Wellness Travel

March 4th, 2021

After a year of feeling powerless when it comes to our physical health and wellbeing, many of us have begun to look inward to what we can control. While experts warn of a ‘mental health pandemic’ on the rise, solutions have become more innovative than ever. From mindfulness apps like Calm and Headspace to fermentation classes to at-home fitness apps to virtual breathwork practices, the term ‘wellness’ has evolved tremendously in the past year – and for many, has become a daily priority. According to the Global Wellness Summit’s 2021 Wellness Trend Report, immune health will remain a hot topic in 2021. Instead of the fast fixes of immunity-boosting supplements, the report shares that immune-balancing is best done with an all-encompassing approach through the core pillars of wellness: exercise, diet and sleep. Global luxury travel network Virtuoso is similarly seeing strong interest in wellness as travelers begin booking trips for 2021 and beyond.

It’s no secret that travel is good for the soul. Exploring new places and experiencing new cultures alone can provide a strong mental health boost – which in turn offers physical benefits. The following travel companies have taken a deeper approach to providing their guests with that sense of wellbeing that many of us are craving. Read on for travel experiences that embrace wellbeing through naturemeditationnourishmentskincare and sleep.

Wellbeing through NATURE

HAMPTONS: Shou Sugi Ban House, the Hampton’s first destination spa and wellness retreat, is hosting a Nature Immersion retreat April 2-4 that will include forest bathing as well as a nighttime experience where guests can immerse themselves in the natural rhythm of the moonlight. Also on offer is a new Digital Detox that invites guests to redirect attention away from their devices and back to the present moment. Itineraries will feature intention setting, self-guided meditation, journal prompts, nature walks, and morning and nighttime routines which will help participants integrate healthy and mindful practices into their day. Looking ahead, this summer, the six-day Ocean Immersion will include daily surf lessons as well as beach meditation.

Images courtesy of Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House

BAJA: Paradero Todos Santos opened on February 1, 2021. Todos Santos is a year-round haven for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts – a setting where the desert, mountains, ocean and farmland collide. Surfing at Cerritos or San Pedrito beach, guided hiking and mountain biking along the bluffs of the Pacific coast, beach set up at unspoiled locations, and hands-on farming tutorials are all included in the nightly rate. Embracing the wild terrain, Paradero is an 80 percent landscape, 20 percent development project. The 100,000-square-foot botanical garden is the focus of the property (there are 80 endemic species – from red sand verbena and Mojave yucca to Shaw’s agave). More than 30 percent of the flora was grown from seed in the on-site greenhouse, while the remainder was purchased from local greenhouses.

NAPA VALLEY: Napa Valley may seem like wall-to-wall vineyards, but only nine percent of the Valley is covered in vines. The region is flanked by two mountain ranges, Mayacama and Vaca Mountains, laced with hiking, biking and running trails (with more than 53,000 acres preserved by the Napa Valley Land Trust). The region is also rooted in wellness history. Since the 1800s, visitors have sought rejuvenation in the mineral-rich waters of Calistoga’s volcanic hot springs and natural volcanic ash. Napa Valley’s first Four Seasons Resort & Residences will open in Calistoga later this year; the spa will feature steam pods in which hammocks will be suspended above geo-thermal pools for guests to absorb the heated vapor. Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, originally built in 1952 and considered one of the first resorts in Calistoga, will unveil a large-scale renovation this month with new outdoor cabana treatment rooms.

Images courtesy of Visit Napa Valley

JAMAICA: A visit to Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, located 3,100-feet above sea level, will offer an unexpected island experience. There’s no beach or blazing sun, instead visitors can expect hiking trails, music history and meticulously roasted coffee beans. Strawberry Hill, which appears to be floating among the clouds in the heart of the mountains, is owned by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Chris Blackwell. The property offers curated wellness treks, including a hike to an altitude of 4,000-feet before reaching the family-run Old Tavern Coffee Estate for a brew tasting; or a walk on Settlement Trail, where travelers will encounter Jurassic Park-like greenery with more than 550 species of trees and flowers.

Images courtesy of Island Outpost

Wellbeing through NOURISHMENT

CAPE TOWN: Understanding where our food comes from and what we put in our bodies is the root of health and wellness for many. In Cape Town, Chef Rudi Liebenberg at Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town is known for his rotating five-course Wasted! tasting that features re-imagined scraps and byproducts of fruits, vegetables and meats. Hosted at the Chef’s Table, guests will be able to watch as ginger trimmings and buchu become cordials while trout trimmings are transformed into tartare and tempura.

HAMPTONS: Shou Sugi Ban House will host a culinary retreat on April 23-25 led by Noma co-founder Mads Refslund. Mads oversees the culinary program at the property, where the philosophy is born from the belief that true health is grounded in nature and food is medicine. The weekend begins with a session on Spring Cleaning for the Liver led by the House’s resident nutritionist followed by a four-course dinner by Mads before guests return to their private guest studios for a seasonal soak. Other highlights from the itinerary include an Afternoon Tea Tasting, Shamanic Release, Herb Garden Mocktails, and a workshop on “nose-to-tail eating” where guests will learn about why the concept is not just food for the planet but also good the body.

Images courtesy of Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House

Wellbeing through MEDITATION

NAMIBIA: andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge reopened in the Namib Desert in October 2019 after a top-to-bottom rebuild. Travelers can truly to connect to their soul in the utter silence of this desert; andBeyond has trails set up for guests to take non-guided strolls and meditative walks – completely alone – through the towering sand dunes (some up to 1,000 feet tall). The incredible surrounds – so silent you can hear your own heart beating – lend itself to another level of “wellness”. Wifi at the property is purposely spotty to encourage guests to devote their attention to the desert.

Images courtesy of andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

NAPA VALLEY: Solage Calistoga is a contemporary oasis with a spa that offers a floating guided meditation treatment in which a guest sits in a mesh hammock, partially submerged in the open-air geothermal mineral pool (96 to 98 degrees). Guests can book the specific ‘Starlight at the Bathhouse’ treatment for a private after-hours experience available between 8:30-10:30pm. Guests will experience the floating meditation while gazing at the stars and moon, before heading off to bed more centered and relaxed.

Images courtesy of Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection

HAMPTONS: Shou Sugi Ban House’s Intuitive Movement and Resident Healing Arts Practitioner Christiana Schelfhout leads breathwork classes at the wellness retreat. As a holistic health guide, she allows people to claim radical responsibility for their own evolution and reminds them of their innate ability to heal themselves. Christiana’s dedicated breathwork sessions use specific postures to aid digestion, regulate hormones and restore the nervous system. Pranayama breathing balances the subtle energies and revitalizes the lungs. Classes are designed to release negative emotions, stagnant energy and physical blocks that are often inaccessible to our logical minds.

Images courtesy of Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House

COSTA RICA: The newly opened Nayara Tented Camp, set deep in the rainforest on the edge of the Arenal Volcano, offers travelers an escape from reality into nature. Guests can find wellness of the mind and body with evening meditation classes by candlelight in the yoga pavilion cantilevered over the rainforest. The soundtrack (chirping tree frogs and a babbling stream below) sets the audio scene for low-impact poses designed to relax the body in preparation for sleep.

Images courtesy of Nayara Tented Camp

Wellbeing through SKINCARE

EVERYWHERE: Tried-and-trusted French skincare brand, Guinot, has launched a new Lift Summum Serum for a firmer and smoother facial complexion. This light but powerful product is an easy step to add to any skincare routine, bringing energy and youth to the skin. With age, skin loses its tone, softness and supple appearance. Key ingredients like Alaria Esculenta Seaweed Extract and Hyaluronic Acid create a more defined, luminous and resilient complexion.

Image courtesy of Guinot

MARRAKECH: Royal Mansour Marrakech is rolling out new wellness programming this spring,marking a new era for the palatial estate as a destination spa and wellness retreat. Guests can now enjoy Intraceutical facials – the brand known for revolutionizing the oxygen facial and a favorite among celebrities including Olivia Colman, Madonna and Juliann Moore. The hotel is also partnering with the organic aromatherapy brand Subtle Energies and Dr. Burgener Switzerland, an expert in high-tech skin advancements. All-inclusive, multi-day retreats (three-, five-, seven- or 14-day programs) will also be available beginning in September for immersive wellness journeys with the goal of improving mental and physical health.

Images courtesy of Royal Mansour

COTE D’AZUR: Nestled within a Mediterranean jardin overlooking the Cote d’Azur is the cliffside retreat La Réserve Ramatuelle. The Palace hotel will reopen this May, lifting the veil on a refreshed lobby, two Michelin-starred restaurants, and terrace with panoramic views of the sea. Guests can participate in Nescens Better Aging Programs. Programs begin with a check-up on the first day where guests meet with a team of doctors and specialists. With the help of these professionals, participants will understand their own bio-individuality of aging from a genetic, dietary and psychological standpoint before receiving a personalized 4- or 7-day itinerary. The program is tailored to individual goals, incorporating three daily meals, exercise and spa treatments.

Images courtesy of La Reserve Ramatuelle

TRANCOSO: UXUA VIDA Spa and wellness program at UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa sources local ingredients for the treatment products from fruits, flowers, roots, and clay. In light of Covid-19, UXUA VIDA recently launched ‘self-treatments’ where therapists provide private treatment suites (or set up spaces in a guest’s own private casa) and educate guests on how to use and apply the freshly-made Vida Lab spa products themselves – ideally with a partner or a family member – for their own private wellness experience.

Images courtesy of UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

Wellbeing through SLEEP

LONDON: The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London has announced a partnership with Harley Street hypnotherapist and sleep expert Malminder Gill to launch when the hotel reopens this spring. The Sleep Concierge will be a new service exclusive to Belmond guests including a meditative recording by Malminder available via the Belmond app, a pillow menu offering the perfect fit for every type of sleeper, the option of a weighted blanket, a scented pillow mist and a new bedtime tea service. For a more personalized experience, guests can book a private one-on-one session with Malminder.

Images courtesy of The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London

TOKYO: Park Hyatt Tokyo’s Club On The Park spa has sweeping views of the city. The Good Night Sleep Stretch, a complimentary 30-minute program, is designed to prepare the body for restful sleep. It consists of slow stretches and breathing exercises to loosen muscles and bring the body into equilibrium. Oils designed to promote circulation, help digestion, and relieve stress scent the air, and an herbal tea concludes the experience.

Images courtesy of Park Hyatt Tokyo

SCOTLAND: Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland has partnered with British spa brand Bamford Haybarn Spa to offer soothing treatments as the train rolls through the Scottish countryside. Royal Scotsman offers a ‘b-Silent’ treatment designed to relax the body and prepare guests for a sound, restful night. The treatment utilizes the brand’s b Silent product collection beginning with a footbath followed by a full-body massage with the b Silent body oil. The massage targets pressure points on the neck and chest to release chronic stress, which is one of the main causes of depleted serotonin and affects the ability to sleep well.

Images courtesy of Belmond

NAPA VALLEY: Travelers can unwind at Bardessono Resort & Spa with the in-room Peaceful Sleep treatment with an essential oil bath, a calming body butter, and a warmed herbal pillow in their beds with the smell of an aromatic candle to lull them to sleep.

Images courtesy of Bardessono

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