Health fads and diets come and go, but attaining a healthy mind, body and spirit has been a quest of man since time immemorial. And never more so than today.
With the aid of modern science, we are quickly learning how the foods we eat, the stress we endure, and, ultimately, the environment we are in affects our health and overall wellbeing.
However, as perpetual globetrotters, we know only too well the detrimental effect that travelling has on our bodies. Jet lag, radiation in aircraft, late nights, missed gym sessions and unhealthy meal choices are all factors that deter from our health.
In light of this, the hotel industry has made a huge effort to accommodate the health-conscious traveller. No longer are luxury hotels merely seen as playgrounds for excess and hedonism; many have moved to position themselves as health and wellness-orientated, opening comprehensive fitness centres and spas, devising healthful menus, and offering a variety of classes and workshops on stress-relieving techniques such as meditation and yoga.
“It is health,” Mahatma Gandhi noted, “that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” And while gold and silver can’t buy health, they can buy a week at a luxury wellness resort. So, if your body has lost the vigor you once had, your thoughts aren’t as clear as you wish, or you have an overall sense of uneasiness, an escape to one of these stunning hotels is guaranteed to have you feeling and looking your very best, so you can once again take on the world.
Until recently, the Metropolitan London was synonymous with extravagance and hedonism. After opening in the late nineties, the five-star hotel became a favourite hideout for Brit pop’s party generation, including Oasis and Kate Moss, who were often seen stumbling through the doors of the Met Bar. However, two decades later, COMO Metropolitan London has shed its reputation of excess and has reinvented itself as a health-focused urban oasis in the heart of London.
Nowadays, the Park Lane hotel offers a sophisticated and refined, yet very lively stay. 144 meticulous rooms are accompanied by 19 long-stay apartments, whilst in-house restaurant Nobu is one of London’s best, serving a divine concoction of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Where the hotel really excels, though, is in the wellness-based services it offers guests at the Asian-inspired COMO Shambhala spa.
Book a Body, Mind and Spirit wellness programme and you’ll benefit from the expert advice of your very own personal Wellness Butler, who will work with you throughout your stay to ensure sessions and treatments are dedicated to your personal requirements. After handing over your smartphone to reception upon check-in, you can choose between a one-on-one yoga session or a personal training session in the hotel’s state-of-the-art gym.
Next, sit down for a one-hour session with Jody Shield, an intuitive healer and meditation expert, who will help you resolve issues or dilemmas regarding relationships, finances, stress and anxiety. The day will finish with a COMO Shambhala signature massage and foot bath to unwind and relax the mind and body, before a nutritious meal using organic and locally sourced produce. And if that doesn’t leave you floating on cloud nine, the Met Bar is still on hand with tall glasses of liquid enlightenment.
2. Split Apple Retreat, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Split Apple Retreat offers a unique wellness experience. Located in the quiet Abel Tasman National Park, towering above the Tasman Bay, the luxurious Split Apple Retreat was founded by Lee Nelson, a retired doctor, and his wife Pen, a highly-qualified chef. Together, they provide guests with a truly personalised programme.
A gourmet food menu takes into account any dislikes and preferences, as well as dietary requirements, whilst incorporating the freshest local ingredients, and Dr Nelson, with his expertise in longevity and wellness, helps guests to get the full benefit from the resort’s state-of-the-art facilities, including gym, far infrared sauna, steam room, and saltwater pool.
Tailor made health programs are available for weight reduction, improved fitness, de-stressing, relaxation, rejuvenation, and pampering, with a wide range of treatments on offer, including deep tissue massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, acupuncture. Stay here and you’ll also have access to a person trainer, pilates, tai chi and meditation classes.
Venture out of the resort and you’ll find yourself in the serenity of nearby Abel Tasman National Park, which offers some of the best bushwalking in New Zealand and some secluded beaches. After a full day in this beautiful setting, return to your spacious, contemporary room and unwind to the sound of the ocean beneath your window.
3. Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand
If the day-to-day stresses of life are grinding you down, and you yearn for peace and tranquillity, The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai is the answer. Surrounded by exotic and beautifully landscaped grounds in Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North’, Chiang Mai, The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai is 60 acres of tropical bliss. The luxury resort’s design pays homage to the architecture and culture of the historic Lanna Kingdom, giving a sense historic serenity, where the indulgences of a luxury retreat are enjoyed in an authentic atmosphere.
Luxurious lodgings are set within ancient palace-like structures, traditional Lanna-style villas and sumptuous colonial mansions. The resort also houses five fantastic restaurants, but it’s the outstanding spa that makes this one of Thailand’s best wellness destinations. At an impressive 3,100 square metres, The Dheva Spa is a monumental example of a health and wellness facility. Incorporated within the vast complex are 18 treatment suites where an extensive range of holistic treatments and spa programs are on offer, a dedicated Ayurveda Centre, and a fully-equipped fitness centre.
Once the knots have been untied and the tense shoulders have relaxed, head out on one of the many jogging paths that meander through the resort’s serene grounds. Alternatively, get out of the resort and explore the local area. The centre of Chiang Mai is just a ten-minute tuk-tuk ride away, where you can discover numerous Buddhist temples, savour some of Thailand’s best food, or simply stroll along the long leafy avenues of one of Thailand’s most culturally rich cities.