One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that health is wealth. Taking good care of ourselves both physically and emotionally during these challenging times is essential. Yet, when travel resumes, is a simple beach holiday really going to be enough?
Immune boosting retreats
Immunity is the body’s innate ability to fight off disease. Ensuring that our immune system is optimal to ward off disease can help us to feel vibrant and healthy. Luxury wellness retreats to boost the immune system and prevent disease were popular pre-pandemic. With time to consider their health and wellness offerings, Asia’s luxury health resorts are now re-positioning their retreats to help clients heal and feel well again. Asia’s holistic approach to health is ideal for those who want to feel their best again. Whether the aim is to detox and lose weight gained whilst in lockdown or to address the emotional issues experienced during isolation, Asian wellness retreats offer authentic wellness journeys.
Life reset in Thailand
The serene, tropical beaches of Thailand are waiting as challenging times call for personal growth. Thailand pioneered luxury wellness when it opened the doors to Chiva Som in 1995. A contemporary resort with traditional Thai design, this luxury retreat offers programs which focus on the six wellness modalities of Physiotherapy, Holistic Health, Nutrition, Fitness, Spa, and Aesthetic Beauty. Wellness programs such as ‘Emotional and Mental Balance’ and ‘Mindfulness’ address the anxiety we commonly feel these days and more physical fitness retreats get the body moving and usher in new, healthier habits.
Centred around an ancient meditation cave and sloping gently towards the sea in Koh Samui, Kamalaya has long held a flexible approach to health and wellness. Adding to its already robust health program is a new ‘Immunity and Resilience’ program. Ranging from 7-21 nights, this new luxury wellness retreat was specifically created for post-pandemic travel. With Asia’s uniquely holistic approach, physical issues are identified via functional blood testing and nutritional guidance, herbal supplements, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Mindfulness training, private meditation, and Bioresonance therapy provide an emotional toolkit to begin to face new challenges with increased confidence.
After periods of uncertainty and isolation, it’s natural to want to press the reset button and that’s exactly what luxury resort Amanpuri in Phuket promises. Aman resorts have long supplied their dedicated guests or ‘Aman junkies’ laid back luxury in breathtaking locations across Asia and beyond. Dipping their toe into wellness a few years back proved a fantastic fit for their loyal luxury following. Their ‘Life Reset’ immersion is designed to transform you from a state of exhaustion on arrival to one of balance and positivity. Carefully curated to offer nutritional guidance and stress management techniques, every experience is tailored to each guest’s personal needs.
Remote healing in Bhutan
Bhutan, known as ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is hidden away in the Himalayas. It was sheltered from foreign tourists until 1974 and still restricts the number of visitors allowed within the country. A country which bases its success on Gross National Happiness is surely a healing retreat for the future!
The landscape in Bhutan is breathtaking; from snow-capped, Himalayan mountain ranges, scattered with Buddhist prayer flags to verdant valleys dotted with ancient monasteries and temples. If you’re looking for a remote and authentic experience, Bhutan is second to none.
Aman luxury lodges offer the ability to traverse the breadth of this mystical land while enjoying the luxuries of 5-star service and accommodation. With lodges across the five valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, and Bumthang, Aman is perfectly positioned to delivered personalised spiritual and cultural vacations in Bhutan.
One of the most unique openings of current times in Bhutan is a wellness sanctuary dedicated to providing lasting positive changes in its guests. Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is the country’s first dedicated holistic health and wellness retreat. Guest stays feature all-inclusive Bhutanese spa treatments and facilities with an indoor heated pool complete with floor to ceiling glass doors, offering a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and valley. With Bhutanese Traditional Doctors on staff, the sanctuary can also offer unique healing treatments to boost immunity on tap and they are well connected to local monasteries. Working in tandem with luxury wellness travel companies, they offer personalised retreat experiences tailored to individual dreams. From trekking and hiking to meeting monks and attending auspicious ceremonies, anything is possible in Bhutan.
The ‘Island of the Gods’ has long attracted travellers from all corners of the earth, seeking spiritual connection and healing. Its verdant rice paddies, daily Hindu rituals, and a plethora of yoga and meditation centres appeal to those seeking more than a simple beach hangout. When tourism exploded in the ’70s, Bali became a surfer’s and backpacker’s paradise. Today, Bali offers something for every pocket and luxury travellers are well catered to. Blending the naturally nurturing hospitality of the Balinese with creative architectural design, health and wellness sanctuaries such as COMO Shambhala Estate were born. Resident health experts include a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic doctor, and resident Dietician. They form a team, guiding each guest on a personal journey to renewed vitality and wellbeing. Set within a lush jungle sanctuary, it’s the perfect place to unwind and feel more balanced. If the beach calls, Revivo, set on the edge of a tropical teak forest above the Indian Ocean on Bali’s southern coast, offers a ‘Press Reset’ program. Aimed at removing self-limiting beliefs, the retreat includes mindfulness, yoga, healthy cuisine, and healing massage.
Eco-conscious luxury wellness retreat Fivelements is a bamboo sanctuary on the banks of the sacred River Ayung. Situated just on the verge of Bali’s spiritual centre Ubud, the retreat is deeply rooted in the ancient traditions of Balinese healing. Authentic healing treatments are offered by local Balinese priests and the resort’s plant-based ‘living’ cuisine is also a highlight. Immunity-boosting retreats include ‘Tri Kaya Parisudha’, a holistic detox and ‘Panca Mahabhuta’, a spiritually healing program.
Healing in the Himalayas
The source of ancient healing techniques for disease prevention lies in India. The birthplace of Ayurveda and yoga, India lives and breathes wellness and spirituality. In terms of luxury health resorts, Ananda in the Himalayas leads the way. Ananda is set within the foothills of the Himalayas on a hundred-acre Maharaja’s Palace Estate. Surrounded by forest, it faces the spiritual town of Rishikesh and the sacred river Ganges. Flights from Delhi to the local airport Jolly Grant, are then followed by a picturesque drive to the resort. All very well worth the travelling time. Wellness retreats are created around the ancient principles of Ayurveda and, as travel resumes, a rejuvenating ‘Ayurvedic Immunity Booster’ program is available. Immunity boosting yoga and Ayurvedic remedies help to increase energy and metabolism, leading to increased vitality and wellbeing.
Vietnam is one to watch
Vietnam is a stunning sliver of a country on the Eastern side of the Indo-Chinese peninsula. Although there are many luxury hotels throughout the country, the luxury health and wellness industry is still in its infancy. Luxury resort Amanoi rests on tranquil Vinh Hy Bay in Southern Vietnam, overlooking Núi Chúa National Park. It features a divine yoga pavilion which rests above a lotus flower covered lake, private beach, and luxury spa. Wellness immersions include weight loss, detox, and mindfulness retreats.
A healthy holiday in Asia, some beach luxury and pampering, or a remote spiritual trek to reconnect may currently all be only a dream. In the meantime, be gentle, healthy, and happy while the opportunity to reconnect with self and others awaits.
Joanne McFarlane is the Founder and Managing Director of Soul Sanctuaries. Soul Sanctuaries is a luxury wellness travel company specialising in tailormade healthy holidays and bespoke spiritual retreats across Asia.