Get Creative During a Spa Retreat

Last updated April 22, 2022

Creativity is increasingly being recognized as a secret advantage to health and well-being.

In fact, research over the past 20 years has consistently shown that losing yourself in painting, knitting, journaling, woodcarving and other hobbies can improve your mental health. 

And this revelation is not lost on wellness resorts and spas—many of which incorporate creative activities into their daily programs to calm the mind and inspire the heart and soul. 

Here are five of our favorite wellness resorts where you can get creative during a spa retreat. 

Get Creative at Lake Austin Spa Resort

Guitar at Lake Austin Spa Resort_Ryann Ford
Courtesy Lake Austin Spa Resort/Ryann Ford

This often-lauded luxury spa resort is located in a secluded area of the Texas Hill Country on, as the name suggests, Lake Austin, about 30 minutes outside the city. 

The resort is small—just forty rooms, all of them with views of the lake. They have a designated “Creative Rx” program featuring classes for all skill levels in activities like watercolor and acrylic painting, smartphone photography, paper crafting, journaling, basket weaving and making gratitude bracelets.  

Get Creative at Canyon Ranch 

get creative at canyon ranch woodside art class
Courtesy Canyon Ranch

The OG of wellness resorts, this iconic chain has a specialized “Reconnect with Joy” creative wellness pathway for guests who wish to learn how to express themselves creatively to enhance their health and wellness and promote mindfulness. 

Locations include Tucson, Arizona, and Lenox, Massachusetts. The offered creativity classes vary by week and day, and include origami, watercolor painting and ceramics. Live musical concerts in all genres (classical, Broadway, jazz, blues) are offered on many evenings. 

Canyon Ranch Woodside in California offers both short (45 minutes) and long (three days) courses in photography, including a Magic Hour (Sunrise) Photo Walk through a nature preserve.

Get Creative at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

get creative at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Courtesy Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Open since 1977, the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in the city of Rhinebeck in New York’s Hudson Valley is a center for spiritual learning, integrative wellness and holistic living.

Set on 250 acres filled with gardens, woods, nature trails and a lake, Omega is not a resort or spa (although it does offer many amenities, including massage and energy treatments). Rather it is known for its new-agey programming, which include a focus on creative activities like yoga mindfulness writing, mixed media art and painting.

Accommodations are rustic, ranging from tents to cabins. Rooms do not have TVs, but Wi-Fi is available in select rooms. 

Get Creative at The Lodge at Woodloch

One of the premier spa resorts on the East Coast, The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania, upped the ante on their creative offerings during the pandemic by building a new art studio. 

Facing out into the woods, the window-lined studio is filled with light and offers an ideal space to explore a variety of art forms. Classes vary daily and range from learning to paint a silk scarf to creating a porcelain coaster with alcohol inks, drawing with charcoal and pastels, constructing a decorative birdhouse and making a beaded bracelet. 

The instructors make it easy for guests of all skill levels to enjoy the creative process. In the evenings, The Lodge also offers guest artists (like me!), who teach classes in Zentangle® drawing and painting acrylic dots on rocks.

Get Creative at Ocean House

Ocean House Rhode Island
Courtesy Ocean House

This high-end Relais & Chateaux resort and spa is located in tony Watch Hill, Rhode Island, (Taylor Swift owns a summer home called Holiday House here) on 13 curated acres. 

Situated high on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the focal point is a huge yellow Victorian mansion that makes you feel like you’ve been reborn into the HBO series The Gilded Age, complete with a large art collection containing paintings dating from the 19th century through the 1990s. 

Private tours of the collection are available upon request or you can take a 45-minute self-guided audio tour, as well as view seasonal contemporary art exhibitions, attend art lectures and watch invited plein air artists and artists in residence paint on the grounds during the summer. Guests can also participate in wine and painting art experiences. 

Would you want to get creative during a spa retreat?

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