Mystical Escapes

On vacation, our bodies may rest, but our minds and spirit keep churning. For those more intrigued by mystics, tarot cards, and spiritualism than poolside lounge chairs (who says you can’t have them all), we offer up some of the best destination experiences to stoke your soul’s roaring fire. From a Druid’s healing circle in England to an Andean shaman fortune-telling session in Peru, these mystical sojourns may just change your life and even predict it.

Astrology Readings in a Mystical Forest

Image Courtesy of Alila Ventana Big Sur

Central California’s fog-imbued Big Sur region, edged by mysterious mountains on one side and soaring, jagged sea cliffs on the other, has attracted scores of introspective travelers, from poets to philosophers. The otherworldly setting has long been a quester’s backdrop, made famous in hippie times. Go inward at Alila Ventana Big Sur, once movie executive Larry Spector’s ranch, just off Highway 1. Exuding an adult summer camp vibe, it stretches across 160-acres of redwood peppered forest with undulating paths, two pools (one for nude bathers), an onsen tub area, a restaurant with panoramic views, contemplative crannies, and a yoga lawn. Rustically lavish rooms hold leather furnishings, fireplaces, and useful amenities—such as rough-hewn walking sticks and binoculars. Devoted to a mission of guiding guests to enlightenment, Ventana provides ample opportunity for self-exploration. Try an in-depth horoscope reading with acclaimed local astrologist Isabel Fleury, who’ll reveal her star power on your terrace overlooking the sea.

Druid Healing in an English Manor

Image Courtesy of Beaverbrook

Even Queen Victoria was obsessed with the Spiritualism Movement, and seance culture, which emerged in the United States in the mid-19th-century, quickly spreading to England where it took a fervent hold, lasting through to the Jazz Age. Conjure that mood at Beaverbrook, a magnificent Victorian mansion in Surrey, set amongst 470-acres. The former lair of natty Lord Beaverbrook, legendary for its illustrious fetes and notable guests (from Rudyard Kipling to Sir Winston Churchill), the tony hotel now offers guests the opportunity to commune with the Druids, instead. Regular retreats, led by experienced Celtic Druids, promote healing through connection with nature and ancient rites. Expect sacred singing, storytelling, nature hikes, and a hallowed Druid Circle amid the trees.

Sacred Soul Clearing in Sedona

Thanks to its reputation as a den of renewal, Sedona draws scores of soul-curious visitors for its purported vortex sites, thresholds of restorative energy said to awaken change, bring contentedness and ground the spirit. Marked by spellbinding rock formations, captivating canyons, and pine tree forests, the sacred destination also boasts some of the world’s most talented mystics and healers—such as Christina Gaglio, a therapist at Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock‘s Eforea Spa. From an energy menu meant to complement wellness journeys (as well as outdoorsy forays), guests can choose curative treatments and readings, such as reiki and angel cards. Book an insight-bringing numerology session with Christina, one of the region’s most notable seers.

The Traveling Hypnotist

Image Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Downtown New York

City buffs love the buzz and the glamor of the urban fabric. The Four Seasons Hotel Downtown New York and its sister Four Seasons Austin both serve as hubs for their respective humming, hometown metropolises, transporting guests with opulent digs and stellar local locations. But both also offer guests conveyance to another sphere: the dream-laden quietude of the past. Featuring Nicole Hernandez, aka, The Traveling Hypnotist, as a resident healer, Four Seasons Hotel Downtown New York shares the talented past life regression guide with Four Seasons Austin, which schedules regular pop-up sessions with Nicole. Her popular, customized sessions take guests on “hypnotic journeys” meant to unveil blockages, unlock the unconscious and eradicate fear and anxiety.

Heart-Opening Mayan Meditation

Image Courtesy of The Cape, a Thompson Hotel

The sound of the sea and the chance of spotting a spouting whale from the shore might be enchanting enough in Los Cabos. But at boutique The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, perched on Monuments Beach, the magical charm quotient has indigenous roots, as well. Inhale wellness during a Cacao Breathing Ceremony, inspired by cacao, a time-honored Mayan staple, known to relax the nervous system and instill a gentle sense of euphoria. Led by meditation and breathwork experts in a quiet room with views of the beach, the ruminative, heart-opening session involves mood-boosting intention setting and contemplation with the help of raw cacao, aromatic hot water, essential oils, sacred music breathing exercises.

Buddhist Blessing Ceremony in Bhutan

Image Courtesy of COMO Uma Punakha

Defined by the tenets of Buddhism, Bhutan reigns as a spiritual heartland, a place where kindness and generosity rule the day. Spurred by a deep belief in karma and rebirth, most Bhutanese apply the quest for enlightenment even to ordinary activities, including eating and walking. Follow their lead when you check into remote COMO Uma Punakha, an intimate, upscale lodge nestled in the lush Punakha Valley. Those seeking an opportunity to mark a special occasion—or simply reset— can take part in a two-hour Bhutanese blessing ceremony, ensconced in a Buddhist temple. Auspiciously accompanied by drums, horns, and cymbals, participants exchange “khadar (white scarves), which symbolize love, happiness, and devotion.

Spiritual Journey in Desert

Image Courtesy of The Boulders Resort & Spa

With barren terrain, endless expanses, prickly cacti, and arduous temperatures, deserts have historically symbolized the rigors of the spiritual journey. Get thee to The Boulders Resort & Spa, a short drive from Scottsdale, to deeply indulge that trope. Studded with anthropomorphic Saguaros and strewn with colossal, twelve-million-year-old rocks, the resort’s topography matches the profundity of its world-class, 33,000-square-foot spa, a hideaway situated far from the bustle. Zen in mood, the well-equipped spa facilitates everything from guided boulder climbing to yoga. Whatever you do, save time to walk its serene outdoor labyrinth, a structure made of a circuitous path that leads to a symbolic center—and out again. For centuries the contemplative have used labyrinths to connect the mind with the spirit.

Ancient Shaman Offering in the Andes

Image Courtesy of Belmond Rio Sagrado

You’ll feel the ground beneath your feet, in more ways than one. At Belmond Rio Sagrado, join an Andean shaman as he croons a tune in homage to Pachamama—the ancient Andean deity who represents the earth. Hewed elegantly into Peru’s Sacred Valley, a stretch of fertile land between the mystical capital of the Inca empire, Cusco, and the 15th century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu,  this luxurious inn edges a riverbank, in the shadows of mountain peaks. Soul warriors can take their communion with nature to new heights when they kneel with the local holy man atop a woven blanket to receive a blessing and have their fortune told. Participants will help the shaman prepare sacred offerings for Pachamama in return.