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Wellness doesn’t have to be about meditation and cleansing. Whether you’re in need of a massage or a marathon sleep, a majestic view or an IV drip of margaritas, these choice locations are sure to make you feel better than you have in months.
1. Sardinia, Italy
As one of the world’s “Blue Zones”, people live longer in Sardinia than (almost) anywhere else. No prizes for guessing why the natives clock up the years considering Sardinia’s pleasant climate (approximately 300 days of sunshine) and Mediterranean surrounds. A Sardinian diet of goat’s milk, barley and a glass of Cannonau red wine a day may also be a contributing factor to the locals’ longevity. Take a trip to the seaside village of Pittulongu to test the effects for yourself. Once here, your daily to-dos revolve around (skinny) dipping in the ocean and tackling that ambitious reading list.
2. Montreux, Switzerland
If you want to cleanse your body of urban pollutants, heading somewhere with an abundance of fresh mountain air is a good starting point. Known for their “rejuvenation therapy” – which claims to boost your immune system – Swiss maverick Clinique La Prairie combines a state-of-the-art medical spa with a holistic approach to wellness. From detox programmes to sleep management, the clinic is best experienced solo, allowing you to leave your everyday reality behind. Located on Lake Geneva’s shoreline, Montreux is also an idyllic spot to spend a few reflective days post-clinic.
3. Joshua Tree, US
Dotted with bizarre rock formations and the oddly shaped trees for which Joshua Tree National Park is named, this remote, desolate environment has long been tipped as a place for spiritual growth. On the cactus-studded trail across the park, sunrise and sunset hikes are a riteof passage. Following a marathon walk, you’ll be rewarded with unobstructed views of the Sawtooth Wilderness and San Gorgonio mountain. As the sky shifts to an ink-blue hue, head to Skull Rock or the Ocotillo Patch for stargazing under a glittering dome of constellations.
4. Costa Rica, Central America
Lush with verdant forests and wildlife-rich beaches, Costa Rica is one of those places where even the utterance of its name causes an involuntary exhale. At Pointe Break Retreats, the focus is placed on dance – proven to reduce levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) while simultaneously releasing feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream. After your morning stretch and dance session, linger over a healthy breakfast before riding Nosara’s choppy waves. Spend the afternoon in a hammock as your flick through your latest read. Unwind with a candlelit, sunset ballet class in the resort’s open-air studio.
In the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, you’ll find the birthplace of yoga and meditation. With no phone reception, take this as the perfect excuse to detox your mind, body and Instagram feed for a few days. The Ananda resort uses Ayurveda, an ancient form of healing, practice and teachings to help melt away stress. The retreat aims to restore balance and harmonise energy; in short you’ll leave here with a newfound self-awareness. Don’t take it to heart if your friends and colleagues get fed up of hearing about the “new you”.
6. Chiang Mai, Thailand
As Southeast Asia’s creative capital, Chiang Mai, in Thailand’s tropical and mountainous north, is a cultural hotbed. Once you’ve finished exploring this megalopolis, travel to Dhara Dhevi resort to recharge. Dhara Dhevi is modelled on a traditional Thai village complete with old city walls, serene temples and wooden walkways over rice paddies. Unwind poolside, sipping Thai iced coffees with a view of verdant paddy fields from your lounger.
7. Cancun, Mexico
It might be synonymous with spring break, but wellness is all about balance, so indulge the naughty and nice with meditation and margaritas in sequence (or simultaneously) in Cancun. Entrepreneur-turned-spiritual-guru Kelsey Patel hosts his eponymous retreat with a focus on oceanside yoga and chilling out on the beach. Visit Kelsey Patel in April through December to avoid the crowds but still catch those rays.
Wellness retreats tend to include a digital detox but with a resort this Insta-worthy as this it would be rude not to gram. Over the course of your stay at Fivelements, nourish your soul with Balinese food and bathe in their open-air tub before test-driving their on coconut-tree bolstered swing. Make sure to carve out ample spa time; soaking in oils and a kaleidoscopic array of petals will leave you smelling – and feeling – as fresh as a frangipani.
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