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The 19 Best Wellness Retreats

We could all use more wellness in our lives. Whether we seek to disconnect from the outside world, challenge ourselves or relax in style (or all of the above), a restorative getaway to a rejuvenating resort is often the perfect way to revive the mind, body and soul. Many travelers had big plans for such trips in 2020, most of which were postponed or even canceled. Now, as the world begins to reopen, we’re once again considering getaways to help improve our well-being.

Here, we have rounded up our favorite wellness retreats, each with their own emphasis—from spiritual to intellectual. Some of these resorts and spas are close to home. Others are further afield, and some are still not open to U.S. travelers. All of these, however, are properties we love and cannot wait to revisit—be it in 2021 or beyond.

Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare if you are not yet a member to start planning these ultimate wilderness vacations—this year and beyond. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on Covid-19 travel safety, destinations that are open to travel, Covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more.

Best Retreat for a Customizable Wellness Experience: Blackberry Mountain, Tennessee

Tennessee is currently open to all U.S. travelers.

The sister property to the acclaimed Blackberry Farm hotel, the all-inclusive Blackberry Mountain is a smaller, more health-focused property with cozy, stylish rooms and villas, a great culinary program and a daily schedule of excellent fitness classes. The mountain-top hotel could be used for a long weekend away that doesn’t feel health-focused at all, should you wish to skip the workout classes and opt for meals of pizza and steak (the ingredients, of course, are top-quality), but those who want to reset will enjoy getting outdoors and going hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing, as well as partaking in complimentary fitness classes like spin, hot yoga and HIIT and TRX workouts. The excellent restaurants serve options that are diet-friendly but don’t feel restrictive, such as sweet potato hash with avocado yogurt, crispy grains, a sunny side–up egg and fermented hot sauce for breakfast and tuna poké or warm brassica grain bowls for lunch. Head to Nest Spa for Nest Spa holistic treatments, including acupuncture and aromatherapy massages, as well as a nail salon. Should you wish to really overhaul your wellness regimen at Blackberry Mountain, the spa also offers programs like the four-hour Forage experience, which includes an 80-minute hike, herbal remedy session with the hotel’s Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and an herbal poultice massage.

Related: Indagare’s Most Booked Hotels During Covid

Best Retreat for a New England Reboot: Canyon Ranch, Lenox

Set in an historic 19th-century Berkshires mansion, Canyon Ranch Lenox is a highly goal-oriented destination spa. Its campus, comprising the Bellefontaine Mansion and two interconnecting contemporary wings, house 126 rooms plus a show kitchen and 100,000-square-foot spa complex. Stays here, booked as all-inclusive, multiple-night packages, consist of a set number of meals, treatments activities and classes. Private sessions with doctors and expert healers help each guest customize their own journey, in which a day’s agenda could include hiking, boxing, health lectures, kayaking, aerobics and muscle conditioning. At meal times, food is unlimited—a rarity for a wellness retreat—and there’s a judgement-free aspect to the dining here. That freedom makes a few days at Canyon Ranch feel less like a boot camp and more like a holistic escape.

Best Retreat for Southern Comfort: Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas

Texas is currently open to all U.S. travelers.

While there are many lovely attributes of this gorgeous destination property—the pretty flower gardens, the two outdoor pools, the gorgeous spa—the real coup de grace is the location right on Lake Austin. Arranged in a strip along the shoreline with views of hills shrouded in oaks, sycamores and maples, Lake Austin Spa has just 40 rooms and feels delightfully intimate, peaceful and secluded. Days are spent savoring spa treatments at the 25,000-square-foot spa, with hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas and multiple treatment rooms, and partaking in everything from spin classes to Tai Chi, drumming and forest bathing. But breezy Southern charm pervades daily life. Everything is optional. If you want to spend your day lounging by the lake and having spa treatments, there is no social pressure to do anything. In the evenings, there are often special speakers arranged to talk on subjects around wellness and finding balance.

Best Retreat for a Physical Challenge: The Ranch Malibu, California

California currently requires all out-of-state travelers to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.

As tough as the Ashram but with beautiful rooms and gourmet vegan food, this butt-kicking spa hotel offers the ultimate physical challenge. Guests are awakened at 5:30 a.m. each morning for yoga before heading out on arduous (albeit stunning) hikes; meals are vegan and gluten-free; and visitors receive daily massages. Indagare CEO and founder Melissa Biggs Bradley says it gave her “a renewed appreciation for living in the present moment and gratitude for the unexpected opportunities that open new ways of thinking.” Rigorous and strict, the resort is ideal for those who are looking for new challenges and a healthier perspective on nutrition and fitness, but want to do so in a hardcore way (and in a spectacular setting). In 2022, the Ranch Malibu is set to relaunch its special ‘4.0’ four-day program (based at the Four Seasons Westlake), an abridged version of the seven-day stay, which can provide rejuvenation and healing over a long weekend.

Related: Where to Go in 2021

Best Retreat for a Mystical Haven: Chablé Yucatan, Mexico

Mexico is currently open to U.S. travelers. 

Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, surrounded by sleepy towns and lush jungle, Chablé is a secluded resort combining modern luxury with Maya mysticism. The core of the Chablé Yucatan experience is the spa, which is built into a cenote, a natural sinkhole considered by the Mayans to be a sacred spiritual gateway. Upon arrival, visitors are welcomed with a traditional ceremony conducted by the resort’s resident shaman who, together with the spa director, plans a customized program for each guest. This can mean morning yoga in the cenote, walking meditation, chakra treatments, astrology consultations and detoxifying massages, all of which (in typical Chablé fashion) are deeply rooted in ancient techniques.

Related: Mexico’s Best Beach Resorts

Best Retreat for a Castaway Paradise: COMO Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos is currently open to U.S. travelers who show proof of a negative PCR test result from within five days prior to arrival.

Nothing says “escape” quite like a stay on a private island, particularly for those whose ideal state of well-being is lying on a beach with nothing but a good book and the sun’s rays as company. A castaway beach paradise, COMO Parrot Cay is a favorite with high-profile celebrities for its pristine, secluded location that is more readily associated with resorts in the Maldives or Seychelles. Here, luxury is about unplugging and lounging on muslin-draped daybeds, or getting hooked on daily yoga lessons and snacking on ultra-fresh seafood seaside. The spa alone is worth the trip, and the property emphasizes a wellness philosophy through excellent fitness offerings, a delicious health-focused menu and indulgent beauty and relaxation treatments.

Related: Indagare Caribbean Islands Matchmaker: The Best Caribbean Islands for Every Traveler

Best Retreat for California Rejuvenation: Cal-a-Vie, California

California is currently open to all American travelers who self-isolate for 10 days after arrival.

Located in the mountains near San Diego, Cal-a-Vie is a classic California wellness retreat where top-notch service, excellent fitness classes and superb food come together in an elegant, intimate setting. Cal-a-Vie is ideal for wellness seekers of all levels, as guests are encouraged to push their limits in a safe, supportive atmosphere during their three-, four- or seven-night stays.

Days at Cal-a-Vie consist of hikes through the 200-acre property, sensational meals (plates are individually prepared in accordance with guests’ chosen calorie count), fitness classes like yoga or kickboxing and spa treatments such as massages and reflexology. At night, visitors are treated to cooking demonstrations, live music and guest lectures. The resort is a favorite of Indagare COO Eliza Harris‘, who explains that “Cal-a-Vie makes an ambitious program so enjoyable that it eases you in the gentlest possible way into a different lifestyle.”

Related: Just Back From… Cal-a-Vie Spa

Best Retreat For an Active Escape: Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

Brazil is currently open to American travelers.

In the the forested Mantiqueira Mountains a few hours outside of São Paulo, the new Six Senses Botanique is a haven-like escape with an emphasis on local gastronomy. Its 20 discreetly hidden villas have wall-to-wall windows, sprawling terraces and outdoor soaking tubs to maximize the woodsy views, but it’s the resort’s extensive activities that make it a true draw. Horseback riding or mountain biking through lush valleys and hills to nearby waterfalls and hiking through mountain trails (some of which run directly through the property) let guests explore this under-the-radar region of Brazil at their own pace—and allow access to fabulous spa treatments and locavore dining. Six Senses’ first outpost in the Americas makes for an excellent, restorative warm-up or cool-down to a Brazilian adventure, as it’s just two hours from São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport, the hub for most international flights.

Related: Best New Hotels of 2021: Our Top Picks from Around the World

Best Retreat for Spiritual Exploration: Mii amo, Arizona (closed for renovations this year)

Mii amo is currently closed for renovations, but it’s been a favorite wellness retreat for Indagare for years, and we are excited to see it after this latest transformation. Set in the red rocks of Sedona, the intimate spa is ideal for those in need of an energy-focused, nourishing getaway. Deeply rooted in spirituality, the retreat fosters an “It’s all about you” philosophy, which caters to those seeking renewal and transformation—some guests come in search of rest or detox, while others look for balance with Reiki sessions and meditation. Mii amo aims to better guests’ insides as well as their outsides, with progressive spa treatments, fitness offerings and astrological consultations. Plus, the red rock location is awe-inspiring; travelers feel lucky to spend time in such a sacred, beautiful place.

Related: Mii amo: An Addiction

Best Retreat for a Far-Flung Spa Experience: Ananda in the Himalayas, India

India is currently not open to American travelers.

Those interested in a spiritual, off-the-grid wellness experience can add this award-winning spa in India’s Himalayan foothills to their bucket list. Located in a 100-acre palace estate in the picturesque and remote Rishikesh Valley, Ananda in the Himalayas offers an all-inclusive wellness program based on Ayurvedic principles of physical and mental wellness. Guests have a choice between several highly specialized programs, from Stress Management, which promotes emotional balance and renewal through Aromatherapy and Reiki massages, to Ayurvedic Rejuvenation, which aims to improve metabolism and immunity with a specific diet and yoga classes. The resort also offers excellent yoga and meditation programs, complemented by more fast-paced activities such as white-water rafting and a jungle safari.

Related: How to Build a Bucket List for Life

Best Retreat for Family-Friendly Wellness: Schloss Elmau, Germany

Germany is currently not open to American travelers.

Located a 90-minute drive southeast of Munich, surrounded by the beautiful Bavarian Alps, this fairy-tale castle estate is a perfect fit for families and couples passionate about spa-going, culture and the great outdoors. Several sumptuous spas dot the property, from a beautiful Turkish Hammam in the cellar of the castle to the 32,000-square-foot Badehaus Spa with its striking rooftop infinity pool. The menus include everything from extensive body and facial offerings to Thai and Ayurvedic treatments, and Thai Chi, yoga and Pilates are taught in light-filled, wood-paneled rooms. When not savoring spa treatments, guests can hike in the spectacular Bavarian alps and enjoy meals at the resort’s several impressive restaurants. Indagare tip: Don’t miss the two-hour hike from Elmau to Mittenwald, a charming village.

Best Retreat for a Classic European Spa: SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain

Spain is currently not open to American travelers.

This medical spa on Spain’s southeastern coast touts a detoxing—and delicious—macrobiotic menu and provides a wide array of treatments, from the scientific (sleep disorder treatments, genetic and preventative medicine) to the healthful (Reiki, massage). Championed by SHA’s founder, who credits his lifestyle change to curing his cancer, the resort’s treatments and methods are designed to encourage guests to re-evaluate and re-center their minds and bodies through daily fitness classes and information sessions covering topics like emotional intelligence and detoxing. Plus, the facilities are world-class: there is a state-of-the-art, 28-station hydrotherapy circuit that includes Roman and Turkish baths, bio-thermal showers, therapeutic water jets, a sauna and more. Those with a particular goal can enroll in one of the special programs (recommended for 7 to 14 days), which target such areas as weight loss and fitness, quitting smoking, managing stress and optimizing health and life expectancy.

– Blair West on March 24, 2021

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