By Hafsa Khalil
Being beaten by strangers, soaked in aromatic waters, or encouraged to initiate forms of yoga in beautiful surroundings isn’t going to erase the problems of the past two years.
But for those of us who still carry the baggage of anxiety or long-term health consequences brought on by these difficult times, such wellness-inducing activities will certainly be a welcome escape.
Whether you’re looking for a deep cleanse amid the snow-capped peaks of New Zealand, massages in the Maldives and St. Lucia, or a spa treatment in St. Lucia, here are some of the best rejuvenation hotspots in the world.
Aro Ha, New Zealand
Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, Aro Hā says he has a simple kaupapa, or goal: to regenerate mind and body.
It’s not easy though – guests are expected to cut ties with alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes before arriving for their wellness trip.
Days at Aro Hā begin with the chime of Tibetan bowls, dynamic Flow Yoga against the backdrop of the rising sun, and a breakfast of carrot bread with apple butter and berry coulis, all sourced from the resort’s garden.
To maintain the purification of mind, body and spirit, the cuisine is plant-based with an emphasis on the garden at the table. Physical fitness is equally essential, so enjoying a subalpine hike in the area is highly recommended before a spa session and massage therapy.
Willka T’ika, Peru
Nestled in the Andes between the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca capital Cusco, this eco-friendly resort sits amidst one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
Add a luxurious spa and it’s the perfect post-pandemic retreat.
The stunning beauty goes beyond the picturesque exterior; Among the rose-hued buildings of this boutique hotel is the Seven Chakra Gardens – a restorative space arranged to represent the seven classic chakras, considered by some beliefs to be the energy centers of the human body.
While traditional Andean ceremonies can be experienced outside the resort, staff, including native Quechua people, ensure that guests’ stays are informed by their relationship with Pachamama – Mother Earth. A great way to get in touch with nature is a soothing soak in a salt and herb infused floral sun bath under the night sky, heated by the sun during the day.
BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia
An idyllic Caribbean Sea setting among sandy beaches and tropical rainforests builds confidence in the BodyHoliday promise: “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.”
Depending on the schedule, guests can spend their entire stay doing yoga or exploring the island with exciting activities like scuba diving and archery.
There’s a wellness center with a skin clinic, which offers “restorative beauty” among its other spa and therapeutic treatments.
Popular with guests is the ‘serenity massage’, a Swedish technique using a special blend of oils to aid breathing and sleep, alongside Ayurvedic principles.
Anantara Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Overlooking beautiful mangroves on the outskirts of town, Anantara uses its natural surroundings to create a healing oasis that combines Eastern healing with Arabian influences. Among the exclusive treatments are the “body scrub with Vichy desert sand” and the “Neom anti-stress candle massage”.
Depending on the mood, guests can check out the Turkish Hammam or venture to the Anantara beachfront where they can get involved in one of the many water sports available.
Other therapies include typical luxury hotel indulgences — plenty of fine dining options and the bottomless supply of drinks on the house.
Anantara Eastern Mangroves
Ananda in the Himalayas, India
Sitting in the foothills of the Himalayas surrounded by the Sal forests, Ananda is called a “spiritual path”. It offers therapies tailored to the needs of guests – arrivals fatigued by the pandemic may want to take advantage of the “stress management” program.
Full medical exams are provided, along with spa consultations to ensure activities such as yoga, meditation, pranayama (breath regulation) and cooling dives provide the maximum benefit.
Guests at this rejuvenating retreat are said to include British royalty and stars like Elizabeth Hurley and Brad Pitt. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself hiking through the forests with someone you recognize.
Ananda in the Himalayas
Stanglwirt Green Spa Resort, Austria
“The Sound of Music” meets “The Hobbit” at this sprawling, grass-roofed alpine chalet in Austria’s Wilder Kaiser Mountains, where the Hauser family presides over an upscale eco-friendly escape.
Environmental credentials are bolstered by food produced in-house by the Stanglwirt’s organic farm, while the resort’s eco-sauna is made from local stone pine.
Activities on offer include golf, horse riding and skiing. There is also a 500 square meter indoor fitness garden.
Stanglwirt highlights include water features designed to mimic the Rocky Mountain surroundings. It’s recommended to let the brine from the saltwater pools soothe the skin while reclining in a massage alcove, before guests can climb the moss-covered stairs to indulge in the spa’s organic treatments.
Stanglwirt Green Spa
Fiuggi Palace, Italy
This medical retreat claims to take a 360 degree approach to wellness, with a serious focus that could potentially offer respite to those suffering from illnesses including the long Covid.
The setting is idyllic, with healing waters and the natural beauty of the Italian Apennines as a backdrop.
Palazzo Fiuggi offers tailor-made wellness treatment programs with holistic therapies and medical services tailored by a team of doctors and experts.
Customers can choose from “medical and diagnostic” treatments like its “Post Covid-19” program or a “regeneration” plan like its “Restore and Balance” program.
All treatment plans are accompanied by in-depth medical check-ups, Roman baths and lymphatic drainage, aromatherapy and other massages.
The best kind of wellness treatments also includes good food. Here, customers can enjoy a menu created by a three-star Michelin chef.
Euphoria Retreat, Greece
The charming hilltop village of Mystras is a cooler escape from the plains of Greece’s inland Peloponnese region and a gateway to the fabulous ancient wonders of the Byzantine fortress that overlooks it.
It also houses another escape. Euphoria is a spa resort complex built in a classic style that offers guests, among other things, treatments specially designed to facilitate post-pandemic recovery.
Euphoria’s “Feel Alive Again” program aims to relieve clients of pent-up negativity through a combination of activities such as laughter yoga, breathwork, and music.
The station says these activities are designed to coax unconscious thoughts and feelings to clear the mind.
It also offers a patented “3GL PLUS” therapy that measures the most important markers for metabolic health as guests journey through Euphoria Methodos, the spa’s approach that combines holistic Hippocratic medicine with Taoist spirituality.
Let’s hope that the guests leave in a state of euphoria.
Joali Be, Maldives
Surrounded by soft sands and ocean breezes, this island wellness resort revolves around the concept of ‘weightlessness’. No law of gravity is broken, however; at Joali Being, it means delivering a sense of freedom.
The resort says it blends modern science with ancient healing arts to deliver a stay inspired by its four pillars of wellness: mind, microbiome, energy and skin.
Tailor-made programs are offered to rebalance guests’ well-being, including the full body Abhyanga massage to therapies in the refreshing waters of the resort’s hydrotherapy room.
And for the drinks? There are over 60 types of organic tea available at the teahouse, Sai, for customers to sip and hopefully feel that weightlessness.
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