While there’s a time and place for a tropical beach retreat, there’s something to be said for the other-worldly landscapes and exciting adventure activities that comes with a winter wellness getaway. Cosy evenings by the fireside and warming comfort food add a wholesome touch to a weekend of adventure, while snowcapped peaks make for the perfect outdoor playground. If you’re ready to trade in a warm winter for a white Christmas, these are our top picks of snowy luxury wellness retreats for a winter escape.
In the Bern Canton high in the Swiss Alps, Alpina Gstaad is a luxury resort and spa perfect for wellness wanderers who love to ski. Its six-storey hotel looks like your traditional, charming Swiss chalet on the outside, but inside it houses a state-of-the-art property with a wide range of wellness trimmings. These include its 20,000-square-foot Six Senses spa, Megu, its Michelin-star Japanese restaurant, a traditional hammam, Jacuzzi and sauna: the perfect places to wile away an evening after a day spent on the slopes.
Prices start from US$4,829 | thealpinagstaad.ch
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
With one of the natural world wonders on your doorstep, there are few better places to bask in the beauty of winter than southwest Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon. The award-winning luxury Retreat Hotel is a striking minimalist space that sits in stark contrast to its volcanic surroundings, with large glass panes offering unprecedented views of the lagoon. The hotel’s spa offers a wide range of treatments inspired by the surroundings, including geothermal water therapies and skin treatments derived from local seawater and minerals, while those looking for an intimate, exclusive experience can book a treatment at Lava Cove, the private ‘spa within a spa’.
Prices start from US$1,312 per night | bluelagoon.com
Grail Springs is located on 100-acres of Canadian forest in the Bancroft region of Ontario. The nearby Chalice Lake is rich in healing and restorative minerals, and the wellness resort invites travellers in search of a healing winter wonderland to look no further. Among its facilities, the spa boasts an outdoor mineral hot tub and an outdoor Finnish sauna. Three to seven-night Cleanse and Energise packages are inclusive of accommodation, plant-based cuisine during your stay, guided hikes, daily yoga and meditation and a selection of spa treatments, including a detox wrap and an MAS healing mat with oxygen therapy.
Prices start from US$375 per person| grailsprings.com
The Equinox is a luxury resort and spa steeped in history. Set among a 14-acre estate, The Equinox is located at the foothills of Vermont’s Taconicmountain range. The 18th-century building was once frequented by US President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, the historic shell houses a modern fitness club and heated indoor pill as well as spacious accommodation for those in search of a boutique winter experience. Its spa offers a wide range of treatments, facials and massages using locally sourced ingredients including maple leaf.
Price available on request | equinoxresort.com
This one is not for the faint of heart. While this Bavarian winter wonderland might look idyllic, Lanserhof is world-renowned for its rigorous medical wellness programmes. Specialising in detox and weight loss, the luxury resort also offers programmes in sleep, energy healing, high-tech ‘cell gym’ fitness, nutrition, pain therapy and dermatology. It’s not all work and no play, though: during the winter months, skiing and Nordic walking are offered, as well as a varied selection of spa therapies to unwind on winter nights. Guests will have one-to-one consults with doctors before, during and after their programme. Note that there’s a minimum seven-night stay, and the recommended stay length from the on-site doctors is three weeks—if you’re planning on starting 2020 on the right foot, this is a sure way to do it.
Prices start from US$2,083 for a seven-night programme (accommodation not included) | lanserhof.com
We’re going to go ahead and say this is probably the snowiest retreat of all. Hosting adventures from one day to eight nights, guests will enter the world’s most exclusive winter wonderland: Antarctica. Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, guests at White Desert will be whisked away on a private jet to explore the uninhabited continent and stay in luxury sleep pods at the foot of a glacier. Fitness activities include hiking, ice and rock climbing, abseiling, and rope walks, while you’ll also have a chance to visit the South Pole, learn more about the scientific research going on, and spot Emperor penguins. This ultra-exclusive experience hosts only 12 people at the time… so maybe start planning for next Christmas?
Prices start at US$38,500 for a four-night stay | white-desert.com