Local ingredients for treatments at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
Suddenly, it feels like pampering just isn’t enough: wellness is what everyone is buzzing about these days. And this isn’t just about going to a spa and doing yoga: there’s a new kind of vacation out there that will give you tools to improve your overall health and wellbeing. According to the InterContinental Hotels Group, which conducted a study of 21st-century travelers, wellness is now key to the travel experience, especially as it relates to the need for more personalization when we’re on the road. And the Global Wellness Tourism Congress said that this kind of travel is growing at almost twice the rate of global tourism itself. Here are six of our favorite new places where you’re sure to come away feeling transformed.
Onda Spa, set in the rain forest at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica– Costa Rica
Built into a lush cliffside, the newly opened Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica embodies the country’s ethos of “pura vida” or pure life — especially at its Onda Wellness Spa. The scent of eucalyptus and orange wafts through the reception area and the treatment rooms, which are connected via wooden walkways through the rainforest. Most of the all-natural products are handmade by local women at a laboratory set in the shadow of a neighboring volcano, using ingredients sourced in the surrounding area: purple corn, brown sugar, soursop, and even the popular local breakfast of gallo pinto, or rice and beans.
The beautiful and relaxing Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm. (Photo: Blackberry Farm)
Blackberry Farm – Walland, Tennessee
The gorgeous Blackberry Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains just seems to get everything right, and its new Wellhouse definitely nails it. This spa and wellness center is about embracing it all — great eating, great living — and figuring out balance. There aren’t many spas that will teach you how to make a garden-inspired cocktail, but here, you’ll do that and learn to cook a gluten-free chocolate cake, capped off by a massage of healing herbs and flowers. Oh, and did we mention that it’s gorgeous, too, set at the edge of a lush meadow.
Enjoy a soothing massage by the ocean at the Montage Kapalua Bay in Maui. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Montage Kapalua Bay – Maui
Just opened this past weekend, the latest resort from the California-based Montage group is built around a spa with wellness as its core. And it’s actually two spas in one: part of the space (the Mauka Experience) is inspired by the mountains, while the other (the Makai Experience) channels the nearby ocean. Each spagoer gets a personalized journey, including treatments with products grown in the neighboring mountains and massages in outdoor wooden hales (huts), with the sea air wafting through. Every session begins with an ancient ritual created by Hawaiian chiefs that involves drinking a special potion, made from awa roots and coconut water, out of a coconut shell.
Wellness and wine tasting at the Abano Grand Hotel. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Abano Grand Hotel – Italy
It’s no surprise that the trend is even taking hold in Italy, the land of eating and living well. Padua’s Abano Grand Hotel has opened a lavish new Venezia Spa devoted to wellness. The spa is built around a grotto, with thermal baths from underground springs that look like something out of ancient Rome. There’s even an anti-aging mud farm to peel off the years. When you’re not working on feeling younger, the hotel hosts wine tastings, cooking classes, and tours of the surrounding Italian countryside.
Unplug and unwind at EVEN Hotels. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Recognizing the desire to stay healthy when you’re traveling on business, the InterContinental Hotels Group is launching EVEN Hotels, a new line of hotels with a revolutionary approach: a holistic experience for travelers in search of balance, all at a smart price. Look for great workout spaces in your room, all-natural eucalyptus linens, healthy food, and plugged-in staffers who can happily recommend an amazing hiking trail in the area. Even its first locations feel fresh: Norwalk, Connecticut, and Rockville, Maryland, launching this month. Oh, and this will make you feel good: free wifi throughout the hotel.
Heavenly Spa experience at the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa in Fiji. (Photo: Westin Hotels & Resorts)
The group that created the Heavenly Bed is in the process of rolling out some heavenly ideas when it comes to well-being, from eating well to sleeping well to working well. Former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicome, of Headspace, is providing chill-out techniques, with a series of 10-minute meditations. Westin also wants you to breathe well: it’s the first hotel group to banish smoking at all its properties. On the horizon: healthy menus for children, running programs, and a new nature-inspired look at many of the properties.
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