While most vacations aim to provide a relaxing getaway full of beautiful sites, mouthwatering meals and adventures that temporarily suspend reality, we more often than not arrive home afterward feeling drained and ill-prepared to resume life’s busy routine. Aside from a few photographs and an overpriced T-shirt, these getaways leave your skin burned, your feet blistered and your belly a little bigger than it was before. In fact, for many, feeling worn-out, overworked and downright unhealthy is a year-round problem.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if vacations could be restorative, packed with meaningful experiences that inspire lasting personal transformation? What if you came home feeling healthier than ever before, more energetic than you’ve felt in years and excited to face real life again? Believe it or not, you can. From the Arizona desert to the Himalayas, to the shores of the Mediterranean, and to Australia’s Gold Coast, the world’s finest luxury health spas aim to change the way you vacation.
These immersive retreats begin with unique, often breathtaking settings and add specialized programs, customized treatments, organic cuisine and a host of supportive professionals ready to change your life. Health spa retreats are built to support a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life, and your souvenirs are wholesome, sustainable lifestyle changes that beat those knickknacks you picked up at the airport gift shop. So hit the reset button on your body, mind and spirit this year and set out on a health and wellness vacation designed to cleanse and rejuvenate.
Busy schedules, life’s unrelenting pace and unhealthy diets are ingredients for physical and emotional stress manifested in headaches, anxiety and general irritability. That’s why Thailand’s Kamalaya wellness sanctuary on the tropical island of Koh Samui offers an immersive seven-night ancient healing program including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and traditional Thai therapies. On the Mediterranean coast of Spain, a team of experts at SHA Wellness Clinic uses mindfulness and psychotherapy sessions alongside bioenergetics treatments and personalized diets to battle stress and achieve balance. And tucked away in the Himalayan foothills of northern India, Ananda utilizes a unique blend of mind and body concepts and philosophies found in yoga, meditation, Pranayama and Ayurveda to relieve stress while reuniting body, mind and soul.
Mii Amo, Sedona, Arizona
Toxins from pollution and other environmental factors quietly build up in our bodies, resulting in a lack of energy, increased weight gain and countless other unsavory effects. To cleanse such toxins, Mii Amo, nestled in the sacred red rock canyon of Sedona, Arizona, specializes in Native American-inspired therapies. In addition to detoxifying treatments like lymphatic drainage sessions, guests enjoy guided imagery, soul journeying, breath work and sweat lodge experiences. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat on Australia’s Gold Coast offers winter detox programs for boosting the immune system, new year detox programs for creating a balanced routine and comprehensive wellness plan for the year ahead, and spring detox programs with seminars on cleansing toxic relationships. Ti Sana Detox Retreat & Spa near Milan, Italy, is built around daily exercise classes and the resort’s revolutionary Angel of Water colon hydrotherapy system; meanwhile, a series of thorough exams and consultations help dieticians create a carefully calculated diet based on organic ingredients straight from the resort’s own garden.
Schloss Elmau, Bavarian Alps
Schloss Elmau, Bavarian Alps
Whether your goal is weight loss, disease prevention or improved fitness, a health spa aimed at helping you create a more active lifestyle is the solution. The award-winning chefs at Miami’s Pritkin Longevity Center cooking school teach guests the culinary skills and nutritional know-how necessary to create wholesome, tasty meals a healthy body craves. Pritkin’s healthy eating courses include Supermarket Savvy, Dining Out in the Real World, and The Biology of Weight Control. Meanwhile, Rancho La Puerta in Tacate, Mexico, offers a comprehensive men’s fitness package with food, trainers, speakers and classes geared toward men looking for hardcore workouts mixed with manly spa-cation amenities. For more daring spa-goers, the Adventure Trek Hiking Vacation at Mountain Trek aims to help guests reclaim their vitality while exploring the mountain trails of British Columbia and feasting on gourmet meals prepared without alcohol, caffeine, starch, sugar or processed foods.
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
Imagine for a minute that your doctor’s office visit could somehow merge with the relaxing treatments of a day spa experience. Specialized treatments by U.S.-trained dermatologists and plastic surgeons do just that at Niranlada Medi-Spa at Chiva-Som, amid the spectacular Gulf of Thailand. The spa’s five-night Eternal Youth Retreat is the most luxurious choice for regaining younger-looking skin and a more youthful appearance with lasting results. Likewise in Switzerland, natural surroundings and fresh mountain air complement the specialized medical care at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. Here, unique offerings include a three-day Ladies’ Checkup with whole-body analysis and preventative care recommendations, as well as a three-day Golf Checkup led by an in-house golf physiotherapist. And Schloss Elmau, deep in the Bavarian Alps, uses traditional Chinese medicine mixed with the latest in sports science, nutrition, herbal medicine and aromatherapy to treat patients holistically.
Niranlada Medi-Spa at Chiva-Som, Thailand