fiji

The phrase “all-inclusive” rings multiple alarm bells – crowded swimming pools, lacklustre buffets, screaming children and gaudy inflatables among them.

But a new breed of first-class offerings are changing preconceptions of all-inclusive travel, helping it to segue from the loutish to luxurious. Be it a private island or wellness haven, set your scepticism aside, ignore the haughty sniffs of unenlightened friends and opt to go all in at these sophisticated stays.

1. Twin Farms, Vermont

Tucked away in Vermont’s bucolic landscape an hour and a half from civilisation is Twin Farms, an idyll that will shoo away any reservations you may still have about all-inclusive lodging. With a minimum guest age of 16 years old and a two-dog policy, it’s the perfect couples’ getaway. When not cross-country skiing, ice skating on the pond or fly fishing, relax on your private porch with a mint julep in hand.

2. The Point, New York

For those who like their nature with a side of black tie (the suggested attire for Wednesday and Saturday dinners), escape city life and head to Upstate New York. Originally built by the Rockefellers as a woodland retreat, The Point’s log cabins on the shore of Upper Saranac Lake don’t qualify as “roughing it” per se. Still, you’re close enough to nature that it’s easy to pretend. Activities here run on a “pick your own adventure” basis with water-skiing, private bonfire dinners and everything in between. Essentially, The Point Resort is a summer camp (although the Point is open all year round) for well-heeled New Yorkers with a penchant for the outdoors.

3. Petit St. Vincent Resort, The Grenadines

An island on the southern tip of the Grenadines, Petit St Vincent is a go-to destination for the fabulous, fashionable and filthy rich. Here, you’ll want for nothing (except phone signal, television or WiFi). Aside from meals, coffee, afternoon tea and room service, your rate will include the use of dinghies, ocean kayaks, a tennis court and boat transfers to and from Union Island. To minimise any invasions on your privacy, the resort operates on a flag system; red for do not disturb and yellow for service in a tropical reimagining of your standard “do not disturb” door sign.

4. Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

For those who prefer laid-back to luxury to refinement, Little St Simons Island is a sustainable spot of simple pleasures. Sweeping coastal landscapes and abundant wildlife are the main allure here and conservationists ensure the ecological integrity of the island is protected. In between seed-to-table breakfasts and dinners, nature-based activities will take up most of your time, with birding, boating, canoeing, kayaking, beach combing and swimming all on the (heavily stacked) agenda. After a jam-packed day, retire to your wooden cottage, a cosy haven of plaid blankets, roaring fires and smores galore.

5. Laucala Resort, Fiji

A sedentary haven where the most strenuous activity you’ll partake in is striking a downward dog on your private yoga deck, glittering waters, swaying palm trees and a lush rainforest make this a tropical hideaway at its most clichéd – and we’re not complaining. Five restaurants dot across the island’s 1,400 hectares, while free-flowing booze assures thirst will be far down on your list too. Golf, horse riding, water sports and tennis punctuate otherwise languorous days on the beach, and if sunbathing and drinking pina coladas get too much, there’s always time to cash in on your spa treatments.

6. Canyon Ranch Lenox, Massachusetts

Disguised in the Berkshires you’ll find Canyon Ranch Lenox – one of the world’s most esteemed wellness resorts. With the magnificent Bellefontaine Mansion at its centre, this isn’t your average relaxation retreat. Making marathon runners and spiritual yogis feel equally at home, Canyon Ranch Lenox is a fully customisable experience. Instead of a fixed menu of goods and services you’ll be allotted credits on your arrival to spend on whatever you choose; spa treatment, blowdry, therapy sesh – it’s up to you. Credits aside, sunrise yoga, hiking on the Appalachian trail, daily meals, cooking classes and nutrition lessons are par for the course.

7. Nihi Sumba Resort, Bali

Villas constructed from natural materials and pools that teeter on clifftops make it hard to determine where this eco-conscious luxury resort ends and the jungle begins. Accommodation comes in the form of 33 villas each as chic as the last, – we’ve got our eye on the Mamole Tree House made up of three separate treetop villas. If you can tear yourself from your beach sunlounger (where surfing, diving, fishing and horse-riding are on offer), the resort staff are on hand to help organise treks to waterfalls, mountain biking expeditions and Land Rover safaris. Your rate also includes all meals, snacks, plus a daily yoga session in a sea-view pavilion.

8. Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia

Clinging to a cliffside, the Jade Mountain Resort affords sweeping vistas of the Caribbean coastline. With views of St Lucia’s twin volcanic peaks uninterrupted by any markings of civilisation, while all-inclusivity is optional rather than mandatory here, the hotel’s remote locale means it’s definitely the right choice. Rooms are dubbed “sanctuaries”, a cliché we’ll forgive because the name is for once an apt description – high ceilings, four-poster beds and private infinity pools create a feeling of utter contentment. Still, venture you must. On site you’ll find the spa and gym, but nature calls too. The nearby iridescent waters of Anse Chastanet beach welcome swimming, sailing, kayaking and diving. If you prefer to stay on land, the resort’s 600-acre plantation offers plenty of lush ground to cover, as well as tours that can be arranged of the surrounding botanical gardens, volcano and sulphur springs.

9. Governors’ Il Moran Camp, Kenya

Don’t be fooled by the name, this is not a camp – unless your idea of camps includes super-king-sized beds, Victorian-style baths, a private verandah and twin basins. On the Mara River in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, the Governors’ Il Moran hides deep in the forest, sheltered beneath ancient trees providing the prime location for game spotting and witnessing the great wildebeest migration. Wake up call is early and begins with tea, after which daily game drives ensue. Ooh and ahh at elephants, zebras and big cats, before devouring a generous breakfast. The rest of the day follows suit; nature rules and walking safaris accompanied by a Masai scout are an educational experience. Nights are filled with sundowners, canapes and a candle-lit dinner al fresco. The only thing you’ll be paying extra for is champagne – a cost we can live with.

10. Triple Creek Ranch, Montana

A regular on best hotel in the world lists (if not the winner), Triple Creek is the ultimate and final rebuff to your preconceptions of “all-inclusive”. Set in the heart of the Montana Rockies, the boutique outdoors-y resort feels like a world of its own. This place takes the word “ranch” out of cowboy territory and places it firmly into a luxury setting (although horses are still a welcome presence) with log walls, slate bathrooms and private hot tubs being the finishing touches on their chic cabin lodgings. The ranch’s owners, the Barretts, are often in residence themselves, on hand with itinerary recommendations and local tips. Days are filled with a too-long-to-list menu of activities which feature snowshoeing, archery, hiking and gem panning. Off-ranch adventures are also available at an additional fee – who could say no to dog sledding in winter and white-water rafting in summer?

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Eight Interesting Destinations for Wellness Travel

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