Travel Spotlight

Mexico’s Premier Spa

Rancho La Puerta is just one hour from San Diego, but it feels a million miles away. Set on 3,000 acres between the sea and the desert, the resort has been a favorite spa destination since it opened in 1940 by the Szekely family, who still operate the place today. Here, the emphasis is on back-to-nature living, whether that means hiking in the valleys beneath Mount Kuchumao, practicing yoga in the beautifully landscaped gardens or eating meals from the ranch’s own organic farm, Rancho Tres Estrellas.

For most guests, however, a highlight is time spent in the spa, which has three health and beauty centers, all of which include outdoor showers, saunas, steam room and hot tubs. Treatments are encouraged; in fact, The Ranch offers package deals like an unlimited spa “passport” that allows you as many treatments as you can pack into your stay. Guests can also take advantage of the complimentary skin care analysis and consultation.

Accommodation is in a series of casitas, which range in size from 470 square feet (ideal for couples) to a spacious 1,140-square-foot villa. No two are exactly alike but all feature colorful Mexican folk art and fireplaces. Note to HBO addicts: There are no televisions.

Meals are served in the grand Spanish dining room in the heart of the farm, with an ever-changing, seasonal menu that always includes a seafood dish and vegetarian option. The all-natural diet is so popular with guests, the resort also offers cooking classes and has published a book, Cooking with the Seasons. Stays are for a three- or four-day programs, or an intensive week-long package. Proof of how good the program is: The incredibly high rate of repeat guests, who return faithfully every year. You’ll find groups of women who reunite for the same week dozens of years since their very first visit.

Published onApril 13, 2009

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