Wellness-inspired vacations can make a powerful impact on both your health and overall well-being.
Too many of us have returned home feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation. Rich food, late nights, sore muscles, tired feet, too much vino, not enough sleep. If that sounds familiar, you may be one of the many travelers looking to make your next getaway a “wellness/fitness vacation.”
Wellness tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the travel market and covers a wide spectrum. Guests choose such vacations for a variety of reasons, ranging from learning a new sport and dealing with stress to getting on the right track for a healthier lifestyle.
A true wellness vacation is far more than just having a couple of spa treatments. Instead, it encompasses a complete experience that enhances your physical, mental and emotional well-being. This is the kind of getaway that will leave you rejuvenated and inspired—and send you home with healthful tips and ideas that you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
Read on to discover four distinctly different destinations, then pull out your calendar and start making plans for a vacation you won’t have to recover from.
Mountain Wellness Escape
When you need to stop the world and escape from the incessant demands of regular life, Dahlonega Spa Resort is the perfect spot.
Nestled in the picturesque foothills of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega Spa Resort is situated on 72 serene acres near the historic town of Dahlonega, the site of Georgia’s first gold rush back in 1828. That was then; this is now. Today, Dahlonega is known as the “Heart of Georgia Wine Country” and the “Wine Tasting Room Capital” of Georgia. Guests at Dahlonega Spa Resort can enjoy delicious award-winning wines in spectacular locations at five different vineyards situated less than four miles from the resort.
In search of tranquility and rejuvenation? You can find it here in abundance. The lush grounds and cozy accommodations amid scenic mountain settings help quiet your mind and restore your focus.
The resort offers a diverse schedule if you’re looking for a specific type of getaway, with a variety of yoga retreats offered, so be sure to check the calendar when booking.
One popular, all-inclusive option is the 3-Night Mind+Body+Spirit package, featuring accommodations for three nights, all meals, a $200 spa credit and three yoga classes
Another best-seller is the 2-Night Wellness Getaway, which includes accommodations for two nights, all meals, a $100 spa credit and two yoga classes.
Ask about the new Wine & Wellness package as well.
There are several resident yoga instructors, each with their own unique style of hatha yoga, which you’ll experience in the 1,200-square-foot Gadane Hall, drenched in natural light and offering peaceful views of the surrounding woodlands.
For ultimate rejuvenation, schedule a spa treatment (or two or three!) during your stay. Choose from an array of luxurious massages and body treatments, as well as facials. What could be more relaxing after a hot stone massage and aromatherapy wrap than a soothing soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi?
Explore the network of wooded trails, and make your way through the meditation labyrinth. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the on-site restaurant, Pura Vida, where you can savor healthy, locally sourced fare, including fish, chicken and vegetarian options. (Special dietary needs can be accommodated with advanced notice.)
You’ll sleep well in your comfortable room or cabin, each with a private bathroom and walk-in shower. (In keeping with the theme of escape, there are no phones or televisions in the rooms, but if you’re Jonesing for connection, Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort.)
Learn more › Dahlonega Spa Resort › Dahlonega, Georgia › (706) 865-7678 › dahlonegasparesort.com
Beachside Boot Camp
Looking to challenge your body while easing your mind on the shores of the Atlantic? Check into Vita Vie Retreat, a fitness retreat located at the Seagate Hotel and Spa in Delray Beach, Florida, offering a variety of packages, ranging from three nights up to six, single and double occupancy.
Inspired by her clients, personal trainer Margot Rutigliano launched her boot camp getaway adventures 12 years ago.
“I found people were so distracted from their environment, so I wanted to create a way for them to get away and focus on themselves and their goals, whatever those were—weight loss, improved sports performance, health and just destressing from daily life,” says Margot. “I wanted to create an active vacation where people actually felt better afterward, instead of coming home from vacation feeling exhausted and having gained weight.”
For each full day of your retreat, you’ll take part in five different boot camp classes, such as intense beach boot camp sessions, medicine ball training, Pilates, yoga, balance training, sports conditioning, mixed-style dance and more. Classes take place on the beach, in local parks and in the resort’s private studio.
“We have small groups, no more than 10 people in each class, so it’s a much friendlier learning setting than at a big gym,” says Margot, who is one of seven instructors leading classes.
Three meals are included per full day. Each package also includes a 30-minute lifestyle coaching session, which looks at your overall fitness, nutrition and any type of stress you’re dealing with, and one 50-minute spa treatment at the on-site spa. (Additional spa treatments are available à la carte for an added fee.)
Although cooking classes are not offered, Vita Vie has a dietitian who creates a personalized meal plan for you, allowing your healthy eating to extend beyond vacation after you get home.
A boutique hotel, accommodations at the Seagate are upscale. Located just one block from the beach, you’ll enjoy ocean breezes and will have access to the hotel’s private club right on the beach. Enjoy an early morning workout with the sand beneath your feet, or take a sunset stroll to relax at the end of the day.
Meals are taken in the hotel’s restaurant, which features a special healthy menu for retreat guests that includes healthy fats, good carbs and lots of fresh veggies and fruit. The restaurant staff is also very accommodating if you have any special nutritional needs.
“Boot camp packages are the most popular, but one-on-one private fitness retreats can also be scheduled,” says Margot. “Either way, you’ll go home feeling recharged and renewed.”
Learn more › Vita Vie Retreat at Seagate Hotel & Spa › Delray Beach, Florida › (800) 768-5708 or (561) 414-2464 › bvretreat.com
Ever wish you could hit the “reset” button? At Ayurveda Health Retreat in Alachua, Florida, the staff, atmosphere and treatments are designed to help you do exactly that.
Owner Richard Masla, a long-time Ayurvedic practitioner, founded the retreat in 2001 with the mission of helping people improve their health by learning how to take better care of themselves.
A holistic approach to wellness, Ayurveda is based on the knowledge of the sages from ancient India for mental and physical health.
“We are not a medical facility but rather an education center,” explains Richard. “Much of illness is caused by stress and lifestyle (how we eat, how we spend our time, etc.). Reducing stress supports self-healing, so we teach all of our patients meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques) and yoga.”
Those clients come from all across the country and beyond to discover the peace, relaxation and healing, healthy practices found at Ayurveda Health Retreat.
Richard, who has been to India over 40 times to study there, has studied traditional Ayurveda under Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Pankaj Naram and Dr. Syama. He is well-versed in the art of Kerala Ayurvedic Panchakarma and personally trained all of the retreat’s Ayurvedic massage therapists.
Of the various packages offered, the Traditional Panchakarma Retreat is their signature treatment and the most popular. This package includes a two-therapist (four-handed) Panchakarma with warm, healing herbal oils featuring a 2 1/2-hour session each day that incorporates massage, aromatherapy steam, nasal therapy (great for allergies!) and warm oil drip.
“We import about 100 gallons of Ayurveda oil from India each year,” notes Richard. “Many illnesses and diseases result from a buildup of toxins, which impair the body’s natural defenses. Panchakarma removes toxins from the body and allows the rejuvenating energies of the body to flow freely.”
Richard notes that as the body detoxes, you’ll find yourself having more energy, sleeping soundly and healing both physically and emotionally.
The Traditional Panchakarma package is all-inclusive and includes a private room, delicious Ayurvedic vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner, and daily sessions of yoga, meditation and pranayama (breath work).
If you stay at least five days, an Ayurvedic consultation with an Ayurvedic Practitioner and follow-up is included. For those wishing to learn more about Ayurvedic cooking, classes are offered on Saturday evenings.
“We believe food is medicine and medicine is food, so all of our meals are organic and freshly prepared,” says Richard, adding that clients receive personalized dietary recommendations they can follow at home.
For maximum benefits from the Panchakarma experience, a minimum five-day stay is suggested, but guests come for anywhere from just a weekend to as long as 30 days.
All levels of yoga are also offered to the public at 6pm Monday through Friday. Daily workshops are also available.
Learn more › Ayurveda Health Retreat › Alachua, Florida › (352) 870-7645 › ayurvedahealthretreat.com
Designed by Norman Giller (known as the “father” of modern Miami architecture), the Carillon Hotel opened in 1958 and quickly became a glamorous night spot and the epitome of Miami Beach resort culture.
Today, with its world-class wellness center and 750-foot stretch of private beach, Carillon Miami has been recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of Florida’s best resort hotels. Here you’ll find luxurious getaway options for the fitness-minded, as well as those simply seeking a place to unwind.
As a premier spa and wellness resort, Carillon Miami uniquely incorporates spa, fitness, health and beauty. Some guests come with a desire to address specific health concerns. Others come to let their stress and cares melt away in this calming seaside environment. Carillon Miami is an ideal destination for both pursuits.
Whether you’re in search of challenging workouts or indulgent spa treatments (or both), this is the spot. More than 200 exercise classes are offered every week. The fitness area features Technogym ARTIS cardiovascular equipment, which provides internet access, over 100 TV channels and an app for tracking your exertion. You can also try your skill on the two-story indoor rock-climbing wall and experience the therapeutic igloo, which is part of the nine-suite thermal spa experience.
A team of wellness professionals is ready and willing to assist you in a variety of areas and will help fashion a personalized plan to improve your health, fitness and nutrition. You can even learn practical stress management practices and ways to increase clarity and focus.
During your stay, you can enjoy guilt-free dining with a food and beverage program that focuses on deliciously nutritious cuisine. There’s even an assortment of all-organic cocktails. Drop by the juice bar for a juice drink or smoothie with the freshest ingredients to give you a boost post-workout or for soothing refreshment any time.
Food is such an important key to health and a staff nutritionist can help address such topics as food sensitivities, autoimmune issues, detoxification, weight concerns and specialized diets such as vegan, paleo and raw. An individualized eating plan can be created for you, based on your specific metabolic profile. There’s also a safe and proven detox program to help “reboot” your metabolism.
Accommodations are spacious one- and two-bedroom suites, ranging from 720 to 1,200 square feet. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer memorable views of either the Atlantic or the Miami skyline. Each suite has a separate living room and fully equipped kitchen, not to mention a spa-like bathroom.
Carillon Miami often features enticing offers and packages, so be sure to ask about their latest specials and discounts or check the website.