We’ve come a long way since wellness travel involved packing runners in case you could squeeze in an early morning jog, or goggles for a few laps of a chlorine-rich pool.
If you were really lucky, perhaps it was a Swedish massage at a rudimentary hotel spa, a gym work out or round of golf.
Now wellness travel is booming – and continues to gather momentum – as those of us living in developed countries seek to calm our nervous systems, eat and sleep better, move more, be mindful and even curb our growing smartphone addiction.
“Wellness travel gives a huge dose of what’s missing in people’s lives – and the inspiration to add wellness into daily life back home,” says Amatara Wellness Resort director Phoebe Boonkerd.
Increasingly, travel offers the opportunity to put aside the stress of modern life and try something that makes you feel good. For some that might be a cycle through Sri Lanka’s emerald rice fields; for others it’s the bliss of an Indian head massage.
No matter what your bent is, our feel-good list is bound to make you feel truly alive.
AQUA YOGA AT BALI’S LAVISH WELLNESS RETREAT
Opened in the middle of last year, Revivo’s aqua yoga fitmat class builds strength, deepens flexibility and improves balance and coordination. An unexpected benefit is its ability to narrow attention down to one thing – making sure you don’t fall in. Try it at the lavish new Revivo in the former Amanusa. See revivoresorts.com
NEW MOON TREATMENT AT CAPELLA UBUD
The new lunar cycle is a time for renewal and introspection, thus Capella Ubud’s signature new moon treatment is designed with rejuvenation in mind. A revitalising seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub and warming seaweed wrap concludes with a full body massage delivered in heavenly Bill Bensley-designed spa tents. See capellahotels.com/en/capella-ubud
BORN TO RUN AT FOUR SEASONS RESORT AND RESIDENCES JACKSON HOLE
A backdrop of snow-dusted mountains, wildlife and wildflowers entices runners off the treadmill and into the great outdoors at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole. Renowned running coach Eric Orton leads the resort’s running clinics, or book in for a private run through the park’s incredible trail network. See fourseasons.com/jacksonhole
TRY REGGAELATES IN JAMAICA
Work up a sweat as you groove your way through the new fitness craze, reggaelates, at Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa. The island-inspired fitness routine is a mash-up of yoga, Pilates and Jamaican dance set to the musical stylings of Bob Marley and other local legends. See jewelgrande.com
FEEL LIKE A GODDESS AS YOU TREK LARAPINTA
Harness your inner-yogi while taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Tjorita-West MacDonnell Ranges. The three-day, women-only Larapinta Goddess Walk combines morning yoga and meditation to the tune of local birdlife with invigorating walks that take in the beauty of Australia’s remote desert trek. See worldexpeditions.com/Australia/Walking-Guided/Larapinta-Goddess-Walk
HIT THE SURF AT THE NEW COMO UMA CANGGU
The great thing about surfing with Como Uma Canggu and Tropicsurf in Bali, is not the expert guides, nor the new equipment – although both are great – but rather the post-surf session at the fabulous Como Beach Club. After surfing one of six surf breaks with Swedish instructor CJ Kimmell, tuck into a carbohydrate-refuelling red rice nasi goreng and freshly squeezed juice poolside. You’ll feel incredible. See comohotels.com
HORSEBACK RIDE IN THE HIGH SIERRA
Traverse granite staircases, ride dirt tails and take in stunning vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by horseback. Riders can saddle up for mountain treks and alpine meadow excursions in Yosemite National Park from May through to September, just like the country’s first settlers. See kennedymeadows.com
WALK YOUR WAY ACROSS JAPAN’S WINTER WONDERLAND
Explore the customs, traditions, and barely touched terrain of Japan’s lesser-known rural areas as russet autumn colours are blanketed by snow. By day travellers (a maximum group of 12) walk through charming rustic villages and communities steeped in tradition, retiring by night to traditional Japanese inns, or ryokans for authentic regional cuisine and soaks in hot spring baths. See walkjapan.com
INDULGE IN DAILY WELLNESS TREATMENTS AT BAWAH RESERVE
Hike untouched rainforest, kayak or paddle between five islands, and take advantage of inclusive daily spa treatments at this new barefoot luxury eco retreat. Located in the heart of the Indonesian Anambas Archipelago, Bawah offers pristine beaches, crystal lagoons, eco-designed luxury tents, and a holistic wellness centre with yoga, massages and spa treatments factored into the room rate. See bawahreserve.com
RUN THROUGH ANGKOR’S JUNGLE-CLAD TEMPLES
Lace up your runners as dawn breaks over Angkor’s jungle-clad temples. Starting and ending at Angkor Wat, and winding through the park’s most significant historical sites, your run is led by a personal tuk tuk, with hydration and healthy snacks on hand. Afterwards, take a personalised tour of the eighth wonder of the world with Anantara Angkor Resort’s resident temple guru. See anantara.com/en/angkor-siem-reap
TAKE A CLASS WITH THE MADONNA OF YOGA ATOP ASPEN MOUNTAIN
Jayne Gottlieb, aka the “Madonna of Yoga”, leads outdoor yoga classes atop Aspen Mountain overlooking the beautiful Elk Mountain Range. Classes are offered five days a week throughout summer at the Little Nell’s wedding deck (yoga mat provided). Otherwise find Jayne at her studio Aspen Shakti. aspensnowmass.com
INDULGE IN SLEEP THERAPY AT 137 PILLARS HOTELS AND RESORTS THAILAND
A good night’s sleep fixes everything right? Experience deep, restorative sleep under the guidance of group spa consultant, Roger Moore (aka 00137). The blissful, 90-minute ritual prepares the mind and body for quality sleep. Available at 137’s Bangkok and Chiang Mai properties in spa or (for suite guests only) in-room See 137pillarshotels.com
UNLIMITED SPA TIME AT FUSION MAIA DANANG RESORT
The luxe Fusion Maia Da Nang claims to be the first Asian resort to offer all spa treatments (well, at least two treatments guaranteed per day, per guest) included in the regular room rate. Try a warming coconut wrap, a balancing foot massage or holistic and blissful head therapy. Afterwards unwind by the spa’s own swimming pool. See fusionresorts.com/fusionmaiadanang
TAI CHI AND TEA IN HONG KONG
Start the day with a tai chi class along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, learn about feng shui, tea making and etiquette while sampling Hong Kong’s famous Kung Fu tea. This living culture tour explores how traditional eastern values co-exist in harmony with the city’s fast-paced Western influences. See discoverhongkong.com
TAKE FLIGHT WITH ANTI-GRAVITY YOGA FOUR SEASONS JIMBARAN
Who knew hanging like a vampire could be so fun? Replicating the hand stands and backflips executed by your anti-gravity yoga instructor looks daunting, but before you know it, you’re upside down supported by your strong hammock. Overlooking the calm waters of Jimbaran Bay, the hour-long class gets you out of your comfort zone, is super fun and culminates with a blissful shavasana. See fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay
BLISS OUT WITH AN INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE
Anyone who spends hours hunched over a computer, will love this life-changing Ayurvedic massage at Amatara Wellness Resort’s phenomenal wellness centre in Phuket. Focusing primarily on releasing tension in the tissues of the head, neck and shoulders, warm oil is massaged into your hair and scalp, releasing mental stress and strain. See amataraphuket.com
TAKE A LUXURY SPA BREAK AT THE RETREAT AT BLUE LAGOON ICELAND
Enjoy exclusive access to Iceland’s most visited attraction at the luxe Retreat at Blue Lagoon. Built on ancient lava flow, the 62-suite Retreat offers private access to its own lagoon with geothermal water and secluded lava canyons, as well as the main pool surrounded by moss-covered magma fields. Bathe in a cold well, enjoy a purified hot steam or relax in suspended nest chairs. See bluelagoon.com
BECOME A YOGA TEACHER DURING A MONTH-LONG STAY AT SONEVA KIRI
Could this be the ultimate way to gain your yoga teacher credentials? Soneva Kiri, on the unspoiled Thai island of Koh Kood, is offering a 28-night yoga teacher training program at its Six Senses Spa this November. The package includes teacher training qualifications, private room and en suite bathroom in luxe shared accommodation, half board and butler service. See soneva.com/soneva-kiri
CONNECT WITH THE SEA AT CELEBRITY EDGE’S NEW SPA
Experience new heights of relaxation in Celebrity Edge’s lavish new 2000-square-metre spa. Launched last December, the Kelly Hoppen-designed spa aims to connect passengers with the sea and includes a crystalarium, ocean spa wave massage, sea thermal suite, hammam, salt room and more. See celebritycruises.com/edge/spa
HIKE SIX MOUNTAINS IN A DAY ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
Not for the faint-hearted, this challenging experience takes on six peaks (over 10 hours). The mountains include Mount Cooroora – home to the annual “King of the mountain” – through to the chiselled rock staircase of Mount Coolum. Your calves will burn; your sense of accomplishment will soar. See experientiasunshinecoast.com.au