8 best wellness holidays around the world
Are you ready for a vacation with a difference? With my body — and brain — in need of some serious downtime, my mood’s edging towards booking a wellness holiday.
These types of retreats focus on health, relaxation and mindfulness and are an ideal place to switch off and recharge.
Wellness holidays are becoming an increasingly popular choice, especially when life leaves you feeling royally burned out. From medical spas and yoga retreats, to weight loss and emotional healing, the choice is vast.
If the sound of a wellness holiday appeals to you, I’ve got 8 relaxing retreats that’ll peak your interest. The key to finding your inner zen, and focusing solely on your wellbeing, begins here.
1. Fivelements Retreat Bali — the sustainable resort
Begin your healing journey at Fivelements Retreat Bali in Ubud. An award-winning wellness destination on the Indonesian island, the resort combines ancient traditions with authentic healing and beauty spa rituals.
They offer wellness, romantic and group day experiences. Guests are also welcome to try the a la carte menu, which is based on innovative living foods cuisine.
Wellness holidays in Bali come with this scenery…
Your very own personalized retreat
For something a little more bespoke, they also have private wellness retreats that are available all year round.
One of 4 such packages they offer guests is their signature rejuvenation retreat called Panca Mahabhuta.
This program takes a holistic approach, addressing the guests’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs with a personalized program.
It involves Balinese healing rituals, a plant-based diet and a series of sacred arts. You can book the Panca Mahabhuta for 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 or 21 nights. It’s available for individuals, couples and small groups.
Combining sustainability with integrity — wellness holidays in Indonesia
Fivelements Retreat Bali opened in 2010 and has since been recognized with an impressive 18 international awards. Categories range from hotel and wellness, to culinary and sustainable design industries.
The eco-wellness retreat organizes its approach into 3 pillars of wellness: personal wellness, social harmony and net positive impact.
Personal wellness consists of providing services like traditional beauty and wellness treatments, yoga, meditation, and a plant-based cuisine.
Social harmony is about supporting at least 2 ongoing social projects each year. The retreat also works with partner communities in Bali and around the world.
Net positive impact celebrates sustainable living and considers water, energy, materials, waste, and indoor environmental quality.
Fivelements Retreat Bali also supports sustainable forms of transport such as bicycles, and public transport, and recycles rainwater and wastewater.
Schedule in some much-needed you time on a wellness holiday
“The key to finding your inner zen, and focusing solely on your wellbeing, begins here.”
2. Andronis Concept Wellness Resort — the Greek resort
Enjoy a wellness holiday overlooking the Aegean Sea, in the postcard-perfect town of Imerovigli in Santorini, Greece.
Andronis Concept Wellness Resort is a luxury hotel and wellness spa, that’s all about helping you to feel good.
The 27 minimal suites at the resort are bright and modern in design. Each suite also comes with its own private swimming pool with sea views of the Aegean.
Kallos Spa — wellness holidays
The star attraction at the Andronis Concept Wellness Resort is its in-house spa, Kallos Spa.
Choose from one of 4 main wellness programs: sleep, stress, hormones and digestion. Each program includes a bespoke consultation, after which they’ll recommend services and products that’s best fits yours needs.
There’s no better feeling that waking up after a good night’s sleep. If a lack of sleep, or getting to sleep, is an issue, Kallos Spa can help. Its sleep program has a range of treatments and experiences designed to help you sleep, and feel, better.
A moment of calm is a 60-minute treatment that uses products from ILA’s Glowing Radiance Collection. It involves an aloe vera and pomegranate cleanse, and a blackcurrant and honey face exfoliation.
You also receive a specialized massage, and a green clay mask that helps to reduce inflammation.
Forget about your fast-paced lifestyle at home with this high-performance facial with red LED. This 30-minute therapy uses low-level dual wave, or tri-wave light therapy, on the skin in 5 variations in safe doses.
The LED therapy is combined with ila’s skincare products and advanced treatment techniques. Light therapy stimulates the natural cellular responses in the skin, leaving a visibly improved visage. It also aids in the improvement of skin conditions and is suitable for all skin types
The Ku Nye 5 elements ritual is a 90-minute Tibetan body treatment. It balances out the 5 elements using a blend of 5 essential oils, restoring harmony and vitality to the body.
The experience involves Tibetan cupping, kneading and acupressure, which helps to release physical and emotional tension.
A first for me, Kallos Spa offers guests a hair profiling test. As the name suggests, the results of your test will help to create a personalized wellness program.
With just a strand of hair and within 20 minutes, they can build a wellbeing program. It’ll list precise lifestyle and nutritional tips based on the guests’ stress levels and custom needs.
Caring for the earth as well as for the wellbeing of their guests is reflected in the products they use. ILA organic products are free from chemical fertilizers, vegan-friendly and never tested on animals.
Alongside the wellness treatments, Kallos Spa also focuses on the aesthetic. A fitness center, 2 swimming pools and a hammam area completes the wellness tour.
Spend a few hours, or the entire day, you’ll leave here feeling completely rejuvenated.
Wellness holidays — spend some time at the Andronis Concept Wellness Resort near the village of Imerovigli in Santorini
3. SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain — the medical spa resort
Feel the stresses melt away, and learn new healthy lifelong habits at the same time, at SHA Wellness Clinic. A medical spa overlooking the Mediterranean, a stay here gets your physical — and mental — wellbeing back on track.
The surroundings are as beautiful as the resort. It’s situated between Altea Bay and Sierra Helada natural park in southern Spain. Breathe in the scenery of the intense blues of the sea and the surrounding white houses.
SHA Wellness Clinic offers several types of health programs designed to help guests achieve their goals. These include wellness, fitness, rejuvenation, stress relief and detox.
There are 2 wellness programs at the clinic called Discovery and Essence. Discovery focuses on learning new habits to live a healthier life that you can practice long after you leave.
The 4-day program includes personalized advice on nutrition as well as medical consultations. It also includes a range of natural therapies to help guests achieve their goals.
Essence, on the other hand, focuses on teaching lifestyle habits that help to improve guests’ general health. The 7-day program consists of similar elements of Discovery, but with one difference.
Signing up to this program also includes personalized lifestyle recommendations and activities. These are achievable and doable tasks that guests can incorporate, and continue doing, into their daily routine.
The hotel at SHA Wellness Clinic — wellness holidays
To ensure your stay’s a comfortable one, SHA Wellness Clinic has a good number of luxury suites on site. Bright, modern and understated lux sets the tone of the rooms. Accommodation types include deluxe, superior, grand and presidential.
There are also residences available for hire, which are ideal for guests planning on traveling as a group.
Facilities at SHA Wellness Clinic
To complement the programs on offer, the resort also has a number of first-class facilities for its guests.
Treatment cabins and balance rooms form part of the wellness area. Spend a sound couple of hours relaxing in the infinity pool or at the hydrotherapy circuit.
SHA Wellness Clinic consistently ranks among one of the world’s best health resorts and it’s easy to see why. Expanding upon its success, a new resort will be opening in Playa Mujeres in Mexico in 2021.
The picturesque village of Altea in southern Spain, and location of SHA Wellness Clinic
4. Ananda in the Himalayas, India — the Himalayan resort
If you’re looking for a wellness holiday that combines wellbeing, spirituality and luxury, consider booking a stay at Ananda. Set in the picturesque Himalayan foothills in northern India, Ananda’s location’s just as serene as the resort.
Here, they practice traditional Indian wellness regimes of Ayurveda, yoga and Vedanta. They combine these with western wellness experiences.
Programs at Ananda — wellness holidays
At Ananda, the guests receive a program that’s tailor-made for their needs. Following a holistic approach, the all-inclusive packages aim to helps guests achieve their best results. The team of experts, including ayurvedic doctors, nutritionists and spa cuisine chefs, are on hand every step of the journey.
There are several types of programs to get guests leaving healthier, fitter and happier. These include: holistic detox and stress management.
The detox programs run for 7, 14 and 21 nights. It’s good for cleansing the digestive system through controlled eating of whole organic foods. This in turn helps to improve blood circulation, filtering toxins from the body and nourishing it with essential nutrients.
Stress management is all about incorporating healthier changes into your life which will help to minimize stress. Ranging from 5 to 14 nights, the program involves various schools of yoga, Ayurvedic therapies, aromatherapy and Reiki.
Accommodation at Ananda
Located on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Rishikesh, Ananda has 3 types of accommodation to choose from. These are guest rooms, garden suites and Ananda suites.
For an added touch of luxury, you can also check into the elegant Viceregal Suite in the Viceregal Palace. Enjoy spacious seating and dining areas, plus your own private terrace overlooking the surrounding green.
Ananda resort activities — wellness holidays
Along with its excellent range of wellness programs, Ananda also has an outdoor pool, golf course and snooker.
Curious foodies may be keen to try out a spa cuisine class led by Ananda’s executive chef.
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the closest airport for guests arriving by plane. Flights are around 45 minutes from Delhi International Airport, followed by an additional 40-minute drive to Ananda.
The glorious view from Ananda, the resort by the Himalayas
5. The Sanctuary, Thailand — the jungle resort
The Sanctuary, on the island of Koh Phangan in southern Thailand, is another example of a relaxing wellness holiday. Set in the jungle of Haad Tien Bay, it appeals to people of all ages, physical conditions, and fitness levels.
The direct way to reach the island is by plane from Bangkok to Koh Samui island. It’s also easily accessible by boat from many places in southern Thailand. There are no roads, traffic or street noise — just the sound of nature.
The Sanctuary offers a range of detox and yoga packages, surrounded by a picturesque coconut grove and jungle. Haad Rin Beach is a 5-minute boat ride away.
The Sanctuary detox package — wellness holidays in Thailand
There are several types of packages ranging in length of stay to choose from. One such program is the 3.5 day mini-fast.
It’s ideal for any first-time fasters in need of a thorough cleanse of their digestive system. The maximum number of nights in the detox package is 10.5 days and 12 nights.
Detox packages at The Sanctuary include both the program and accommodation, and can be cheaper than booking separately. Detox accommodation includes the Thai-style bungalow, garden suite and deluxe garden suite.
Guests also have the opportunity to book standalone detox programs.
The Tea Temple
Along with the packages, you can also book one of the therapies on offer at The Sanctuary’s Tea Temple. Here, they provide a range of healing practices, which include bodywork, breath work, women’s wellness and counselling coaching.
The Tea Temple also operates as a café, library and shop. Find your spot with a healthy smoothie and enjoy some peaceful downtime.
The Sanctuary accommodation — wellness holidays
Enjoy the finest in Thai design, and hospitality, during your stay at The Sanctuary. Accommodation consists of Thai-style villas, rooms, bungalows and houses, complete with Instagram-worthy views.
Amenities such as king-size beds, lounge chairs and hammocks are there for your comfort. There’s a minimum 3-night booking during off-peak season, and 5 nights during peak times.
Clean and delicious eating is the mantra at its beachfront vegetarian and seafood restaurant. They’ve raw and detox menus serving up healthy dishes, as well as tropical smoothies, juices and desserts.
It’s important to note that The Sanctuary only accepts cash and no credit cards at the venue. The nearest banks are in Haad Rin, which is 10 minutes away by taxi boat.
Wellness holidays in Thailand — would you like to stay in one of their Thai-style bungalows?
6. Canyon Ranch®, Tucson — the desert resort
Canyon Ranch® in Tucson, Arizona is all about you. A former cattle ranch located across 150 acres in the Sonoran Desert, this wellness resort was founded in 1979. Forty years later, and it has since evolved into one of the best retreats in this part of the USA.
Surrounded by the glorious Santa Catalina mountains, Canyon Ranch® provides getaways that extend beyond health and beauty. Instead, they focus on health and happiness, and developing good habits that last a lifetime. How good does that sound?
Wellness holidays — what’s on offer at Canyon Ranch®?
The resort offers different types of wellness programs that addresses the individual’s needs. However, one feature that stands out is its Life Enhancement Center®. They provide guests a first-hand experience in all-healthy living, with the proper expertise, support and resources.
One example of the center’s program is 7 Days to Change. This program focuses on turning individual goals into a group effort.
There are several parts to the program, including a morning walk, exploring self-awareness, and making time for regular exercise. 7 Days to Change also includes the ‘slice of heaven massage’ and a one-to-one with an expert to discuss stress.
Other programs at the Life Enhancement Center® include healthy happier you, goal seeker and teen dream.
Accommodation at Canyon Ranch®
A location that inspires and awakens the senses, the accommodation at Canyon Ranch® is the icing on the cake.
Choose from one a deluxe room, executive room or luxury suite. Deluxe comes with a queen, king or two double beds. Executive rooms are roomier with a sitting area and more vanity space.
Luxury suites consist of two or three bedrooms. Each also comes with a master suite, living room, dining area, kitchen facilities, washer and dryer and patio.
Ideal for groups of up to 6 people, Casa Grande is a freestanding home, offering plenty of living space. Inside is a kitchen, dining area, washer and dryer and private patio.
Additional activities — wellness holidays
Canyon Ranch® activities reinforces its wellness stance. Guests can partake in yoga and meditation classes, and can also take nature hikes around the grounds.
There are also daily lectures at the resort, covering topics like the relationship with food, and brain fitness.
Lastly, I can’t talk about Canyon Ranch® without mentioning its incredible spa. The menu’s so enticing, it’s hard to choose just one. Oxygen and anti-ageing facials are complemented by treatments like an invigorating bright-eye treatment.
Go for 5 or for 7 days; you’ll be ready to face life after a break at the Canyon Ranch® resort.
Lose yourself in the incredible backdrop of the Santa Catalina mountains at Canyon Ranch®
7. Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa — the Algarve resort
Check into a luxury resort set within 11 hectares of gardens at Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa.
Located on the Algarve coastline of Portugal, guests have direct access to Praia das Gaivotas beach.
Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa offers several types of wellness holidays, including weight loss, anti-ageing and detox.
Longevity health and wellness programs — wellness holidays
Choosing the right program at the resort is tougher than it seems. There are spa/relax and wellbeing holiday programs, rebalance and re-stress retreats, or detox, fitness and check-up programs.
One wellness program that also works as a short break is the 3-night Vilalara Longevity Thalassa Short Break.
The package includes accommodation at the resort, a healthy low-calorie meal plan, and access to the relaxation area. Here, you’ll find a sauna, Turkish bath and fitness area.
The program also includes daily group exercises like aqua boost, and Tibetan bowls, plus a medical spa consultation.
An alternative program is Longevity Mindfulness. It also runs for 3 nights, and teaches guests about mindfulness, and how they can practice it every day.
Longevity Mindfulness includes similar parts of the Vilalara Longevity Thalassa Short Break program. The difference between the 2, is that this program also includes a daily supply of alkaline water, herbal teas and 1 osteopathy session.
For 2 of the 3 days, guests also spend 4 hours learning, and practicing mindfulness. This includes breathing meditation, walking and stretching, and body scan meditation.
Accommodation at Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa
There are 104 junior suites and 7 suites with a garden, pool or sea view at the resort. Room types range from a junior suite garden view, to a junior suite SPA, and finally, the 2-bedroom apartment.
As the name suggests, the junior suite garden view comes with a balcony overlooking the resort gardens.
The Junior Suite SPA is a level up from the prior. Inside is a hydro massage bathtub in the room or a private Jacuzzi on the terrace with a garden view.
Other facilities include 4 seawater outdoor swimming pools, and 1 fresh water outdoor swimming pool.
Vilalara Thalassa Resort is located near Lagos, which is approximately 50km (31 miles) away from Faro International Airport.
Resort facilities and activities — wellness holidays
There are 2 restaurants at Vilalara Thalassa Resort: B&G restaurant and the Terrace grill. The former’s located by a cliff top pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
B&G restaurant has a menu of reinvented Portuguese cuisine and tasty low-calorie menus for guests on specific programs. It’s also the place to come for breakfast and an à la carte dinner.
The Terrace Grill is also situated by the cliff-top pool, dishing up fresh fish and seafood. A seasonal restaurant, it also serves up healthy, yet tasty, low-calorie meals. During the summer, there’s live music performances to add a little entertainment to mealtimes.
Vilalara Thalassa Resort prioritizes physical as well as mental wellbeing. On site are 4 tennis courts, along with activities such as yoga, aquapilates, power hikes and fitball.
The idyllic Algarve coast is also home to Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa
8. Rancho La Puerta — the ranch resort
Set against the mountainous terrain of Tecate in Mexico, is the hidden oasis that’s Rancho La Puerta. Tecate is in the state of Baja California in Mexico, and 45 road miles inland from downtown San Diego. Unsurprisingly, the wellness ranch is a big hit with Americans, given its close proximity to the USA.
Founded in 1940, the grounds stretch across 4,000 acres — 2,000 of which is a permanent nature reserve. These 2,000 acres are also allocated for the resort’s hiking program.
The remaining space of land include 32 acres of gardens, an organic farm, pools, a spa, and fitness facilities.
Programs at Rancho La Puerta — wellness holidays
Hike, run, reflect or relax. Rancho La Puerta has an impressive range of activities to suit guests’ needs. The guided hike and trail runs cover various terrains around the property, including the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa.
The running retreat’s a high-intensity program, featuring trail runs, cross-training, skill building and stretching.
Also, on the program list is yoga, instructor-led fitness classes, and mindfulness reflective classes. Switch off from outside distractions, focus and tune in to your inner self.
Take a seat at one of the weekly guest lectures at Rancho La Puerta. Guest speakers and performers, such as authors, politicians, musicians and artists present afternoon learning experiences and evening lectures.
Accommodation at Rancho La Puerta
Enjoy the comfortable abode of your very own casita (small home). There are 86 individual homes throughout the resort, many of them exceeding 1,000 square feet in space.
Room types range from Ranchera Solo, 1-bedroom studios ideal for 1 person, to Villas Cielo. This luxury villas sleeps 2 people, and includes a fireplace, private patio and unspoiled surrounding views. Choose from warm terracotta, soft blue or natural green.
Wellness holidays — go hiking in the nature reserve at Rancho La Puerta
Another plus of visiting the ranch is that it provides guests the opportunity of a digital detox.
Mobile phone use is prohibited in public areas, and there’s only a few lounges where WiFi’s available. This way, you can switch off, and really reconnect with nature, yourself, and each other.
For Saturday arrivals and departures to and from San Diego airport, Rancho La Puerta can provide scheduled, complimentary ground transportation. Check the website for further information, as they also have a section on what happens when flights are delayed.
Unwind at the wine bar, or relax on one of the hammocks between the oak trees. A stay at Rancho La Puerta is a healing resort unlike any other, and where lifelong habits are learned.
Are you ready to book a wellness holiday? Which of these resorts would you most like to stay at? Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time, happy boutique travels x
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.
Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…