Wellness travel began a steep, upward curve years ago. Now, owing to the residual stress of navigating a global pandemic, travel for the purpose of wellbeing and mental and physical recuperation has never been more in demand. Here are some of the world’s best luxury wellness retreats where you can realign mind, body and soul.
COMO Shambhala Estate
Close to Ubud in Bali, you’ll find the luxury wellness sanctuary, COMO Shambhala Estate, surrounded by jungle and sitting above the Ayung River. Visit for integrated wellness programs that take a holistic, 360-degree approach customised to suit your individual needs. The team here are specialists in yoga and pilates, and you can also receive reflexology and Ayurvedic treatments at the COMO Shambhala Ojas Wellness Centre.
When you’ve had your fill of massage therapies, skin detoxifying treatments, sauna and steam room sessions or dips in the hydrotherapy pool, explore the lush surroundings with guided hikes and climbs. Try the Tjampuhan ridge walk starting at an eighth-century temple; a cycling tour through Ubud; or take part in a water spring blessing in the Ayung River. Dine on fresh, traditional, and nutritional Balinese dishes.
Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa
This five-hectare, eco-friendly luxury Taj resort is an ideal setting for a wellness escape, with Rishikesh the focus of Hindu pilgrimages for hundreds of years. With an enviable setting at the foothills of the Shivalik mountains, the 2000m2 Jiva Spa is the largest of any in the Taj Hotels portfolio. Discretely nestled into the hillside property, with all rooms offering views of the Granges River, the design of Jiva Spa is influenced by characteristics of the Ganga (the goddess and personification of the Ganges): femininity, breadth, sensitivity, calm, energy, generosity and strength.
Drawing on ancient Indian healing practices and wisdom, expert staff will nurture with Indian therapies, holistic natural treatments, scrubs and wraps using natural products – all amid the pure, high-altitude air of the region. Take daily meditation and yoga classes or attend the Ganga Aarti: a ceremony that honours the river each day as the sun goes down.
Royal Mansour Spa
In the medieval walled city of Marrakech, retreat to the solace of Royal Mansour and its award-winning, 2500m2 spa. Its striking architecture is the first thing you’ll notice, with walls made of traditional musharabieh in an intricate, lace-style pattern that allows light to filter through, along with aromas of date palms, white flowers and orange trees from the garden. A 22m swimming pool glistens beneath a glass roof, while the marble-adorned Hammam is the setting for traditional Moroccan rituals.
Relax with hot steam treatments, ceremonial massages or body wrap treatments with ghassoul, an Arabic mineral clay powder. Take part in holistic activities of meditation, pilates, and yoga or unwind to the healing sounds of Tibetan singing bowls. Four wellness programs are tailored to guests’ needs during three-to-14-day programs.
Kii Peninsula, Japan
Set on the shores of Ago Bay (the Bay of Pearls) in Japan’s Kii Peninsula, Amanemu is surrounded by the lush green foliage of the Ise-Shima National Park. The first Aman mineral hot spring destination, Amanemu carries Aman’s signature understated interiors coupled with Japanese zen design principles. Make the most of nature’s gifts here by spending time rejuvenating in two onsen bathing pavilions with mineral-rich water.
The 2000m2 Aman Spa sits within a forest and features a thermal spring, garden, four treatment suites and a hydrotherapy facility. Take specialist water treatments in the Aqua Movement Suite, or a guided yoga class in front of wide, glass windows or an outdoor deck overlooking the bay. Beauty treatments utilise original oils made of local and seasonal ingredients such as pearl powder, seaweed and native herbs and plants.
Silky Oaks Lodge
Tropical North Queensland, Australia
Spending time amid the trickling waters of Mossman River in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest may be inducive to wellbeing – but stepping inside the Healing Waters Spa at Silky Oaks Lodge invokes next-level restoration. Aboriginal Australians hold the belief that the waters of Mossman River in the Daintree, the oldest living rainforest on the planet, have a renewing and life-giving force.
At six salon rooms, explore a number of ‘signature ceremonies’ that draw on the healing properties of plant botanicals, some beginning with an Or’Yarrarng smudge, an Indigenous clearing and protection ceremony using dried herb incense. Guests at the luxury, 40-treehouse property can join guided yoga sessions by the river – or take a private bath in the rainforest in mineral enzyme water infused with Ayurvedic herbs and the cleansing properties of clay and water.
Chenot Palace Weggis
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Utilising a science-based approach, guests checking into Switzerland’s prestigious Chenot Palace Weggis wellness retreat at Lake Lucerne are screened with high-tech diagnostics to determine a suitable wellness program. The retreat features three curated wellbeing programs based on the Chenot Method: Advanced Detox, Recover and Energise or Prevention and Ageing Well.
All programs include preventative and regenerative treatments complemented by Chenot Diet for optimal results. If sleep is a challenge during your minimum six-day stay, venture to one of four dedicated sleep rooms specially designed to create a natural sleeping environment; or take a plunge in the 21-metre indoor pool in between treatments at its 5000m2 spa.
Koh Samui, Thailand
On the southern coastline of Koh Samui, you’ll find the award-winning wellness sanctuary and holistic spa, Kamalaya. Established in 2005, ‘Kamalaya’ translates as ‘lotus realm’. Guest treatments integrate healing therapies from Eastern and Western principles. The focus here is all on how different treatments, therapies, activities, environmental factors, and the foods we eat come together to create a synergised wellness experience.
Programs include medically-based detoxification and options to address stress relief, burnout, weight management, and sleep or emotional imbalances. A Kamalaya Wellness practitioner will work with you to create a personalised program aligned with your personal goals. The menu of more than 70 therapies and treatments spans Ayurvedic practice, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homoeopathy and emotional healing. You can take part in daily pilates, yoga, chi gong and meditation sessions.
Glenorchy, Central Otago, New Zealand
Wake in your minimalist, architecturally designed room to the sounds of Tibetan bowls at the award-winning luxury wellness retreat, Aro Ha. Guest programs take place over six or eight-day stays. Join a morning yoga class overlooking the dramatic mountain ranges of New Zealand’s Southern Alps or a mindfulness session, hiking subalpine trails, strength classes, hot/cold therapy and daily massages.
You’ll be well nourished with plant-based meals sourced from an on-site permaculture garden, with the chance to learn about intuitive eating practices. The philosophy here is to disconnect from technology and a fast-paced world to reconnect, using core breathwork, and learning tools to live well daily. Additional therapies can be arranged, including reiki and acupuncture.
Other wellness retreats to love
The Ranch Malibu, California
Immersive programs, guided fitness regimes and wellness support are the core of seven or nine-day programs here that include daily hikes and nutritional, plant-based meals. theranchmalibu.com
Joali Being, Maldives
This ‘nature immersive wellbeing island retreat’ in Bodufushi in Raa Atoll, Maldives is centred on the four pillars of mind, skin, microbiome and energy. joali.com/joalibeing/
Kokomo Private Island Fiji
Practice yoga on a pontoon in the azure waters surrounding this private island in Fiji. Enjoy massages on the beach or indulge in treatments in the wet and dry hammam at the Yaukuve Spa Sanctuary. kokomoislandfiji.com
Enjoy unlimited spa treatments and yoga at this luxurious women’s-only retreat in Canggu, Bali by wellness entrepreneur, Janine Hall. escapehaven.com
Coming soon… Six Senses Rome
In 2023, luxury wellness resort group Six Senses will open in a palazzo in Rome at Piazza di San Marcello, near the Fontana di Trevi and Pantheon. The hotel will offer a modern-day interpretation of an ancient Roman bathhouse. sixsenses.com