The Right Direction: Vietnam’s Amanoi Offers Secluded Getaway

Forest Wellness Pool Villa at Amanoi, Vietnam

Kaitlin Jane checks into the Amanoi on Vietnam’s south-east coast and discovers the many benefits of its pristine location between jungle and sea

After landing at Cam Ranh International Airport on Vietnam’s south-central coast, most travellers head north, towards the bustling beach town of Nha Trang. But Aman resorts have never been for ‘most’ travellers, and the exclusive Amanoi, located in the pristine Nui Chua National Park, about 60 kilometres south of Cam Ranh, is no exception.

This off-the-grid location is typical of many Aman properties, but a resort that encompasses 42 hectares of a 29,000-hectare park is exceptional even by the lofty standards of this renowned brand.

After a 75-minute drive, I arrive in the pristine coastal marine reserve. A sweeping granite staircase leads to the central pavilion and I am met with a cool towel and refreshing drink before being taken to my Mountain Pool Villa.

The resort’s 36 villas, residences, pavilions and spa houses – all designed by architect Jean-Michel Gathy – are scattered along the hilltop and gaze out over mountains, ancient boulders and the turquoise waters of Vinh Hy Bay and out to the East Sea.

My 125-square-metre villa opens up to the lush green forest on both sides with enormous sliding glass doors and also has a large infinity pool surrounded by a sun deck, which quickly becomes my favourite spot for morning and afternoon tea.

The clean design of the room embraces traditional Vietnamese style while incorporating the latest conveniences such as docking sound system, espresso machine, generous mini-bar and WiFi. There is also Netflix available on a TV that raises into view from a wooden table at the foot of the indulgent king bed.

The first thing on my agenda is a consultation with Josh, the resort’s wellness manager and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. There are several personally tailored wellness immersion programs available, lasting from three to 21 days. All combine movement, body work, nutrition, mindfulness and spa treatments. After an in-depth conversation with Josh (including reviewing a questionnaire I had sent in before my arrival), we decide to focus on mindfulness, detox and cleansing, as well as hydration.

It’s an active schedule, starting at 6am with a guided sunrise hike to Goga Peak. My guide, Tuyen, and I trek to the top – about 20 minutes – where a stunning lookout awaits. The views of the fishing village below and the boats heading out for the day, all against the backdrop of the sun rising over the bay, are spectacular.

At 8am I head down to the lake for a group Qigong lesson on the floating pavilion surrounded by lotus flowers with the morning sunlight streaming in. We go over several different movements, reconfirming – yet again – that I need to incorporate this type of mindfulness into my routine.

By 9am I have done more exercise than I usually do in an entire day, and I’m ready for breakfast. But first it’s time for my Chinese tea remedy, one of two that I will experience each day, each brew specially prepared to help balance my yin and yang, which in Chinese Medicine is the key to good health. While it might not become a favourite beverage, it’s definitely tolerable, especially if balance is a consequence.

Breakfast in the shaded al fresco pavilion, which sits on top of the hill overlooking the property, is both delicious and delightful. I am presented with a custom menu that complements my wellness program and offers a varied selection of Vietnamese and Western dishes. According to traditional Asian medicine, food is divided into five groups: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty, with each connected to an organ system. I always go local with the food when travelling and choose the vegetarian pho – a savoury rice noodle soup with shallots, basil, coriander and spring onions – accompanied by a seasonal fresh fruit platter and jasmine green tea.

“If time is in your favour, settle in for a week and village-hop and long-lunch to your heart’s content. This is how holidays are done in the Luberon – just ask the savvy and sophisticated Parisian style set who have made this dreamy, unspoilt countryside their summer playground for more than half a century.”

By 11am, I am back at the lakeside spa to meet with Josh for some laser acupuncture, which is followed by a private yoga session with Shyam, the spa manager.

After lunch at the beach club and some chill out time at the adjacent pool, I once again find myself at the spa for another indulgence – a 90-minute hot stone massage that begins in the hydrotherapy room with a steam, spa and cold plunge. Despite the small stature of my Vietnamese massage therapist, she has incredibly strong hands and knows exactly how to manipulate my muscles to mush.

The Amanoi spa takes centre stage at the resort with its luxurious oversized treatment rooms, talented therapists and unique menu that includes both body and energy work. For a one-of-a-kind experience while enjoying utmost privacy, stay in one of the resort’s two Spa Houses. The Thuy Lien Spa House features a contemporary Moroccan hammam while the An Son Spa House boasts a Russian banya. Both include two dedicated therapists, a 15-metre pool, spa, steam room, cold plunge, three hours of treatments per day along with all of the standard villa inclusions. All this without ever having to leave the residence.

Before falling into bed, I enjoy a perfect meal of Vietnamese-style whole fish smothered in herbs and cooked in a clay pot with dipping sauce, smoky eggplant and rice paper rolls.

From their expert attention to detail to the philosophy that no request is ever too great, a stay at Amanoi is guaranteed to leave you relaxed, rejuvenated and on the right path to a healthier you.

The Details

Rates for the Detox and Cleansing Immersion start from A$2719 per night (three-night minimum), including taxes and full board, return airport transfers, an arrival and departure wellness consultation and a comprehensive itinerary. 

The Future of Air Travel: United CleanPlus Initiates Healthier Travel Plan

United CleanPlus Airport Lobby Signage
United CleanPlus Airport Lobby Signage

United Airlines recently introduced United CleanPlus: the company’s new commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of the customer experience, with the goal of initiating a cleanliness revolution in the airline industry. United CleanPlus brings together the disinfectant brand, Clorox, and American medical experts from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to inform and guide United’s new standard of cleanliness. This protocol includes cleaning, safety and social distancing and giving customers options when flights are more full. Clorox products will be used at United’s hub airports and medical experts from the Cleveland Clinic will advise on new technologies, training development and quality assurance programming.

By establishing collaborations with these world-renowned leaders in surface disinfection and health, United hopes that customers can travel with more confidence knowing that the airline’s protocols have been informed by trusted experts.

“Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it’s our singular customer focus,” said United CEO, Scott Kirby, in a video message to customers. “We recognise that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of customers’ minds when making travel decisions.”

Clorox is working closely with United to enhance the airline’s cleaning program, redefine disinfection procedures and equipping customers with amenities at select locations that help support a healthier and safer environment throughout their travel journey. Clorox products will first roll out at United’s hub airports in Chicago and Denver and will be used in the gate and terminal areas, with additional locations to follow.

“Connecting the world more safely, when possible, is an important part of our recovery as a society,” stated Benno Dorer, Chair and CEO of The Clorox Company.

Experts at Cleveland Clinic provided guidance on the airline’s policies and procedures to ensure they meet or exceed industry standards. Such measures include sneeze guards, mandatory face coverings for crew and customers and installing touchless kiosks in select locations for baggage check-in. As they learn more about how to fight COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic experts will help United use those discoveries to quickly implement new ways to keep customers safe.

“As the public begins to adjust to a world that’s been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety is of the utmost importance,” said Tomislav Mihaljevic, M.D., Cleveland Clinic CEO and President. “We are proud to be part of this programme and to share the knowledge we’ve gained as we’ve worked to contain and understand COVID-19 over the past several months. It’s important for everyone to take precautions as we enter this new phase of COVID-19 response, and Cleveland Clinic is pleased to play a role in helping people travel safely.”

The United CleanPlus commitment to customers is already happening throughout the travel journey across the United network in a number of ways. To date, United has implemented more than a dozen new policies and procedures aligned with United CleanPlus that include the following:

In Airport Lobbies:

  • Temporarily shutting down self-service kiosks
  • Rolling out touchless kiosks in select locations that allow travellers to print bag tags using their own device to scan a QR code
  • Ticket counter signage, including a 6 ft. rule to encourage minimal contact
  • Deployment of sneeze guards at key high-interaction points

Gateside Measures:

  • Fewer travellers boarding at once to reduced crowding at gate and jet bridge
  • Self-scanning of boarding passes at gate readers
  • United employees have access to disinfecting products to best clean high-touch areas, such as armrests and handrails

In United Clubs:

  • Protective sneeze guards have been installed at credentialing desks and customer service positions
  • United Club team members are required to use personal protective equipment and increase the frequency of high-touch surface cleaning
  • Removal of bar area seating
  • Prepackaged food and beverages will only be available at the bar area

Onboard Aircraft:

  • An “all in one” economy snack bag that replaces the economy beverage and complimentary snack choice service on domestic flights scheduled 2 hours and 20 minutes or more. This bag includes a wrapped sanitiser wipe, an 8.5 oz. bottled water, a Stroopwafel and a package of pretzels
  • Mask or face covering requirement for all employees and customers aboard a United flight
  • Each United customer will be given an individually wrapped package of hand sanitiser wipes
  • Limiting advanced seat selections where possible
  • Allowing customers to take alternative flights when a flight is expected to operate over 70% capacity
  • From June, every United cabin will undergo enhanced sanitisation, such as electrostatic spraying, before boarding

Behind the Scenes:

  • United employees undergo temperature screenings upon arrival at work
  • Some United employees are producing hand sanitiser to be used throughout the airline.

These new measures created for United CleanPlus are being rolled out across United aircraft and hubs. The guidelines will likely evolve in accordance with new findings made by health experts. COVID-19 is changing the way we travel from short-term restrictions to long-term shifts in health standards.

Responding to COVID-19, United Airlines debuts United CleanPlus: a series of health protocols aimed at revolutionising health standards in airline travel

Explore Holistic Luxury Wellness at the New Maldivian Velaa Spa

Velaa Spa Aerial View, Velaa Private Island, Maldives
Velaa Spa Aerial View, Velaa Private Island, Maldives

Centred in the heart of the Maldives’ Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island offers a new wellness experience for travelers seeking whole body rejuvenation

Responding to the shift towards holistic wellness in travel experiences, Velaa Spa launched in early 2020 to provide guests with a health conscious retreat. A luxury beach resort located in the Maldives’ Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island aims to blend Maldivian culture with contemporary luxury while providing guests with a boutique hideaway.

Of the luxury resort’s 47 private villas, houses and exclusive residences, 18 are built over water while the Romantic Pool Residence remains accessible only by boat.

Following the themes of comfort and luxury, the new Velaa Spa promises to offer guests unique relaxation and rejuvenation experiences catered to their individual desires.

Features of Velaa Spa

Velaa Spa is the resort’s new wellness brand that focused on complete rejuvenation. Perched above the resort’s lagoon, Velaa Spa promises to offer a sanctuary of spa treatments, personalised fitness and nutrition regimes.

Body, Nutrition, Fitness and Mind are the cornerstones of Velaa Spa’s philosophy. Offerings from the spa aim to adhere to these ideals and include the following experiences:

  • Multi-sensory treatments that blend organic ingredients with natural healing therapies
  • 3- and 5-day wellness experiences tailored to individual guests’ desires and needs
  • Monthly experiences with visiting practitioners from across the globe
  • A new menu of spa services, including such experiences as a series of healing signature treatments
  • New spa products ranging from Velaa Spa’s own line to products of Japanese skincare brand Kotoshina and of Dr Burgener’s luxury Swiss beauty range.

The New Wellness Experiences

The 3- and 5-day holistic wellness experiences offer guests to Velaa Spa the opportunity of experiencing a new wellness menu based on the latest technology and treatments to address individual health and lifestyle concerns of guests.

Guests can choose from four different experiences: The Detox, The Relaxing, The Rejuvenating and The Fitness Reviver. Each package offers a range of massage treatments and facials, personal training sessions, meditation and juices. This holistic approach to personal well-being and restoration is facilitated by therapists, qualified nutritionists and fitness trainers.

On the Spa Menu

The Velaa Spa offers a range of treatment experiences including facials, massages and body-slimming rituals. Signature treatments of Velaa Spa include the Green Caviar Facial—which uses green caviar sourced from Okinawa, gold trace elements and ultrasound waves to benefit the skin on a cellular level.

The light and sleep therapy pod, Cloud 9, aims to recreate the feeling of being cradled as a child while the snow room promotes detoxification. Slimming programmes at Velaa Spa include G5 figure contouring and HIFU body sculpting. Nail and beauty services available to guests include hair styling and Kérastase treatments while a junior range caters to younger guests.

Visiting Practitioners

Velaa Spa aims to host practitioners and wellness specialists with a new featured expert each month. Ranging from hypnotherapist and nutritionists to personal trainers and many more, these practitioners-in-residence will provide guests with access to their expertise, training and healing.

New Spa Products

Velaa Spa Products—the resort’s new spa line—will feature products and scents inspired by the island’s flora and the surrounding ocean. The line aims for a multi-sensory approach with products including essential oils, fragrance reeds, aromatherapy candles and mist. These products will be used across the range of Velaa Spa’s services and be available for purchase.

Two partner spa product lines, Kotoshina and Dr Burgener, offer guests to Velaa Spa a unique experience in the Maldives. Originating from Kyoto, Kotoshina is organically produced with ingredients such as green tea and spring water. The swiss line, Dr Burgener, was created by welling practitioners and features a luxury skincare range that combines natural active ingredients with advancements in science and technology.

More about Velaa

Translating to “turtle” in the local language, Velaa is named for the generations of sea turtles that flock to the island to nest and hatch. From a broader “bird’s eye view”, which guests arriving by seaplane may experience, the island’s exclusive over-water villas are constructed to resemble the head of a turtle, with the island forming the body.

Giving back to the creatures and ecosystem that helped name and support the resort, Velaa Private Island sponsors a coral restoration team that aims to rehabilitate the surrounding ocean life and educate guests.

With three restaurants, a cocktail lounge, champagne bar and wine cellar, Velaa aims to please the palate of all guests. Adventure awaits guests to the resort in the form of excursions, water activities, sports and more.

To find out more about what Velaa Private Island has to offer, follow the link below:

Private Jet Travel Rockets In Response to Coronavirus Crisis

Aman Private Jet Interior
Aman Private Jet Interior

Passengers are willing to pay well above standard rates (around USD $5,000 for an hour on a six to eight-passenger light jet) to evacuate areas and get around travel bans during  the COVID-19 crisis

The private aviation industry might just be one of the few in the world to actually benefit from the madness of COVID-19. According to various media outlets including Business Insider, VICE and Slate, private aircraft businesses are booming, with demand from the super wealthy rocketing as a result of the commercial airline restrictions, border closures and Coronavirus fears now in place around the world.

Justin Crabbe, CEO of private jet charter company Jettly – which has headquarters in New York and Toronto and access to over 23000 private jets around the world – told Business Insider’s Melissa Wiley earlier this month that he has tripled the company’s flight support staff in response to surging demand. Thousands of requests came through “within hours” from elite travellers willing to pay thousands of dollars to arrange last-minute travel and emergency evacuations from countries affected by COVID-19, he told Wiley. “In short, we are booming…I’ve never seen so much activity in our evacuation flight department.”

“This time of year we typically see 2,000 to 3,000 flights requested each day, but we have doubled that for almost every news release of a major outbreak in the past weeks getting people out of the affected areas,” Crabbe said.

Crabbe added that Jettly customers, both individual and corporate, are willing to pay well above standard rates (which sit at around USD $5,000 for an hour on a six to eight-passenger light jet)  to evacuate areas within 24-48 hours instead of waiting a few days. “We have seen dozens of bookings that are two to three times the regular rate for the flight due to the increased demand and the shortage of available aircraft and crews in the area,” Crabbe said. “Many aircrafts are having to fly in to pick up customers and evacuate them. All of that additional flight time comes with additional cost.”

The 24-hour Coronavirus news cycle has fuelled the demand, Crabbe said, with media reports of travel bans, city quarantines, evacuations, and new cases “driv[ing] the public to become extremely fearful and prefer to stay away from commercial airport terminals and commercial aircraft cabins due to the increased levels of exposure,” he said.

Even now, with various countries’ travel bans in place, private jets can bypass these bans thanks to loopholes: private jet passengers aren’t subject to commercial security and health screenings because they fly out of smaller terminals, he told Wiley.

London-based Private Fly is another private jet company seeing a spike in business. CEO Adam Twiddel told Wiley that his company had seen an increase in requests for short-notice charters, ranging from the transport of medical teams to new clients wishing to avoid virus exposure that a commercial flight might bring.

“Recent inquiries have included transport of a decontamination team within Asia, and flights from Hong Kong for a family travelling to Bali. They normally fly by commercial airline but on this occasion, are concerned about exposure on the flight,” Twidell told Business Insider.

On 11th March CNN Travel reported that Swiss private jet broker Luna Jets had also seen an “impressive increase” in bookings and enquiries from passengers in recent weeks, correlating with heightened concerns surrounding COVID-19. “In February, about 15% of overall requests were related to coronavirus,” Alain Leboursier, director of sales told CNN. “That’s now doubled to 30%.”

For Southern Jet, a private jet charter company in the United States, requests and demands had increased tenfold from late February. “The demand is basically coming to us. We might get five, 10 requests a day. And the request lines are just crazy right now. We’re booking out to where we don’t have any airplanes available,” owner Jerod Davis told Slate.

“We’re seeing people that never flew private before flying private.”

Daniel Hirschhorn, from USA-based Luxury Aircraft Solutions, which brokers travel between private airlines and flyers, echoed Davis’ comments in an article published by VICE on 16th March: “In the past 24 hours [demand] has really spiked. A lot of people that don’t normally fly private but have the means to do it, and would generally hop on a commercial flight, are very apprehensive to do that. So we’re getting flooded with requests,” he said.

However Hirschhorn also said that cancellations had also spiked for the company: “For people that booked non-essential trips with family, or took elective work trips, pretty much everything we had on the books has cancelled,” Hirschhorn said. “We’re negotiating on their behalf to get as much money back as possible. So we have both ends of this. It’s good for business and it’s bad for business.”

Crabbe agreed: “Even now, while we’re seeing short-term additional demand, other clients are changing or cancelling their travel plans,” he told Business Insider.

Four Seasons Bali is Opening a 2000 Square-Metre Spa

Healing Village Spa treatment at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Healing Village Spa treatment at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay is set to pamper guests from May 2020 at the newly renovated Healing Village Spa

The all-villa beach retreat of Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay will open its new, two-storey Four Seasons Healing Village Spa on 1 May 2020, offering a dedicated pamper space that is 70 per cent bigger than its previous iteration, spanning 2,000 square metres. Showcasing contemporary Balinese design, the reinvented Healing Village Spa will be home to 10 all-suite treatment rooms including six double rooms for couples complete with a private outdoor relaxation area, outdoor bathtub and shower. The Illume Room feature a heated quartz-sand bed for inversion therapy and surround sound original music and The Longevity Garden comes with a private steam room amid tropical gardens. Products from skincare brand ISUN draw on organic ingredients.

“We feel blessed to have such strong cultural and community connections, from our team of local healers who bring their loving presence to each treatment, to the traditional influences and home-grown ingredients,” said Regional Director of Spa, Luisa Anderson. “By uniting cultural elements with the latest in emerging science, we are able to offer truly transformational experiences in one of the island’s most dynamic wellness hubs.”


The Healing Village Spa highlights include:

Bali’s first ‘Surround Sound Spa Suite’

The Illume Room includes a heated quartz-sand bed made of crushed crystals for inversion therapy and undulating massage and is sealed from outside sources of light to maximise colour therapy healing. Engineered for surround sound technology, it features original ‘Sounds of Jimbaran’ music composed exclusively for the Spa and recorded onsite. Seven alchemy crystal singing bowls add to the high vibrations of the uniquely conceived space.


The Longevity Garden

Guests move through a thermotherapy sequence in The Longevity Garden: DIY salt scrubs and mud wraps; infra-red mats; sun-warmed stone loungers; and an invigorating ice bath, all combining to offer reduced inflammation, increased circulation and endorphins and encourage faster muscle recovery.


Treatments that harness the intrinsic qualities of gemstones

Gemstone Joy is a ritual that uses gemstone oils along with crystal massage wands, while the Celestial Light Facial combines sound and light vibration with crystal wands for skin health.


A Blessings of Bali ritual

Guests can experience oceanside energy healing, simple yoga poses, traditional massage, a Balinese gong ‘sound bath’ and a flower blessing performed by a Balinese priest.

The island’s new wellness destination also features the only Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa in South-East Asia. The Italian celebrity stylist will cater for both local residents as well as visitors to Bali.


On The Healing Village Spa’s upper level, ocean views and state-of-the-art equipment inspire a work-out at the Fitness Centre with the Resort’s personal trainers. The wellness program also includes yoga and meditation sessions daily, not to mention a year-round calendar of visiting practitioners: a rare opportunity to experience one-to-one therapies from Reiki and Clairsentience to Aura-Soma Colour Therapy with global experts.

The Best Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in the World

Twin Farms, Vermont, USA

The best of the best, according to Forbes Travel Guide

For the first time in its 62 year history, Forbes Travel Guide has announced the best hotel, restaurant and spa of the year. Recipients of this accolade were chosen, as told to Forbes by CEO Filip Boyen, based off of a series of criteria that matches Forbes Travel Guide’s “well-known commitment to integrity”.

Covering 76 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, each year Forbes Travel Guide’s highly trained inspectors visit properties as objective mystery guests, evaluating and verifying their quality based on up to 900 objective criteria. The evaluation covers both service and facilitates as well as service, judging what kind of impression the property leaves on guests, how it makes them feel and what they remember most about the visit.

Without further ado, here are Forbes’ travel standouts for 2020:

Hotel of the Year

Located in the Vermont town of Barnard with a population of less that 1,000 people, the 20-room boutique hotel known as Twin Farms received this honour for its achievement of 98.24% on Forbes’ scoring card.

When prompted as to what makes Twin Farms unique, managing director John Graham told Forbes, “in part it’s a beautiful Vermont setting, in part wonderful design and art, in part great culinary and wine, in part memorable activities, but in whole our team truly dedicated to serving, really serving.”

With just 20 rooms spanning 300 acres, Twin Farms’ secluded adult-only property provides an intimate escape among the trees and mountains of Vermont. Visitors to this secluded boutique hotel can venture further afield—about a 1.5 hour drive—to Burlington, the capital of Vermont. Back at Twin Farms, services include such amenities as same-day laundry service, staff members to pack and unpack luggage, fully stocked refrigerators and local craft touches.

Chalet Bedroom at Twin Farms, Vermont
Chalet Bedroom at Twin Farms, Vermont

Restaurant of the Year

Inside Wynn Palace in Macau, sits the five-star Sichuan Moon by Andre Chiang, which received a score of 99.22% on Forbes’ rating scale, leading the restaurant to undeniable victory. The 15-course degustation menu aims to reacquaint the public with Sichuan food—shifting perceptions of the local cuisine as only spice to include the wide variation of flavours presented in Macau.

In an interview with Forbes, Wynn Palace chief operating officer Frederic Luvisutto stated, “Our goal is to reinterpret the flavours of Sichuan dishes and present them on a global stage, by introducing creative new culinary techniques and pairing dishes with extraordinarily rare specialty teas from around the world.”

Sichuan Moon, Wynn Palace Macau
Sichuan Moon, Wynn Palace Macau

Spa of the Year

Neighbouring Forbes’ Restaurant of the Year sits another of 2020’s outstanding destinations: the Morpheus Spa at the City of Dreams complex. Receiving a 99.50 score when compared to Forbes’ criteria, this six-room spa was created b architect Zaha Hadid. According to Forbes, it’s the first spa in the world to feature real snow. Additional amenities include the spa butler and platinum mask.

Chief operating officer of Macau Resorts and property president of City of Dreams, David Sisk, told Forbes that “The globally renowned Forbes award is a tribute to their talent and dedication. With its imaginative guest experiences, iconic design and exceptional amenities, Morpheus redefines high-end hospitality.”

Morpheus Spa at the City of Dreams, Macau
Morpheus Spa at the City of Dreams, Macau

Kamalaya Koh Samui Launches 21-Day Wellbeing Sabbatical

Kamalaya wellness
Kamalaya wellness

From 1 May 2020, guests at Kamalaya’s Wellbeing Sabbatical can enjoy a program customised to allow for limited stress, focused work and wellness time

Since opening in 2005, Kamalaya has been attracting guests interested in improving their health and wellbeing with its award-winning wellness programs. Kamalaya’s 21 Day Wellbeing Sabbatical was recently named by Global Wellness Summit as one of the top 10 global wellness trends for 2020 and from 1 May 2020, guests will be able to experience this sabbatical themselves. The program encourages guests to replenish and heal their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies at their own pace and in their own way. Neither prescriptive nor regimented, Kamalaya’s approach offers guests the freedom to co-create an enriching experience.

Recognising that for some, a clean and complete break from work and business is impossible, Kamalaya’s Wellbeing Sabbatical program offers a flexible, customisable schedule. Kamalaya encourages guests to stay connected to work or perhaps explore a creative or personal pursuit if that is their preference. Weekly Personal Mentoring sessions are included to support guests through reflections of their wellness experience.

“Our long-stay guests are driven by different reasons and how they spend their time varies, but the common denominator is that they integrate wellness with a specific creative, inspirational or personal pursuit,” says Karina Stewart, Kamalaya co-founder and Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine. “They benefit from having their wellness needs taken care of in a beautiful and naturally inspiring environment that nourishes them on every level. Being removed from their regular environment and limiting distractions allows for new inspiration, ideas and perspectives to emerge.”

The program includes restorative and revitalising treatments to rebalance the nervous system, such as Royal Ayurvedic Massage and Shirodhara, as well as healing modalities such as Kamalaya’s signature Vital Essence Oil Massage and Tension Relief Massage. Guests will have access to a physiotherapist who will assess any postural or structural imbalances. Nutritional guidance and opportunities to explore stress management, meditation, pranayama and holistic movement practices such as yoga and qi gong will also be offered.

Kamalaya is located amid a tropical landscape on the southern coast of Koh Samui, Thailand. Founded by John and Karina Stewart in 2005, the resort offers a holistic wellness experience that integrates healing therapies from East and West, a natural environment, healthy cuisine, holistic fitness practices and customised wellness programs ranging from Detoxification to Stress & Burnout, as well as Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga Synergy and Emotional Balance.

The Wellbeing Sabbatical Program can be booked on a date that suits guests and includes a wellness consultation to establish health and wellness goals along with a tailored programme of treatments, massages, personal mentoring and specialist sessions. Prices start at 297,211 Thai Baht (AU$14,138) for a twin share that includes accommodation, transfers, meals, treatments and specialist sessions for 21 days.

Voting is Open for the 2020 Gold List

Luxury travel photo

Luxury Travel Magazine is pleased to announce voting is now open for the 16th annual Gold List awards

The Gold List awards celebrates the best in luxury travel in Australia and around the globe, as voted by our readers. With voting now open, this is your opportunity to have your say and nominate the best five-stars resorts and hotels, luxury rail journeys, ocean cruises and high-end tour operators.


How to Vote

  • Start your voting process by clicking on the link below and remember to include the location of the property you nominate for your vote to count (eg. ‘Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour’, not just ‘Sofitel’).
  • Please note that to be eligible to go in the draw to win one of three prizes below, you must fill out at least one category in the questionnaire, as well as Question 30, then continue to enter your name and email for the Prize Draw.
  • Voting closes 5pm, Friday 3rd April 2020. Winners will be announced Thursday 28th May 2019online and in the winter issue of Luxury Travel Magazine.

Belmond Unveils New Wellbeing Experiences

Belmond Madeira
Belmond Madeira

Good Living at Belmond is about avoiding the ostentatious and focusing beyond pure wellness to authentic and timeless experiences

Luxury travel company Belmond, a part of the world’s leading luxury group, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has unveiled a new set of wellbeing experiences entitled Good Living at Belmond to encourage discovery and enrichment among its guests.

The experiences have been designed with an emphasis on mindfulness and meditation, challenging the physical and mental, cultural immersion and authenticity.

“Good Living at Belmond is about avoiding the ostentatious and focusing beyond pure wellness, on authenticity and timeless experiences,” said Arnaud Champenois, SVP Brand and Marketing, Belmond.Whether it is mindfulness in Anguilla or trekking in Myanmar; the evocative scent of flowers in Madeira; poetic conversations on a literary terrace in Sicily; or experiences that unlock cultures through music. It is about passion and discovery; and that one-of-a-kind authentic experience with an extra special je ne sais quoi that simply cannot be replicated. Plus, of course, a glass of champagne!”

Belmond has appointed a council of Good Living ‘Experience Makers’ – experts in their field – to curate the one-of-a-kind experiences. The experiences include:


Poetry in Motion

Inspired by Belmond’s literary legacy, Gala and Isabella Macpherson, founders of London-based theatre production company Platform Presents, will curate an anthology of poems inspired by rail travel and will host a special poetry workshop at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily, from the literary terrace where DH Lawrence wrote the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover.


Self-Care to Travel by

Sisters Nadia and Katia Narain, authors of Self Care for the Real World and Rituals for Every Day, bring their philosophy of taking time to care for the body and mind to ensure balance and space for full enjoyment of life. Nadia and Katia will be hosting a retreat at Belmond Cap Juluca from 5th – 9th July 2020, a place of pure serenity and relaxation, and will curate a Morning Ritual for Belmond guests to help them take time to feel well and enjoy every moment of their holiday.


Music for the Soul

Author of Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Everyday, Clemency Burton-Hill has curated playlists that help those with busy lives to take time to be in the moment and make the most of the time and freedom that travel creates.


A World of Flowers

Florist Simon Lycett will take centre stage at the world-famous flower festival at Belmond Reid’s Palace in Madeira from 8th – 10th May 2020, where guests will be able to join a workshop to learn his craft and share his passion for floral art. Simon will also share his passion for home-made, hand-picked tea infusions from his garden, developing a floral tea recipe to be served across Belmond properties.


Inspiring Adventure

A young woman of serious ambition and curiosity, Raha Moharrak was the youngest Arab woman to summit Mount Everest. Raha will guide guests on a once in a lifetime expedition to Bhamo through the untouched north of mystical Myanmar, hosting a group of intrepid adventurers aboard the pioneering river cruise ship Belmond Road to Mandalay. She will share her knowledge and expertise of summiting the world’s tallest mountains and creating guides for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

Gaia Unveils Luxurious Two-Bedroom Villa

Komala Luxe Villa | Gaia
Komala Luxe Villa | Gaia

Think: saltwater infinity plunge pool, large private deck areas with daybed kabana, a lounge room fireplace and private treatment areas

Twelve months into its extensive refurbishment, Gaia Retreat & Spa in the Byron Bay hinterland has unveiled a two-bedroom Komala Luxe Villa overlooking the retreat’s lush landscape of undulating valleys and organic gardens. Designed for utmost indulgence and R&R, the expansive villa has a a saltwater infinity plunge pool, large private deck areas with daybed kabana, lounge room fireplace and its own private treatment areas.

Samadhi Yoga Room has also been upgraded, with a north-facing position amid sprawling rainforest. The space offers daily morning yoga, pilates sessions as well as meditation and sound healing with a truly magical vista.

It’s not difficult to see why Gaia Retreat & Spa took out the award for Best Australian Health & Wellness Resort at this year’s Gold List awards and has been crowned World’s Best Day Spa four years in a row at the World Spa Awards. Gaia also won the coveted 2018 Hotel of the Year at the World Luxury Hotel Awards – the first Australian Hotel ever do so and following in the footsteps of illustrious hotels like Armani Hotel Dubai, Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, Hotel Plaza Athénée Paris and Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi.

Gaia offers signature spa packages, relaxing and therapeutic massages, pampering, beauty, anti-ageing, detox as well as tailor made specialised treatments. In addition to these treatments the resort offers available a selection of alternative therapies, energetic healings, fitness, weight loss, health/wellbeing programs and creative activities.

The resort also serves up award-winning cuisine, much of which can be found in the resort’s new Gaia Spa Cuisine – Celebrated Recipes cookbook. All gourmet meals at Gaia are served in Kukura House, the central meeting room lodge where everyone gathers. The day begins with a sumptuous buffet and hot breakfast, followed by a light lunch, while the evening unfolds with a luxurious three-course fine dining experience. The Gaia approach to food is hearty and healthy with in-house chefs personally choosing the freshest organic produce available from the retreat’s organic garden as well as from several local orchards and plantations. The menu changes daily and gets customised to each individual’s preferences, desires and special dietary requirements.

Take a peek at Gaia’s gorgeous new villa and yoga room below.