Embracing the future of wellness travel,
Small Luxury Hotels of the World introduces five-part Wellness Guide,
inspired by the elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Wood, Metal
Wellness trends were on the rise pre-pandemic, and the challenging times of COVID-19 have not only brought guest well-being to the forefront of the hospitality industry’s mind, but also created an opportunity for a travel reset. As traveling gradually starts to resume later in the year, health and wellbeing-focused experiences are poised to be especially in demand for respite-seeking travelers placing more importance on safety and prioritizing their personal health and fitness. Taking care of ourselves has never been so important, which will likely see an increased desire for ‘health holidays’, from immunity boosting retreats, socially distanced wellness trips, private jet wellness journeys to working remotely on holiday.
Embracing the future of wellness travel, Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s five-part Wellness Guide, inspired by the elements of nature (Earth, Water, Fire, Wood, Metal), will take the independently minded traveller through the ultimate self-care journey. From back-to nature experiences (as we see in the Water/Fire/Wood installments) to health-focused, scientifically-backed treatments (the Metal element), these 118 elemental experiences offered at SLH boutique hotels around the world combine the powers of nature and science to give guests long-awaited post-lockdown pampering for both body and mind.
Last but not least, as consumers saw the dramatic effect emissions were having on the planet and resolved to be more considerate about the environmental impact of their action, staycations or holidays at hotels with a greater commitment to eco-friendly practices are going to be more popular.
EARTH: THE VERY BEST ALL-NATURAL SPA TREATMENTS
From herbal infused baths, vinotherapy to seaweed wraps and white sand scrubs, these boutique hotels are incorporating natural, organic ingredients and locally sourced products into their spa treatments to celebrate everything Mother Earth has to offer.
Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary (Neyphu Valley, Bhutan)
Specialised in traditional Bhutanese medicine, guests at this high-altitude hideaway benefit from a private consultation with the in-house traditional medicine doctors (which is included in the room rate). The internationally trained therapists offer a wide range of treatments rooted in the nature and well-being traditions of Bhutan, including herbal compression, hot oil compression, moxibustion, herbal Jacuzzi, herb-infused hot stone bath and Ku Nye massages – making full use of the Sanctuary’s collection of more than 100 original Bhutanese herbs. Upon request, guests can enjoy an ‘herbal walk’ around the gardens with the traditional medicine doctors to learn about the natural benefits of the herbs. In addition, guests can enjoy the indoor heated swimming pools or practice yoga and meditation in the tranquil areas.
Add: Neyphu Valley a, Shaba, Bhutan
Halcyon House (Cabarita Beach, Australia)
Begin with a Jojoba Bead Body Polish to exfoliate and cleanse the whole body in the pretty pink spa of this seaside sanctuary, before a nurturing full body mask made from pink clay, rich in herbal extracts, cocoons your body to nourish, firm and tone the skin while your therapist delivers a relaxing scalp massage. Finish off with an application of body cream with jasmine and rose to seal in nourishment. Madagascan rose quartz crystals are used in the 105-minute Samadara ultimate age-defying facial to allow the cream to penetrate deeply into the skin. After the treatments, you can have rest in the unique dome steam room or choose anything that pleases you at the retail boutique.
Add: 21 Cypress Crescent, Cabarita Beach NSW, Australia
Aleenta Resort & Spa Phuket (Phuket, Thailand)
The 90-minute Dinn (‘Earth’) deep tissue massage at this secluded west coast retreat uses long palm and elbow strokes to release tension in the body and mind and create a deep sense of relaxation and rebalancing of your element. For those looking to prepare themselves for the post-pandemic lifestyle, the Ayurah Spa is launching a post-Covid recovery programme, ‘Breathing Recovery & Immunity Boosting,’ aimed at those who have had COVID-19, and who might be suffering from long term symptoms, or those who have not had it, but want to be ready for the brave new world. Developed by a renowned Thai hospital, the programme uses both Western medicine and integrated medicine to promote a stronger and healthier return to the ‘new normal.’
Add: 33 Moo 5, Khok Kloi, Takua Thung, Phang Nga, Thailand
Tel: 66-0-76 580333
WATER: BEST WATER-INSPIRED SPA TREATMENTS
From thalassotherapy and hydromassages to thermal springs, ice bathing and sea sponge rituals, the healing powers of water can hydrate the body as much as cleanse the mind.
Elite Spring Villas (Anxi, China)
Hot spring pools bubble with hot natural mineral water drawn from deep beneath the mountains at these heritage-inspired villas. Rich in metasilic acid content, the thermal water here is particularly beneficial for moisturising the skin and delaying skin aging, and also has auxiliary curative effect on chronic rheumatism, arthritis and other diseases. Enhance your hot spring soak with one of their fourteen different tea and herb-infused sachets, inspired by the Chinese five elements, focusing on different medical efficacies. Beauty-focused guests can choose a rose sachet to maintain their youth, while health-conscious guests can choose to soak with a dang shen (codonopsis root) sachet to replenish their qi (energy). Each villa comes with its own hot spring pool for private soaking.
Add: 206 Provincial Road, Anxi, China
The Terrace Club at Busena (Okinawa, Japan)
Set against the backdrop of the East China Sea, this Okinawa Island wellness resort makes the most of its serene surroundings. Restore balance with bespoke wellness plans based on thalassotherapy – the healing power of seawater, which flows from Cape Busena and heated to a comfortable range at or just below body temperature in the multi-feature pool. Massaging jets, aeration, and gentle currents create a number of zones for both aquarobic exercise and relaxation, while all SLH INVITED members are entitled to a complimentary seaweed wrap. Also, you can take an aerobics class in the heated thalasso pool or a power walk in the sand, before feasting on just-caught Okinawan seafood and locally sourced produce at the on-site restaurant.
Add: 1750 Kise, Nago, Japan
Sowaka (Kyoto, Japan)
BA restored ‘ryokan’ in one of Japan’s most alluring destinations, Sowaka Kyoto elegantly fuses the ancient traditions of a Japanese guesthouse with the modern world. Bedrooms and suites are arranged among green courtyards, with long corridors designed to evoke Kyoto’s alleyways. Traditional ryokan elements are interwoven with modern comforts. Think handmade cedar wood speakers, and cushioned, cashmere mattresses. Bath amenities are made with Japanese camelia oil supplied by Kyoto’s most renowned beauty brand, Kazurasei Shinise, and the hotel’s water is drawn from its own underground spring. The intimate bar is the perfect setting to sample the finest Japanese whisky, sake and shochu. After exploring Kyoto’s unique attractions, the hotel’s Michelin starred La Bombance Gion restaurant let you relax in true Japanese style.
Add: 480 Kiyoi cho, Kyoto, Japan
Huvafen Fushi Maldives (Male Atoll, Maldives)
Only a 30-minute speedboat ride from the airport, Huvafen Fushi blurs the boundaries between sea and sky, land and lagoon. Home to the world’s first and only under-the-sea spa, the Huvafen Spa is devoted to deep relaxation. With both reef-facing treatment rooms eight metres below the surface, and over-water pavilions poised above the lagoon, submerge into serenity at this ground-breaking wellness retreat where modern techniques meet Maldivian traditions. Here, private chefs serve you on a sandbank beneath the stars, sommeliers whisk you off on a wine flight beneath the ground, and clown fish dart past your massage table beside the coral reef. Whether it’s an Ocean Bungalow or Two-Bedroom Pavilion, you’ll have your own freshwater pool and a staircase into the sea.
Add: North Male Atoll, Republic of Maldives
Tel: 960-665 5265
FIRE: WARMING WELLNESS FROM HOT STONES TO LAVA SHELLS
Soothe sore muscles and sweat away any stress with these thermal treatments incorporating volcanic stones, candle wax, heated minerals, and other sizzling samples.
137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai (Thailand)
137 Pillars Suites, Bangkok (Thailand)
The former was built in late 1800s and now has been carefully restored to reflect its 19th-century origins while the latter is set in the heart of the Sukhumvit-Thonglor area of Bangkok with a blend of warm Thai design and modern urban flair. The Nitra Serenity Centre at 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts offers a 90-minute Hot Stone Massage which combines ancient healing wisdom and natural resources in this therapeutic treatment. The smooth volcanic stones are heated and then placed on the trigger points of the body which deeply penetrate the muscles which are then further relaxed with an aroma relaxer massage. This releases tension, improves blood circulation and meridian energy flow.
137 Pillars House
Add: 2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road, Tambon Watgate, Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tel: 66-0-53 247788
137 Pillars Suites Bangkok
Add: 59/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Klongton-Nua, Wattana, Bangkok,Thailand
Tel : 66 -0-2 0797000
Tanjong Jara Resort, Dungun (Malaysia)
Resembling a 17th-century Malay palace, Tanjong Jara Resort is a stunning retreat set against a backdrop of tropical jungle and facing a golden beach and the glistening South China Sea. In the hotel’s Spa Village Tanjong Jara, guests can experience the The Tuam Pasir (heated sea sand therapy), an ancient Malay formulation known for its healing power for strength and vitality. It is an effective treatment for joint pains, severe inflammation and mothers in confinement. Hot sand, fenugreek and blackseeds are heated in a frying pan and placed on a cotton cloth that is made into a pouch. Medicated ointment is then applied onto the affected area before the hot pouch is used as a pressure massage.
Add: Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun, Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia
Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti (Pinzolo, Italy)
Modernist mountain hideaway in the Dolomites Cradled in the Dolomites, Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti is a new level of mountain lodge. With sharp architecture – all triangles and zig-zag lines – and wooden accents reflecting the peaks and forests outside, it truly brings the outside in. There are breathtaking views from the temple-like Lefay SPA – 5,000 square metres of natural wellbeing and innovation, where Eastern and Western influences blend together. Warm yourself up after a day in the Italian Dolomites with the Aromatic Hot Lefay SPA mud, known as II Potere del Cielo e della Terra, which is rich in oils, clays, sulphates and marillonite, while the mud performs an osmotic detoxifying and antioxidant action.
Add: Via Alpe di Grual, Pinzolo, Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy
WOOD: NATURE SPA-ING
These back to nature wellness experiences are rooted in the countless calming effects of tree therapy, from forest bathing and mangrove massages to alpine sauna sessions.
Sankara Hotel & Spa (Yakushima, Japan)
Guides at this mystical island retreat take guests to visit natural ‘power spots’ on Yakushima Island, the location of Japan’s first World Natural Heritage site. Power spots represent areas where the earth’s natural energy accumulates and are said to immerse visitors in healing energy tied to the country’s ancient myths, shrines, Shugendo mountain worship and feng shui practices. The Shirantani Unsuikyo Ravine is carpeted in lush greenery, while the 7,000-year-old Jomonsugi Cedar is believed to hold magical powers. At the Asia Herb Association Spa, guests will enjoy a range of Thai-style herbal heat treatment. The hotel also offers a special two-day spa package to prepare and pamper guests before and after trekking through the nearby forests.
Add : 553 Haginoue, Mugio, Yakushima-cho, Kumage-gun, Kagoshima, Japan
Tel : 81-997-47-3488
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort(Bel Ombre, Mauritius)
Set on the wild south coast of Mauritius in a protected nature reserve, in an area which was once home to celebrated Irish botanist Charles Telfair, this tropically tranquil retreat takes guests on a Mindful Nature Walk at Le Morne Brabant, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort features 20 villas, restaurants and a private sand beach. Meditation sessions take place on a verdant platform overlooking the lagoon, while sunset yoga classes at the Wellness Sanctuary are led by personal trainers trained in the Seven Colours philosophy. At the 2500m2 Millesime Collection Spa, every element of wellness is harnessed from personal health to spirituality, from diet to fitness, all orchestrated to help you lead a holistic lifestyle.
Add : Coastal Road, Domaine de Bel Ombre, Bel Ombre, Mauritius
Tel : 23-0-6015500
Gangtey Lodge (Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan)
Below this Himalayan farmhouse lodge and by the Gangtey Village Stupa, is the beginning of the Gangtey Valley Nature Trail Walk. The path descends into the beautiful countryside leading through pastures and tiny hamlets. Life here remains distant from the outside world, a place of utter peace where travellers can stop, sit and disconnect. A little further on, you’ll be enveloped by a sea of tall blue fir trees, where you can inhale and absorb the sweet scent of pines, fill your lungs with the purest air on earth and listen to the music of silence interspersed with breezes and birdsong. This is forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) in its purest form, the perfect remedy to cleanse your mind and rejuvenate your spirit.
Add: below the monastery Phobjikha Valley Gangtey Gonpa
Tel: 975-02- 340943
Baros Maldives (Male, Maldives)
On a small private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean sits Baros Maldives, a heavenly Eden overlooking a glistening blue lagoon. Elegant, secluded villas with palm thatched roofs are either over-water or facing the beach while a PADI diving centre, a spa with a tranquil water garden, several restaurants overlooking the sea and gentle sea breezes all ensure an unforgettable holiday. Rhythmic patterns of African dance inspire the TheraNaka East African Wood Massage at the Serenity Spa of this private island hideaway. Blending light stretching techniques and acupressure using wooden instruments to soothe and restore weary guests, the therapist will drizzle your body with a warm olive and shea butter balm to nourish and heal dry skin.
Add: Malé 20-02, Republic of Maldives
METAL: SCIENTIFICALLY-BACKED HI-TECH TREATMENTS
Wellness is increasingly leaning into science, where innovative metal-inspired treatments at cutting-edge wellness centres are research-backed and performance-packed for visible results, from floating beds and bio-electric facials to the sound wave science of singing bowls.
The Sukhothai Shanghai (Shanghai,China)
A contemporary lifestyle in the heart of Shanghai, a place apart. Enter into a world of spiritual awakening and enlightenment at The Retreat at The Sukhothai Shanghai. The Retreat arranges Singing bowl classes on a regular basis with in-house sound therapy master Victoria Svyatenko. Originally from Ukraine, Victoria has been living in Shanghai since 2006 and started her sound therapy and sound healing practice journey in 2016. In 2017, she completed a Singing bowl course from the world-renowned Grand Master Shree Krishna Shahi, a third generation Tibetan Singing Bowl Teacher and Sound Healer. It is believed that the vibrations from the singing bowls can relax the body into a meditative and restorative trance, much like other forms of music therapy.
Add: 380 Beihai Road, Jingan District, Shanghai
Anya Resort Tagaytay, (Tagaytay City, Philippines)
Anya Resort Tagaytay is a luxury retreat in lush Philippines countryside that’s perfect for escaping the bustle of city life. The luxury retreat is the first Southeast-Asian resort to bring in France’s Vital Dome Far Infrared Rays (FIRs) spa therapy at their Niyama Wellness Center. Unlike traditional saunas or massage machines, the Vital Dome’s FIRs penetrate deep into the skin, enabling the body to sweat out toxins and other impurities as a way to stay healthy and keep infections at bay. The regenerative action of the treatment also helps in long-term pain management and healthy weight management. Paired with the resort’s holistic environment and calm natural surroundings, the full wellness experience will leave guests a sense of relaxation and renewed well-being.
Add: Buenavista Hills Road, Barangay Mag-asawang Ilat, Tagaytay City, Philippines
Tel: 632- 8-6571640
Villa Eden – The Leading Park Retreat (Merano, Italy)
With its focus on health, beauty and wellbeing in perfect balance, the whole of this art nouveau villa retreat feels like a spa. A dedicated team of experts are on hand at the on-site Longevity Medical Centre to deliver bespoke wellness programmes and an array of medical tests, including nutrigenetics and DNA flora testing, ozone oxygen therapy and intravenous injection therapy consisting of a personalised multivitamin complex strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight bacteria and viruses. Constantly introducing the latest medical-scientific discoveries, and applying the principles of natural and energetic medicine, of psycho-neuro immunology and chrono medicine, this tranquilly placed retreat prides itself on a holistic approach to guests’ well-being.
Add: via Winkel 70, Merano, Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy
About Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM (SLH) is the most desirable community of independently minded travelers and independently spirited hotels in the world. We turned the luxury boutique hotel into a phenomenon and selected the distinctive, the diverse and the downright delightful. People, places and experiences with individual character, intimate charm and inherent class. We have personally visited, vetted and verified over 520 hotels in more than 90 countries.