21st Century life is chaotic, fast-paced and unrelenting. So it’s never been more important to take some me-time and put yourself first. Whether you’re searching for retreats near or far, contemporary, adults-only escapism, or traditional healing rituals – you do you.
Bali has long been on the backpacking bucket list but the island has metamorphosed into a sophisticated destination for Eat, Pray, Love-style self-discovery.
Set amongst misty paddy fields and verdant jungle within walking distance of Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart, you will find COMO Uma Ubud. Uma means “living house” and the vibe echoes this. Light flows through the interiors, giving life to the exotic foliage that weaves through the property. Explore the scenery with dawn hikes, rafting through gorges and biking through sun-kissed fields before retiring to your plunge pool in a new Garden Pool Villa to sip a COMO Shambhala Juice to the soothing sounds of Balinese wildlife.
The COMO Shambhala spa is a true retreat within a retreat. Think Asian-inspired treatments, complimentary daily yoga, reflexology, a 25 metre spa pool and post workout meditation bale. If your body truly is a temple, then why not try the traditional Hindu water purification ceremony at the 1000-year old Tirta Empul. Your guide will take you through the making of offerings, chanting of prayers and the holy water ritual. With mind and soul cleansed, return to the hotel to nourish the body with organic and raw foods at Kemiri restaurant or casual Italian fare at Uma Cucina.
For de-stressing on the doorstep, Blue Palace, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Crete is the destination. The breathtaking views across the Aegean are best appreciated in an open air sunrise yoga session – feel empowered as the sun emerges behind the magical Spinalonga Island, a place of healing in centuries gone by, made famous by Victoria Hislop’s 2005 novel The Island. If you’re feeling energised, the full range of Technogym® equipment – elliptical trainers, treadmills and strength improvement machinery – offer a great workout. Refuel with a power juice at the Isola Beach Bar or try traditional tahini, a sesame seed paste bursting with Vitamin E and antioxidants.
The award-winning Elounda Spa & Thalassotherapy is the real pièce de résistance. Harnessing the healing properties of water, experience deep relaxation in the two Thalassotherapy pools, indoor Jacuzzi, two Turkish hammams and 24 treatment rooms offering bespoke facials from French skincare brand Anne Semonin and olive oil massages. To protect your skin against the summer sun, a must-try is the Nature Intense Hydration Ritual. On the private beach you’ll find an array of watersports including waterskiing, snorkelling, knee boarding, wake boarding and trick skiing. If diving is your passion, then the hotel's PADI dive master will be happy to assist.
Across the Mediterranean, nestled on a two kilometre long Blue Flag beach, you will find the recently refurbished Columbia Beach Resort in Cyprus – another haven of healing a stone’s throw away from home. Larger suites, some with private plunge pools and fireplaces now include home comforts such as Nespresso machines and Molton Brown amenities, but it’s The Hébe Spa, named after the ancient goddess of youth who provided her deities with ambrosia for immortality, that has the wow factor. Whilst it can’t promise eternal life, there are several signature rituals using luxurious Elemis products and it does boast one of the island’s few Elemis Biotec machines – think super-charged facials that re-boot cellular performance and enhance the skin's ability to repair and renew.
Post-treatment, relax in the Temple Lounge where the lines between the interior tranquillity of the spa and the enchanting exterior of the hotel grounds are blissfully blurred, thanks to the insideoutside pool. There are also three new dedicated wellness packages and one-on-one yoga, tennis, swimming and personal training sessions. For those craving adventure, the inhouse bike centre overseen by two-time former Swiss cycling champion Thomas Wegmüller can arrange mountain and road bike tours, whilst foodies can indulge in à la carte Italian specialities created by Michelin-startrained Executive Chef, Ioannis Giakoumidis.
Kick start a healthy body from the inside out thanks to the cornerstones of Caribbean cuisine at family-run Coral Reef Club in Barbados – enjoy seafood, lean protein and an abundance of fresh fruit and veg al fresco at the popular Thursday barbecue. Alternatively, there’s a dedicated vegetarian menu. With the inside taken care of, focus shifts to the outside – time your visit during the hotel’s Wellness Week in October and choose from a personalised programme of Pilates, Caribbean-style Zumba, body blast and yoga. Absorb nutritional tips from a leading athlete and learn how to make local Bajan remedies with therapeutic properties.
The TLC continues at the idyllic spa, nestled in tranquil landscaped gardens with its own waterfall and complete with a crystal steam room, open-sided relaxation room, hydrotherapy pool and thermal spa garden. Don’t leave without experiencing the Caribbean Calm – begin with a cleansing lemongrass-based foot ritual, before a classic Swedish massage and eye therapy treatment by Natura Bisse to soothe jet-legged eyes, perfect for weary travellers. A manipedi at the treetop treatment room completes your topto-toe transformation. After such care, you have absolutely earned a glass of the renowned Rum Punch. Warning: sip this deceptively powerful beverage slowly.
Moving west across the Caribbean Sea into the Gulf of Mexico, all-inclusive relaxation is redefined at the newly opened UNICO 20°N 87°W Hotel, Riviera Maya, where select unlimited spa treatments are included and there’s a real focus on wellness. Adults-only, laid-back luxe and Instagram-worthy interiors, who knew all-inclusive could be so grown up?
Rooms with a difference include Alcoba Swim-up with private pool or PURE® Alcoba, designed specifically for allergy sufferers – ensure a restful night’s sleep by ordering an ergonomic or lumbar pillow off the full pillow menu.
Your own local host (or Anfitrión) can organise everything from floating yoga, spinning, excursions to Chichén Itzá and personal training sessions, or secure you the best table at one of the five exceptional restaurants. A must-reserve is Cueva Siete, a regionally-focused concept that harnesses Mayan mysticism and serves dishes deeply rooted in Mexican flavours and traditions.
The Esencia Spa has both indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy areas – your first port-of-call should be the Volcanic Stone Massage that melts muscle pain as you peacefully drift into oblivion. The barber shop boasts its own complimentary beer and bourbon cart whilst budding alchemists can mix their own lotions and potions from essential oils and local ingredients at the Esencia Beauty Bar.
COMO Parrot Cay is hosting the ‘Well of Grace Workshop’ from November 4th 2018. Enjoy 7 nights of 'me time' focusing on self-awareness and self-discovery, explore sequences of yoga and meditation alongside renowned instructor Elena Brower, with a goal to inspire change. From £10,725pp, contact us for more information or to book.Read more
The internationally recognised Chiva Som, Thailand is truly a destination spa par excellence. With 70 treatment rooms, a Kinesis studio, a gym, watsu pool, floatation pool, bathing pavilion with kneipp bath, calorie-counted nutrition, world-class exercise and one of the best Thai massages available in the Land of Smiles, you’re sure to leave contented.Read more
Unwind at BodyHoliday with cutting edge practices, from FAR Infrared Therapy, part of the BodyScience programmes, to ancient Ayurvedic treatments including a Nabhi Abhyanga massage. Themed months offer opportunities to discover new health and wellness activities alongside some of the world’s best athletes, including, September Solos and Octoba Yoga.Read more
Featuring a whole host of inspiration and opportunities for enlightenment, wellbeing, self-discovery and fulfilment; whether you’re dreaming of lunch on the equator or of navigating the arctic in a submarine, a bike ride with a former two-time cycling champion or exploring part of the globe untouched by ordinary travellers – all of this is possible and so much more.Request your free copy