For most Australians, wandering the gardens of a Tuscan estate or taking a seaplane to a pristine Maldivian atoll has been nothing more than a daydream for the past two years. The closure of international and state borders have quashed any travels plans, just when they were needed most. But with international flights on offer once again, the thought of a holiday is slowly becoming a reality. And with one in five Australians reporting high anxiety and stress during the never-ending lockdowns, a holiday with a serving of wellness seems like a logical decision for 2022.
Not surprisingly, the global wellness sector was already a thriving industry before the pandemic but it is now predicted to be worth nearly $1 trillion by the end of next year. It’s little wonder then that luxury hotels have keyed into the global climate and have embraced wellness as part of their offerings.
Beyond visions of sun salutations and transcendental meditation, these hotels are providing health and spa treatments that together aim to enhance energy, restore health, and reduce stress. Complemented by stunning settings and gourmet cuisine developed by accomplished on-site chefs, these escapes offer so much more than your usual five-star hotel stay.
Sequoia, South Australia
Australia’s newest six-star lodge is located in the Adelaide Hills, overlooking the Piccadilly Valley. A gateway to South Australia’s famous wine regions, Sequoia Lodge offers indulgence and connection to self. The day spa, which sits inside the National Trust-listed Gate Keeper’s Cottage, is run in partnership with Australian natural skincare brand Jurlique. (The spa is the only place outside of the nearby Jurlique farm where the Jurlique rose is planted.) The Gatekeeper’s Day Spa provides sensory rituals designed to nourish and hydrate through the use of hand-harvested organic ingredients. Against a backdrop of the surrounding Mount Lofty gardens, guests can choose from a range of facials, massages and more extended rituals. The signature spa treatment combines native lime caviar with nourishing botanicals and aromatic oils to revitalise. Add a charcuterie board with locally sourced cured meats, pickled vegetables, cheese and housemade sourdough bread, served with a glass of Sequoia pinot noir-chardonnay, to completely unwind. sequoialodge.com.au
Como Shambhala Retreat, Tuscany, Italy
Tucked away on a rambling 300-hectare Tuscan estate is a 12th-century castle, formerly home to some of the region’s aristocratic families. It is here that you’ll find Como Castello Del Nero. Surrounded by manicured gardens, olive groves and vineyards, the retreat oozes Italian charm. In contrast, the retreat’s recently unveiled wellness offering, Como Shambhala Retreat, makes for a truly cross-cultural experience. The ultra-modern, Asian-inspired Shambhala Retreat, which was conceptualised by Milan-based designer Paola Navone, is Como’s first holistic wellness centre in Europe. Shambhala features seven luxurious treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art gym, a relaxation area, and yoga and Pilates studios. The Como Shambhala Signature Ritual is a must-try — a full-body therapy that induces deep relaxation and calm using revitalising lavender and olive oil made on the estate. comohotels.com
Four Seasons Resort Maui, Hawaii
Set on six hectares of Hawaiian coastland, Four Seasons Resort Maui is synonymous with comfortable opulence and luxurious amenities. The resort’s world-famous wellness experience was recently showcased on HBO’s “The White Lotus” and has recently expanded its offering, introducing the Revitalised Health Optimization Program in collaboration with revolutionary longevity clinic Next|Health. The program is tailor-made to help each guest re-energise and de-stress, with reported benefits of increased energy, enhanced cognitive abilities and improved sleeping patterns. In a perfect infusion of Maui luxury and health-inspired therapies, guests have access to an array of offerings from the medical-grade program, including vitamin shots and a series of wellness IV drips designed to replenish, recharge and rehydrate. The IV treatments contain a blend of hydrating fluids, electrolytes and a multivitamin base to help provide relief from day-to-day stresses and target problem areas, such as gut health, detoxing, muscle building and recovery from jet lag. Physician-developed and mixed and administered by registered nurses, they can even be received poolside. fourseasons.com
Joali Being, Maldives
Opened earlier this year, sustainable luxury resort Joali Being is set to become the first dedicated wellbeing-immersive retreat on the Maldives. Located on the secluded island of Bodufushi in Raa Atoll, a 40-minute seaplane flight from Malé international airport, Joali Being offers an experience centred on four pillars of wellbeing: Mind; Skin; Microbiome; and Energy. Guests will be provided with a bespoke wellness program based on an in-depth appointment with a personal consultant on arrival. The retreat has employed an army of naturopaths, therapists, movement specialists and nutritionists to help guests achieve their wellness goals.With 39 treatment rooms, the Areka immersive wellbeing centre offers a host of scientific and alternative therapies, including a hydrotherapy hall, a hammam, an overwater meditation deck, a sound therapy hall and the Herbology Centre. The resort has been designed and built using biophilic design principles, a method of incorporating nature into architecture, for a truly immersive wellness experience. joalibeing.com
Aman New York, United States
The hectic nature of New York City might not scream “wellness”, but that hasn’t stopped the team behind Aman from bringing a new flagship retreat to Midtown. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the retreat pays homage to the grand opulence of the iconic Crown Building in which it resides, alongside the Zen minimalism Aman is known for worldwide. With a focus on holistic wellness, the three-story centrepiece Aman Spa features seven treatment suites, including two unique banya and hammam spa houses, a dramatic 20-metre indoor swimming pool and relaxation terraces complete with daybeds and firepits. In addition, Aman has also released The Essentials by Aman, a retail collection designed, developed and manufactured in Italy, consisting of activewear, loungewear, knitwear, swimwear, resort wear and soft accessories. aman.com