Healing Hotels of the World shares with SpaChina readers six wellness resorts for the utmost in healing experiences
Today, more than ever before, people feel the need of being healed both physically and mentally. Close your eyes and imagine being surrounded by beautiful mountains and trees, the sea or a tropical jungle. Imagine breathing in the pure air, enjoying the sounds of nature and feeling how the tension disappears and your body and mind start to relax. The following six destinations boast not only beautiful scenery, but also extensive programs and retreats for wellbeing. Moreover, they are known as having particular beneficial energy.
The Philippines – A pearl on the West Pacific
Over 7,000 islands are scattered on the azure water of Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia, forming the wondrous country of The Philippines.
Blessed by white beach, blue water and warm sunshine, the White Beach of Boracay Island has been awarded by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 beautiful beaches in the world. The 4-kilometer beach obviously gets its name from its distinctively pure white sands. The fine sands give feet a cool feeling even on a hot summer afternoon.
The Philippines feature a plenty of world class diving spots, among which is Eagle Point at Batangas known for beautiful coral and many dolphins, sharks and sea turtles. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions across the country and very near to Manila, Batangas draws many to come for its stunning lake and mountain views and tranquil atmosphere. It is also home to The Farm at San Benito, Philippines.
The Farm at San Benito, Philippines
Extending over 48 hectares, The Farm at San Benito is a medical healing resort immersed in tropical nature, with towering mountains in the distance and subtle energy flowing in the pure air. The resort was built on the site of a former coconut and coffee plantation known to have various energy wells – locations with high healing frequencies. On one of these spots sits the Master Villa, radiating such a beautiful energy that guests, including many spiritual healers from around the world, frequently gravitate toward it when wandering the 48-hectare estate. You can find another energy spot near The Farm’s mango tree, which is said to be 300 years old. Guests report of how spending time under the ancient tree envelopes them in a space of serenity, helping them to reconnect with themselves.
Traditional Philippine styled suites and villas all feature private gardens and swimming pools. Two restaurants are on site to offer plant-based cuisine and Mediterranean flavors. There are comprehensive, science-based and medically supervised health optimization programs and life-changing retreats based on five healing components: holistic integrative medical services; nurturing spa treatments and hydrotherapy water wellness; plant-based vegan cuisine; mindful movement and functional fitness; as well as a healing environment and heartfelt service. The expert staff of licensed medical professionals, nutritionists, living food experts, spa therapists, fitness coaches, and yoga teachers will devise an all-inclusive personalized program from their truly enormous range of therapies and facilities to help guests combat the stresses and disorders of modern life.
Healing programs range from Holistic Wellness, Detox Cleanse, Weight Management, to Immune Modulation, Pain Management, Mental Health as well as Cellular Detoxification, Male and Female Revitalization, Stress Reduction and etc. Globally advanced therapies and treatments are available including brain biofeedback, Bio Med scan, ozone therapies, psycho-emotional clearing/psychotherapy, IV Therapy, pain relief therapies, live blood & body composition analysis, heavy metal testing, intravascular laser therapy and more.
In the meantime, there is an extensive range of spa treatments to cleanse, detox and nourish. Three swimming pools, a yoga sala and meditation pavilions are also available for wellness alternatives.
The Hamptons – A pastoral in the New York State
When summer comes, New Yorkers pack their luggage and go for a weekend in the Hamptons, including the top 0.001% people of the United States who buy extremely expensive properties there and arrive by private jets. However, for most ordinary people, Hampton Jitney is the best choice, and only a 2 hours’ drive away.
The Hamptons is a collection of coastal towns on the east of Long Island. Though being a part of the vibrant New York State, Hamptons shows a different scene from other places. It conveys a quite idyllic and peaceful ambience. Colorful flowers and well-mowed lawns decorate the streets. Beautiful beaches, lovely windmills and towns sparkling miraculous lights attract many famous painters who come seeking for inspiration.
Montauk Highway runs through the whole area with different towns sitting nearby. The town Montauk is a place for trendy young people offering extensive surfing, music and nightlife activities. Towns like Sag Harbor, Water Mill, and Bridgehampton feature dozens of museums, antique stores and quiet harbors and therefore appeal more to family travelers. Don’t miss East Hampton which is awarded as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in America” and “World’s Top 10 Beach Towns”. Also, many good restaurants in the village are worth a try.
Shou Sugi Ban House
Located at Water Mill, The Hamptons, Shou Sugi Ban House lies between the ocean with long beaches, open skies and sprawling farms, and was designed to give guests the opportunity to embark on a journey of inner and outer exploration, learning and transformation. The goal of the founder was to create an environment and programming, based on both ancient rituals and state-of-the-art healing practices, which would bring people back to a simple appreciation for their natural surroundings.
The resort is a magnificent example of minimalist design, with clean lines, wabi-sabi influences and natural accents. There are just 13 guest studios, with private gardens, pool views, and huge bathtubs for a nurturing environment. Communal spaces promote human connection through shared classes and experiences as well as shared meals in the communal dining room. Both indoors and out, there are a series of calming, nurturing spaces designed to promote reflection. From the saltwater outdoor pool to the generous gardens, from morning walks on the beach to evenings around a fire circle under the stars, every aspect fosters quiet contemplation, rejuvenation and a connection with the natural world.
The signature overnight retreats offer an all-inclusive program, curated and led by resident experts. Programs offer massage and body work, spa and facial treatments, and healing arts, combined with yoga, walking meditation, exercise classes, nutrition and more, all grounded in the healing power of nature. Innovative spa experiences can be found here such as sound baths with over thirty instruments, shamanic healings, vibroacoustic healing and quantum bio-feedback sessions, along with aromatherapy, crystal healing, reiki, shinrin-yoku, shiatsu, watsu therapy, craniosacral therapy; reflexology and Thai massage.
India – A land of spirituality at the foot of the Himalayas
From the snow-capped Himalayan mountains in the north to the tropical beaches in the south, diverse scenery breeds this land of spatiality, and offers numerous outdoor activities from surfing, hiking to meditating in the forest.
Ayurveda and yoga originate from India with over 5,000 years of history. They are among the most ancient wellness philosophies and are part and parcel of today’s holistic health solutions. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “the science of life”, aiming to restore the balance and harmony of body and heart, and the unity of oneself with nature with the gifts of nature and power of spirituality. It focuses on the prevention of diseases instead of curing afterwards, covering elements like wholesome food, breath control, meditation, herbs and yoga.
Built alongside the Ganges River at the foot of the Himalayas, Rishikesh in Uttarakhand is an ancient spiritual city known as the yoga capital of the world. Many retreats and centers have been constructed at the area to offer mindfulness and spiritual experience such as chanting, meditation and Ayuverdic treatments. When night falls, local monks and travelers alike will join the riverside ceremonies. In addition to traditional yoga or Ayuverdia programs, you will have the chance to learn sitar and tabla, or try laughter therapy. It’s also an ideal destination for rafting and hiking.
Ananda in the Himalayas
Housed in a maharajah’s palace, the unmistakable allure of Ananda in the Himalayas is its spiritual energy steeped in the mystical background of ancient India. Here, beautiful gardens give way to breathtaking views of the mountains, the sacred Ganges River and Rishikesh. As you travel from Rishikesh to Ananda, the air becomes more serene, a sense of tranquility prevails and you feel a noticeable energy shift, perhaps a remnant from all the ancient saints and yogis who have meditated in these hills for millennia.
Boasting a profoundly beautiful and spiritual location, Ananda combines traditional Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta with international wellbeing experiences, fitness and healthy organic cuisine to restore balance and harmonize energy.
An expansive spa spread across 25,000 sq. ft. with its 24 treatment rooms offering over 80 treatments and Ayurvedic cuisine. A series of 5 nights – 21 nights programs can be personalized according to individual’s health goals and needs.
At Ananda, Ayurveda forms an intrinsic part of the wellness regime for guests to heal, cleanse, relax and revitalize. Over 18 authentic Ayurvedic treatments are available, each addressing a specific aspect of mental, and physical well-being. For example, delivered by two experienced Ayurveda therapists using sesame oil, Abhyanga is a traditional synchronized full-body massage that improves physical consistency, helps to liquefy toxins and induces relaxation, whilst normalizing blood pressure and eliminating impurities. In the Sirodhara treatment, lukewarm herbal oil is poured in an even stream onto the forehead to pacify and revitalize the mind and the body. It improves memory, normalizes sleep patterns and addresses other neurological disorders. Udwarthana is a deep, dry massage using herbal powders which stimulate the hair follicles, assisting to break down the body’s excess subcutaneous fat. This massage aims to address obesity and mobilizes toxins. Furthermore, there is a complete Ayurvedic Panchakarma experience that lasts for 21 nights and follows 3 distinct stages, offering the most natural and complete cleanse.
Guided by masters, guests can try different forms of meditations including Pratyahara Meditation, Dharana Meditation and Dhyana Meditation. For stress management, aromatherapy, Tibetian Ku Nye massages, Reiki and other comprehensive healing experiences are on offer that result in the balance of mind, body and soul. Spa treatments ranges from traditional massages to therapies that address muscles and cardiovascular functions, as well as modern anti-aging and beauty programs.
Apart from all the amazing treatments, Vedanta talks are carried out every day where guests have private talks with Vedanta masters.
Costa Rica – A world of adventure
Enjoy a zip line tour across the verdant treetops, encounter rare animals in the misty rainforest, ride the waves in the Caribbean Sea and climb to the top of the ancient mountains. No wonder Costa Rica is a land for global adventurers.
This small country is distinct from other neighbors in the Central America. It has a more stable and prosperous history and quite good education, medical and tourism resources. It is also a witness to many global trends such as the farm-to-table concept and sustainable tourism.
Rafting is a popular activity in Costa Rica. There are many rivers offering exciting rafting experiences such as Pacuare, Reventazón, Sarapiquí, Tenorio. At some stable river reaches, you can leave the raft and explore the lush forest along the way. Arenal Volcano is the top hiking destination in the country. Bathed in sunlight or at dusk, the cone-styled mountain is breathtakingly beautiful. There are different hiking paths to choose from and at the feet of the mountain are many thermal water pools. Some of the pools are free of charge for bathing. Then, the south coast of the Caribbean Sea is dotted with vast beaches. Just enjoy the sunshine and sea breezes in a hammock, or go to visit the local villages nearby.
The Retreat Costa Rica
Atenas is a charming village in Costa Rica. It was once a major transportation junction via which the locally-produced coffee beans were transported out for export. National Geographic praises it as a place that enjoys the most pleasant climate in the world. Truly, many people say you can feel spring in the air. On a crystal quartz mountain at Atenas dwells The Retreat Costa Rica, a transformative healing center overlooking lush mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The Retreat inspires healthy living through its daily schedule. Every morning begins with yoga flow followed by guided nature walks discovering the 60 acres of mountains and valleys surrounding this peaceful escape. Afternoons include restorative yoga before the bocas (tapas) served at sunset.
The Retreat’s holistic approach to healing is based on a philosophy of clean living through healthy eating. With food as the foundation of the wellness programs, the cooking classes, visits to organic farms, markets and artisans are all integral parts of the guest experience.
Outside of The Retreat, there are also ample opportunities to enjoy a host of nature-based activities including hiking, bird watching, surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing.
The Vida Mia Healing Center and Spa focuses on the metaphysical powers of the crystal quartz mountain in which it is nestled. The healing treatments, such as crystal-infused therapies, volcanic clay baths, forest bathing, farm to spa rituals as well as modern aesthetic treatments, revolve around all healing modalities that can be found in the surrounding nature. Vida Mia is the only Ayurveda healing center in Costa Rica.
The Italian Dolomites – A wonder amidst the Alps
The South Tyrol region in northeast Italy is famous for the Dolomites, a range of over 30 mountains covered by the light pink dolomites. After eons of weathering, the mountains show a striking façade. When the sun rises and sets every day, the mountain tops reflect magnificent red light. Ancient and tranquil villages are hidden in the depths of the valley where the villagers still speak Ladin (an ancient language that is similar to Latin). Crowds of European tourists flow through here during both winter and summer days. In winter, people try different forms of skiing and winter activities while in summer, people walk and hike in the aromatic air. Among othermnthings, Alpe di Siusi is Europe’s largest high-altitude Alpine meadow with dozens of hiking and cycling routes through the green pastures.
ECO Hotel Saltus
ECO Hotel Saltus is located at 1,100 meters in the Italian Dolomites with spectacular views of the mountain range, which radiates a rough and wild energy and provides a strong contrast to the calm, protective and empowering energy of the beautiful forest that flanks the other side of the family-run hotel. Based on the belief that nature is often the greatest healer, everything at ECO Hotel Saltus revolves around connecting with the Earth – from its healing programs, food and services to its architecture, which uses natural, locally sourced materials.
Breathe in the pure mountain air, swim in the outdoor infinity sky pool filled with natural mountain water, and discover the art of forest bathing: guided by experts, you’ll go deep into the forest and experience the transformative power of nature for a unique healing experience.
The signature program Prevention Week aims to lead people to practice mindfulness and strengthen the immune system. An extensive health check-up works out what your body requires, in particular to promote your physical health. Regarding your mental health, the program also includes treatment with MBRS (mindful based stress reduction) to maintain the balance of body and mind. Furthermore, you can use the facilities of the Forest Spa and take a swim in one of the two sky pools to intensify the relaxation process and calm down completely.
Koh Samui – A place of purity and energy
Koh Samui is located at the southwest of the Gulf of Thailand. It had long been a little-known fishing village until some Western travelers came across it 20 years ago and made it known to the world. The beautiful island with stunning beaches then underwent development and travelers began to flow in. Nevertheless, compared with other tourism islands, it remains pure and original. The middle part of Koh Samui is covered by mountains and forests while the outer part is fringed by coastal scenes. Thick coconut forests envelope the island and the air is seemingly filled with the smell of coconut.
Surrounded by green hills and reefs, the crescent Chaweng is the most developed beach on the island with many hotels and entertaining facilities. People come for diving, canoeing, and sailing, as well as simply sunbathing on the beach. The Mae Nam beach is known for a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. You will see many people just sitting under the coconut trees and waiting for a picturesque sky painted by the sunset. When you leave the beaches, don’t forget to take a stroll in the coconut forest, visit the local fishing village and try the famous local curry dishes.
Kamalaya Koh Samui
For centuries, Buddhist monks have revered Koh Samui as a sanctuary for a spiritual retreat. They say that the island has a special energy that enriches and enlightens their spiritual path and helps them connect more profoundly with the universal energies. Kamalaya Koh Samui aims to offer guests the same experience – to honor the sacredness of solitude, discover yourself and share the joy of community.
At Kamalaya, just walking through the tropical garden built around boulders and leading down to a quiet laguna, is energizing. The only music you will hear are the sounds of nature – the songs of the birds, the wind playing with the palm trees, the waves caressing the beach.
Integrating holistic medicine and complementary therapies from Eastern and Western traditions, Kamalaya’s healing programs include solutions for detox, stress and burnout, optimal fitness, healthy lifestyle, weight control, sleep enhancement, emotional balance, and Yoga. For a more personalized wellness experience, the Resort’s team of international naturopaths can work with you to create your own health program from the extensive range of holistic medicine, spa and healing therapies available. The signature Asian Bliss Ayurveda retreat combines different types of Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and traditional Thai therapies with exercises and practices from diverse Asian traditions, including Traditional herbal compress massage, Indian head massage, Royal Ayurvedic traditional massage, Chi Nei Tsang (Taoist abdominal massage). Additionally, Body Bio-impedance Analysis (BIA), free use of swimming and plunge pools, steam caverns, fitness and yoga facilities are also included in the program.
At the heart of Kamalaya Koh Samui is a cave once inhabited by Buddhist monks for meditation and retreat. The tradition of these monks continues with the Monk’s Cave always open for guests to enter this space for quiet contemplation and meditation.