The world’s most indulgent wellness retreats

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When the body and mind need a reboot, look no further than a five-star luxury retreat. Travel writer Kelli Armstrong has found some first-class out-of-this-world locations.

Royal Mansour
Marrakech, Morocco

Commissioned by King Mohammed VI, who often hosts companions in many of the 53 private two-storey villas, this spa sanctuary sets the mood by welcoming guests through a glass atrium and into a snow-white, wrought-iron bird cage. Interiors include magical mosaics with luscious suede and silk furnishings, enveloped by flourishing gardens and fountains filled with roses. When not indulging in the hammam and divine body treatments — which use locally sourced dates, argan oil and orange blossom — make use of the outdoor pool, four bars, three restaurants, art gallery and library.

Sha Wellness Clinic
Alicante, Spain

Breathe in the clean mountain air at this clinic-meets-spa destination overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The goal here is for guests to embrace one of the many clean living programs while settling into a state of relaxation. The programs include weight loss, anti-stress and sleep therapies, and come with blood testing, macrobiotic diets and on-tap body treatments ranging from massage and acupuncture to seaweed wraps and hydrotherapy baths.

thinkstockphotos-492676582Como Shambhala Estate
Bali, Indonesia

Shambhala is Sanskrit for peace, and fittingly this luxury estate is encased in the lush greenery of Bali’s Ubud. Wellness Programs claim to cure every ailment, and incorporate personalised cuisine, outdoor yoga and fitness sessions scrutinised by on-site doctors, dieticians and visiting masters of health philosophies. The property is home to magnificent infinity pools, waterfalls and a spa offering a variety of Ayurvedic therapies, skin treatments, reflexology and massage. The local area also offers a variety of organic cafes and boho-chic boutiques.

Gstaad Palace

Offering opulent facilities and unique treatments you won’t find anywhere else, this centuries-old spa has hosted royalty, rockers and ultra-wealthy lovers of the Alpine lifestyle. As if the breathtaking views across the Swiss Alps aren’t enough to send you into a blissful state, the giant spa houses a world-renowned hammam and has a menu of wellness treatments, including aromatherapy, lymph drainage and shiatsu.

The Scarlet Hotel
Cornwall, UK

Feel the serenity at this adults only, eco-friendly hotel. Facilities include an indoor pool for laps that links to an outdoor reed-filtered pool carved into the natural cliff top. Relax into one of the “journeys” on offer that draw on the wisdom of Ayurveda at the spa. Other features include chrysalis-inspired relaxation pods, drifting away in a log-fired hot tub overlooking the sea or simply marvelling at the majestic views from the terrace.

Koh Samui, Thailand

Built at the site of a Buddhist monk’s meditation cave, this tropical paradise is a celebrity hot spot. Set upon the delightful island of Koh Samui, Kamalaya is dedicated to complete wellness and holistic programs that will impress upon you a mind, body and soul. Five-star cuisine, Chinese medicine, naturopathy, tantalising spa therapies and fitness programs treat everything from sleep disorders to digital addiction.

Utah, USA

Surrounded by the wondrous plateaus and escarpments of southern Utah, this resort offers sweeping views to the famous Grand Staircase and Escalante National Monument. Guests enjoy hiking, horseback riding and hot air balloon trips to take in the wild, winding west. Day trips to Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon and Colorado River are on offer for the more adventurous, but we recommend partaking in the spa facilities that include flotation therapy, plunge pools and remedies that reflect the culture and healing practices of the Navajo Native Americans.

The Farm
Lipa City, Philippines

Rather than laying around the pool at this holistic healing and wellness centre, the Farm’s tailored programs promote wellness on a serious level. Whether you check in to the medically guided detoxification programs, diabetes management or heart health and stress reduction, commitment is expected. Meditation and yoga is also encouraged, and you’ll be dining on chef-prepared vegan fare straight from the property’s organic garden.


The Retreat
Costa Rica

The creation of healthy lifestyle expert and celebrity chef Diana Stobo, this lush location caters to the overstressed. Yoga and meditation encourage spiritual connectedness, and a waterfall swimming pool and local walking paths take in the abundant surrounds. With an emphasis on escaping from everyday chaos and embracing relaxation, the spa offers bliss-inducing treatments while indoor and outdoor dining rooms deliver raw food made from fresh, local ingredients. Peace, harmony and tranquillity awaits.


On a plateau in the Gold Coast’s hinterland, the 500-acre Gwinganna is Australia’s top wellness retreat. What sets it apart is that it’s managed by a team with a strong background in the fitness industry. You can start the day as early as  5.15am with the Qi Gong class and then  go on walks, stretches or a choice of yin and yang activities. Devote your afternoons to relaxation in the 33-room Spa Sanctuary. Local and certified organic produce is used for meals, much of it harvested on-site.

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