Does the thought of a diet retreat conjure up images of a sweat lodge and starvation diets? Fear not; fat farms are a thing of the past, with today’s weight-loss travel resembling a restorative spa-like experience. Think luxury vacation with a healthy dose of exercise, sans the binge eating. Some even serve booze, so you can really relax.
From intense bootcamps in Southern California to yoga retreats in Thailand, here are seven of the world’s best resorts for weight loss.
Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa (Photo: Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa/Facebook)
Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa
An all-inclusive resort located in Miami, Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa focuses on a scientific-based approach to weight-loss. They teach guests to stop the yo-yo dieting and learn to enjoy food in large, satisfying portions while still achieving weight-loss goals. The program includes all exercise classes, medical services, meals, and hotel accommodations (think, clean palettes with marble flooring and rain showers) as part of the fee.
Cost: Rates start at $4,400 per person for a single room.
The Raw Retreat in Cornwall
A luxury retreat set in the charming countryside of Cornwall, U.K., The Raw Retreat has designed bespoke programs, such as juice fasting and raw food, with holistic health and detoxifying in mind. Guests are treated to accommodations in a tony barn outfitted with a log-burning fireplace, high-tech amenities, and private garden. Health regimens include coastal treks, one-on-one yoga, hydrotherapy, hikes, and swims as well as blood analysis and colonic irrigation, all translating to an average weight loss of seven pounds per seven-night stay.
Cost: Rates start at $2,670 per person a week.
The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu (Photo: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu Facebook)
The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu
Set three miles above the picturesque Pacific Ocean in the Santa Monica Mountains, The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu is an intense, one-week, luxury bootcamp. It offers a daily group fitness routine that consists of nearly 10 hours of exercise a day — that’s four-plus hours of hiking, abs, weights, and daily yoga sessions, to enhance the metabolism and cleanse the body. Organic vegetarian meals come from the property’s on-site organic farm, all resulting in an average 5% weight loss per stay. But it’s not all work —massages and afternoon naps are included.
Cost: Rate for a one-week stay is $6,500.
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort Costa Rica (Photo: Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort Costa Rica/Facebook)
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort
Focusing on fitness, rather than numbers on a scale, the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, highlights the area’s surfer paradise with experiences geared toward the physically inclined and adventurous. Their full-day, calorie-torching excursion to Witch’s Rock National Park begins with a healthful breakfast (juice bar!) and ends with a sandy beach picnic before melting into your king-sized bed complete with sparkling ocean vistas. Bonus: There’s a photographer on hand to snap profile-worthy pics while you catch waves.
Cost: The three-night package starts at $2,800 per couple.
Miraval Resort & Spa (Photo: Miraval Resort & Spa/Facebook)
Miraval Resort & Spa
Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, about an hour north of Tucson, Miraval Resort & Spa takes a mindful approach to weight management. Focusing on the science behind nutrition and exercise, the resort pays special attention to the guests’ health issues, emotional patterns, and lifestyle habits. A stay here means healthy cooking demonstrations, yoga classes, one-on-one consultations, and outdoor adventures — including the famed equine experience. The casita-style rooms echo desert-chic with handsome earth-toned décor and plush amenities, and an upgrade to the Catalina Room feels extra-splurgy with an outdoor shower and living area.
Cost: Packages start at $329 per night, per person.
Absolute Sanctuary (Photo: Absolute Sanctuary/Facebook)
A Moroccan-inspired boutique resort on Koh Samui island in Thailand, Absolute Sanctuary offers a variety of packages to meet individual needs. Programs include yoga, weight management, anti-stress, and intense detoxing that results in a six-to-11 pound weight loss. The relaxed vibe, along with peaceful, balcony-dressed rooms, translates to blissed-out guests who’ve received plenty of spa time and daily trips to nearby beaches.
Cost: One night starts at $123, single occupancy.
Related: Best 15 Spas with a View
Cooper Wellness Center (Photo: Cooper Wellness Center/Facebook)
Cooper Wellness Center
For a jump-start to weight-loss and nutrition management, the Cooper Wellness Center in Dallas boasts two and five-day “wellness programs” centered on teaching healthy behavior, nutrition education, and physical activity. The program was created by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, who has been credited with coining the word “aerobics,” and takes place on the 30-acre facility. Guests stay at the Cooper Hotel & Conference Center (the well-equipped, but no-frills digs), and can expect a healthy dose of physical activity, including — you guessed it — aerobics classes.
Cost: Rates for the two-day program start at $765 including accommodations.