Good holidays should be about replenishing the mind, body and spirit, but often they end up doing the exact opposite. These five stunning resorts offer an abundance of luxurious relaxation, from deeply calming massages, yoga classes, fabulous dining to the greatest luxury of all: time. Time to hide away and rediscover yourself…
SOMETIMES THE BEST catalyst for change is a change of scene, but as any busy working person knows, the demands of daily life make it difficult to step back and evaluate priorities, let alone do something about changing them. Yet it’s so important to take regular stock of our lives, says life balance expert Stephanie Marston. “Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a career executive or balancing the two, if you simply feel tired of feeling like you’re living a ‘treadmill existence’, you have a choice — you can create a life you love. However, this means slowing down to re-evaluate your values and priorities and making considered choices about how you’re going to invest your time and energy.”
One of the ways to ensure that you have ample time to refocus is to get away for a few days or longer, to a place where stress is banished and you take centre stage again. Whether you’re in search of a spiritual awakening, a pampering yoga retreat, a full-on detox or simply the sound of blissful silence, we’ve given you our top picks for rejuvenating escapes.
fix your body
Capri Palace, Italy
High up in the picturesque town of Anacapri lies the majestic Capri Palace Hotel with its famous medical spa, the Capri Beauty Farm. Under the supervision of Professor Francesco Canonaco, a medical doctor who specialises in food science and immunology, Capri’s team of specialists delivers a comprehensive range of programmes that target specific areas of the body.
The Metabolic Response programme targets metabolism for sensible weight loss through exercise programmes and tailored Mediterranean meal plans. The Heart School deals with cardiovascular problems and The Leg School (probably the most sought after; Gwyneth Paltrow came to tone up her legs pre-Iron Man) offers a seven-day programme involving cold mud and bandage wraps, dipping in and out of the Kneipp pools and lymphatic drainage massages all designed to improve circulation and swelling and the appearance of your legs.
The exercise schedule involves a combination of fitness with a personal trainer, gymnastics in the thalassotherapeutic pool and ecological walks. All these health-boosting programs are offered within a grand Mediterranean palace featuring columns, arches, vaulted ceilings and antique artefacts, with rooms that boast breathtaking views over the Bay of Naples and hills of Mount Solaro. The setting for your health programme couldn’t possibly be more spectacular.
Nourish Your Spirit
The lifestyle experience at Ananda is as much about the setting as it is about the yoga and Ayurveda, if not more; Ananda offers visitors a holistic experience. Says their web site: “To seek harmony, to balance, to be one with their surroundings, Indians have retreated to the peace and quiet of the mountains for centuries; at Ananda we have tried to recreate the synergy of mind, body and intellect not just through the natural Himalayan locales, but through the rejuvenating and ancient processes and philosophies of Ayurveda, yoga and Vedanta.”
The soothing mountain environment is refreshing and set at the Himalayan foothills in a secluded location, not far from Haridwar and Rishikesh, the birthplace of the ancient sciences of yoga and meditation. Once the residence of a Maharaja, this palace is now a place to be treated like royalty as you focus on restoring your inner equilibrium and rediscovering your inner voice.
The programmes at Ananda are based on Ayurveda, and are designed to heal, cleanse and restore the body’s natural balance. If it’s relaxation you’re after, then a menu of body and beauty treatments incorporating European, Ayurvedic and Oriental systems of holistic health is provided, allowing you to pamper yourself into a state of bliss. The Sanskrit word for ‘bliss’ is Ananda and, surrounded by the Sal forests with views of the Ganges below and mountains above, it amply lives up to its name.
Practice more Yoga
Como Shambhala Estate, Bali
What better place to focus on yoga than with world-renowned teachers in a setting reminiscent of Paradise?
The Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri sits on a lush forest-covered area of land outside the Ubud region. Immersed in gardens and set amongst trees high above the Ayung River, with a background of chirping birds and the sound of running water, the Como encourages inner peace by allowing guests to be at one with nature while perfecting their practice of yoga and Asian therapies. The serenity of practicing yoga in a beautiful, Eden-like retreat while taking in only the purest nutrients is sure to reap health dividends, and detoxing at Como is designed to be a pleasure, with a delicious menu that mixes Asian and Mediterranean elements, along with a raw menu.
Whether you’re in a suite or villa, the lodgings are all spectacular, with net-canopied colonial beds, alfresco showers, and views of the river valley. There is a 25-metre pool surrounded by coconut trees and ferns, along with exceptional foliage-clad spa and wellbeing facilities which include floating treatment rooms and a climbing wall.
Como represents the ultimate in luxurious hideaways in which to be experience life-changing yoga. www.comohotels.com
EMBRACE SOLITUDE BAROS, MALDIVES
What better place to be practicing yoga than on a tropical island in the turquoise Indian Ocean. The expert resident yogi at Baros in the Maldives leads sessions for groups and private classes for couples in the Spa Pavilion; and you can engage in yoga on the villa deck, the beach or a secluded sandbank. The contemporary yet cosy villas are set on the edge of the white beaches or on stilts above the sea.. There often won’t be a soul in sight. As the sun sets, dive into a rejuvenating treatment at the gorgeous Sen Spa. You’ll be immersed in silence, but for the sound of the waves lapping at the shore.
Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand
Built around a centuries-old cave temple once used by Buddhist monks for meditation, Kamalaya is an oasis nestled among hills, streams, ponds and swaying palm trees. Its Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa focuses on cleansing the body both on a physical and spiritual level, with a special focus on detoxification through nutrition. Kamalaya’s approach to detox is designed to support the body’s ability to eliminate toxins and re-establish its ideal balance. Depending on the length of detox – anything from three to 14 days – the programme features a range of therapies, one-on-one sessions, exercise and a bevy of tailored vitamin and herbal supplements to maximise the results of the programme. There are two restaurants at Kamalaya and both serve a range of delectable detox dishes, juices, smoothies and cocktails. This healthy cuisine is an integral component of the holistic wellness concept.
By: Life balance expert Stephanie Marston