The pursuit of wellness once had a direct correlation to New Year’s resolutions. After 12 months of unhealthy living, each January we collectively took the opportunity to recalibrate our lifestyle, set new goals and break bad habits. The month was marked by thronged gyms, swimmer-brimming pools, waiting lists for self-help classes and fridges full of low-calorie fare. But by February, most new regimens came to an end. Unwholesomeness, fed by stress and fatigue, reigned again — until January returned, and the cycle repeated itself.
But a new era has dawned. People want to commit to wellness and mindful living. Most, nevertheless, need a nudge. Enter wellness travel, a genre which includes spiritual retreats; hotels that showcase rejuvenation programs or amenities; trips that teach a new skill, digital detox and mindful repose. From better sleep to hypnosis to quell smoking or overeating, including meditation, yoga and deep connections to nature, wellness-seeking vacations of various kinds augur a more salubrious future for all. Where to go? The following retreats promise to enhance your mind, body and spirit — not just in January, but all year long and beyond.
HAWAI’I STANDS out as a premier retreat and boasts one of the hottest wellness hotels to open in recent months: Sensai Lāna‘i, A Four Seasons Resort. This all-inclusive, adults-only, Japanese-inspired haven occupies an art-filled garden on upcountry Lanai. Conceived as a “reboot” luxury camp by owner Larry Ellison, in collaboration with Dr. David Agus and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the resort introduces a new concept: Sensei Retreat. Under the guidance of a well-trained sensei (wellness coach, if you like), guests partake of customized, goal-oriented itineraries which include unlimited spa treatments, yoga and meditation practices, fitness classes and off-property experiences from snorkeling to hiking. Meals by Nobu, transportation from Oahu on Ellison’s own fleet of planes, Hawai’ian soul and adult beverages complete the adventure.
TEXANS LOVE lake houses. Let multi-award-winning Lake Austin Spa Resort, located on 19 acres of waterfront nature, welcome you like family to its sanctum. A workout buff ’s nirvana, offering more than 100 diverse spa treatments and abundant fitness classes, the elegant hideaway smacks of a health seeker’s year-round summer camp. Eschew stress when you enjoy its Ripple Effects, a water-inspired program which capitalizes on the healing effects people reap when cavorting around H20. Take part in such watery programs as wake surfing, paddle boarding and sunset (read: wine) cruises. Even just reading from a lakeside hammock ensures transformation. Light, savory cuisine and affable staff accentuate the magic of your stay.
WELLNESSING — THAT’S A THING. Do it at Mexico’s various Velas Resorts, all-inclusive, opulently appointed properties near Cancún, in Cabo and along Riviera Nayarit. Holding annual wellness-focused conferences for true aficionados, the resort group long has led the charge to include healthy options as part of its indulgent daily repertory. Foremost on the list, its astonishing spas draw from Mexican culture, incorporating indigenous products from cacao to organic mud — even corn cobs — in treatments. Complimentary fitness classes, even one-on-one training, are part of the package.Choose a Wellness Suite (guestroom) equipped with fitness and well-being amenities such as a minibar stocked with healthy snacks and a Life Fitness recline bike.
AMID EYE-POPPING NATURE, anchored among lava fields, The Retreat Hotel at Blue Lagoon lies on the shores of Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction, the storied Blue Lagoon. A wellness hotel defined by its surrounding healing thermal water pools, The Retreat reigns as a destination in itself or a bookend to any planned tour of the island nation. Perks include access to private, milky-blue pools, entrance to the public lagoon, a stunning labyrinthine spa, a yoga room with floor- to-ceiling windows, complimentary activities (such as hiking), stellar restaurants and the chance to wear your bathrobe 24/7 — if your heart desires. Book the Lagoon Suite with its own geothermal pool.
IMMERSE IN AYURVEDA, one of the world’s oldest sciences, at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, overlooking the Indian Ocean in Sri Lanka. A system of holistic medicine born in India, ancient Ayurveda prescripts promote the balance of mind, body and spirit. At Peace Haven, a stylish beachside outpost, enroll in three- to seven-day bespoke retreats designed to pursue weight loss, learn yoga, address sleep issues, fight stress or detox — among other possibilities. Under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor, you’ll follow itineraries that combine nutrition, Ayurvedic spa treatments and exercise to achieve blissful harmony. During your free time, tuck into your butler-helmed villa, lounge by the pool or explore some of the country’s eight outstanding UNESCO World Heritage sites.
SOME SAY THE ANCIENT Greeks devised the concept of spas. They called them Asclepions, temples that capped mountains to be as close to the heavens as possible, surrounded by water and trees, designated for healing. Located in the Peloponnese’s Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage site near the legendary city of Sparta, the stylish Euphoria Retreat delves deeply into the region’s storied powers. Embracing Greek philosophy (“Let food be thy medicine,” to quote Hippocrates) and Chinese medicine, both of which rest on the concept of Earth’s five elements, the wellness refuge creates customized programs for guests. From Kneipp water therapy to a speleotherapy salt room to yoga classes, the four-story spa promises to give solace. Its signature pinprick 3GL test allows nutritionists to create individual menus and suggest activities from hikes to rock climbing, including lazy repose among the olive groves.
STOP THE NOISE. Sometimes all you want is some peace and quiet. To immerse in hush-full stillness, sign up for the Sound Off Quiet Retreat at Calistoga Ranch in the heart of Napa Valley’s wine country. Reconnect with your inner voice (it has been begging you to listen) at these minimum three-night retreats, designed to connect guests with nature’s largesse amid vineyards and oak and pine trees. The option to pre-order meals with set delivery times to avoid staff interaction, guided meditation classes, forest bathing, maps for hiking — even a “sleeping bag” for your electronic devices — constitute an adventure certain to help you learn to love your inner dialogue. Ready to speak or be social? This once-in-a-lifetime hotel has a buzzy pool and unforgettable restaurant, and its location between St. Helena and Calistoga ensures bedazzling wine tasting adventures off-property.
PEACOCKS AND MONKEYS on 100 acres of a former maharaja’s palace might lower your heart rate enough. But the views of the sacred Ganges River below and the robust Himalayan peaks close enough to touch join to act as a portal to rehabilitation and renewal at Ananda in the Himalayas, a luxury yoga, meditation and spa resort in northern India. With a 25,000-square-foot-spa; access to holy Rishikesh (known as the place where The Beatles embraced Transcendental Meditation and yoga); and Ayurvedic-trained staff, yogis, nutritionists and therapists, this unique haven provides programs as diverse as yogic detox and stress management. You’ll love the spa cuisine, which can be customized to your dosha (body type): pitta, kapha or vata.
Tucked away between the verdant hills of the Dominican Republic and beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea, Samaná is the perfect year-round destination. No matter what time of year you choose to visit this hidden gem, you can check things off your travel bucket list. In the summer, escape the busy tourism hot spots and explore off-the-beaten path areas and activities; in the winter, embark on an eco-excursion like whale watching in Samaná Bay.
ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.
The coastal town of Belek in Antalya serves as the setting for the brand new, 5-star Cullinan Belek, named for the largest rough diamond ever discovered. Set along the sparkling azure waters of the Turkish Riviera, the new property boasts its own private white-sand beach, with 600 plush guestrooms (including 10 luxurious villas), all providing sea views. The hotel also has 13 swimming pools, 10 dining venues and five bars.
Museums beckon wherever we go. They amuse and enlighten travelers and bring to public attention historical, artistic, scientific and natural wonders. Most are thought-provoking and educational, stretching our minds and our knowledge of the world. Some, however, stand out as just plain quirky: personal and sometimes whimsical collections, museums dedicated to a unique skill or long- forgotten industry, arcane collections originally designed for scientific study. Others devote their space to sharing a subject that represents one person’s consuming passion.
THE MOST EXCLUSIVE TOURS OF EGYPT EVER OFFERED
The Seoul Tourism Organization participated in IMEX, the world’s largest MICE exhibition, in Frankfurt, Germany, May 29–June 2. IMEX celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated an exciting moment recently when Evrima, its inaugural yacht, completed a series of successful sea trials. On June 9, in Santander, Spain, Evrima reached what is considered one of the final shipbuilding milestones prior to launch with the sea trials, a series of tests carried out when the yacht is sailing on open waters. Captain Steven MacBeath led the trials, alongside a team of senior officers, engineers, contractors and shipyard staff.