Hard though it may be to believe, we’re well and truly counting down to 2019, and we’re already planning the next big adventure, from spas on secret island paradises to digitally detoxing in the Namibian desert. In case you needed a little added inspiration, we’ve searched high and low for the wellness experiences around the world that are more than deserving of a spot on your 2019 wellness travel bucket list.
Asia & Oceania
Fly high at Hamilton Island
Nestled in the beautiful, pristine Whitsunday islands, qualia is a luxurious, intimate resort that focuses as much on health and wellness as it does relaxation. For a truly world-class experience, opt for the four-night Whitehaven Beach by Helicopter retreat, and see the sights from above. Retreats are also inclusive of an indulgent a-la-carte breakfast, access to the resort’s gym, spa, sauna and tennis court, use of non-motorised water sports equipment, and a VIP chauffeur service to help you take in the sights and sounds of Hamilton Island in style.
Prices start from $4,307 | Book now on Compare Retreats
Hang 10 in the new surfer’s paradise
Bali’s Canggu has had its moment, but a new surfer’s paradise is lying in wait. In the Philippines’ western reaches – 800 kilometres from the capital city of Manila – lies Siargao. This tiny teardrop-shaped island has slowly developed a reputation among the global surfing community for boasting some of the world’s best waves. With 27 kilometres of coastline to surf, it’s no wonder the island has become something of a pilgrimage for local and international surfers, alike.
Take a dip in the world’s highest infinity pool
Does your wellness regime ever make you feel like you’re on top of the world? Well, now you actually can be. Atop the Marina Bay Sands, take a dip in the world’s tallest pool, a la Crazy Rich Asians. The infinity pool stretches across the rooftop and casino complex, offering unbeatable views of the Lion State. Do note though, that the pool is only open to hotel guests, so if it’s a whirlwind weekend in style you’re after, a stay in this luxury hotel offers just that.
Head to this under-the-radar private island resort before the secret gets out
If this remote island paradise isn’t on your bucket list yet; take note. Six islands just 300 kilometres off the coast of Singapore make up this luxurious private property, surrounded by pristine waters and a thriving marine population. After arriving by seaplane, indulge in everything the resort has to offer, from authentic cooking classes to snorkelling and kayaking experiences around the archipelago, and of course, indulgent daily spa treatment. Accommodation choices include overwater bungalows, beach and garden-facing suites.
Price available on request | bawahreserve.com
Retreat to the happiest place on earth
BeVoyaguer’s one-off summits take place in unique places around the world, providing in-depth, immersive experiences. From March 31 to April 7, it is hosting a summit in the Kingdom of Bhutan, where guests will have access to some of the kingdom’s brightest minds—from ministers and traditional health practitioners to gross national happiness researchers. On the Bhutan Solutions Summit, you’ll be privy to parts of the country that conventional travellers would never gain access to.
Prices start from $9,975 per person | bevoyageur.com
Indulge in a luxury eco-paradise
This private island reserve in Cambodia has sustainability at its very core. Song Saa prides itself on fostering a luxurious environment that has been created using hand-crafted, artisanal produce, while the resort sits on a protected marine reserve and plays its part protecting indigenous wild and marine life. For an unparalleled experience, unwind during a five-night Revive Retreat, which is inclusive of yoga and meditation sessions, three massages, a facial, a Khmer cooking class and a traditional monk blessing.
Prices start from $1,100 per person | Book now on Compare Retreats
Visit the heartland of Ayurveda
If you find yourself drawn to healing Ayurvedic treatments and philosophies, there are few better places to experience it than at the source. Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort is the world’s first Ayurvedic resort. Offering a true taste of Keralan hospitality, stays begin with a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor who, after assessing your needs, will prescribe you a range of treatments and advise the best meals to aid your healing process. Accommodation options include traditional houses and cottages, as well as the option to stay at the Samana Ayurveda Hotel, just 20-minutes from Somatheeram.
Price available on request | somatheeram.org
Spend a night in one of the world’s most expensive resorts
Synonymous with extravagance and luxury, Necker Island is a jewel of the Caribbean that is—and rightly should be—on most people’s bucket lists. Water-based activities include everything from kite surfing to an eight-man paddle boarding experience, while scuba and snorkelling excursions can be arranged at sea. Necker Island boasts its own fitness coach to keep you in shape while you’re in paradise, but if its true peace and quiet you’re after, you may find yourself drawn to the Bali Samudra spa treatment rooms.
Price available on request | virginlimitededition.com/necker-island
Check out a wellness festival
The summer months might be known for their festivals, but these hardly have the reputation for being healthy holidays. If you’re looking to combine your love of wellness and wanderlust, make a weekend of it at the Wonderfruit festival. A weekend of music, food, art and innovation takes place, set among the Siam Country Club in Pattaya. The festival is free from single-use plastics, uses recycled and materials to construct its stages and public spaces, and features more than 100 activities under the Wonder Garden program, to recharge mind, body and soul.
Experience the wild, wild west in style
In Canyon Point, Utah, Amangiri is surrounded by more than 600-acres of the Colorado Plateau. The 25,000 square foot property is minimalist, blending in with the beauty of its natural surroundings. The spa boasts several treatment rooms overlooking the nearby scenery, as well as a plunge pool, while an on-site wellness coach is on hand to help you meet your fitness goals during your stay. For travellers looking to reconnect with nature and escape technology and fast-paced daily life, the hiking, climbing and immersive Navajo cultural experiences will likely appeal.
Price available on request | aman.com/amangiri
Explore one of the world’s wildest hiking trails
We might not all be as brave as Cheryl Strayed, whose award-winning memoirs chronicle her journey across the length of the Pacific Coast Trail. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t embark on our own journeys of a lifetime. The John Muir Trail section—which leads trekkers from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney—offers unbeatable views of the rugged Californian terrain and nothing but time for quiet contemplation.
Retreat like a celebrity
The Ranch Malibu has developed something of a celebrity following, with Brooke Shields, Rebel Wilson and Elle McPherson among the former residents. The Ranch 4.0 is the perfect programme for those looking for fast results. With an intensive daily hike, this four-day programme is then based around eight hours of low impact workouts. Retreats are limited to just 18 guests per stay, guaranteeing you an intimate and personalised experience.
Price available on request | theranchmalibu.com
Attend a wellness rave
Neon lights, non-stop dancing, and … vegan cuisine? Immersive yoga and meditation sessions? Dusk Till Dawn turns the conventional party scene on its head and offers ravers a wellness wonderland. With deep house yoga by day and live music sets and a huge range of healthy food vendors to choose from, clean ravers will be spoilt for choice as they roam the grounds narrowing down their decisions on how to while away the evening.
Stay in a hotel with its own private island playground
This resort combines the vibrancy and energy of Puerto Rican hospitality with the elegance and luxury people have come to expect from a Waldorf Astoria property. Comprising a series of luxury, beachfront villas, three private pools and offering a 24-hour butler service for guests, it makes for the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. Its Waldorf Astoria Spa boasts a range of signature treatments and state-of-the-art gym equipment. Nearby Palominos Island is a private island paradise, where the hotel offers everything from snorkelling to horseback riding activities, at your leisure.
Price available on request | elconresort.com
Gain access to an inaccessible luxury resort
Surrounded by nine acres of verdant greenery, Casa Prana takes pride of place in a private section of the Mayan Western Highlands, on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan. It is accessible only by boat, helicopter or on foot. Offering numerous traditional wellness treatments and a hammam experience, the wellness centre also offers private yoga classes and personal training sessions. Retreats can be customised on request, focusing on yoga and meditation, hill running, fitness, wellness, cooking and more.
Price available on request | casaprana.com
Try Ayahuasca in the Peruvian Andes
Ayahuasca retreats have dominated wellness trends in recent years, but not all are born equal. The Source is an intimate Ayahuasca retreat experience located deep in the Peruvian Andes. The retreat centre offers a VIP experience overlooking the Sacred Valley, private ceremonies, a shamanic consultation, Ayahuasca-appropriate meals and guided walks – all designed to make your experience as comfortable as possible while you are guided through the process.
Prices start from $10,000 per person | sourceperu.com
Do yoga on Table Mountain
Elevate your practice and take your yoga to the next level, quite literally, with a yoga session on top of South Africa’s instantly-recognisable iconic flat-topped mountain. Part of the Cape Floristic Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belmond’s Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town offers guests the exclusive opportunity to do their sun salutations from this monument of mother nature—we’re putting this on the #yogagoals list for 2019.
Stargaze at a dark sky reserve
It doesn’t get more back to nature than this. The NamibRand Nature Reserve, designated a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark Sky Association, offers unparalleled access to skies where you can escape the negative impact of artificial light and enjoy the stars in all their glory. The reserve operates strict limits on guest numbers, making this experience all the more exclusive: use this trip as an excuse to digitally detox and reconnect with nature through hikes, guided walks, hot air balloons, and star gazing with the help of expert astronomers and observatories.
Soak in the souks and the marvels of Marrakech
Anyone with a penchant for shopping is guaranteed to marvel at Marrakech’s markets and souks. Filled with every scent and spice under the sun as well as an array of fabrics, textiles and more, it’s an easy place to tire yourself out. Luckily, havens exist to revive those in need of an added boost. And if you’d like to soak it all in quite literally, then Royal Mansour Marrakech is home to one of the world’s most decadent spas—how better to relax after a day in the souks than with a traditional hammam?
Climb Kilimanjaro with an expert team
For new and seasoned hikers alike, Africa’s highest mountain is essential bucket list material. With a 97% summit success rate, Abercrombie and Kent’s nine-day escorted tour with expert guides and certified Wilderness First Responders is the perfect way to make sure you achieve your goal safely and in style. Hiking from Machame to Uhuru Peak, hikers will stay in comfortable igloo tents and porters (in association with the Kilimanjaro Porter Association Project) will provide extra help with luggage and equipment.
Go on a luxury safari
Outdoor aficionados need look no further for a week spent truly embracing nature. In South Africa’s Chase Valley, the Karkloof Safari offers physical and wellness activities including mountain biking and fishing, while its adjoining, award-winning day spa boasts 17 treatment rooms and offer surrounding views of the surrounding natural beauty. There is also a yoga studio for self-practice, while guests also have the option to join scheduled lessons.
Prices start from $218 per night | karkloofsafarivillas.com
Visit the world’s most famous geothermal spa
Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that’s been making the rounds on Instagram, and for good reason. The Icelandic resort was built around one of the world’s natural wonders and draws on its natural healing properties to relax and recharge its guests. Retreats include accommodation in sleek, minimalist interiors, with floor to ceiling glass panes leaving bedrooms overlooking the rugged Icelandic countryside.
Prices start from $117 per night | bluelagoon.com
Get down and dirty with an Irish boot camp
Pure Results boot camp is the passion project of the outdoor adventurer and Irish TV personality Kathryn Thomas—so you know that you’ll be getting the real deal when you venture to one of the three retreat locations. Offers life coaching and nutritional advice, these weekend retreats are the perfect way to kickstart some healthy habits—all from the comfort of a luxury Irish estate house, of course.
Spend the night in an 11th-century Tuscan monastery
This 11th-century Tuscan monastery has retained its historic value while transforming its interiors to house a contemporary luxury wellness resort. Castel Monastero offers a range of wellness and weight loss programmes. Its seven-day programmes are inclusive of a nutritional assessment, personalised nutrition therapy, energising massages and a mud detox treatment. Seasonal activities include truffle hunting, hot air ballooning, and indulging on world-class cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs.
Price available on request | castelmonaster.com