms by San Francisco designer Suzanne Tucker include French country-themed decor and bathrooms with heated limestone floors. Indulge in vineyard-inspired treatments such as a 90-minute Warm Grapeseed Oil Massage ($270) or the four-hour Opus ($655), which includes a grapeseed steam, body masque, full-body massage (scalp too!) and facial. Resort fans include Heidi Klum, Ryan Seacrest and Will Smith producing partner James Lassiter. Rooms from $600 to $5,000 a night.
The sprawling, oceanfront Bacara resort just north of Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave., bacararesort.com) boasts a four-story, Spanish Colonial-style spa, with a heated infinity saline pool (no bloodshot eyes!) and a 3,500 square-foot fitness center. (No wonder Katy Perry, Jon Peters and Oprah Winfrey have been guests.) Try the new Best of Bacara package, which includes an overnight stay as well as two 50-minute Swedish massages or two organic facials ($499 and up). Rooms from $299 per night.
Four Seasons Los Angeles
The 285-room Four Seasons (300 South Doheny Drive, fourseasons.com) offers stress relief with a myriad of internationally inspired massages. The 90-minute Ku Nye ($250) kneads out shoulder knots with acupressure and Chinese cupping (recall those strange circles on Gwyneth Paltrow's back several years ago? You'll have them, too!), while the 90-minute Punta Mita Tequila ($240) incorporates the clear spirit and sage to rev circulation. Rooms from $495 per night.
Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Escape the lures of Sin City at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South, mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas). Its gorgeous two-floor spa is designed to evoke 1930s Shanghai. Special spa suites, decorated with black lacquer and yards of silk, can be booked for four hours, plenty of time to test the newly unveiled packages -- available Jan. 23 through Feb. 28 -- to celebrate the Year of the Water Snake in the Chinese calendar. One offering: Destiny of the Water Serpent ($280 on weekends; $240 weekdays) includes a foot ritual, a massage and a whole-body warm mud mask. Rooms from $195 per night.
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
A quick two-hour flight from L.A., Miraval Arizona (5000 E. Via Estancia Miraval, Tucson, miravalresorts.com) is an all-inclusive spa lover's paradise extolled by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, George Lucas and E!'s Giuliana Rancic. Low-fat meals (made with veggies from the resort's organic garden), fat-shredding fitness classes (the 24 options include yoga classes and a Zen Boot Camp) and, yep, luxurious spa treatments all are part of the deal. The 16,000-square-foot Life in Balance Spa With Clarins opened in May 2012. There are 23 treatment rooms, including six tents, created by renowned New York City designer Clodagh, and each tent has stone floors and walls made of cacti. There's also a private suite where guests can sample the extensive spa menu. Sharon Stone recently got Naga, a Thai massage where you're suspended from silk sheets anchored on the ceiling ($215 for 50 minutes). Rooms from $475 per night.
Peninsula Beverly Hills
Get R&R without having to sleep over: The Peninsula (9882 South Santa Monica Blvd., peninsula.com/beverly_hills) has three new cabanas that you can lounge in ($250 to $350 a day) even if you're not staying at the five-star hotel. A Day of Serenity ($650) includes a massage, facial, pedicure and lunch along with all-day use of the rooftop pool and cabana. To recharge skin, consider the spa's new derm-endorsed CACI Ultra Facials, with micro-currents and LED light therapy to boost collagen and erase lines ($245 to $375). Rooms from $520 per night.
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Breathtaking views of the Pacific abound at Pelican Hill, 45 minutes south of L.A. (22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Coast, pelicanhill.com). The 504-acre Tuscan-style resort has 204 bungalows and 128 villas -- with limestone fireplaces and deep granite tubs -- which have hosted Kate Beckinsale and Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet. New for 2013:The Coastal Spa Renewal Experience (starting at $785, including accommodations) packs in two 50-minute treatments, a beach hike and fitness classes, plus lunch. Rooms from $325 per night.
We Care Spa
For those looking for serious cleansing -- including A-listers such as Cameron Diaz, Ron Meyer and Tom Ford -- the lush grounds of We Care (18000 Long Canyon Road, Desert Hot Springs, wecarespa.com), about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, host four guestroom levels, including private villas with in-room juice bars. But it's really about the detox: a roughly 800-calorie-per-day liquid diet and several colonics. Most people shed about seven pounds in a week. There's also plenty of pampering: The hour-long Sea Results Body Wrap ($145) is like a facial for the whole body. Six-day stay, $2,538 to $3,749.