These retreats are going above and beyond to cater to your health needs
From future-facing longevity programmes to mindset-shifting menopause retreats, these wellness escapes are worth travelling the world for
There are more reasons than ever to seek out wellness while we travel, especially when some of the world’s most ravishing resorts have designed trailblazing programmes for those laser-focused on their health. From a cutting-edge sleep programme to a soothing cancer recovery outpost, we’ve rounded up five of the most life-enhancing health hiatus holidays to book this year.
The RoseBar Longevity programme at Six Senses Ibiza
Find the elixir of life in
With the global longevity industry forecast to exceed $44.2bn by 2030, our obsession with living forever seems to have no bounds. And while Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos pump millions into age-defying biotech companies, non-billionaires can get a piece of the ‘long-life’ pie thanks to Six Senses Ibiza’s RoseBar programme, which uses a blend of science-backed and holistic treatments designed to prolong the human lifespan. The programme, drawn up by functional medicine expert Dr Mark Hyman (an advisor to the White House and US Surgeon General), kicks off with a battery of tests that look at everything from bloodwork and biomarkers to nutritional intake, which are then used to draw up a personalised lifestyle plan. IV infusions are on the menu, as well as biohacking treatments such as cryotherapy, ice baths, regenerative ozone therapy (which supercharges cellular function by raising oxygen levels in the body), alongside red-light therapy to boost collagen in skin, and an infrared sauna, designed to ease inflammation and calm the nervous system.
Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical health, and RoseBar’s energy-healing treatments aim to help guests overcome emotional obstacles that might show up in the body. A combination of somatic body work, energy clearing, guided meditation and breathwork are used in sessions, underpinned by RoseBar’s belief that an integrated approach to bodily and spiritual wellbeing are the key pillars upon which a long and happy life are based.
Restore and Revitalise Retreat at Puissentut, Gascony
Take off to
Set in the rolling Gascon countryside in southwestern France, Puissentut’s boutique retreat is a haven for anyone living with, or recovering from, cancer. The week-long retreat is designed to ‘treat the person, not the cancer’, combining talks on herbalism and nutrition, alongside mental and physical rehabilitation through yoga, walks in nature and meditation. It’s a serene spot in which to convalesce – the worn, stone walls of the centuries-old farmhouse cool in the summer heat, the surrounding woodland alive with butterflies and wildflowers. Touch-based treatments are integral here, with craniosacral massage, shiatsu, reiki and tui-na on offer, as well as scar rehabilitation massage, where almond or lavender oil is kneaded into skin using circular movements to soften scar tissue.
“Touch is important to help people come back into contact with their bodies,” says retreat director Angela Wood. “Often people become afraid of their bodies because they’re frightened of the cancer and the feeling of being out of control.” Yoga teachers are trained to work with guests living with cancer, helping to rebuild confidence and suggest poses for those whose bodies have been changed by surgery. Classes aren’t just about physical restoration, though, and neither are the treatments, says Wood. “They provide a moment for people to let go of emotions that have been held back, and to find acceptance with and honour their bodies and all that they’ve been through.”
Sleep Wellness Programme at Jumeirah Al Qasr, Dubai
Sleep deeply in
Have trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. A 2022 Direct Line study revealed that levels of insomnia in the UK have rocketed from 20 to 30 per cent post-pandemic, and that more than seven million Brits rely on medication to get some shuteye. The Sleep Therapy retreat at the unquestionably palatial Jumeirah Al Qasr puts on a spread of activities aimed at soothing agitated minds, shifting attitudes and tweaking habits that might hamper the body’s ability to rest, integrating nutritional workshops, daily yoga, sound healing and breathwork.
Hypnotherapy is a key tenet of the retreat, during which guests are guided back to a time when they last experienced deep, truly restful sleep. When they recall the feeling, spa director Ayuko Suzuki says guests become instantly more receptive to techniques that will get them that sweet, sweet REM, and the sessions have yielded impressive results. Lucia light therapy is also part of the programme, offering a fast-track solution to deep meditation through flickering LED light which, when passed through closed eyelids, fosters kaleidoscopic dreamscapes and a profound state of relaxation that can take years of meditative practice to achieve. Diet is given a deep dive, too, with recommendations given on when to eat for optimal sleep and, of course, what to eat, from melatonin-rich cherries and walnuts to vitamin D-saturated cod liver.
Menopause Retreat at Preidlhof Luxury DolceVita Resort, South Tyrol
Take off to
Wellness is very much Preidlhof’s raison d’être, sporting a spa with ten speciality pools (including a rooftop infinity pool and a brine Jacuzzi), an immersive six-floor ‘sauna tower’ with salt rooms and Turkish baths and, of course, soul-soothing views of the conifer-swathed Dolomites. But transformational retreats are this resort’s real USP. These include a menopause programme designed by Patrizia Bortolin, Preidlhof’s wellness director, who discovered a host of relief-giving techniques during a particularly difficult perimenopause.
Set across seven days, the retreat takes an à la carte approach to treatment, offering everything from sleep analysis sessions and water massage to sound therapy and heart rate variability workshops, which measure a guest’s biological age and give lifestyle optimisations to improve it. The 80-minute Glowing Flow session is a cornerstone of the programme: revered trauma healer Stefano Battaglia observes guests, explores their relationship with their bodies, and uses bodywork to work through blocked emotions manifesting as physical conditions. Specialist classes include laughter yoga and flow rope, an activity not dissimilar to poi spinning, which is supposed to help guests shed inhibitions and move more fluidly. Bortolin says the retreat’s aim is to help women form a deeper connection with their bodies, but also to adjust their mindset during this transitional time: “We want to help guests let go of long-held burdens, making room for more joy and self-confidence. With this, sleep quality improves and energy becomes balanced, forging a renewed enthusiasm for this new phase of life.”
Joy therapy at The Conscious Living Retreat, Ericeira
Find yourself in
If you’ve ever felt like something’s got to give but you’re not sure what, then this is the place for you. A 45-minute drive from Lisbon in the surfing idyll of Ericeira, The Conscious Living Retreat is aimed at people seeking to transform their lives, and bases its programme on the idea that greater self-understanding will lead to a more joyful existence. The jagged landscape and wild Atlantic views will certainly jolt a temporary shift in mindset, but the goal here is more permanent, where a mix of daily yoga, surf lessons, breathwork and massage, plus neuro-linguistic programming and emotional intelligence workshops, are designed to help guests self-motivate and trigger the change they need.
Yoga is the backbone of the retreat, and each day begins with two hours of yoga, Pranayama breathwork and meditation. Director Karol De Souza has been hosting these retreats since 2017, working off the belief that a disciplined practice can bring about heightened emotional intelligence thanks to the regulating effect of breathwork and certain postures on the nervous system. The practice of Swadhyaya, or ‘study of the self’, is nurtured in sessions here, honing skills in concentration, the ability to remain stable in trying times and the art of releasing negative emotions so that guests can achieve a positive, growth mindset that will ultimately foster whatever it is that brings them joy.