Retreats & Wellness Retreats Thailand


Spa Village, Dolder Grand, Mii amo, Azurite, Gaia Retreat and other wellness retreats

Mii Amo Destination Spa, Enchantment Resort, Arizona.

There’s nothing spartan about these health retreats.

Spa Village Resort, Tembok, Bali: Escape the hubbub of Kuta and Seminyak on the remote black sand beaches of Bali’s northeast coast, where this small resort provides a magical disconnect from the 21st century. No nightclubs, no shops, precious little Wi-Fi, just the sound of village cockerels crowing in the morning and of breaking waves at dusk. The black sand plays a key role in spa rituals, in which all lotions are organic and fashioned from locally grown ­botanicals, much like chef Martin Buchele’s excellent spa cuisine (think raw urab rolls, zucchini spaghetti and loads of fresh fish caught off the resort beach). There are steam baths above black sand pits, the chance to pound your own body scrubs and yoga classes led by a local “priestess”.

Dolder Grand, Zurich: If you like your detox gilt-edged, this glamorous 19th-century health retreat is just the ticket. Perched high above Zurich with long city, lake and mountain views, the very grand Dolder features 176 rooms and suites and an enormous spa offering complete “Life Balance” and “Medical Wellness” programs that include full cardiovascular assessments and blood counts. There’s a two Michelin star restaurant and one of the world’s best hotel art collections, with works by Pissarro, Warhol and Dali.

The wellness retreat

Mii amo Destination Spa, Enchantment Resort, Arizona: A mecca for alternative healers and spiritual gurus thanks to its Vortex meditation sites and stunning scenery (even the vermilion colour of those staggeringly beautiful rocks is said to be “neuro stimulating”), Sedona, Arizona is home to one of the best destination spas in the US. Mii amo tucks into a dramatic red rock canyon and features therapies inspired by the region’s First Nations people. The spa has its own accommodation (16 casitas and suites), a restaurant and indoor and outdoor pools, and offers three, four and seven-night programs focusing on stress management, fitness and spirituality.

Yoga aboard a Silversea cruise ship.
Yoga aboard a Silversea cruise ship.

Silversea Expeditions: Cruise passengers generally leave their sensible eating plans at home, but not guests of Silversea’s expedition vessel Silver Discoverer. The luxury ship has partnered with a leading fitness company and put together an on-board team that includes a yoga instructor and nutritionist to offer a series of wellness voyages during the 2016-17 season, available on selected cruises in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and the Kimberley coast. Programs include stretching, yoga and ­Pilates classes, massage treatments, healthy menus and cooking demonstrations.

Ananda in the Himalayas, India: Established by former Oberoi ­hotels executive Ashok Khanna 15 years ago and located in the grounds of an old palace in the Himalayan foothills above Rishi­kesh, birthplace of yoga, Ananda offers a total immersion in the ancient practices of Ayurveda and Vedanta (a life philosophy). The resort follows the Bihar School of Yoga and in the restaurant Ayurvedic doctors help customise eating plans. Accommodation options include private pool villas and a Vice-Regal suite in the palace complex complete with rooftop jacuzzi. The retreat is a five-hour journey from Delhi via train, then car.

Gaia Retreat & Spa, Byron Bay: This multiple award-winning retreat offers specialised packages aimed at helping guests detox, de-stress, lose weight, get fit or simply lie low for a while in the Byron Bay hinterland. The day spa, with a 35-strong team and its own organic skin care range, forms the heart of the operation; pick of the accommodation are the newer split-level Komala Villas, which feature private saltwater plunge pools and treatment areas. Dinners are three course and feature organic produce from the resort’s own garden.

1711 Ti Sana Detox Retreat & Spa, Italy: Tucked away in a village within easy driving distance of Milan, the family-owned Ti Sana is housed in a beautifully restored early 18th-century building with only 22 guest suites. The day spa uses organic products and the on-site medical spa offers guests comprehensive programs that address issues including insomnia, pain management and stress. The food, drawing on locally farmed organic ingredients, is excellent and complements the resort’s “healtheatarian” philosophy, which combines holistic and science-based medicine. Exercise classes include Pilates, yoga and martial arts.

Azurite, Thailand: Tailoring Thai-based detox, wellness programs and cosmetic and dental procedures for Australian travellers, Azurite is the brainchild of US-born Trina Eliassen, ­formerly owner of Victoria’s ­Celestine Waters healing spa. ­Eliassen leads Azurite’s New ­Beginnings Cleanse (four or seven nights) with accommodation in the plush Royal Wings Suites & Spa on a mountainside estate in Pattaya. Incorporating Ayurvedic healing practices, the ­supervised cleanse includes detox baths, body scrubs, wraps, meditation, massage and spa cuisine. Guests are welcome to bring their children, who can ­participate in their own wellness program.

Kamayla Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa, Koh Samui: Founded by John and Karina Stewart a decade ago on the ­southern coast of this popular ­island, the award-winning Kamalya combines Eastern and Western ­healing practices in a range of programs that tackle stress and burnout. Accommodation ranges from ­hillside rooms to beachfront villas. There is a recently added fitness centre and lap pool.

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