The World’s Best Health and Wellness Resorts

Overlooking the VIVAMAYER Altaussee in Austria

For those seeking to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul, we guide you to some of the world’s best health and wellness resorts – including a safari wellness retreat.

Aja Malibu, California, USA

The newly-opened 23 ocean-view acre “home with a heart” lies in the mountains of Malibu, California where Australian artist, Inannya Magick has spent seven years designing the retreat. Aja’s signature program known as, The Magick Process, models the ancient system of the seven centres of spiritual power in the human body – the chakras.  The program activities have a holistic focus across its healing therapies, meditation (with an Om Room) and spa therapies. Plant-based cuisine with home-grown garden herbs supports a renewal in health and wellness. The exclusive retreat takes a maximum of eight guests in eight eco-friendly, contemporary rooms.

VIVAMAYR Altaussee, Austria

At the geographical centre of Austria, on the banks of Lake Altaussee, lies the VIVAMAYR Resort with 60 rooms offering panoramic views of the lake and the mountains of the Styrian Salzkammergut.  Detoxification is at the core of the program to improve digestion and metabolism, along with a mixture of spa treatments. Their goal is to give the ultimate combination of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Karkloof Safari Spa, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

The Karkloof Safari Spa offers guests the chance to unwind and restore the mind amongst the wildlife in South Africa. The 17 treatment rooms overlook the Karkloof Valley, making the most of its natural surroundings.  With up to 11 hours of daily treatments, guests can enjoy the Kneipp therapy pools, open-air Jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms, Moroccan-flavoured rassoul (natural mineral clay) and the Reflections Lounge. The 16 private villas offer privacy to guests while being surrounded by South Africa’s wildlife.

Ti Sana Detox Retreat, Italy

The Ti Sana Detox retreat, located in Italy one hour northeast of Milan, focuses on healing and rejuvenation of the body. The retreat follows a “Healtheatarian” philosophy by seeing the whole human body as an interconnected system of health.  Treatments, cuisine, and health programs are personalised to each guest. Guests can also enjoy a range of luxury spa treatments and visit the medical spa for a health overhaul.

Kamalaya Koh Samui, Thailand

Kamalaya was built in 2005 around a former monks cave that once served as a place of meditation for Buddhist monks in a tropical landscape. Named after ‘lotus’ (kamal) and realm (alaya), ‘Kamalaya’ embodies an ancient symbol for growth. Wellness programs at this award-winning resort are targeted at addressing detox, stress and burnout and emotional balance through such methods as focussing on healthy living and yoga practice. The resort’s team of naturopaths will create personalised health programs that take advantage of the resort’s holistic medicine, spa and healing therapies. Kamalaya won Luxury Travel magazine’s 2016 Gold List award for Best Overseas Health & Wellness property.

Massage Station at the Kamalaya Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand
Massage Station at the Kamalaya Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand

Chiva-Som, Thailand

The recently redesigned beachfront Chiva-Som (“haven of life”) in Thailand’s Hua Hin has developed new specialist programs oriented towards the individual goals of its guests, addressing such health issues such as stress management, high blood pressure, weight loss and migraines. In total, 13 retreats are now available, with four new retreats being added this year. All require a minimum length stay of 10 nights. New to the retreat repertoire is Sustainable Slimming, Tension Release, Cranial Relief Retreat and Emotional Wellbeing. Chiva-Som has a menu of 200 fitness, physiotherapy, holistic, medi-spa and spa therapies available. The resort can be reached from Bangkok in three hours by car, a 25-minute private plane or a 40-minute helicopter flight.

Chiva-Som Resort in Thailand
Chiva-Som Resort in Thailand

Gwinganna, Queensland

Celebrating 10 years in 2016, the ecotourism certified property in the Tallebudgera Valley focuses on organic living with programs encompassing spa, movement and relaxation with organic cuisine in a low-tech environment. The property recently opened three new meditation suites, the first of their kind in Australia. All-inclusive packages range from two to seven days in duration. The first half of the day at Gwinganna focuses on ‘yang’ activities of physical strength and exercise while after lunchtime the mood shifts to quiet time with one-on-one sessions with practitioners or spa treatments. Gwinganna was the winner of Luxury Travel magazine’s 2016 Gold List award for Best Australian Health & Wellness property.

Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia, NSW

Overlooking the scenic mountains of the Hunter Valley, Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia is a luxurious and well-organised escape for those looking to improve their overall health and wellness. The accommodation cabins are all built around Meditation Hill that has two pathways representing yin and yang, where daily Tai Chi classes are held accompanied by the rising sun as the perfect motivator. Guests come for a variety of reasons – some are overcoming trauma or grief; some are here to kickstart a health regimen while others are here for rest and relaxation. Wholesome and nutritious food is prepared by Scottish chef David Hunter who also hosts weekly cooking classes. During their stay, guests say goodbye to caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats. Guests can opt for three, five or seven-night packages, including luxury suite or villa accommodation and several wellness or fitness classes, with use of all facilities including tennis courts, heated lap pool, outdoor resort pool and a fully equipped gymnasium. Just a tip – you probably won’t want to stop either at just one spa treatment in the well-appointed spa facility.

Overlooking the mountains at the Golden Door Health Resort and Spa Elysia, NSW
Overlooking the mountains at the Golden Door Health Resort and Spa Elysia, NSW

Aro Hā, New Zealand

Aro Hā is a 21-acre retreat just 40 minutes out of Queenstown, New Zealand, with panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu. Its vision of zen-inspired luxury gives guests the perfect place to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul through their BREATH framework: being, relating, eating, activity, toxicity, and healing. The retreat’s all-inclusive programs aim to leave guests feeling glowing and revitalised.

View of the Aro Hā Resort in New Zealand
View of the Aro Hā Resort in New Zealand

Canyon Ranch, Arizona, USA

Open since 1979, Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona has been in operation for nearly 30 years. The warm climate in the picturesque canyon setting allows for hiking, biking and outdoor swimming possible all year-round.  Guests also have access to the state-of-the-art wellness spa with experts on hand to tailor programs for individuals to set them on a healthy path for life.

The Canyon Ranch in Arizona, USA
The Canyon Ranch in Arizona, USA

Ananda in the Himalayas, India

Ananda is in the foot of the Indian Himalayas, the birthplace of yoga. The surroundings of the resort are conducive to relaxation and rejuvenation.  All-inclusive packages focus on weight management, yoga, detox stress and other wellness principles.  Other activities include nature treks, safari and a devotional fire-lighting ritual, the Ganga Aarati.

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