9 of the best wellness retreats in the world


Editor’s Note — This Month’s Entry is a CNN Travel series highlighting some of the most fascinating topics in the world of travel. In November, we are entering the world of hotels and resorts.

(CNN) – Being beaten by strangers, drenched in aromatic waters or encouraged to throw yoga forms in beautiful surroundings will not erase the problems of the past years.

But for those of us who carry the baggage of anxiety or long-term health consequences brought on by these trying times, activities that promote well-being will certainly be welcome.

Whether you’re looking for deep cleanses among the snowy peaks of New Zealand, massages in the Maldives and spa therapy in St. Lucia or St. Lucia, here are some of the best places for rejuvenation the world has to offer.

Aro Ha, New Zealand

Surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, Aro Hā says it has a simple kaupapa, or purpose: to regenerate mind and body.

It is not easy, however, as guests must cut ties with alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes before arriving on their wellness journey.

Days at Aro Hā include the tinkling of Tibetan bowls, dynamic Flow Yoga against the backdrop of the sun, and breakfast of carrot cake with apple butter and berry coulis, all taken in the resort’s garden.

To cleanse the mind, body and spirit, the kitchen is plant-based, with a focus on garden-to-table. Fitness is just as key, so enjoying a subalpine hike through the region before spa time and a therapeutic massage is recommended.

Willka T’ika, Peru

Willka T’ika draws on the teachings of the local Quechua people for a healthy wellness retreat.

Willka T’ika

Nestled in the Andes, between the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca capital of Cusco, this eco-friendly resort is surrounded by one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.

Throw in a luxury spa and it’s the perfect post-pandemic retreat.

The stunning beauty goes beyond the picturesque exterior; Among the pink-hued buildings of this boutique hotel is the Seven Chakra Gardens — a restorative space landscaped to represent the seven classical chakras, believed by some to be the energy centers of the human body.

While traditional Andean ceremonies can be experienced outside the resort, the staff, including indigenous Quechua people, ensure that guests’ stay is influenced by their relationship with Pachamama – Mother Earth. A unique way to get in touch with nature is to soak in a floral bath filled with salt and grass under the night sky, warmed by the sun during the day.

BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia

Skin Clinics by BodyHoliday a "restorative beauty" the program

BodyHoliday’s skin clinic offers a “restorative beauty” program.

BodyHoliday

An idyllic Caribbean Sea nestled between powder sand beaches and tropical rainforests reinforces confidence in BodyHoliday’s promise: “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you your mind back.”

Depending on the program, guests can spend their entire stay practicing yoga or exploring the island with exciting activities such as scuba diving and archery.

There is a Wellness Center complete with a skin clinic that features “restorative beauty” among other spa and therapy treatments.

Popular with guests is the Serenity Massage, a Swedish technique that uses a special blend of oils to aid breathing and sleep, along with Ayurvedic principles.

Anantara Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Anantara Eastern Manglaves offers luxurious spa treatments, including a Turkish hammam.

Anantara Eastern Manglaves offers luxurious spa treatments, including a Turkish hammam.

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Overlooking the beautiful mangroves on the edge of the city, Anantara uses its natural surroundings to create a healing oasis that combines oriental healing with Arabian influences. Exclusive treatments include the ‘Vichy Desert Sand Body Scrub’ and the ‘Neom de-stress candle massage’.

Depending on the mood, guests can experience the Turkish hammam or venture to Ananta’s shores and take part in one of the many water sports on offer.

Other treatments include the typical luxury hotel delights: plenty of dining options and bottomless drinks on the house.

Ananda in the Himalayas, India

The Ananda Himalayan Spiritual Path includes medical examinations and spa consultations.

The Ananda Himalayan Spiritual Path includes medical examinations and spa consultations.

Ananda in the Himalayas

Sitting on the foothills of the Himalayas surrounded by sal forests, Ananda calls himself a “spiritual path”. It offers therapies tailored to guests’ needs – pandemic-weary arrivals may want to take advantage of the ‘stress management’ programme.

Full medical examinations are provided, along with spa consultations to ensure yoga, meditation, pranayama (breath control) and refreshing immersion activities provide maximum benefits.

Guests at this rejuvenation retreat include British royalty and A-listers including Elizabeth Hurley and Brad Pitt. If you’re lucky, you might end up on a walk through the woods with someone you know.

Stanglwirt Green Spa Resort, Austria

The waters of the Stanglwirt Green Spa Resort echo the rocky mountain landscape.

The waters of the Stanglwirt Green Spa Resort echo the rocky mountain landscape.

Stanglwirt Green Spa Resort

“The Sound of Music” meets “The Sound of the Hobbit” at this sprawling thatched-roof Alpine chalet in Austria’s Wilder Kaiser Mountains, where the Hauser family runs a lavish production escape.

Environmental credentials are bolstered by home-grown food from Stanglwirt’s organic farm, and the resort’s eco-sauna is made from local Arolla pine.

Activities on offer include golf, horse riding and skiing. There is also a 500 square meter indoor fitness garden.

Stanglwirt’s highlights include water features designed to mimic rocky mountain surroundings. Let the brine of the saltwater pools soothe your skin as you lie in a massage tub before guests climb the moss-covered steps to indulge in the spa’s organic treatments.

Palazzo Fiuggi, Italy

Palazzo Fiuggi programs are tailored to the specific needs of guests.

Palazzo Fiuggi programs are tailored to the specific needs of guests.

Tyso Sadlo/Palazzo Fiuggi

He says this medical retreat takes a 360-degree approach to wellness with a serious focus that can offer respite to those suffering from chronic illnesses including Covid.

It is an idyllic setting, with healing waters and the natural beauty of the Italian Apennine mountains 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.

Guests can choose from “medical and diagnostic” treatments such as its “Post-Covid-19” program, or a “regeneration” plan such as a “Restore and Balance” program.

All treatment plans include extensive medical examinations, Roman bath soaks and lymphatic drainage, aromatherapy and other massages.

Some of the best types of wellness treatments include good food. There guests can enjoy a menu prepared by a three-star Michelin chef.

Euphoria Retreat, Greece

Euphoria Retreat offers unique wellness activities such as laughter yoga to clear the mind.

Euphoria Retreat offers unique wellness activities such as laughter yoga to clear the mind.

Euphoria Retreats

The charming hilltop village of Mystras is a cooler escape from the plains of Greece’s Peloponnese region, and a gateway to the stunning ancient wonders of the Byzantine fortress that overlooks it.

It’s also home to another getaway. Euphoria is a spa complex built in a classic style, offering guests, among other things, treatments specially designed to support post-pandemic recovery.

Euphoria’s “Feel Alive Again” program aims to relieve guests of negativity through a combination of activities such as laughter yoga, breathing and music.

The resort says these activities are designed to clear the mind of unconscious thoughts and feelings.

It also offers a patented “3GL PLUS” therapy that measures key markers for metabolic health as guests travel through the Euphoria Methodos, a spa approach that combines holistic Hippocratic medicine and Taoist spirituality.

Fortunately, guests leave in a state of euphoria.

Joali Being, Maldives

Joali Being aims to provide guests with a sense of freedom.

Joali Being aims to provide guests with a sense of freedom.

Play Being

Surrounded by soft sands and ocean breezes, this island wellness resort is based around the concept of “weightlessness”. No law of gravity is broken, however; At Joali Being, that means giving yourself a sense of freedom.

The resort says it blends modern science and ancient healing arts to deliver a stay inspired by its four pillars of wellness: mind, microbiome, energy and skin.

Programs tailored to balance guests’ well-being are offered, including a full-body Abhyanga massage in the refreshing water therapies of the resort’s Hydrotherapy Room.

And for drinks? Over 60 varieties of organic tea are available at Sai, Sai, for guests to sip and hopefully feel that weightlessness.

Published April 2022, updated November 2022.