10 great places to relax your mind and body

— -- With the election, at long last, behind us, this is as good a time as any to step back, take a deep breath and try to relax before the holiday rush. Amy Westervelt, senior editor at Spa Magazine, shares her list of favorite retreats with USA TODAY.

Mandarin Oriental / New York City Manhattan is a holiday haven for shoppers, but best to relax between those laps around Fifth Avenue. Kick up your haute heels at the Mandarin Oriental and warm up in the Oriental Tea Lounge. If you simply can't slow down in your pursuit of peace, swim laps in the spa pool. "For a completely private escape, book the VIP Spa Suite, with its own fireplace, steam room and shower," Westervelt says. 866-801-8880; mandarinoriental.com/newyork

The Grand Del Mar / San Diego Say ahhhhh! At this royal retreat, "every single detail has been seen to," Westervelt says. "An adults-only spa pool if you want peace and quiet, a golf course that PGA pros visit often, beautiful spaces to hide away and relax, and an innovative treatment menu that incorporates exclusive aromatherapy and organic products." While taking in the grandeur and glamour, try the flotation bed, which has a reputation of putting guests into a deep and tranquil sleep within minutes. 858-314-2000; granddelmar.com

Las Ventanas al Paraiso / Los Cabos, Mexico "A stunning combination of desert and beach, Las Ventanas also offers some of the most amazing spa suites available anywhere," Westervelt says. "The two-room suites boast ocean views, an infinity Jacuzzi on one of your two private terraces, a private treatment room with its own terrace, a steam room large enough for you and friends, and a Vichy shower." 888-767-3966; lasventanas.com

Mauna Lani / Big Island, Hawaii If you prefer to unwind memorably, Westervelt suggests the Big Island's Mauna Lani for a spa experience you won't forget. Since exotic isn't exactly a foreign concept in Hawaii, take in the natural luxuries abounding here. "Absolutely everything taps into local beauty, ingredients and rituals — from the treatments themselves to the outdoor treatment areas, including a Watsu pool inside an actual lava tube," she says. 800-367-2323; maunalani.com

Mohonk Mountain House / New Paltz, N.Y. "A Victorian castle perched on the cliffs above a picturesque lake, Mohonk is a great place to cozy up in the wintertime," Westervelt says. This Hudson Valley haunt, which celebrates its 140th anniversary next year, offers ice skating, 85 miles of hiking trails, Scottish links modeled in the tradition of St. Andrews, as well as a maze in its gardens. "Plus, because they have been into the 'green' thing since even before Al Gore's movie, you needn't feel any environmental guilt about your spa weekend." 800-772-6646; mohonk.com

Mii amo at Enchantment / Sedona, Ariz. Because total relaxation cannot be achieved overnight, Mii amo "requires guests to stay three nights in order to complete a personal journey of their choosing," Westervelt says. Nature and nurture merge in Sedona, where this spa pampers guests with the help of its natural surroundings. "It's also located beside a beautiful red-rock canyon that contains a vortex: a swirl of subatomic energy thought to fuel healing or spiritual experiences." 888-749-2137; miiamo.com

Terme di Saturnia / Tuscany, Italy If you have to venture across the Atlantic Ocean to get away from it all, try the Terme di Saturnia on for size. "Some of the most famous mineral springs in a region renowned for its healing waters, Terme di Saturnia wraps everything that's wonderful about Tuscany — the wine, the food, the views, the charming people — into one sublime package," Westervelt says. When not finding your center in the spa, hit the heated pool park, the on-site art gallery or explore the nearby medieval villages. 800-745-8883; termedisaturnia.it/en

The Caves / Negril, Jamaica "While there's no beach at The Caves, it offers something that may be slightly better: ladders that lead straight into the ocean," Westervelt says. "Climb down for a swim, or jump from the rocks above if you're feeling daring." The Aveda spa includes open-air treatment huts and outdoor showers, which adds romance to your R&R. 800-688-7678; thecavesresort.com

Two Bunch Palms / Desert Hot Springs, Calif. "An easy weekend trip for Angelenos and worthy of a week's vacation for those within flying distance, Two Bunch Palms is an oasis in the desert featuring a large and beautiful central mineral-springs pool surrounded by lush palms," Westervelt says. A nice soak in the pool followed by a personalized massage, she suggests, is a foolproof recipe for stress relief. 800-472-4334; twobunchpalms.com

The Wickaninnish Inn / Tofino, British Columbia "On cedar-filled and wild Tofino Island, The Wickaninnish Inn and its Ancient Cedars Spa are truly away from it all," Westervelt says. "Book one of the corner rooms and you'll get a soaking tub for two with 360-degree views of the ocean — excellent for both storm-watching in winter and whale-watching in spring." 800-333-4604; wickinn.com