When it comes to year end, everyone needs a reset. It’s a crucial time to rest and reflect on the busy months prior. In normal times, many of us would be travelling home to spend the holidays with family or booking in for a wellness vacation to completely unwind and unplug from it all, but with the ongoing pandemic, it almost feels like a distant memory. Luckily, Hong Kong is blessed with an abundance of wellness retreats led by industry experts—plus they’re all within distance of under an hour from the city. Here are the top wellness retreats and founders that will elevate a holistic holiday at home.
Wellcations at Asaya
Asaya is at the forefront of wellness retreats in Hong Kong, offering a truly immersive escape in the heart of the city. The Wellcation retreats are a great way to celebrate a weekday or weekend getaway in the luxurious Asaya Lodges. Try the Winter Wellcation which is curated especially for the holidays, kicking off with Asaya’s 12 Days of Christmas countdown beginning December 13th.
“Asaya is the leading wellness centre in Hong Kong and we wanted to create specific ‘Wellcations’ to give residents the opportunity to really disconnect from the city. We launched with one and two night Wellcation retreats, and the response has been phenomenal. As a next step, we are looking to expand into more immersive programmes that can deep-dive into specific issues, such as sleep or anxiety. These immersive Wellcations will last four to five nights and will give guests the change to really rebalance and reset. Each Asaya Wellcation includes a stay in our Asaya Lodges, daily work with one of our wellness consultants, physical workouts in our gyms, balanced meals from Asaya Kitchen and spa therapies, as well as access to all of Asaya’s amenities”, says Corinna Yap, Wellness Director of Asaya.
Empower From Within at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong‘s holistic wellness programme Empower From Within launched in November this year, with a goal to restore balance and harmony for individuals, through spa rituals, mindfulness practices and nutrition. It’s led by a team of Senior Director of Spa Dr. Tania Bardhan and a team of Resident Healers.
“Empower From Within’ was started with a goal to provide 360 degree wellness programmes with tangible outcomes to our guests. It is actually a repertoire of wellness programmes like ‘ Restore and Realign’, ‘Journey of Motherhood’ and ‘Deep Sleep’ which use various wellness modalities spread over 1.5-2 days. When I created these programmes, I had three goals in mind: 1. For guests to feel a real sense of having achieved the outcome they sign up for, 2. That the programmes are easy to commit to and can be fitted into the guests’ existing lifestyle and 3. That guests leave with a sense of empowerment after their various sessions with our resident healers, which is a crucial element in combating various levels of uncertainty that we all are feeling because of the pandemic.
Our ‘Empower from within’ retreats bring in serious outcome based wellness into the luxury spa settings of Four Seasons Hong Kong which a step forward for the wellness movement in Hong Kong. Our guests can continue with their wellness goals in the familiar and comfortable settings of their favourite spa. Wellness seekers can now sign up for these programmes without having to fly out of Hong Kong to wellness destinations and can continue with their favourite and most effective modalities for as long as they want/need to”, says Dr. Tania Bardhan, Senior Director of Spa.
Tame Your Life Retreat at Amtarda
If you’ve scrolled Hong Kong wellness feeds, you’ve probably come across Amtarda, a stunning Thai style villa that offers exquisite experiences in a lush green setting. Tamer Begum’s Tame Your Life Retreat began on December 12th and will introduce Hong Kong’s first outdoor AntiGravity aerial yoga experience and targeted red light therapy sessions. There will also be two smaller retreats presented by Amtarda on December 22nd and 29th.
“The purpose of the Tame Your Life retreat is to introduce Hong Kong’s first outdoor AntiGravity aerial yoga experience, and targeted red light therapy sessions. At this retreat I’ll be sharing coaching tools to help people attract more abundance into their life, as they experience the benefits of sound bath meditations and nature”, says Tamer Begum, Founder of Tame Your Life Retreat.
Wellness Retreats at Villa Aether
Founded by Cindy Xi Chen, the former commercial director at Monocle Magazine, Villa Aether is a luxurious wellness retreat on Lantau island. The incredible isolated space makes the perfect backdrop for holistic experiences from its health-conscious cuisine to its breathing and movement workshops led by Hong Kong wellness experts. Start 2022 right with the Conscious Celebration, a New Year special which includes workshops led by Sonia Samtani and Alex Herrera.
“Villa Aether was born during COVID when I left my job at Monocle Magazine and started a year-long holistic health & nutrition course. After I shifted my focus to wellness, I started to feel there was a lack of quality wellness products and experiences that people could easily have access to here in Hong Kong. I created Villa Aether with the intention of building a one-stop online platform that offers all things related to health and wellness: foods, goods, and experiences. We started to run our first wellness retreats back in April at unique villas around the city then later in the year we found our permanent location in Lantau. Villa Aether as a brand took on a physical form and we now have moved all wellness programmes to this location.
Our initial idea of the retreat was really just trying to help people cope with the pandemic. With travel restrictions people can’t travel anywhere, so we wanted to create a series of uplifting wellness events to cheer everyone up and help people rewind and recharge in a beautiful nature setting. The more we run it, the more we feel there is a much bigger calling behind what we do: we want to provide a safe and nourishing space to help people discover themselves and connect with others on their healing journey; we hope people walk out of our retreats with a fresh mind, new perspectives and some inspirations to bring back to their lives.
We are very happy to see more and more people are in the wellness space right now. We hope how we run our retreats and the level of sophistication of our wellness experiences could help level up the whole wellness movement in Hong Kong in general. We also do it in a non-traditional way by bringing in new concepts and new programmes and the facilitators we have are not only the best at what they do but also they all have very international backgrounds which helps bring in new perspectives. Most importantly, we are really pushing the idea of a holistic way of living and it runs through the whole creation of our wellness experiences. We hope this could help change some rigid beliefs in the wellness industry and inspire people to live a well balanced life“, says Cindy Xi Chen, Curator of Villa Aether.
Spa Retreats at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Enjoy an urban getaway at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, where The Mandarin Spa is an oasis for some of the best TCM in the city. Experience the Mandarin Oriental Signature Traditional Chinese Therapy Weekend Retreat for an immersive three-day package that includes a Five Elements questionnaire to tailor your itinerary, a traditional Chinese reflexology session, dinner at Man Wah, Tai Qi and more.
“The Mandarin Spa is truly one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong and it fully embraces the Traditional Chinese Medicine concept where inner and outer well-being is at the heart of its ethos. We have created some specific retreats that combine Traditional Chinese Medicine to support our guests physical and mental health during these testing times and we will soon release a new holistic wellness-oriented retreat that will delve a little deeper into our guests own health and nutritional habits. This will allow us to create a bespoke programme tailored to each individual, along with recommendations moving forward in their regular day to day.
Our range of wellness retreats allows our guests to switch off, escape from the everyday stress of professional and personal matters and to simply just be. It also educates our guests on how to achieve inner and outer strength and wellness overall“, says Sioux Lees, Director of Spa and Wellness at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.
Although ReTribe doesn’t classify itself as a typical retreat, the wellness hub focuses on offering a community for likeminded individuals. The team holds workshops and events to practice breathwork, meditation and movement together.
“ReTribe is not your typical wellness community. We don’t offer packages or retreats in the traditional sense. We bring together ideas and interests, we exchange skills for self-development and self-inquiry. Our philosophy is that when you get people together, create a safe space, preferably in the outdoors, and promote connection and open communication, wonderful things tend to happen.
Within the ReTribe community we have amazing teachers, many who give their time freely, so we only charge for participation when absolutely necessary to cover costs. Imagine getting together with all your best friends to do things like meditation, yoga, movement, dance, bonfires, camping, breath work, ice baths, all the super cool stuff you have always wanted to try but might not have found the right crowd to do it with. We welcome everyone, all you need is a little curiosity and a willingness to have fun and be connected to your inner child. You will find ReTribe members participating in almost every other wellness activity in Hong Kong. We are an open forum and our goal is to wake people up, maybe even to shake them up a little, to the fact that our lives are better lived when we connect with the earth, with each other, and with ourselves with as much awareness and love as possible. You would be surprised to find out just how powerful this simple idea can be. So….take a risk, join a class, attend a ReTribe gathering, spend time hanging with some of the coolest, kindest, and most interesting people in the 852″, says Dima Apelbaum, Co-Founder and Visionary of ReTribe.
#WellnessOnTheRoad at The Upper House
Known for its five-star hospitality, The Upper House is a beautiful urban sanctuary. Its #WellnessOnTheRoad programme incorporates complimentary group wellness classes that are focused on reflection, renewal and balance. FAMILY FORM is also a must try for a dynamic and immersive conditioning workout co-founded by Lindsay Jang and Helen Kim.
“The Upper House’s name is derived from an ‘upward journey’ to a retreat above the bustling city. Our modern “Asian influenced” residence conjures a sense of tranquility throughout, providing a sense of relaxation, warmth and understated luxury. Besides the hardware of Andre Fu’s design and architecture, we have been active in working with different partners to provide an all-encompassing holistic wellness experience to our Guests, including collaborating with Lindsay Jang to launch Family Form, a dynamic and immersive conditioning workout with heat, humidity and bold music; hosting weekend yoga classes with KITA Yoga; designing digital experiences for guests to enjoy fitness videos in-room; offering Oracle and Tarot Readings with Stone & Star. We will continue to explore new wellness experiences and hope to introduce a new layer of wellness living to our guests through collaborating with a diverse range of partners.
#WellnessontheRoad has been very popular amongst our guests. The offer includes a one night stay, daily set breakfast at Salisterra, 60 minute in-room treatment for two, a wellness gift and more. Our rooms are spacious enough to enjoy a variety of in-room treatments. Guests can relax in a rejuvenating bath in our expansive spa-like bathroom, before indulging in the luxurious treatments. Afterwards, simply roll into bed and relax“, says Kristina Snaith, General Manager.
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Retreats with Happiness Factory
A relative newcomer to the local wellness scene, Happiness Factory hosts bespoke holistic programmes in partnership with luxury lifestyle brands and expert practitioner to promote retreats in the city. Its collaborations have included seasonal retreats at The Peninsula and a dedicated sleep itinerary at Asia Society Hong Kong Center. Check its website for updates on the next upcoming retreat.
“Since the beginning of 2020, people have really shifted their perception of wellness, and now see it as a 360 offering. For so long wellness was synonymous with fitness, yet fitness and movement is just one part of overall wellbeing, and more and more people are acknowledging this. Our retreats focus on this 360 perspective, by looking at the physical, nutritional and emotional aspects via four happiness pillars. Move Happy, Eat Happy, Feel Happy and Sleep Happy are the four fundamental areas of wellness that we focus on at our retreats, by collaborating with some of the city’s leading practitioners to deliver in-depth hands-on workshops and classes.
Previous retreats have included a poolside sleep workshop and gong bath, nutrition seminars, sunrise yoga, and a Wim Hof breathwork and ice bath workshop, which when combined together over two days, give guests a great understanding of what overall wellness really is. I’m the APAC Head of Health at a major insurance firm, so I was inspired by the knowledge of many healthcare experts whom I’ve had the privilege of connecting with, and wanted to create retreats and workshops to help people in Hong Kong to connect with other like-minded individuals and wellness experts. Its purpose, in addition to bringing people together, is to enable guests to hit pause on their busy lives and dedicate two days to themselves and focus on the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing”, says Joyce Au-Yeung, Founder of Happiness Factory.