By Tiffany Ryes, International Banker
In this fast-paced world, a health retreat should be on everyone’s to-do list. We’re not talking about a juice cleanse or a class of yoga. More than a simple staycation or a trip to the spa, a health-and-wellness retreat combines offerings that will soothe the senses, relax the mind and restore the body. Simply put, a much-needed escape from the maelstrom.
For the discerning traveler looking for a way to ease off the toxins and worries of a bustling lifestyle, a luxurious, health-oriented reprieve may just be what the doctor ordered. And there’s no better way to spend languorous days of respite and rejuvenation than in the best luxury and fitness spots in Asia. From tropical nature walks to an eclectic mix of oriental arts and state-of-the-art programs, there’s no better place to indulge in health and wellness. The stunning natural sceneries, the tropical climates and the welcoming cultures are all enough to provide a one-of-a-kind, authentic and transformational experience.
Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Hua Hin, Thailand
Asia’s pioneer in luxury health holidays, Chiva-Som International Health Resort truly lives up to its name. Standing for “Haven of Life” in Thai, Chiva-Som is indeed a five-star sanctuary, as none other is as renowned for being the ultimate in spa and health resorts. It combines the highest in international standards with Thai hospitality, making it a favorite among celebrities and well-heeled personalities.
Tucked on the beach of the royal city of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand, this multi-awarded resort offers accommodations, treatments and programs that will make guests feel like royalty. The legendary and multi-awarded establishment offers 58 well-appointed Thai-style rooms that provide utmost privacy with personalized butler service. Upon arrival, guests are treated to health-and-wellness consultations from internationally accredited health-and-
wellness experts. This is followed by activities that address not only immediate restoration but also total lifestyle transformation. The program includes weight management, stress management, toning, slimming, anti-aging, relaxation, fitness and general well-being. Chiva-Som also boasts of two superb gourmet restaurants that specialize in healthy eating, with spreads made of organically produced ingredients. Aside from these, there is also yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, fitness classes, gym, indoor and outdoor pools, water sports, kinesis studio and holistic medicine.
Each day in the resort offers opportunities to indulge mind, body and spirit in ultimate health and rejuvenation.
Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, India
Tucked in a hundred-acre Maharaja Palace Estate in Rishikesh, India, Ananda in the Himalayas provides the ideal setting for the most luxurious and most mystifying retreats. Combining the majestic vistas afforded by the Himalayan Mountains, lush greeneries and the beautifully designed Ananda property, the hotel offers an experience that truly borders on the spiritual. And no wonder—its location is believed to be charged with cosmic energy, known in India as Shakti. The region itself is said to be the very birthplace of yoga, dating back thousands of years. In fact,
Ananda specializes in traditional yoga, which stems from the traditional and postural Hatha yoga. This makes Ananda the perfect place for beginners to dip their toes into the world of yoga, and for long-time practitioners to go back to its classic roots.
Yoga isn’t the only reason to go to Ananda, though. The hotel also offers extensive spa services ranging from traditional Ayurvedic rituals to modern Western spa treatments. Ananda even offers its signature treatment, Ananda Fusion, which is a combination of techniques specially designed for each guest’s unique needs. In between wellness and health activities, guests can enjoy rooms, villas and suites that boast of panoramic views of Rishikesh or Ganga. Meanwhile, gastronomic offerings include healthy yet modern feasts of the finest Indian, Asian, Western and fusion cuisines.
COMO Shambhala Estate, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Combining modern health sciences with ancient and local healing, COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud, Indonesia, is truly a play on contrasts. Overlooking picturesque rice paddies and sprawled along the riverbank of the magnificent Ayung River, COMO is a treat to the senses for those seeking a state-of-the-art wellness retreat in an earthy Balinese setting. Frequented by discerning single guests and couples, the estate focuses on hands-on holistic healing, allowing guests to heal and learn, lay back and be active.
COMO boasts of 30 well-appointed, opulent suites, including five private retreat villas and four exclusive private villas, nestled among thick foliage all over the vast 23-acre property. Asian and Western-inspired spa treatments are performed overlooking Ubud’s lush greenery and the forest beyond. The resort also offers treatments, therapies and experiences that inspire long-term lifestyle transformations through programs that guests can take back with them to their daily lives.
What’s striking about the estate is how it makes peace and quiet a key element, which encourages guests to indulge in quiet meditation. And if the scenic environment is not enough to rejuvenate, COMO’s mélange of spa therapies, aromatherapy products, yoga lessons, wellness activities, nutritional lessons and energy-centering cuisines is definitely life-changing.
Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Malaysia
Malaysia’s first eco-luxury, hydrothermal wellness destination, Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, provides the perfect setting for rekindling romance, rediscovering inspiration, relaxing the body and revitalizing the mind. Banjaran is situated on the outskirts of Ipoh, Malaysia, just a two-hour drive from capital city Kuala Lumpur. Driving onto the property harks back to fantasies of stepping into untouched tropical beauty. Lush rainforest, ancient limestone hills, impressive caves, splendid cliffs and colorful tropical flowers unique to the region provide a feast for the eyes.
At the heart of every Banjaran getaway is its natural spa, which comes from thermal waters that irrigate the whole complex and the surrounding flora as well. Signature Reiki treatments provide guests with an enlivening burst of energy, as they use minerals coming from surrounding amethyst and crystal caves to initiate the body’s natural healing process.
Banjaran features opulent treatments and therapies to soothe the body from the inside out. It boasts of treatment traditions hailing from the best of Chinese, Indian and Malay healing secrets. A few favorites are the infamous 24-carat-gold facial, colon irrigation, anti-oxidant therapy, customized yoga, herbal cleanse and medicinal hydro baths. From the understatedly lavish spa rooms and serene surroundings to the medicinal hot springs, guests can experience total relaxation as their tensions and stresses peel away.
From state-of-the-art fitness programs to the bare essentials of being one with nature and everything else in between, these health-and-wellness retreats represent the most luxurious in health and wellness that money can buy. These getaways provide the best incentives to clean up, de-stress and be pampered. So step back from the everyday hustle, forget your morning coffee fix, ignore that wracking deadline and pack your bags for Asia.