Unique New Wellness Getaways

by Sandra Ramani

ABOVE: ROAR Africa

The latest offerings at hotels, resorts, cruise lines and retreats

You never need a reason to focus on wellness—but sometimes you may need a little push. Recognizing that motivation is the first step toward beginning (or being consistent with) any endeavor, hotels, resorts and cruise lines around the world are developing on-trend new programming and initiatives designed to inspire guests to look at wellness in new ways, and to discover a practice that might work best for them.

Whether you’d like to be more active while sailing on a cruise or need to get aligned from head-to-toe, these recently launched initiatives (and one retreat) help integrate wellness into your next getaway.


Under the Stars

One of the biggest current trends in travel is “astronomical trips,” or venturing to a destination to take in a sky-set phenomenon like the Northern Lights or a solar eclipse.

The wellness world has got its own version of this, too—albeit with a mindful twist. Building on the Japanese concept of “forest bathing” (the practice of mindful activities in nature), L’Auberge de Sedona has launched Star Bathing, which helps you connect to nature, and yourself, under the starlit sky. As your vision is reduced by the darkness, certified facilitators will lead meditations designed to help you slow down and awaken and heighten the senses—from focusing on the smell of fresh water flowing through the creek to savoring the “taste” of the wind—all under a canopy of stars. (The activity is seasonal.) lauberge.com


Tap into Your Inner Animal and Find Inspiration

Seeing firsthand how being in nature—particularly the wild—can have a profound effect on a traveler, Deborah Calmeyer, CEO and founder of ROAR Africa (a luxury trip specialist company), created the “Rewilding: ROAR and Restore” retreat with the goal of setting guests on a “journey of reconnecting, self-discovery and self-realization.” Taking place this May 31-June 5 at Kenya’s conservation-minded Segera Retreat, the second annual event will be led by an array of experts, from filmmakers, naturalists and environmentalists to women’s empowerment activists and masters in holistic healing and well-being. After five days of engaging dialogues, guests leave restored, transformed and inspired to make a positive impact on the world. roarafrica.com


Sail to Wellness

While the all-inclusive aspect of big-ship cruises—with endless buffets and guided bus tours—typically translates to a more sedentary sailing experience, many cruise lines are now catering to a more active clientele with increased fitness and wellness programming.

Some are launching dedicated wellness cruises, like Uniworld’s new eight-day sailing on the Ganges River, where temple visits and cultural activities are paired with onboard yoga, healthy cooking classes, sessions with certified wellness instructors and spa therapies. uniworld.com

Others are upgrading their facilities or overhauling their programming completely. Launched last December on the Queen Elizabeth (and rolling out on other vessels through 2020), Cunard’s Mareel holistic spa concept was developed in conjunction with Canyon Ranch, and includes a new ocean-inspired décor, upgraded facilities (like a meditation area, multifunctional fitness center and sound therapy in every treatment room), and a menu that spotlights aqua-, marine mineral- and seawater-based therapies (performed using natural and sustainable lines like Voya, Shankara, and Red Flower). Daily fitness activities, wellness seminars, outdoor dance and yoga classes, and in-cabin meditation videos are also offered. cunard.com

Also launched in late-2018 was Celebrity Cruises top-of-the-line Celebrity Edge ship, home to the largest spa on the seas. The multilevel sanctuary features state-of-the-art (and industry-first) touches like high-tech zero-gravity massage tables, a thermal suite with eight experiences (including a crystal room, hammam and swinging meditation chairs), and exclusive treatments like the Thousand Flower Detox Wrap and body services that incorporate crystals, herbs and potent minerals. Chinese medicine consultations, body composition analysis, nutritional sessions and an array of fitness classes—from Barre to cardio-boxing—round out the healthful offerings. celebritycruises.com/edge


Train Like a Pro

We may not all be professional athletes, but thanks to these hotels, mere mortals can now tap into some pro-level expertise to help up our fitness games. Set on an idyllic stretch of Riviera Maya coastline, Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa has appointed Franco Livi—former trainer for tennis greats like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray—as its resident instructor.

As part of the new “Perfect Match” package, Livi will develop custom workouts for guests that feature a mix of tennis skills (like racket technique and game strategy), fast-paced “beat the pro” matches and 30-minute cardio tennis sessions. On the footwork front, the Four Seasons Houston has enlisted former Major League Soccer player Michael Chabala to create high-energy, soccer-inspired workouts to help guests achieve—and surpass—their fitness goals for 2019. fourseasons.com


Straighten Up

Sitting, travel, spending hours on computers and smartphones—modern life is full of activities that can wreak havoc on our postures, which can further lead to tightness, tension, discomfort and even chronic pain. To help combat unhealthy postural misalignment, Thailand’s iconic Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa has launched a new “Structural Revival” program designed to realign the body and improve posture; results may also include pain management, rehabilitated injuries, increased relaxation, and improved function and vitality.

Led by a team of physiotherapists, naturopaths and complementary health professionals, the program is available for five-, seven- or nine-night sessions—which should be plenty of time to help set you straight. kamalaya.com


Meditate in Peace

In addition to offering neutral, clutter-free spaces in which to practice mindfulness, some hotels are doing more to help you plug directly into nirvana. Set in the heart of New York City’s Theater District, The Chatwal has exclusively collaborated with yoga and spiritual guru, Eddie Stern (who’s worked with Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow) to offer a selection of Stern’s yoga lessons to hotel guests on a complimentary basis; the nine 12-minute sessions—each set to music by Moby—can be accessed via in-room iPads. (Private sessions with Stern or one of his instructors can also be arranged.)

Meanwhile, over in San Francisco, the Tilden Hotel has partnered with the locally based meditation app Simple Habit to offer guests complimentary access to the service’s entire library of guided meditations and audio therapy sessions. Choose from over 2,000 short recordings designed to help with issues like insomnia, anxiety or lack of focus, each led by a meditation teacher, therapist or executive coach. tildenhotel.com

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