The jungle setting of Kamalaya, perched high up a steep hillside within the island’s rainforest, encourages a quieter meditation, but also a sort of natural networking with other guests that only a remote locale can inspire. If yoga and Eastern leaning wellness is your thing, this is the place. Its founders are a husband and wife team, mixing his yogi training with her Chinese medicine practice. But this doesn’t mean the spa’s gone soft. Intensive fitness classes in the top-notch gym, including posture-inducing pilates, hikes around the nine-acre property and mentoring sessions all provide balance to an otherwise otherworldly experience. kamalaya.com
WHAT TO TRY: A meditation session. Former Buddhist monks are among the teachers.
The approach to health and wellness is quite serious here – this isn’t your average day spa. Known for a holistic approach, the renowned spa is more retreat than treatment. The experts recommend a week here in the mountains of Baja California, where fitness and wellbeing programs are guided, and therapies and treatments – along with much of the mainly vegetarian culinary experience – are made in the kitchens from medicinal herbs and vegetables grown in the property’s organic gardens.
WHAT TO TRY: Something you definitely can’t do at home: a guided hike up into the foothills of Mt. Kuchumaa.
Inland from the beaches – and the beach bums – is a paradise that belies all the touristy notions. Still-untouched swaths of rainforest jungles, rushing rivers and a rich traditional in mindfulness and wellness all give Ubud a vibe unlike any other. Four Seasons at Sayan Sacred River Spa has elevated it even more, for mind, body and spirit. The spa’s soundtrack is a calming combination of the gentle breeze breaching the open window and the babbling of the Ayung River that runs through the property. So relaxing is this music of nature, when we visited we fell into a light slumber.
WHAT TO TRY: Aerial/anti-gravity yoga for a lightness of being and a healthy stretching of the limbs and the head.
If you were to ask someone where the ancient therapeutic concept of taking the waters still exists, some would say Hungary. And, although it is true that the country is still a destination for hydrotherapy, sometimes a bath house is a little in-your-face for more genteel Western tastes. Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest is the country’s largest and worth a visit, but for a more personal experience, Magnolia offers almost a dozen bath-themed treatments, as well as more familiar peels, massages and facials using French skin-care line Sothys.
WHAT TO TRY: The couples treatments and experiences.
The brains behind Gwinganna (including Australian actor and wellness enthusiast Hugh Jackman) take the word “retreat” as gospel. Ranging from two-night wellness weekends to as long as seven days (exclusively for the Gwinganna Detox), programs promise to reset your health span, with special events over the calendar year that include Women’s Discovery, Nourishing You and weekends devoted to “heart, brain, health.” In the Hinterland of Queensland’s Gold Coast, Gwinganna is ecotourism certified and, although fairly restrictive (no booze, smokes or junk food allowed), it promises a lifestyle reset for our everyday hustle and bustle.
WHAT TO TRY: Regain a healthy balance through Gwinganna’s four-day Triple “S” – sleep, sugar, stress. ’Nuff said.
If you’re looking for a combination of medical spa and old-school retreat, this is it. The medi-clinic follows the FX Mayr method, a medispa approach to digestive wellness first developed in Austria more than 40 years ago. And going with the gut here is what it’s all about.
Detoxing to help cleanse your insides, learning better nutrition habits and, yes, the odd facial thrown in, naturally, all contribute to resetting your digestive health. Balancing bad bacteria with good isn’t the only game here: harmony for the mind, exercise for the body and (spa) food for the soul – with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy and Western medical methods – gives Lanserhof an all-inclusive feel for your health.
WHAT TO TRY: Choose something for your outsides, too: The Lans Derma Regeneration facial, meant to help boost the skin’s immune function.
LAKE GENEVA, MONTREUX
Since 1932, this spot has been on the cutting edge of medical-spa retreats, grounded in science, yet elevated with Swiss hospitality. Health and wellness, longevity boosting and, of course, aesthetic treatments feature in a program that has been created by more than 50 wellness experts. You can quit smoking, lose weight and detox your liver while striving for better mobility (a key function as we age) and have a physical check-up; medical staff include radiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists and more. And it’s in the Swiss Alps with a view of Lake Geneva.
Naturally, nutritionists have built a menu that helps guests take the healthy principles home with them.
WHAT TO TRY: The six-night Rebalancing program, which utilizes a holistic approach with both traditional and Ayurvedic techniques.