We all yearn for the relaxation that comes with a holiday but in these peculiar times, perhaps you have found yourself wondering whether a wellness holiday might be what’s needed to reboot and rebalance.
Wellness holidays today couldn’t be further from the brutal regimes we associate with the health farms of the past! More than just a spa, they are a luxurious retreat where self-care and exercise is not a chore, but a fun experience where you can make the most of the beautiful surroundings. There are so many different wellness experiences on offer, you are sure to find the perfect one to help you achieve your personal goals.
Whether you want to get a bit fitter and lose a bit of weight; enjoy some time to meditate and restore your inner calm; try a new experience; disconnect and immerse yourself in nature or just indulge in some revitalising spa treatments, wellness holidays are a great answer to kick-starting your new healthier lifestyle, leaving you energised and refreshed from the inside out.
We are transporting you to three of the world’s most amazing retreats, guaranteed to inspire even the most uncommitted with the motivation to maintain your new good habits long after you return.
The Perfect Introductory Experience to enjoy with Family & Friends...
Six Senses, Douro Valley, Portugal
Six Senses are the perfect introduction to the Wellness Holiday experience. Far from a bootcamp, they manage to create the perfect balance between health and holiday with the ethos that wellness lies in the balance. Their flexible approach means you can intersperse your fitness and meditation with a wine tasting tour and fine dining. The experience is designed to be fun, informative, transformative and realistic. There is still room for a boozy lunch!
The one thing Six Senses don’t compromise on is the beauty of the surroundings. At Six Senses Douro Valley, you will be staying in a beautifully renovated 19th-century manor house with glorious gardens, woodlands and sweeping panoramas, set in the vine-covered rolling hills above the majestic River Douro. This is the world’s oldest demarcated wine region and a UNESCO world heritage site. The town of Porto and charming heritage villages are close by.
The Douro Valley is a great location for exploring. From river cruises and water sports, prehistoric rock art sites to canyoning, mountain biking and helicopter tours to wine tasting and painting classes. You can even relive your childhood and climb a tree!
Better still, go tree climbing with your own children! Six Senses Douro Valley is family friendly. Head to the river for canoeing and water skiing. Take the family on a cycle tour or leisurely picnic to climb trees in the woods. Aqua, the resident dog will be delighted to keep you company.
The wellness programmes are designed to suit everyone’s needs, from the first timer dipping their toe in to the fully committed. They range from 3 to 10 day experiences. Choose from fitness, detox, yoga, or sleep programs to achieve your healthy, balanced body and mind and discover how to sustain it once you return home. They use state of the art technology to measure your inner health, movement and sleep patterns to ensure that the wellness experts can personalise the treatments, activities and nutritional advice based on your specific needs.
In your spare time take a swim in the indoor pool while immersing in the floor-to-ceiling garden views, sip a glass of organic local wine while having your nails done, enjoy a holistic massage or venture outside and practice forest bathing.
To end your day, the Wine Library & Terrace is the perfect spot to order pre-dinner drinks before sitting down to a delicious meal. All the dining options at Six Senses Douro Valley are a celebration of the region with much of the produce coming from the verdant valley and surrounding countryside. An organic garden of vegetables and herbs is located right on the estate for seasonal eating at its very best.
A visit to Six Senses is to experience something out of the ordinary. You will leave feeling more alive and reconnected with yourself, others and the world around you.
PS. To get a flavour of the Six Senses experience from the comfort of your own home, you can tune into their Facebook Live sessions here. And for children interested in the ocean, the Junior Marine Biology program provides a fascinating insight into life beneath the waves at their Maldives resort.
The Deep and Meaningful, Exclusive Experience...
Golden Door, California
Golden Door is an iconic Californian wellness institution dating back six decades, and possibly the first health spa to recognise the power of all-female retreats. Founded in 1958 by Deborah Szekely, philanthropist, writer and pioneer of the So-Cal wellness movement, it was soon attracting the likes of Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor. These days, it has upped its men-only weeks from two a year to five, but stays true to the original single-gender ethos.
Golden Door is a more immersive retreat for when you need some time out alone to reconnect with your inner self. All 40 rooms are single occupancy only with a private bath and, true to its inspirational heritage, a sliding door to the outdoors, for both views of, and access to, the surrounding Japanese gardens and the vast sky beyond. Less is more, and these accommodations focus on elegant simplicity.
The Golden Door experience has been designed to empower guests to reposition themselves at the centre of their own lives by tending to their bodies, their minds and their spirits. Here, a hike is as much a rigorous morning exercise as it is a chance to reflect on the day ahead, and a meal is the means by which you will learn to satisfy rather than simply feed your hunger.
The program offers 7 nights of fitness training and refined nourishment coupled with indulgent, caring spa treatments, working with each guest to treat their bodies with the respect and care they deserve. Experience the luxury of 80 rejuvenating classes for your mind and body. 30 miles of private hiking trails, personal training, farm-to-table meals, and a massage each day.
There are more than 600 acres of nature to hike, run or simply explore at your own pace at Golden Door. Mountains to climb. Vistas to discover. A bamboo forest that gives voice to the wind. Natural life that gives visitors the gift of boundlessness. Mature Japanese gardens capture the spirit of Golden Door. Zen rock gardens that feed the soul. Roji, simple rustic gardens, for engaging with others over tea, and kaiyu-shiki-teien, stroll gardens that engage visitors in the richness of the garden experience. As Japanese gardens feed the soul, the culinary gardens will feed your body. Fresh vegetables rise from the earth in the vegetable gardens. Oranges may be plucked fresh from our giving trees.
And you needn’t pack much. Life here is simplified and unified by the provision of a uniform in the form of warm-ups, shorts, t-shirts and terry robes, all laundered daily, plus a yukata, a casual cotton kimono, and sandals. You will also receive Golden Door skincare products, a reusable water bottle, journal, tote and yoga mat.
The whole week is dedicated to recharging your mind, body and spirit and probably not one to be entered into lightly. But if you’d like to take a peak at one of the most exclusive (and expensive!) health retreats in the world, check out the video above.
PS You can also tap into their wisdom and enjoy hearing their speakers talk on a wide range of topics via their Speaker Series on Youtube
The 'Ancient meets Modern' Holistic Experience...
Ananda, Rishikesh, India
In ancient India, holistic living was a way of life. People inherently understood the balance of nature, the ways of the Universe and how the elements affected not just their physical health, but their mental well-being. It was understood that if they achieved harmony within, they would be at peace with their surroundings. To seek harmony, to balance themselves again, to be one with their surroundings, Indians have been known to ‘retreat’ to the peace and quiet of the mountains, to the stillness of the hills and the natural flow of the rivers.
This is the very philosophy which brought Ananda into being. Ananda is an award winning luxury destination spa resort situated at the Himalayan foothills in Northern India. Located on a 100 acre Maharaja’s Palace Estate, Ananda is surrounded by graceful Sal forests and overlooks the spiritual town of Rishikesh and the Ganges river valley. Rishikesh itself is renowned as a centre for studying yoga and meditation and was featured in the last episode of this season’s Real Marigold Hotel (watch here).
More than ever before, individuals moving on today’s fast track recognise the need to retreat and are seeking out holistic remedies for creating balance in their lives. Ananda, one of the best luxury wellness retreats in the world, integrates traditional Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta with international wellness experiences, fitness and healthy organic cuisine to restore balance and harmonise energy.
Ananda believes that each individual is unique. So too are the programmes and experiences that they offer. Individual needs and requirements are assessed by determining your dosha prior to the start of your chosen programme, through a personal consultation with their Ayurveda and wellness consultants. 11 different programmes are available from yoga and meditation to fitness and stress management. Or you can opt for a custom made plan. You can select programmes from between 3 – 21 days to suit your schedule and a typical day is interspersed with spa treatments, gym sessions and cookery classes. Additional experiences like white water rafting on the Ganges or an elephant safari can also be arranged.
In Ayurveda, healing comes from within as much as it does from outside so you can expect to be well nourished during your stay. At Ananda, the specially curated menus are tailor-made to each dosha, incorporating seasonal variations in cuisine as well as recommended styles of cooking. Sip a fresh juice under clear Himalayan skies as you lounge by an aquamarine pool enjoying garden-fresh vegetables and organic greens, take afternoon tea in the lounge and end the day with the finest Indian, Asian and Western cuisine in the delightful restaurant built in a grove of old Sal trees, overlooking the valley of Rishikesh.
A stay here will gently rejuvenate. Not only are you sure to emerge a calmer being but also with a better understanding of your body’s individual needs to create a sustainable journey towards a healthier, enriched lifestyle.
PS To learn more about the methods and benefits of the Ananda approach, have a look at their online well being services