Isn’t modern life just infuriatingly fast? It’s like we never get a chance to power down. We spend our days plugged in, psyched up and switched on; constantly on-the-go without chance to relax our minds or bodies.
And man can not live on espressos alone. Snacks and supplements may give us the boosts we need to get through our working weeks, but there comes a point when we simply need to stop. And what better way to recharge than escaping on a wellness retreat?
Established around the world, wellness escapes can range from digital detoxes to healing holidays — and cater for customers from every walk of life. So, from far-flung getaways in Thailand and Saint Lucia to an escape a little closer to home in Worcestershire, these are the best breaks for your next dose of down time.
Head to The Clover Mill for some holistic healing
Near Malvern in Worcestershire — home of Morgan Motors, don’t you know? — The Clover Mill is a dose of holistic healing in the British countryside. Specialising in Ayurvedic treatments, after checking in you will be whisked away on a programme of classes and workshops informed by a collection of 5,000-year-old texts. Un-raise those eyebrows; it’s not as hokey as it sounds, and most of the instructions offer guidance on eating and sleeping.
The retreat was set up by Julie Dent, a pharmacist who left her job to found the business. And, with ancient trees and hedges surrounding the site, it is a true return to nature. Aside from the mill itself, the plot of land has been left untouched for centuries — and even scores a mention in the Domesday Book. The best part? If you can’t spare five days for the full retreat, The Clover Mill also takes spa day bookings, with exotic experiences ranging from Shilajita Mumiyo to Soundaryam Vardhini (because we all know what they are).
Visit The Ranch in Malibu to detox your body and mind
Set three miles above the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Monica Mountains, this 16-cottage wellness retreat offers an intensive seven-day endurance and nutrition program. Limited WiFi and phone reception cut the large working ranch off from the world, and your daily routine will combine four to five hours of group mountain hiking with core and ab work, weights, daily group yoga sessions and a private afternoon massage.
When the retreat opened in 2010, ex-banker and founder Alex Glasscock’s objective was to create a tranquil and beautiful haven for guests looking to unplug and ‘recalibrate’ their busy lives. And, with staff trained in everything from chiropody to self-defence, more than 200 miles of hiking trails and an organic farm on site — the 1,400 calorie-a-day diet is completely vegan — he has more than succeeded.
Pack your bags for BodyHoliday, a DNA-based wellness retreat
Set on a secluded cove of white sand beach at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, and surrounded by tropical gardens and rainforest, BodyHoliday Saint Lucia is internationally recognised as one of the most progressive wellness resorts in the world. Prior to arriving at the 42-acre complex, guests submit a DNA sample — with which the experts and health professionals tailor a ‘genetically grounded roadmap’ for each client. Sceptical? Read on.
With this DNA-based regime, regardless of the programme you choose — options include De-Stress Health, Digestive Health and Weight Management 360 — you’ll spend your days booked into the pioneering BodyScience Wellness Centre. A 33-room complex staffed by highly trained specialists, all treatments take place in the facility and, by virtue of the DNA testing, any body wrap, deep tissue massage or hydrotherapy treatment you receive will be customised to your individual needs. Now that’s bespoke.
Sail away to Thailand’s Chiva Som to enjoy the world-leading med-spa
Nestled within seven acres of lush tropical gardens, the beachfront health resort of Chiva Som is, quite accurately, advertised as ‘The Haven of Life’. Combining the ancient therapies of the far east with western diagnosis techniques, the Thai retreat focuses on wellbeing and vitality, offering extensive physiotherapy, fitness, spa and holistic health facilities to help guests relax, restore and rejuvenate. And there’s some stonking good views on top of that.
More than 150 treatments are offered, with tai chi, Pilates and personal training classes advised as appropriate following an initial ‘Health and Wellness’ consultation. An on-site med-spa, Niranlada, is also at the disposal of guests, where world-renowned dermatologist Dr Niwat Polnikorn can administer non-invasive anti-ageing treatments. One of fifty-four stylish pavilions and rooms will be yours, providing spectacular views out over the Gulf of Thailand — and the award-winning detoxifying diet is as colourful as your tropical surroundings.
To cool off from modern life, take a dip into Grail Springs
Of course, if beaches and tanning aren’t your idea of relaxation, there are also some frostier options. Located across 100 acres of snowy, forested trails, Grail Springs Wellness Retreat has sat on the shore of Chalice Lake for more than a quarter of a century. With its magnetically-charged rock bed, the ‘holy water’ of the lake is said to bring vitality back to the body, and therefore acts as the cornerstone of Grail Springs’ ‘Cleanse and Energise’ package.
This $385-a-night programme helps repair cells, stimulate correct organ function and bring back mental clarity, through treatments and activities ranging from daily yoga and hiking to oxygen therapy and Vichy showers — very, very powerful showers in which you lie down. All meals are vegetarian and based on a balanced alkaline diet that takes inspiration from the lake itself. Oh, and it looks great in the snow.