Whole Life Magazine

December 2018 / January 2019

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18 wholelifetimes.com Holidays in Utah THE M AJEST Y OF NATUR E'S GIFTS BY GENIE DAV IS Photo: Courtesy of National Park Service T raveling in Utah is an exceptional experience. It's where nature — soaring red rock cliffs, glorious sandstone mountains, mysterious glacial rock formations, and the fossils of oceans past — meets nurture in the form of beautiful accommodations and fine food. A visit to the state can be even more transcendent in the winter, with icicles dripping from the crags of boulders and soft snow dotting the red rock spires. And with amazing dining spots, a luxury adventure spa, and vibrant lodging choices across the state, it's a great location for any nature lover to spend the holidays. Just outside St. George, Red Mountain Resort serves up gourmet meals, exercise and meditation classes, and a stunning setting ringed by red rock. Rooms are fresh and modern; family style "apartments" with two bedrooms, a fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, and porch or patio are even better. The latter are positioned around a pool and hot tub, one of several on the property; it's an exceptional treat to steam in the latter while snowflakes fall. Stargaze, circle a spiral labyrinth, attend classes as diverse as Zumba, body-aligning ChiBall stretch, guided meditation, or outdoor yoga in nearby Snow Canyon — vastly worth exploration in its own right, with sweeping Navajo sandstone, lava tubes, and petrified dunes. Morning hikes originating at the resort are available at three different levels from Entry level to Explorer hikes to challenging Endurance hikes. As the morning chill dissipates and the hike leader points out the region's flora, fauna, and maybe a petroglyph or two, you'll revel in the beauty of the region and the thoughtfulness the resort uses in preserving it. Return from an excursion to a warm fire and fabulous meal in the resort's dining room. From an exceptional tofu scramble for breakfast to baked eggplant or seafood paella for lunch, or choices such as pan-roasted sea bass and polenta lasagna at dinner, the menu accommodates vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, and meat eaters with equal aplomb. Organic produce and healthy, natural recipes never stint on innovative style. Delicious wine-based cocktails and an extensive wine and beer list balance a menu that includes a changing confection of desserts. And of course, don't miss a visit to the spa, where an expansive mountain view spreads out before soft loungers in the reception area, and nature-focused treatments such as a hydrating Agave Ritual massage and scrub, or a Warm Detox Wrap awaits. Try a Warm Himalayan Salt Stone massage or the Zen experience of crystal bowl Vibration Sound Therapy. Guests can stay "a la carte" with meals, classes, and hikes available for individual fees; or purchase an inclusive package. Driving into Springdale, Utah, from a spa stay, we weren't sure how anything could match the Red Mountain Spa experience. Ah, but we were wrong…. Zion itself is a wonder at any season; but wear your puffy winter jacket, hat, and gloves, to explore the park with minimal crowding. From a stroll along the Virgin River to the Narrows, where canyon walls tower overhead; to a visit to Weeping Rock, where the natural spring seepage forms icicle tears, you won't be disappointed. In the mid-afternoon, we were tying our jackets around our waists.

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