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. Here, we have rounded up our favorite wellness retreats, each with their own emphasis—from spiritual to intellectual.
Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to a spa hotel. Our specialists can match you with the perfect property.
Best Retreat for Spiritual Exploration: Mii amo, Arizona
Set in the red rocks of Sedona, this 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.
Mii amo is a favorite of Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley, who visits every January and says, “now I cannot imagine starting a year without the kind of renewal that I receive at Mii amo.”
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Best Retreat for a Far-Flung Escape: Ananda, India
Those interested in a spiritual, off-the-grid wellness experience should journey to this award-winning spa in India’s Himalayan foothills. Located in a 100-acre palace estate in the picturesque and remote Rishikesh Valley, Ananda 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.
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Best Retreat for Southern Comfort: Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas
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 Customizable Wellness Experience: Blackberry Mountain, Tennessee
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.
Best Retreat for Family-Friendly Wellness: Schloss Elmau, Germany
Located a 90-minute drive southeast of Munich, surrounded by the beautiful Bavarian Alps, this fairytale 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
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 7-14 days), which target such areas as weight loss and fitness, quitting smoking, managing stress and optimizing health and life expectancy.
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Best Retreat for a Mystical Haven: Chablé, Mexico
Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, surrounded by sleepy towns and lush jungle, Chablé is a secluded resort combining modern luxury with Mayan mysticism. The core of the Chablé 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.
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Best Retreat for A Castaway Paradise: COMO Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
Nothing says ‘escape’ quite like a stay on a private island, particularly for those whose ideal state of wellbeing 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.
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Best Retreat for Peaceful Healing: Amanemu, Japan
The Aman brand, whose name means “peace,” is known for its hotels with minimalist interiors and serene atmospheres—and this delightfully secluded resort on Japan’s Ise Shima peninsula is no exception. The property as a whole espouses a philosophy of well-being, with its massive infinity pool and 22,000-square-foot spa, where travelers can partake in tailor-made, immersive wellness programs. Following an initial consultation, guests can elect to focus on digestive health, stress relief or anti-aging, and enjoy expert treatments such as shiatsu massages and acupuncture, plus yoga and meditation classes, tea ceremonies and aromatherapy—all of which utilize traditional Japanese techniques. A highlight is a soak in the onsen, a massive thermal bath complex fed by nearby hot springs.
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Best Retreat for Outdoor Splendor: Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, New Zealand
New Zealand has the power to leave travelers awestruck by the overwhelming force of its landscape. Whether hiking up jagged mountains, traversing icy glaciers or swimming in crater lakes, the scenery is nothing short of dazzling—and the perfect backdrop for a transformative getaway. In Queenstown, Aro Ha Wellness Retreat overlooks the serene Lake Wakatipu and offers the ultimate wilderness experience focused on health, mindfulness and connecting with nature. Days at this secluded retreat are both indulgent and challenging, full of stunningly beautiful hikes, yoga, massages and sublime meals (the dining program emphasizes clean, vegetarian cuisine).
With programs ranging from four to seven nights, Aro Ha is particularly perfect for solo travelers aiming for self-transformation in a wellness retreat in glorious surroundings.
Best Retreat for a Group Restoration: The Pearl, California
The Pearl in Laguna, California offers an intimate spa experience that feels akin to staying in a private home and is an unparalleled destination for spiritual and physical rejuvenation. Set in a spacious, 12-bedroom residence in beautiful Laguna Canyon, The Pearl was founded by two renowned yogis who have created weekly programs of healing around the tenets of yoga, hiking and meditation.
A typical day here begins with power yoga and breakfast before a nature hike through the canyon’s scenic trails and weight-training at the open-air gym. After lunch, guests receive massages and facial treatments and later gather for Tai Chi or yoga classes. The night ends with a communal dinner of vegetarian cuisine sourced from the property’s organic garden. The Pearl is ideal for group retreats and can be privately reserved for ten guests or more.
Best Retreat for an Epicurean Getaway: Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Foodies and oenophiles rejoice: the Six Senses Douro Valley offers wellness-seeking travelers the best of both worlds—a stunning setting in which to relax and recharge, plus sensational food and wine. The salmon-colored 19th-century manor is tucked into the hillside above the banks of Portugal’s idyllic Douro Valley. The 24,000-square-foot spa offers innovative wellness programs (like stress treatments and make-your-own skincare workshops) that guests enjoy along with excursions to local towns and wineries. Plus, the resort’s delicious cuisine marries health-minded dishes with Portuguese classics to showcase the region’s wonderful local flavors.
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Best Retreat for a Country-chic Escape: Les Sources de Caudalie, France
A 30-minute drive from the city of Bordeaux, Les Sources de Caudalie is the epitome of a French country escape, with lush gardens and a serene vineyard setting. Les Sources is the type of place you won’t want to leave during the entirety of your stay—especially when taking into account the impossibly chic interiors, sophisticated culinary offerings and renowned wellness program. The multi-level, beautifully designed spa has 20 treatment rooms full gamut of Caudalie’s famous Vinothérapie, a wine-based spa program.
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Best Retreat for Old-World Grandeur: Hotel Palace Merano, Italy
This glamorous resort in the town of Merano in northern Italy boasts a comprehensive spa program based on the philosophies of wellness guru Henri Chenot. With expertise in psychology, biology and medicine, Chenot designed the resort’s therapies with the aim of completely revitalizing guests’ physical health. Cutting-edge therapies are performed by skilled medical experts, including tendon muscle massages, energy treatments and hydro-aromatherapy. When not spa-going, guests can enjoy the gorgeous setting (complete with a vineyard and botanical garden) and explore the charming town of Merano, which contains a number of castles and churches.
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Best Retreat for a Transformative Cultural Escape: COMO Uma Punakha, Bhutan
Remote, serene and utterly mystical, Bhutan attracts many who come seeking enlightenment and healing. The landlocked kingdom at the foot of the Himalayas teeters between mythological, medieval and modern times, and the unique Buddhist culture is known to leave travelers with a newfound sense of peace and wellbeing. Whether visiting rural villages, meeting monks or exploring the mountaintop monasteries and temples, travelers can’t help but immerse themselves in the Bhutanese way of life, which embraces happiness as a constant state of mind. COMO Uma Punakha is an intimate lodge in a bucolic valley that offers views of riverside orchards and farmland. Guests are pampered in the COMO Shambhala spa, where hot stone baths are open to the crisp valley air and mountain views. The more intrepid can arrange overnight camping ventures into the Himalayas.
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Best Retreat for California Rejuvenation: Cal-a-Vie, California
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.”
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Best Retreat for a Far-Flung Exotic Getaway: Four Seasons Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
Guests at Four Seasons Chiang Mai, now celebrating its 25th year, can build in time every day doing yoga or pilates, playing golf, hiking, biking or trying a Muay Thai workout, among many other activities. Or they can work with the spa director to build an entire experience designed around self-care and mindfulness throughout their stay. The calm, 9,000 square foot space has seven treatment rooms with excellent, experienced therapists and has introduced a program centered around balancing a healthy lifestyle. An extensive array of Thai massage treatments feature heated silk poultices filled with soothing medicinal herbs and using such local products as lemongrass, ginger and coconut oil. Guest healers are also invited to the property for special sessions four times during the year around specific therapies, including relaxation and meditation techniques, Kundalini yoga, numerology and life-journey counseling.
Best Retreat for a Physical Challenge: The Ranch at Live Oak, California
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. Melissa Biggs Bradley praises the ranch, admitting 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). The ranch offers a 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.
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Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to a spa hotel. Our specialists can match you with the perfect property.