Wellness travel is on the rise. After two years of couch potato-ing, travelers are looking toward a de-stressing, detoxifying reset with a touch of pampering and woo woo. A recent American Express survey reveals 68% of all travelers are now planning their next vacation around wellness (spa treatments, yoga, fitness, and mind-body-soul connection). As self-care has always been high on our travel priority list, we curated a list of five wellness destinations worth traveling for.
Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel, Mexico
Once settled into this stunning by-the-sea Mayan-inspired property, there is no reason to leave. Set on 36 jungle acres, fringed by turquoise Caribbean sea, The Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel is an idyllic adults-only all-inclusive paradise. Suites are made from natural materials: limestone and wood, the property has its own cenote, traditionally used by the Mayans for their freshwater supply and religious ceremonies, three pools, three restaurants, a tapas bar, lounge bar – and of course, a Mayan spa.
Indulge in health and soul boosting offerings including daily yoga classes, ancient Mayan-inspired spa treatments, including our fave, an authentic temazcal ceremony – part sweat lodge, part sacred ritual – used by the Mayans for centuries as a cleansing tool. Enter the dome-shaped structure (similar to an igloo) and sit around hot volcanic rocks, where water is poured to produce steam. Herbs, like sage or copal, are added to aid the cleansing process as a shaman (or temazcalero) leads the sweating ceremony which typically lasts two or more hours. Physiological benefits include the release of toxins and muscle tension, clearer skin, and better circulation, while spiritually, the experience is said to purify the mind and soul, healing from the inside out.
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, New York
The Hamptons’ only on-the-beach luxury hotel, there’s so much to love about the Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa. The ocean-front rooms and by-the-sea cottages with their soothing watery color palette. The swanky outdoor Firepit lounge for cocktails, light bites, and views of the ocean. The ocean-fed saltwater pool. And the Seawater spa, of course.
Relaunching March 2022 with design by Alonso Balaguer Designs (the man behind Manhattan’s Aire Ancient Baths), Gurney’s upgraded Seawater Spa will take on a more Roman bathhouse feel and come with four new water features: a caldarium (warm), vitality pool (hot), plunge pool (extremely cold) and a cooling bath. Other new additions include unisex relaxation areas, eucalyptus oil-infused steam rooms, and chromotherapy treatments – alongside the full-body massages, wraps, and incredible facials (many saltwater and seaweed-based) the spa has always been known for.
Six Senses Yao Noi Spa, Thailand
Overlooking spectacular Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand, Six Senses Yao Noi has a jungle-vibe spa that features private thatched-roof villas, perched high amid the trees on stilts where guests can enjoy the spoils of their own private pool, a hammock hanging over the ocean edge, and 24-hour personal butler service. The mission here is deep healing – on a mind, body, spiritual level – with a focus on detoxification, boosting the immune system, and improving sleep.
Drawing upon the elements of earth, wind, fire, and water, each spa goer’s experience is completely customized. For some, the reset may come in the form of yoga, meditation, while others head to the alchemy bar to hand-make their own body scrubs and beauty products. Or restoration comes from the steam/sauna circuit and juice bar, or by finding your step in the fitness center followed by soothing spa treatments. Regardless of your path, be sure to experience at least one (90-minute) Thai massage here (you are in Thailand after all).
Amansala, Tulum Mexico
Amansala, named after the crystal-clear waters of Tulum, is a self-described ‘eco-chic resort – dedicated to rejuvenating the mind, body, and spirit. Rooms feature natural materials unique to Tulum, food is fresh and healthy, and the overall vibe is like staying at your best friend’s beach house – with choice of your own room that is. Guests can choose from elevated bohemian style digs including beachfront suites, garden rooms, and bungalows, many with traditional thatched roofs.
Almost all of the offerings here include yoga. Signature retreats include ‘Bikini Bootcamp’,’ a blend of fitness classes, yoga, meditation, and spa treatments, and ‘Restore n Renew’ to experience movement therapies, community, and spiritual growth and mindfulness training—via yoga and journaling.
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Laurance S. Rockefeller was first, in the late 1950s, to appreciate the natural beauty of the now legendary Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. His mantra in creating the oceanfront resort: ‘no buildings taller than a palm tree.’ The vision has held true over the years, evidenced in the lush gardens, secluded beach, breathtaking infinity pool and glamorous tropical-inspired rooms (complete with ocean views, outdoor showers, and deep soaking tubs) and the five-acre Spa Botánico, by legendary Tracy Lee.
A 100-year-old Ficus tree, representing longevity and health, greets spa goers before enveloping them inside the jungle-lush spa cocoon. Ingredients like lemongrass and ginger are picked fresh from the spa’s own gardens; while treatments celebrate Puerto Rico’s rich and ancient healing traditions. Try the signature, three-hour Manos Santas Apothecary Ritual which begins with a foot bath and consultation with a mano santa (traditional Puerto Rican healer,) to formulate a custom blend of botanical massage oils.