Holistic escapes: the what and where of wellness travel
It’s been one hell of a year and it would be a grand understatement to proclaim the need for a vacation. But the past year has been anything but ordinary, and the craving for something beyond sightseeing and lounging by a pool is not only logical but a spiritual necessity.
If a spa getaway is whirling inside your head, you’re on the right track according to Daniel Levine, Director at the Avante-Guide Institute. ‘As a trends expert it’s clear that, because of the pandemic, many of us have felt a deficiency when it comes to human touch, both figuratively and literally. When you think about what last year has taken from us, human contact and tourism are among the top two losses. Spa vacations are part of our Great Renewal because they feed these two birds with one (hot) stone.’
Edyta Satchell, founder and CEO of wellness travel group Satchelle Global, expands on how the events of the past year has may lead to a renewed interest and need to combine travel and well-being. ‘Unfortunately, we had to experience COVID to understand the importance of mental health and well-being at home and in the workplace,’ says Satchell. ‘A spa vacation is a perfect place for those who experience fatigue, mood swings, exhaustion, anxiety, and stress. Changing scenery, a relaxing swim in the ocean, hydrating bath, stress-relieving body massage with essential oils is the food for your body and mind.’
A spa resort, however. is merely scratching the surface of wellness travel and the prospect of complete renewal. Anne Biging, CEO and co-founder at Healing Hotels of the World guides us deeper into the purpose and transformative possibilities of the holistic wellness experience.
‘In a luxury hotel with a nice spa, people usually go to an appointment at a scheduled time,’ Biging states. ‘But this does not involve comprehensive preparation before the event, commitment during the treatment, or focus and determination afterward. Therefore, outcomes are superficial and short-lived, for example feeling relaxed after a massage.’
When one is ready for holistic transformation, the focus is on a journey with sustainable and long-lasting results with a change in lifestyle that continues after the guest arrives back home. ‘The focus is to become one with yourself and find balance in your life,’ asserts Biging. ‘This is not achieved during one spa session, but on being focused and in the moment while pursuing a bigger vision and purpose through professional guidance.’
If you are willing or contemplating going the distance, Biging recommends you make an active decision to learn and leave your comfort zone on a path to self-discovery and healing. Where to begin a wellness journey is a profoundly personal determination.
Now that you know what a wellness resort is all about, where do you find one? They are all over the world. On pristine beaches, tucked away in mountains, in castles, palaces, and sweeping desert plains. They are on every continent. Some promote solace and meditation, others a sense of community and sharing. They include the resorts that are among the finest in the world and some surprisingly affordable options. Many welcome and encourage solo travellers in addition to couples, families, or friends. In other words, wellness travel is not a one-size-fits-all. You just need to determine the right fit. The following recommendations are just a pinky toe dip in an ocean of options.
Healing Hotels of the World
A curated consortium of over 100 select properties founded and managed by visionary hoteliers to offer an abundance of diversity and holistic philosophies. The locations range from grand European cities and châteaux to the California coast to the rainforests of Costa Rica. They include world-renowned hotels in the Caribbean, the Middle East, and southeast Asia. You can also choose a hotel by specialty and focus. All feature locally sourced and healthy chef-prepared cuisine and full-service spas with treatments inspired by local traditions with organic ingredients.
Tia Wellness Resort
Situated on the My Khe beach in Vietnam, Tia is the rebranded Fusion Maia Da Nang. A premium luxury resort and spa with innovative and authentic journeys that include weekend retreats and extended stays. Beach villas with private plunge pools ensure the utmost comfort and discretion.
Rhythmia Life Advancement Center
A refreshing affordable whole health retreat in the Papagayo region of Costa Rica. Luxurious and approachable, Rhythmia has is especially attractive for solo travellers who wish to share accommodations and immerse themselves in a community of like-minded seekers. An integrative program on naturopathic healers and spiritual teachers guides guests on a journey to better living with a nurturing touch. Rhythmia is home to the Dead Sea Cleanse, the world’s most progressive hydrotherapy detox.
Set on one of the most breathtaking and sacred l,600 acres in southern Utah, Amangiri is a luxury five-star property of unsurpassed grandeur. Built seamlessly into the wild landscape of canyons and plateaus, its spa incorporates ancient traditions and a sprawling space that includes a flotation therapy pavilion, a water pavilion with sauna, a steam room, cold plunge pool and step pool, a fitness centre and a yoga pavilion.
With three locations, the iconic Miraval resorts offer guests daily access to yoga and fitness classes, wellness lectures and workshops, outdoor adventures, photography classes, and guided hikes. An inclusive destination resort and spa designed for creating life in balance through mindfulness, nourishing cuisine, innovative spa therapies and wellness to expand the connection of body, mind, and spirit.
Ojo Santa Fe
An enchanted oasis in the desert that has been a source of rejuvenation for centuries. Relax and free your mind or immerse yourself in a profoundly transformative experience, Ojo Santa Fe invites you to experience harmony and to nurture your soul in the ancient natural spring waters. Covering 70 acres of serenity, you’ll experience gracious hospitality, refined accommodations, and delectable farm-fresh cuisine. Along with sister resort Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, the ancient wisdom and healing techniques of Indigenous peoples are honoured and restored.
This Four Seasons resort is the collaboration of a tech billionaire and a world-renowned physician. Set on the uninhabited island of Lanai, your stay includes a flight from Honolulu, an initial consultation, and cuisine from acclaimed Nobu. Housed on 90,000 acres of lushness, move, nourish and rest is the expert-guided philosophy of the resort’s founders for a longer, healthier and happier life.
A new concept of wellness in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. Conceived on a foundation of four pillars of holistic health—nourishment, spa, discovery, movement, Civana offers a full yet flexible schedule of workshops and classes. With the recognition that each individual has a unique path, whether it be yoga and meditation, fitness, diet or personal growth, guests are invited to participate in an unlimited number of the 70 classes offered. The full-service spa includes a hydrotherapy thermal circuit and sanarium.