Global Wellness Day: 9 blissed-out breaks for every budget
No matter what your budget is, check-in to one of these wellness retreats and your mind and body will thank you
As life seems to pick up pace every day it's perhaps no surprise that more and more holidaymakers are getting into wellness travel as a way to try to combat daily stress and fatigue.
Whether searching for yoga retreats, spa breaks or fitness-focused fun, holidaymakers have turned the wellness tourism sector into a $639 billion industry, according to the latest figures from the Global Wellness Institute. In response and as that number looks set to only get bigger, hotels and resorts have added treatments, spa facilities, expert therapists and tailored stays to give travellers exactly what they're looking for. This Global Wellness Day, we round-up a wellness escape for every budget.
Budget breaks: India, Slovenia, and Thailand
Embrace silence in India
If getting to grips with meditation has been on your to do list for a while and you’re ready to seriously embrace it, reset your mind on a retreat at Vipassana Meditation Centre. Originating from India, the technique is one of the oldest forms of the practice in the world and practitioners are introduced to it via a ten-day immersion course. Aiming to teach you the basics of the code to help balance your mind, this retreat is not for the faint-hearted. Expect 4am wake-up calls, total silence and no reading, writing or music allowed. On the upside, it’s a complete immersion in mediation and you can find Vipassana centres all over the world from Sweden, Italy and Hong Kong to Nepal, Canada and, of course, India. Accommodation is basic, as is the vegetarian food, but all you’ll pay for is airfare - the entire retreat is free of charge with courses funded through donations from former students.
Introductory courses are free, find locations and dates for coming retreats www.dhamma.org
Thermal respite in Slovenia
It’s all about H2O at the Lasko Thermal Spa resort in Slovenia's mountains where the mineral enriched waters are believed to have healing properties. Soak at the various pools and take your pick from a long list of water-based treatments and therapies. Don’t worry about the weather, if it doesn’t hold up you can still get in the water as the resort has a dome-covered pool. And good news for parents, the resort is also family-friendly. For a weekend of wellness, try the Body and Mind package which includes unlimited entrance to the thermal pools and sauna centre, a cocoa experience massage, access to the fitness studio and a programme of optional activities. You’ll also get half board meals, late checkout, a discount on therapeutic services and a half-price Ayurveda consultation.
Prices start at €196 (Dh811) per person for the weekend package, www.thermana.si
Hideaway on a Thai island
Located on a beach in Thailand’s Ko Pha-ngan, The Sanctuary began life as a hideaway for the owner’s friends but has since bloomed into a respite for travellers looking to get away from it all. Coconut groves and a hillside jungle surround this place which feels a world away from the island's party persona. Check in for the three-night yoga mini break where you’ll have daily yoga classes, massage treatments and access to the steam room. You’ll also get a private one-to-one yoga session and one sanctuary therapy from the on-site Tea Temple spa. If nutrition is on your mind, you can opt to add three days of healthy raw food and herbal supplements.
The 3-day yoga escape costs from THB13,700 (Dh1,606) per person in basic accommodation. The raw food programme is an additional Dh700, www.thesanctuarythailand.com
Affordable escapes: Portugal, England and Taiwan
Rid yourself of negativity in Portugal
Lacking in energy? Book a spot on the self-awakening retreat at the Longevity Cegonha Country Club in the Algarve’s Vilamoura and you might find the remedy you’ve been seeking. Checking-in for five nights, you’ll be introduced to a host of techniques and therapies designed to help you access the positive energy hiding in your body. Hosted by a wellness guru and yoga master, this retreat will help you to eliminate negative energy and create space for mental silence. You’ll have two daily workshops where you’ll learn things like energy routines, breathing techniques, meditative walking, yoga and healing mantras. When you're not in sessions, there's an outdoor swimming pool and a hydro jet pool, an infrared sauna and an Epsom salt room to enjoy, plus an eatery serving healthy meals made from local produce.
Rates start from €1,200 (Dh4,967) per person for five nights, longevityvilamoura.com
Unwind in the Lake District
The Lake District in the north west of England teems with mountains, forests and, quite unsurprisingly, lakes making it the perfect setting for a wellness stay. The swanky Gilpin hotel, set in 25 acres of woodland on the banks of a private lake, has a two-night Magical Moments mini-break package where you’ll be bedding down in one of the hotel’s five cedar-clad spa lodges. Perched off the ground for maximum Lake District views, your private sanctuary comes with a log-fire and en suite spa which has a steam room, sauna and rainmaker shower. Out on the deck, there is a 27-jet hydrotherapy hot tub with serious countryside vistas. The two-night package includes a tasting menu at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, bespoke couples’ aromatherapy massages, afternoon tea and leisurely breakfasts.
Rates start at £1,505 (Dh7,025) for two people for two night
Taiwan’s natural hot springs
Set in a mountainous region by a valley carved by the waters of the Daja River, the newly opened Hoshinoya Guguan in Taichung is a stunningly beautiful place to escape the stresses of daily life. The nature-rich environment and ever-present sound of water welcomes travellers checking-in to what can only be described as a haven of serenity. Every room at this hotel has its own hot-spring bath, so you are never far from the therapeutic benefits of the region’s low alkaline waters. Outside, naturally carbonated bathing pools surrounded by cherry blossoms in spring and cone covered cypress trees autumn are the perfect hot-spring experience. Dining here is artful, meals are Japanese Kaiseki-style created using ingredients from the local region and the minimalist interiors are perhaps the antithesis of stress-inducing.
A 3-night stay in a Fen room includes flights from Dubai with Emirates starts from Dh7,168 per person, hoshinoya.com/guguan/en
Splurging stays: Sharjah, Vietnam and California
A holistic house in Sharjah
Do you have three days to dedicate to your inner wellness? According to the experts at Al Bait Sharjah, that’s all you need. Check-in for three consecutive nights at this new hotel in the emirate's historic district and be prepared to discover a host of wellness secrets gleamed from ancient traditions and cultures. From a holistic Ayurveda Abhyanga massage to a personalised guided yoga session or aqua aerobics with a wellness expert, it won’t take you long to turn on relax mode. Feast on healthy organic dishes that will help to promote well-being from within, and round-off your stay with a nurturing hammam treatment.
Rates start from Dh2,752 per night excluding taxes, ghmhotels.com/en/al-bait-sharjah/gallery/
In-house healing in Vietnam
Slow things down by checking-in to a place that feels like it is steeped in the past at The Anam, the first beach colonial resort in Vietnam. Nestled on the Cam Ranh peninsula, the hotel has just unveiled its private spa villas, geared at those seeking a detox from daily life. Wake up each morning to amazing views of Long Beach, enjoy treatments on your private massage table and bathe in your huge outdoor pool. Next door, the 10-treatment room Anam Spa has a whole menu of therapies, but if you prefer to say put, you can simply book an in-villa treatment. All the therapies follow a ‘high-touch, low-tech’ philosophy to encourage guests to take a bit of a digital detox and embrace Asian holistic healing traditions. Whether you need to energise, heal, detox or relax, expert therapists will take care of you. In-villa yoga and meditation sessions with Umesh, the resident yogi, mean you don’t need to stroll too far from your hideaway unless you really want to.
Stays at the two-bedroom spa villas start from $730 (Dh2,680) per night, including one spa treatment per day, breakfast and airport transfers, www.theanam.com
Getting fit with Four Seasons in California
Check in to Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village in the scenic Conejo Valley, not far from Malibu for a long weekend of wellness, fitness and healthy eating at the Ranch 4.0 experience. This isn’t a chill-out stay, so expect about eight hours a day of exercise including four hours trekking through the Santa Monica mountains. Body toning workouts, group yoga sessions and daily massages are also part of the experience. If you’re looking to shift some weight, the vegetarian diet will set you on the right path and cooking demonstrations will give you the tools to continue the routine when you return home. There are also lots of diagnostic fitness tests that you can undertake including a body composition assessment and a metabolic test as well as therapies such as acupuncture, dermatology and energy healing to chose from.
Rates for the all inclusive 4-night programme start at $3,800 (Dh13,955) per person, theranchmalibu.com.
Updated: June 5, 2019 05:22 PM