ATL

LGBTQ Wellness Retreats

by Mark Chesnut

Jun 1, 2018
June 2018

AS TRAVELERS PAY MORE attention to their physical and psychological fitness, it’s no wonder more companies and organizations tout their wellness offerings for LGBTQ globetrotters.

“There has been a steady increase in the number of LGBTQ clients looking for wellness retreats,” said Darren Burn, founder and managing director, Out of Office, a London-based travel company. “As more people pay added attention to their health, mindfulness and yoga are becoming really attractive, and hotels and suppliers are now catching on. We offer gay group yoga and mindfulness retreats, and we also sell a trip which includes a mixture of surfing and yoga, as people look to improve their fitness, too.”

Mike Heflin, senior vice president of hotels, Travel Leaders Group, a travel agent network, noted more so-called mainstream wellness-oriented hotels pursue LGBTQ travelers. “We have some terrific properties in our Travel Leaders Select Wellness program that are LGBT-friendly,” he said, noting Belmond Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., and Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa in Mexico’s Riviera Maya are among the popular wellnessoriented properties.

For gay-specific wellness getaways, options include the Gay Men’s Spiritual Retreat, which hosts a retreat every June at Camp Stevens, a summer camp in Southern California. Frog Meadow, a bed-andbreakfast in southern Vermont, also offers gay men’s wellness workshops and retreats.

Other destinations and properties, meanwhile, include wellness-oriented elements with other LGBTQ packages. El Paseo Hotel in Miami, for example, offers an LGBTQ bachelor/bachelorette package that includes free detox yoga classes. The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta takes advantage of its location in Mexico’s most popular LGBTQ vacation destination to attract weary travelers to its Vita Mar Spa. And the LGBTQ-owned Purist Villas & Spa Bali includes a free massage for guests who book directly with the hotel.

What do LGBTQ travelers look for? “Our clients like a mixture of activities,” said Burn. “People don’t necessarily want to spend a full week doing just yoga or mindfulness. We find that they like to combine those activities with a bit of culture and great food. But there are still not enough products in the market. Destinations should really think about investing in wellness as an option.”

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