With a world overheated by a pandemic, political and racial strife, and economic uncertainty, that folks are looking for a getaway that also strengthens mind, body, and soul is not surprising.
Wellness tourism is hotter than ever. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the industry is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion in 2025, up from $720 billion in 2019. There were more than 600,000 wellness trips made internationally and domestically in 2020.
Many hotels and resorts implemented new ones or significantly enhanced their wellness offerings. That’s good news for those feeling a little weary and in need of pampering, wanting to shed those pandemic pounds, or just looking to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.
Whatever your wellness motivation, here are some of the best options at wellness hotels worldwide.
1. Weight Loss And Wellness Programs
Hilton Head Health, Hilton Head, South Carolina
You know it’s going to be a great day when it starts with a beach walk. That’s how I began each of my four days at this all-inclusive fitness/wellness haven. There’s something about the sun shining, the sound of waves splashing, and seeing dogs having the time of their lives running around that shifts you from wherever you are straight to gratitude. Life is good.
H3, as it’s called, has weight loss and wellness programs. My choice was the LivingWell program. I am not athletic and am inconsistent with exercising. I was looking to reset and recommit to eating healthier and being serious about working out. No more excuses. The list of classes is impressive. There’s not much you can’t do here. Each one challenged me in some way, be it a cardio and strength circuit in the pool, a Latin dance class, meditation, stretching, cardio and strength ultra circuit, treading, hula hoop dance, and more, as well as lectures on goal setting and staying on track.
I liked working my body and my mind. I had to face some truths about myself. That’s the first step in moving forward. But what I found most surprising at H3 is the food. Healthy doesn’t mean bland. Guite the contrary. You’ll be talking about the avocado toast, Thai peanut slaw, buffalo roasted cauliflower, shrimp flatbread, sushi bowls, and quesadillas.
Pro Tip: Don’t expect anything supersized. You’ll get a new appreciation for just enough.
The Chef’s Table dinner was beyond fab with smoked corn chowder with lobster, roasted zucchini boats, tenderloin filet with mushroom sauce, risotto with spinach, grilled asparagus, and vanilla honey cheesecake for a total of 650 calories. Wow indeed.
This was my first time at a place like this. There’s a certain intimacy. There aren’t hundreds of people around and everybody has an instant connection. We all want to do better.
The bonding that happens when people are vulnerable and open to change is something special. Don’t be surprised when someone introduces themselves and asks to join you at your table in True, the dining room. A few days into your trip you’ll have a handful of new friends. Most people I met were repeaters. I can see why you wouldn’t do this just once. It’s a safe place to grow. People have flocked here for more than 40 years from all over the U.S. and abroad.
H3 is part pep rally, part confessional, and it feels good to treat your body right. My journey ended with a massage at the infamous Indigo Spa. It was the perfect ending, leaving me with the peace that comes from knowing you’re doing your best to be your best.
2. In-Room Equipment (Including Exercise Bikes!)
EVEN Hotel, Miami
Here, there are no excuses. You don’t even have to go to the state-of-the-art Athletic Studio on property or swim laps in the outdoor pool to honor your commitment to work out. As soon as you walk through the door of your room, you’re reminded of what you need to do. There’s an exercise bike. It doesn’t stop there. Your room has a “training zone” dedicated to working out, complete with workout kit, stability ball, yoga mat, resistance straps, and more.
Looking for some inspiration? Turn on your TV. Exercise programming is the first thing that pops up and is available on many channels. Throughout the hotel, wellness is emphasized, as evidenced by artsy signs that say, “Stay hydrated. And stay well.” and “Take the stairs. Your heart will thank you.”
The hotel restaurant is called Cork&Kale, and it’s full of healthy, tasty foods, like hummus and veggie appetizers, smoothies, and baked chicken and fish. Eat the Beyond C&K burger, a plant-based Beyond Meat burger on a brioche bun with roasted garlic aioli, spinach, roasted tomatoes, and Swiss cheese with sweet potato fries, and you may never want a beef burger again. I haven’t.
Sleep is important, too. EVEN has special linen that creates a cooling effect to promote a deeper sleep. I, the insomniac, actually slept pretty darn good. EVEN Hotels are ideal for the business traveler who spends a lot of time on the road as well as those who don’t want to lose momentum with their routine regime while on vacation.
3. Expert Sleep Support
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
It seems like the last two years everyone has been complaining about not sleeping well. In case the views of the Pacific and the mountains aren’t enough, Post Ranch partnered with sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus to create a program to help you get the Zs you need. The experience includes a special sleep serenity dinner, treatments from the sleep spa menu — sound journey meditation, crystal and gemstone healing, herbal nature walk, aromatherapy alchemy, and more. The Sweet Dreams gift bag has items like guava leaf tea, a Manta sleep mask, and an on-demand video series with Breus. Good night, sleep tight.
4. Hiking + Mindfulness
Mountain Trek, Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia
Hike your way to wellness. Be ready to work hard, get some TLC, and feel the results. Fitness, personalized health, and mindfulness activities are the key to your weeklong program. Spend 3+ hours learning to control your breath and steps and to feel empowered.
There are daily hikes through the mountains. Sunrise yoga starts the day. The all-inclusive experience is individualized by the gourmet chef, nutritionist, yoga instructor, naturopathic doctor, and kinesiologist. Here it’s all about hiking, but also take advantage of detox treatments, barefoot walking meditation classes, infrared saunas, fitness and nutrition classes, and lectures on topics like stress management and personal willpower. A new addition is the forest bathing practitioner who leads walks in the surrounding forest.
5. Ozone, Stem, And Exosomes Therapies
Four Seasons Resort, Maui At Wailea, Hawaii
Just being in Hawaii is therapeutic. But the 5-star, 5-diamond Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is elevating the wellness experience for its guests. It’s partnering with Next/Health to offer ozone, stem, and exosomes therapies. These treatments add to the menu that includes a selection of vitamin shots, detox IVs that cleanse and reboot your system, IV therapy drips that contain hydrating fluids, electrolytes and multivitamins, and biomarker wellness testing, among others.
Further enhance your well-being with acupuncture, astrological reading, guided meditation, or interactive tapping sessions. In the mood for a massage? Indulge yourself in an open-air thatched treatment hut next to the ocean with a view of Wailea Beach.
6. Nature-Inspired Treatments
Hacienda AltaGracia, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica
At Hacienda AltaGracia, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, you’re in for treatments like Maderoterapia, a holistic massage technique using wooden tools to balance energy and renew the lymphatic system, and Hierbas y Flores, a nature-inspired treatment using freshly picked native herbs, flowers, and deep massage to heal and cleanse the body.
Immersive wellness experiences include an herbal River Bath alongside the Calientillo River and forest-bathing followed by an integrative crystal healing session.
Reconnect through teacher-led meditations, forest bathing, and botanical yoga, which involves an affirmation practice accompanied by an aromatic sensory journey. Enjoy Reiki, craniosacral therapy, polarity energy balancing, sound therapy, and more. If you’re looking to bust a sweat, there is Ficus tree climbing, hiking to nearby Mina Escondida Waterfall for a picnic, and mountain biking. If you want to move at a slower pace, there’s bird watching and just chilling in a high canopy tree hammock, plus botanical yoga classes.
7. Themed Wellness Retreats
Meliá Punta Cana Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This 5-star, adults-only, all-inclusive resort has supercharged its Wellbeing 360 Experience with daily programming, redesigned social spaces, and new culinary offerings. What can you expect? Monthly themed wellness retreats like an immersive water theme, where all fitness activities will take place surrounded by water.
The new wellness experience includes six new wellness experts who will guide guests on a journey of relaxation through activities including, mud cleansing, holistic therapy, sound healing, ayurvedic cooking, juicing detox programs, Taino rituals, and active fitness classes.
These activities are a bonus to the resort’s menu that includes yoga, meditation, bike tours, garden workshops, and an obstacle course. The resort is also enhancing its culinary experiences with superfood workshops and revamped menus curated by local nutritionists. Inquire about The Level Wellness Suites by Stay Well for a deeper wellness experience.
8. Tech-Augmented Fitness Evaluations
Cal-A-Vie Health Spa, Vista, California
The vibe here is California fitness meets European spa philosophies. Start your day with a sunrise hike on one of 10 miles of private trails. Take your pick of more than 160 fitness classes, everything from no joke hard core HIIT classes to restorative yoga, water classes, pickleball, tennis, golf, mind-body awareness programs, lectures, and more.
One plus at Cal-a-Vie is the technology: BOD POD, Metabolic Rate Testing, VO2 Fitness Assessment and 3D Body Scan, and others that provide comprehensive evaluations of guests’ overall fitness.
9. Desert Climes
Boulders Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona
What is it about the desert that does something for your soul? The Sonoran desert is just part of what makes the Boulders special. The ancient people who inhabited the sacred land that the resort is on considered the surrounding rock formations, estimated to be 12 million years old, to be spiritual. The 33,000 square-foot Spa at the Boulders honors that belief with desert-inspired elements combined with Native American traditions.
There are complimentary fitness classes daily, a fitness center, a movement center, and yoga and Pilates studios. Feeling adventurous? Rock Climbing Clinics, where you can climb the 90-foot “face” of the crystalline granite and metamorphic rock, estimated to be about twelve million years, old are available. Hike trails through Native American ruins, massive buttes, and twisting canyons. Rejuvenate yourself in meditation areas like a labyrinth, organic garden, and Tipi.
10. Exclusive Guerlain Consultations
Cheval Blanc St. Barth, Isle De France, St. Barth
This ultra-luxe “palace” is rolling out new wellness programming with exclusive Barre sessions, guided nature hikes around beautiful St. Barth’s, sunrise yoga, and sound healing experiences. You’ll feel better, too, at Cheval Blanc Spa, the only spa in the Caribbean to offer exclusive treatments by Guerlain, and where guests can have personalized consultations with a Guerlain Beauty Expert before enjoying a customized treatment set among the tropical gardens.