Some of the most memorable spas in the world offer so much more than pampering and relaxation. They align Eastern healing techniques with state-of-the-art science and technology to help you tackle a full range of health and wellness concerns. They also promote wellbeing through a deep sense of reconnection with nature and teach you ways of weaning yourself off your electronic devices once you get back home. Here are some of recommendations for 2019.
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown
27 Barclay St, New York, NY 10007, USA
Best for: Holistic healing, clarity, enlightenment, a technological detox, positive affirmation, and fine tuning the body and mind.
The approach: The spa encourages guests to adopt their wellness practices as a lifestyle. If you arrive feeling sleep-deprived, overworked, jet-lagged, stressed out by being a slave to your phone, you will certainly feel a sense of renewal, calm, and, more to the point, focused on appreciating things in your everyday life.
Why it works: The space has its own in-house Resident Healers Programme led by three holistic experts who promise to help you achieve physical, emotional and mental strength. Deganit Nuur is an acupuncturist, herbalist and clairvoyant; Rashia Bell is a crystal healer and meditation master, and Snow Shimazu is a travel wellness expert and guru, as well as an advanced body work educator. And if you like a more traditional approach to fitness and getting in shape, you can work out at the hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness centre. Skincare lovers are in for a treat too as there is a restorative, science-led skin treatment menu, devised by Dr. Pauline Burgener of Switzerland.
Sha Wellness Clinic
Carrer del Verderol, 5, 03581 L'Albir, Alacant, Spain
Best for: Workaholics, tech addicts, insomniacs and those experiencing trauma, loss or difficult relationships.
The approach: Sha Wellness Clinic marries traditional medical healing with Eastern philosophy and practices. Its founder Alfredo Bataller cured his own chronic illness through diet and naturopathy, and created the Discovery Programme, which is a holistic mind-and-body plan that incorporates the importance of self-awareness and meditation to reduce stress and trauma and restore inner peace.
Why it works: The retreat is often described as “life-changing”. Lily Read of Quintessentially Travel says: “Guests are encouraged to explore creative pursuits like cooking, painting, singing and writing in a bid to reconnect with their inner self, and achieve an overall sense of wellbeing, which makes for a really unique experience – and that’s why people keep on coming back here.”
Add to this a macrobiotic menu, which really helps people to tackle weight loss, not to mention clarity of thought and a healthy complexion; mindfulness techniques, individual yoga sessions, and daily examinations with a medical doctor to monitor personal responses to stress triggers, and you quickly see how broad the scope is for rounded wellness beyond the spa experience.
Francesca Esses of Quintessentially Travel says: “Sha Wellness Clinic is well deserving of its award-winning status as Best Destination Spa Europe by Conde Nast Johansens Awards of Excellence 2018.” We couldn’t agree more. Quintessentially Travel benefits exclusive to members include, among others: upgrade on arrival subject to availability, a healthy personalised breakfast, and for bookings in the Presidential and Royal Suite & Residences, members enjoy complimentary private access to the SHA Cinema for some silver screen relaxation at the end of the day.
73/4 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110, Thailand
Best for: A real ‘all-rounder’ of a spa. Access to some of the world’s leading health experts, and an authentic experience of Thai luxury.
The approach: Health of body and mind are tackled from all angles, from the gentlest to the most rigorous - be it with the suite of detox programmes, stress reduction and breath exercises, or with the sunrise Thai Chi sessions, the Thai cooking classes (for total cultural immersion and healthy post-spa eating habits back home) or a spot of kick-boxing and Pilates.
Why it works: Quintessentially Travel’s Sales Manager, Sophie Hughes says, “Since the freshly renovated Thai Pavilion Suite was unveiled recently, the spa has taken the luxury experience up a notch and members opt for the Suite. And most importantly, no matter what your reason for visiting the spa, there’s a way to address your lifestyle changes.
Hoba Wawi, Wanokaka, West Sumba Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Best for: Remoteness and escape from the trappings of modern life. If you’re looking for truly stunning landscapes this is one of the best places on earth to go surfing, horseback riding, or to get back to nature.
The approach: Holistic healing meets nature. There are retreat programmes created by the yoga and wellness director, Mary Tilso, catering to solo travellers, couples and families with children, while the NihiOka spa safari is not to be missed. It’s a one-day experience that starts at sunrise with a 90-minute trek through the hills and rice fields. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ve earned yourself a healthy breakfast followed by a pampering spa treatment in your own private cliff-side spa room with breath-taking sea views.
Why it works: You get the chance to switch off and deeply reconnect with nature away from any distractions.
Ananda in the Himalayas
The Palace Estate, Narendra Nagar, Uttarakhand 249175, India
Best for: Weight loss, physical and mental fitness, holistic healing and a total escape from reality.
The approach: In 1968, The Beatles put Rishikesh on the map when they came here to learn meditation. Fifty years on, the birthplace of yoga is still attracting the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Uma Thurman and Melinda Gates. The hotel is set within a 100-acre estate, surrounded by emerald green lawns that serve as a parade for the peacocks, set against the backdrop of the Himalayas. Quintessentially members can take advantage of a range of benefits as guests.
Why it works: The retreat is based on Ayurvedic practices and guests should leave well-informed as to its principles. Those that thrive on structure and a personalised treatment programme, will love that the experience starts with an initial consultation to establish your prakruti (constitution) and the imbalances of your doshic energies: vata (wind), pitta (fire) and kapha (water). These form the basis of your rejuvenation plan.
Quintessentially Travel expert Katie Macdonald recommends taking advantage of the complimentary 50-minute spa treatment for one or two people offered once during your stay as a Quintessentially member.
Brenners Park-Hotel and Spa
Schillerstraße 4/6, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany
Best for: A country escape, advanced medical care, preventative health, and scientific health and wellness treatments.
The approach: This Beaux-Arts era hotel established 140 years ago, is set in a valley in the heart of the Black Forest close to the historic town of Baden-Baden, which is famous for its thermal baths and curative springs. The spa is a marvellous combination of old-world charm with state-of-the-art medical care. Today, the hotel and adjoining Villa Stéphanie - a 15-room residential spa that was previously a rehabilitation clinic - have been transformed into a chic sanctuary. The rooms are outfitted with a digital detox switch, and guests can enter the spa and private gymnasia via a residents-only staircase.
Why it works: The hotel’s medical care centre offers preventive health care, two-day comprehensive examinations, and even aesthetic dentistry. Quintessentially Travel’s experts advocate taking the opportunity to sign up for a full-body overhaul “that includes ophthalmology, cardiology, physiotherapy, and aesthetic medicine.” After which you can treat yourself to a facial or body massage, including Sisley’s selection of specialist luxury treatments namely clarifying, detoxifying and utterly relaxing. Then relax on one of the many terraces overlooking the river Oos and take advantage of the two-star Michelin restaurant at Brenners Park-Hotel and Spa.
If you need a wellness reboot, our team of specialists have a number of excellent benefits on offer for these retreats and can help you find the right spa for your needs and lifestyle. Please contact them on: or