Close your eyes for a moment and envision your happiest, calmest self. Well, where is she?
Is she on a beach in Mexico indulging in delicious whole food cuisine while soaking up some much-needed rays? Or perhaps she’s grinding it out in a HIIT workout class along with other like-minded peeps.
Whatever your ideal wellness vision is, there is something for you out there, says Andrea Wolter, who co-founded Texas-based Intoxicating Travel Group with her daughter, Desiree Palmer, in 2013.
"We’ve traveled to over 130 countries. We check out resorts and retreats and meet with the different individuals to make sure we're aligning our clientele experience with the resort of their dreams," says Wolter. ('Nuff said—sign me up!) This mother-daughter tag team tailors wellness retreats, as well as regular vacations, to line up with every desire, from weight loss to silent meditation.
"There has been a real uptick in the spiritual and emotional side of these retreats," Wolter notes. "People have been confined [due to the pandemic], and it is really rough on folks mentally. A lot of the people who struggled are now looking to realign and get away."
When considering what kind of wellness retreat is right for you right now, communicate your goals to yourself—and to your travel agent if you decide to invest in one. Want a top-of-the-line medical experience where you get your blood drawn and analyzed every day? There’s a spot for that. Hoping to just chill on the beach for a few days, while getting complimentary massages and painting? Yup, there's a place for that, too.
The best thing about seeking your health bliss is that the journey is completely customizable to your heart’s desire. Check out this list of the top 20 wellness retreats to plan your next relaxation vacation. (Meanwhile, I'll be booking my stay at all 20. See ya next year!)
Bodhi Tree House
Location: Costa Rica
Cost: Start at $382.40/ night
Owners of The Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort keep nature in mind via their creatively designed center, which leaves the jungle around it as close to untouched as possible. (Teh beaches are pristine, too!) This resort focuses on connecting with the earth and being as environmentally-friendly as possible to preserve the jungle’s natural state. Located in the province of Guanacaste in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, the center boasts an authentic charm and a chance to join a community "united in the care of their beautiful town." Enjoy spa treatments, yoga classes, and Spanish lessons at this unique getaway.
Cost: 6,000 euro (about $7,000)
You might not think of Italy when it comes to sparking your wellness goals, but let Dolce Vitality change that. During their two annual retreats in March and November, guests enjoy a beautiful room overlooking the sea on the Amalfi Coast. The center offers daily yoga and meditation classes, guided walks through the mountains around Positano, strength training with a personal trainer, daily massages, and access to the hotel’s pool, sauna, and Turkish bath. A chef prepares meals that meet each participant's nutritional goals (set by their onsite nutritionist, of course) and students are tutored by world-famous yoga and meditation teacher Elena Browe!
The Ranch Malibu
Location: Malibu, California
Cost: Double occupancy is available for $7,300 per person for a weeklong retreat.
Spend a week in nature with absolutely no distractions. The Ranch Malibu sits on 200 acres in the Santa Monica mountains on a historic working ranch and sequesters guests without television, limited wifi, and no cell service for "further aid in mental detoxification." Live in a private cottage and eliminate all decisions with a rigorous health and wellness schedule that includes hiking, daily fitness classes, meditation, and massage.
The Lodge at Woodloch
Location: Hawley, PA
Cost: $798 per night
Details: This resort in the Poconos offers guests the chance to shift away from the business and distractions of everyday life in order to ground down and focus on YOU. With activities like stand-up paddle-boarding, archery, yoga, and other creative outlets, there are tons of ways to relax and reconnect with your truest self. The Lodge also has a full spa, featuring the resort's signature haia (Happy As I Am) facials, complete with vibrational sound, aromatherapy, gemstones, breathwork, affirmations, as well as lasting skin care results! Consider this a full-body YES.
Pura Vida Adventures
Location: Costa Rica
Cost: $4,295 for a solo traveler for a week-long program
Pura Vida Adventures offers a week-long women-only surf camp in Costa Rica (cowabunga!). Solo travelers or groups are welcome to join a community of like-minded ladies. The goal of this retreat: to lead transformations and empowerment through surfing. Surfers of all levels are encouraged to hang ten (or, ya know, just do their best and have fun!). When you're not catching waves, the resort also offers yoga classes, a full spa, oceanfront massages, and more.
Skyterra Wellness Retreat
Location: Pisgah Forest, NC
Cost: $3,675 for one week
The Skyterra Wellness Retreat aims to help people make sustainable, healthy lifestyle changes with their program that blends self-care, stress management, weight loss, fitness and mobility, nutrition, and more. Participants have their pick of a wide variety of activities like yoga, hiking, workout classes, mindfulness discussions, and spa services. Sign me up!
Sensei Lāna‘i Resort
Location: Lānaʻi, Hawaii
Cost: Starting at $800 per night
Picture this: Your wellness retreat begins with a complimentary, semi-private flight from Honolulu to the island of Lānaʻi where guests are invited to indulge in luxury. Once at the resort, enjoy a variety of fitness classes, including meditation, yoga, hiking, and lectures daily. (Their 1:1 private Wellbeing Consultations sound particularly appealing!) Discuss your nutrition, mindset, fitness, or yoga goals in 60-minute sessions (that cost around $225 each) with professionals. If you're looking for a full-body splurge that's worth every penny, the spa offers Thermal Body Mapping and Massage. During 150-minute experience, which costs $750, your tech uses Sensei-developed thermographic technology to make a map of your body that shows asymmetries, muscle tightness, and areas of pain. Then, you can get a customized targeted massage to best fit your needs.
bodyholiday Saint Lucia
Location: Saint Lucia
Cost: $967 per night
The Wellness Centre supports four pillars: exercise, diet, restorative beauty, and relaxation. With 18 acres of tropical gardens and a beach, the resort features a picturesque environment perfect for soaking in all the bliss Mother Nature has to offer. Inside, there are spa treatment rooms, a fitness center, dance studio, yoga studio, thalassotherapy pool, and a temple. Another thing that sets this resort apart? Its coaches—Olympic athletes have led retreats!
Castle Hot Springs
Location: Sonoran Desert (1 hour from Phoenix)
Cost: Starting at $1,400 per night for a minimum of two nights
Founded in 1896 and located in the Bradshaw Mountains, this resort has been visited by the rich and famous for decades. (It is reported that Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy visited this iconic resort.) It was closed for 40 years but reopened in 2019, so visitors can enjoy 115-degree hot springs, activities like ATV tours and yoga, and farm-to-table cooking! And, of course, there are puh-lenty of spa services.
Location: Miami, Florida
Cost: Starting at $399 per night
At this resort, which boasts the largest spa and wellness facility on the Eastern Seaboard, guests have access to top medical and wellness experts all in the same place! Sleep in spacious apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows, while you partake in private fitness classes and spa treatments. This place even has a quartz massage, where the guest lays down in a crystal quartz massage bed and uses color therapy for a deeply therapeutic experience. Sounds heavenly, no?
Fivelements Retreat Bali
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Cost: Starting at $94 per night.
At this plant-based, eco-friendly resort, guests enjoy sacred arts and Balinese healing traditions, such as deep bodywork, energy movement, and meditation. The property also features tropical ponds and lush gardens where guests can enjoy transformational retreats by themselves or with a partner!
Rancho La Puerta
Location: Tecate, CA
Cost: $664 per night
This ranch is a great place for a digital detox—rooms do not have WiFi or televisions! The 4,000-acre paradise includes 40 miles of hiking trails, 32 acres of gardens, an organic farm, and La Cocina Que Canta cooking school. Attend lectures on the latest research in health and psychology. Plus, the spa is stacked with a staggering number of luxe services.
Location: Tulum, Mexico
Cost: Starting at $397 per night
Details: This luxury hotel on Tulum Beach is the perfect place to unwind. Sanará means "you will heal," so naturally this resort gives you unlimited access to classes and workshops, self-care treatments, and inspired movement. In your free time, relax and rejuvenate in the sparkling Caribbean water.
Location: Walland, Tennessee
Cost: $1,595 per night
Tucked into the mountains, this resort has something for everyone—whether you’re looking to luxuriate in massages and facials or get active with ropes yoga, aerial yoga, cardio dance, and more. Tap into your creative side with Mandala Stone painting or guided journaling classes. This is the sister property of the much-discussed Blackberry Farm, and the views on this property are gorgeous!
Location: Zakynthos island, Greece
Cost: Starting at $279 per night
Details: This 5-star hotel is the ultimate relaxation destination. Surrounded by greenery and olive trees, with gorgeous views, and a short distance to the village and the beach, Olea is the spot to get away and shut out the rest of the world. This resort has 93 suites on property that are quiet and secluded for truly blissful alone time. There are also three restaurants onsite, so if you don’t want to leave at all... you don’t have to!
Crestone Mountain Zen Center
Location: Crestone, Colorado
Cost: $150 per night for a single room, minimum of 4 to 13 nights
If you’re looking to spend some time in nature without actually living in nature (this is for all my other non-camping girlies), Crestone Mountain Zen Center is for you. The resort has views of the mountains and Colorado landscape, while also offering top-of-the-line accommodations with three vegetarian meals delivered to your door daily, as well as personal yoga, tai chi, meditation, and other practices. Nature trails begin right outside the guest’s door to make it the perfect happy medium for the outdoors lover who likes to, say, shower at the end of a day! Worth noting: This is a Zen Buddhist monastery, so guests are invited to participate in ceremonies and meditations as desired.
Location: Monticello, New York
Cost: Starting at $224 per night
Details: Right in the middle of the Catskills Mountains, this resort is the perfect place to align your mind, body, and spirit. In fact, the name YO1 is inspired by the Sanskrit word "Yovan," meaning youthful and the human quest of attaining eternal youth. Resting on 1,300 acres of beautiful greenery, this resort promises the serenity necessary for profound, lifelong changes. The spa offers all sorts of services from reiki energy healing to Ayurveda massage.
Location: Miami, Florida
Cost: Starting at $3,500 for two weeks
If weight loss is your goal, Pritikin is your spot. Located right in sunny Miami, this top-of-the-line medical facility will track your goals, sample your blood, and set you on the best track for sustained health after leaving the resort. The activity schedule is packed—expect to meet with doctors daily, work out, walk, and learn how to fuel yourself in the best way possible.
Location: Austin, TX
Cost: Starting at $649 a night (three-night minimum)
This resort combines traditional spa services with a little bit of that Austin-weird adventure vibe. Enjoy luxury lodging, unlimited hiking, group fitness classes, meditation, and yoga, as well as farm-to-table meals. This is a place where you can play with your shadow, participate in a moon dance ritual, paint a horse (yes, you read that correctly), but also wind down with a traditional massage and facial from their exquisite spa. Sound right up your alley?
The Mayflower Inn Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection
Location: Washington, CT
Cost: Starting at $730 per night
True Bravo fans will recognize this spot from The Real Housewives of New York. (And if it’s good enough for Ramona Singer, it’s good enough for me!) This is great for city dwellers who want to escape for a few nights of luxury in nearby Connecticut. Enjoy one of their dozens of spa offerings like sound healing, massage, as well as breathing classes, all in the idyllic scenery overlooking the woods.
Jacqueline Tempera Jacqueline Tempera is an award-winning writer and reporter living in Boston with her cat Roxanne.
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