Spa and wellness retreats for every personality type

Oct 31 2018 by
Categories : Health & Fitness

Sound therapy. Shamans. Spiritual awakenings. And…hardcore squat workouts. These aren’t your average spa and fitness retreats. 

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    © Ken Hayden

    CHECK IN to the Sense spa at the Rosewood Bermuda. This newly renovated ultra-luxe hotel is located on the largest private beach on the island and feels like a stately home complete with a croquet lawn and tennis courts. Spa treatments all integrate elements of the local environment and are designed to rejuvenate—consider it a sanctuary away from the stress of deciding which of the four hotel pools you should float in that day. 

    WE LOVED Match Me If You Can Botanical Therapy. This multi-tiered restorative and healing body treatment aims to leave you feeling invigorated. How so? By using a combination of hydrotherapy, massage, exfoliation and thalassotherapy, including a mineral-rich mud wrap containing the local match-me-if-you-can plant, known for its antioxidant properties. The highlight is the “tropical rain splash therapy”—or, as we like to call it, the “waterproof mascara is mandatory” treatment—which takes place in the spa’s opulent hydrotherapy shower. Eighteen jets are customized by the therapist to blast different zones of your body with varying pressure and temperature in order to stimulate circulation, which leaves you with a heightened sense of well-being. A gentle massage finishes the two-hour experience.

    POST-TREATMENT Take a leisurely stroll over to the Beach Club, an alfresco seafood restaurant overlooking the pink-sand beach, or take up residence on a sun lounger and have the resto send over some Bermuda fritters and a glass of rosé. You’ve earned it. 

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    © Rupert Peace

    VISIT The One&Only Palmilla, a verdant oasis nestled in the desert of Los Cabos, Mexico. This celeb go-to (Jennifer Aniston is a frequent visitor) feels like a high-end secret garden, especially the One&Only spa, an indoor/outdoor labyrinth with private cabanas, plunge pools and more around every leafy corner.

    WE TRIED The temazcal body treatment. “Temazcal” means “house of heat” in ancient Aztec, so that should give you a good idea of what goes down during the two-hour treatment, which is based on an indigenous spiritual-cleansing ritual. A shaman from the local Mayo tribe presides over the ceremony, which takes place inside a ceramic dome heated by hot volcanic stones. The space gets hotter and hotter as he or she sprinkles the stones with medicinal herbal water while guiding guests (a maximum of four) through healing affirmations and the burning of negative energy. 

    RESULTS We left feeling as pliant as a Gumby doll and surprisingly lighthearted—as if we’d had a breakthrough in therapy (if our sessions had taken place in a steam room, that is). Even if you’re not into the spiritual side of the experience, your skin will be dewy and your body less puffy.

    POST-TREATMENT There’s a reason Jacques Cousteau called this cape the world’s aquarium. See it first-hand, champagne in hand, on one of the resort’s opulent sailboats, which will take you around Cabo San Lucas Bay. 

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    © Nick Gerber

    BOOK The G. Sport Sessions by Goop and Westin hotels, a pop-up Tracy Anderson Method workout taught by Anderson herself and followed by an intimate Q&A with Gwyneth Paltrow’s go-to trainer. The luxury lifestyle and hotel brands teamed up for two of these workout pop-ups—in Chicago and Austin—last summer, and if Goop’s global domination continues, there’s definitely more where that came from.

    WHAT GOES DOWN Anyone who has tried “the method” knows that the moves look deceptively easy—until you’re on your 50th round of a rotating-pushup and lunge combo, dripping sweat (or maybe tears?) onto your mat. Doing it alongside the trainer and hearing her explain why she never talks during a workout (because she wants you to connect with your body) and why she thinks you should eat chocolate every day (because life) is super-empowering.

    IF YOU HAVE TIME Make a weekend of it. If you stay at the Westin, your room will come packed with GP-approved extras, including a welcome bouquet, candles and products from Goop’s beauty line. And if your legs aren’t too sore after all the leg lifts, be sure to go for a run. Through its Run Westin program, the hotel allows guests to rent New Balance running gear, download running routes and, at some locations, even train with other joggers.

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    © Courtesy Misfitstudio

    TRY Misfitstudio’s upcoming retreats in Marrakesh and Mexico. The Toronto-based studio has developed a cult following as much for its teachers, a crew of tattooed goddesses with seriously toned glutes, as for its classes, which are a unique blend of yoga, Pilates and dance that somehow manages to be nothing and everything in between. And now they’re taking that energy and their workouts on the road.

    THE ITINERARY Think daily intention setting, family-style health feasts and group explorations of the best sights each location has to offer—from waterfall hikes and surf lessons to local-market visits. The retreats are also infused with a down-to-earth spirituality that founder Amber Joliat refers to as “untangling.” “We hope that people leave feeling that having the experience of moving in a unique location has shifted something inside them,” she says.

    EDITORS’ TIP If you can’t make it to a retreat or a class IRL, you can stream workouts online for about the price of a bottle of Malbec per month. 

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    CHECK IN To the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The upscale-but-not-stuffy hotel chain is catering to a new generation of wellness-focused travellers by upping its spa game without sacrificing its playful ambience. (To wit: You can still get electric guitars delivered to your oceanfront suite.) 

    MUST-TRY TREATMENT The Synchronicity massage at the Rock Spa. The Rhythm & Motion spa treatments here incorporate music, but for this one, guests have their pick of three playlists. (We recommend the Memory Lane, touted as “more Zeppelin than Zen.”) Speakers above and below the massage table transmit vibrations through your body while you are massaged in tandem with the music. Known as vibroacoustic therapy, it’s said to reduce stress and anxiety and even help with insomnia, according to spa manager Celina Cossio. (Does falling asleep on the table count?) 

    POST-SPA Hit the road. The hotel is located in bustling Puerto Vallarta. Fun, absolutely, but also very touristy. If you have time, hire a cab to take you to the small surf town of Sayulita, about a 45-minute drive away. 

Categories: Health & Fitness