Bl 10 2014 7697 Oct H

A voyage of self-discovery

It’s the perfect combination: lose yourself in an unspoilt paradise while at the same time unlocking a calmer, happier, healthier you. Take a deep breath as Ashleigh Gibson explains where to go to become the best ever you

Detox and lose weight Aro Hā Wellness Retreat, New Zealand

You’ll have some extraordinary tales to tell by the time you graduate from Aro Hā, from recounting the sub-alpine trail in South Island’s ethereal Wyuna Preserve to sleeping in an elegant eco-retreat that blends in seamlessly with its World Heritage setting. Glacier-fed Lake Wakatipu mirrors the region’s snow-capped mountains and swooping kingfishers, while supplying the ideal backdrop for a meditation or exercise class, followed by a dip in the sleek outdoor pool. Embracing Aro Hā’s hot-to-cold spa contrast therapy and paleo-inspired cooking is designed to help release the brown fat which surrounds the body’s vital organs. It’s one of the most effective, sustainable personal weight-loss projects, according to US health scientists. Pretty much everything on green-fingered chef and author Suzie Bohannon’s menu has been grown on-site using modern permaculture techniques. Detoxifying ‘Petal Perfect spring rolls’ dipped in spicy sesame and almond sauce, for instance, look and taste as fragrantly divine as their name suggests, all the while boosting the metabolism.


Travel Details

5-day, full-board retreats including transfers from £2,398pp.

Fly from London to Queenstown with two stops with Qantas from £992 return.

Enrich commuication skills Mii amo Spa, USA

If you were seeking a location to shoot a dramatic sci-fi film set on a far-away planet, you’d be pushed to find better than the out-of-this-world Boynton Canyon. Scorching, red, rocky heaps of desert speckled with Coconino National Forest pines are the setting for Mii amo’s adobe casitas. Here, crumbly hiking trails, stargazing classes and spiritual workshops inspired by Native American teachings are the key activities to take up in the search for self-discovery. A prescribed series of ‘journeys’ that are comprised from an extensive list of 100 options can help with relaxation, positive energy and inner healing. Approaching a period of change or a stressful new chapter in your life? Sessions to reflect and improve upon communication might be the ticket. Either way, a day spent kicking back in a whirlpool and steam room, followed by a tempting spread of health-conscious food, constitutes quality Mii time. Try the seared ahi tuna, which comes garnished with produce plucked from the chef ’s on-site garden.

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Travel Details

3-night, full-board journey including two treatments per day from £846pp.

Fly from London to Phoenix Sky Harbour with American Airlines from £715 return.

Reconnect with nature SwaSwara, India

Listen closely to your ‘inner voice’ (swaswara) and we’d wager it’s saying, ‘head for a cluster of thatched villas positioned above southern India’s coconut palm-strewn Om Beach’. Simple and relaxed, though not without luxuries such as sink-into beds and comfortable sundecks, while still being in-keeping with Karnataka’s Konkan-style houses, residents here take their showers in half-open-air bathrooms – which is always welcome after a day of jungle trekking, pottery lessons and yoga in 30C heat, though most activities at SwaSwara are delightfully non-strenuous. Skirt paddy fields and stroll past spice shrubs to arrive at the ocean-facing hut where guided meditation is designedto enthral, relax and remove you from the stresses of modern life. Cut off from the rat race, sitting still and gazing at an isolated bay is exactly what that voice from within ordered. The Arabian Sea is also the source of your supper: expect the likes of freshly netted red snapper grilled on the barbecue with light Indian spices and salads made with local greens.

Swaswara Ayurveda And Yoga On Om Beach Aerial View

Travel Details

5-night, full-board stay including two massages and transfers from £1,604pp.

Fly from London to Goa with one stop in Mumbai with Air India from £423 return.

Tackle adrenal burnout Kamalaya, Thailand

Koh Samui might be better known for its nightlife but sanctuary is easily-found in this slice of tropical paradise. Kamalaya, which champions homeopathy and Chinese medicine, houses a quiet cave that was once a Buddhist monks’ meditation site, where guests can go to find inner calm. Modern pilgrims can combat adrenal burnout, a symptom of face-paced living, with a Balance and Revitalise bundle. To start, a bio-impedance (cellular analysis) consultation will determine what’s best suited to you based on what you want to achieve from your stay. Kamalaya is particularly strong when it comes to fitness classes and metabolism-boosting meal plans. A typical day in sun-drenched heaven could consist of a dip in the pool followed by an Indian head massage and a meditation in the monks’ cave. Asian lamb at in-house restaurant Soma is one dish you’ll remember long after you’ve arrived home.

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Travel Details

7-night, full-board Basic Balance and Revitalise bundle including transfers from £3,155pp.

Fly from London to Koh Samui with one stop in Singapore with British Airways from £844 return.

Overcome insomnia Lefay Resort, Italy

There’s many a reason they claim to live la dolce vita in the Riviera dei Limoni in the relaxed north of Italy. There’s plenty of space to go around at Lefay Resorts’ secluded haven, set amid 11ha of rolling hills, rich in lavender, rosemary and citrus groves. Here, for anyone who is
looking for better sleep health, there’s a scientifically-backed Sweet Dreams package. Tumble into the land of nod after a therapeutic garden walk and an energy scrub and a foot reflexology treatment, which targets insomnia and educates guests in encouraging better sleep habits. Here, though, the right side of the bed is either when the soundtrack is Lake Garda’s lapping waters and the first sight to greet your eyes on waking is sprawling verdant countryside. Bagoss cheese ravioli drizzled with regionally-produced olive oil at Lefay’s Vital Gourmet restaurant is the final piece in the puzzle for enjoying peaceful dreams for many moons to come.

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Travel Details

5-night, full-board Sweet Dreams package including treatments and access to all Lefay Spa amenities from £1,908pp.

Fly from London direct to Verona with Jet2 from £100 return.

Be rejuvenated by the rainforest Nayara Springs, Costa Rica

Stumbling upon the luxurious, adults-only Nayara Springs by accident is not likely. The entrance portal is a swinging footbridge, 76m high and straddling the Arenal Volcano National Park’s verdant rainforest. However, soaring toucans, red-lored parrots and the 54 species of hummingbird you’ll call neighbours will spy the resort’s rectangular swimming pools and cone-shaped casita roofs parting the emerald vegetation without any problem. Each private abode has an alfresco pool heated by an underground-running hot spring, courtesy of the dormant Arenal Volcano. This is the place to submerge, after being wrapped in volcanic mud, coated in chocolate clay and massaged with Costa Rican coffee beans grown in the area’s fertile soils which claim to improve skin health and revive the senses. There’s also a state-of-the-art fitness centre and daily yoga sessions for guests. The one problem in five-star paradise? Which of Nayara’s six restaurants to dine at. Our pick is the healthy Asian-Peruvian fusion food at Nikkei cuisine resraurant Asia Luna.

Resort With Volcano In The Back

Travel Details

5-night stay from £1,850pp including breakfast and transfers.

Fly from London to Liberia with TUI from £444 return.

Master relaxation with yoga Yobaba Lounge, France

French Pyrenees that hosts retreats throughout the year. Each chamber twinkles with mystery in the form of bohemian throws and woven African furniture. The dark-beamed yoga shala tucked beneath the roof is where the magic happens. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not been in a room where an ‘ohm’ is uttered or stepped onto a mat before, owner and session leader Gertrud Keazor provides an introduction for aspiring yogis of any level. Cool off after class in the garden hammock or swim in a wild river. Turquoise Lac de Montbel and the medieval Chalabre are both nearby. Expect creative vegan cuisine: the blueberry and rose crumble cake looks almost too pretty to eat.


Travel Details

5-night, full-board relaxation retreats including transfers from £1,144pp.

Fly from London to Toulouse with easyJet from £100 return.

Increase motivation and energy Somatic Intelligence, Morocca

Weave in and out of the slim pathways that spill from Jemaa el-Fna square and you’ll find an inviting Moroccan riad, nestled beside a school and a bread oven, where perspective- altering retreat The Power of Enjoyment is setting up shop. It focuses on the release of happy-hormone endorphins and relaxation with guided meditation sessions, working on the premise that connecting to our inner rhythm of enjoyment is about re-teaching our body how to tune to the right channel, so we can take pleasure from the simplest of things. Social entrepreneur Chen Lizra’s seven-day line-up of activities is designed to increase motivation and boost depleted energy reserves, while group exercises focus on finding happiness in the everyday. Drop in on a hammam for an invigorating scrub and, as you’re based so close to Marrakech’s Medina, savour
a feast of the souk’s best local food each night.

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Travel Details

6-night, half-board The Power of Enjoyment programme from £1,441pp.

Fly from London to Marrakech with Air Arabia from £230 return.

Find inner calm through the ocean Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

Accessible only by seaplane, a palpable sense of excitement stirs while jetting north-east of the Anambas Archipelago’s blue lagoons and bobbing slithers of land – before you
touch down on Bawah, one of Indonesia’s most beautiful tropical islands. A series of water-themed activities are designed to help guests relax and start to discover inner calm: paddleboarding, glass-bottomed kayaking and scuba diving keep you close to the sea, where the marine life is the focus of this relaxing retreat. Holistic fitness is also on hand, from some of the best tutors in the business. There are hidden sea caves and six colour-popping islands to explore when marooned in equator-edging tropics, as well as turtles and black-tipped reef sharks to look out for. But, in case that sounds like too much exertion, how about a picnic below a shady palm? Or a canopy-level cocktail, before venturing down to the Treetops restaurant for its Thai-style beef salad.

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Travel Details

3-night, full-board stay including transfers from £4,044pp.

Fly from London to Changi with one stop in Dubai with Emirates from £434 return.

Manage the stress the ayurvedic way Ananda Retreat, India

The foothills of North India’s Himalayas are one of the most serene places on the planet. Founder Ashok Khanna didn’t simply build Ananda anywhere. He planted it on a 45ha former Maharaja’s palace estate. Now in full bloom, the retreat offers a luxurious Stress Management Programme. Even before your first Pranayama breathing class or Ayurvedic treatment (ancient healing techniques from India), the tranquil Sal forests that surround Ananda afford complete calmness. And, after some grounding aromatherapy using local flora and reiki in expert hands, stress will immediately melt away. Organic Ayurvedic cuisine is prescribed bespoke to your body type, and is served on a treetop deck, overlooking the valleys of the Ganges. The emphasis is on seasonal, local foods: think wholegrains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and absolutely no artificial chemicals or preservatives.

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Travel Details

7-night, full-board Stress Management Programme including transfers from £684pp.

Fly from London to Dehradun with one stop in Delhi with Jet Airways from £518 return.

Indulge body and soul Belmond La Residence Phou Vao, Laos

The best relaxing breaks are a feast for two things: the taste buds and the soul. Indulge in traditional Laotian cooking and slumber between the curls of the Mekong River to satisfy your two hungriest senses. Boasting open-air treatment facilities and an infinity pool with views of Laos’s misty Unesco World Heritage mountain vista, Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao is an award-winning herbal wellness spa whose treatments use no chemicals. A tour of nearby Luang Prabang’s top restaurants by tuk-tuk is part of the Taste of Laos package, which also includes a mystery dining experience, a cooking class with market tour and lunch, and bespoke turn-down gifts in your room. Closer to base, the spa’s on-site chefs will be happy to prepare a picnic for you to enjoy at the spooling azure waters of the beautiful Tad Sae Falls.

Suite Room With Mountain View

Travel Details

3-night Taste of Laos stay including transfers, most meals and cooking class from £517pp.

Fly from London to Luang Prabang with one stop in Hanoi with Vietnam Airlines from £959 return.

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