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Aja Malibu wellness: binaural beats healing and craniosacral therapy

Inannya Magick is the brains behind Aja Malibu. After I check in, the administrative assistant at Aja Malibu tells me that there’s a basket and gardening clippers for me by the pool. I’m to explore the seven chakra gardens (sustained on grey water, of course) and pick whatever plants “speak to me”. I do as […]

Health spas: Gwinganna on the Gold Coast is a perfect place to heal

Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat general manager Sharon Kolkka by the pool. Photo: Glenn Hunt Sitting uncomfortably, at a table of strangers, talk turns to why we’re here. The setting is Gwinganna in the Gold Coast hinterland, arguably Australia’s best lifestyle retreat. There’s an awkward pause, as she summons the strength to say what’s in her heart: […]

Meditation retreat, India: Come in, spinner

Strangely normal: in a whirl during meditation. Photo: Alamy A visit to a meditation centre leaves Nina Karnikowski feeling bent out of shape. The man in the maroon robe is talking to himself. Not that anyone’s taking much notice. Maybe they’re all too busy watching the girl in the maroon robe whirling around underneath that […]

Morocco sand baths: Why tourists are burying themselves in the Sahara

Sun and sand of a different kind: A tourist takes a sand bath in the dunes of the Merzouga desert in southeastern Morocco. Photo: AFP As the morning sun rises over the golden dunes of Erg Chebbi in the Sahara, men and women dig holes for tourists who want to bury themselves in the sand. […]

New Zealand cycling trips: Best single-day rides

SPONSORED ARTICLE New Zealand’s network of Great Rides covers more than 2700 kilometres of trails, but much of it can be broken into manageable chunks for day rides. Here are five of the country’s best single-day outings, plus five great routes to take when you’re ready to spend multiple days in the saddle. Tasman’s Great […]

New Zealand luxury retreat: Finding zen at Aro Ha Wellness Retreat

Soaking up the atmosphere at the Aro Ha Wellness Retreat. The wake-up call is surprisingly charming, given it’s not yet 6am and we’re at the Aro Ha Wellness Retreat on a picturesque hillside in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Our yoga teacher is banging a Tibetan singing bowl outside our rooms, summoning us to the first restorative […]

Raffles Dubai ‘Egyptian Gold’ facial might be the world’s most decadent spa treatment

The ‘Egyptian Gold’ facial at Raffles Dubai. Photo: Nigel Brand The emirate’s streets aren’t paved with gold quite yet, but in Dubai a beauty treatment in which the client’s face is covered with the precious metal makes perfect sense. This is how I found myself with four sheets of 24-carat gold carefully placed over my face, in […]

Six Senses Douro Valley: A touch of wine and wellness in Portugal’s mountain vineyards

Six Senses Douro Valley where relaxation is everything. Photo: supplied Setting a wellness resort in the midst of the world’s largest region of mountain vineyards may seem a bit counterintuitive. Surely the temptation to indulge in Portugal’s finest wines and ports would be overwhelming? When the eco-resort brand Six Senses opened its first European resort […]

REVIVO Wellness Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali: Finding peace isn’t such a stretch here

Aqua yoga at REVIVO Wellness Resort. They hang from the rafters in twos and threes, their wings tucked against their sides, mouths agape. I step closer, intrigued by the high-pitched sounds coming from their throats. Are they a flock of wounded birds, a colony of bats? No, these stretch fabric-clad contortionists are my fellow guests […]

Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka’s luxury wellness resort – a secluded sanctuary

Deliberately secluded: Santani Wellness Resort & Spa is situated on half a square kilometre of forested former tea plantation. L My taxi driver negotiates the hairpin bends as we follow a snaking mountain road out of Kandy, in central Sri Lanka, through tea country and past forests of jackfruit trees. There’s no inkling of our […]

Singapore: Swissotel The Stamford’s Vitality Rooms designed to adjust your mood and put wellness first

Vitality Rooms can adjust lighting to simulate dawn and dusk, helping the body naturally regulate its rhythms. Photo: Supplied One of the challenges frequent travellers face while on the road is maintaining a routine, especially when you throw jet lag and a foreign environment into the mix. Exercise, nutrition and a good night’s sleep often […]

Six of the best: British spas

SEAHAM HALL, SEAHAM: Situated on more than 15 hectares 37 acres of landscaped gardens in a striking clifftop location with views out over Durham’s coast line; Seaham Hall has attracted the famous and fashionable since theits 18th century origins. Case in point, Lord Byron, who chose the hall as the venue for his wedding back […]

Six of the best: Budapest bathhouses

SZECHENYI€‹: More than a century old, this vast, open-air bathhouse has long been a favourite with locals. Comprising 18 pools – three outdoor, 15 indoor – it’s one of the largest natural thermal spa pools in Europe and the people-watching alone justifies a visit. Outdoors, old men in Speedos duke it out over a chessboard […]

Six of the best: Ubud spa retreats, Bali

The Viceroy Bali. Photo: supplied The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah. Photo: supplied Puri Wulandari. Photo: supplied Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. Photo: supplied Maya Ubud flower bath. Photo: supplied Pita Maha private villa. The Viceroy Bali. Photo: supplied The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah. Photo: supplied Puri Wulandari. Photo: supplied Four Seasons Resort Bali at […]

Six of the best: wellness retreats

TULUM, MEXICO Bikini Boot Camp: This weight-loss, yoga, fitness holiday in one will have you bronzed and buffed while doing the salsa and saying “hola” to the locals. With a motto of “moderation not deprivation”, this is one of few fitness and relaxation camps that allow margaritas (in fact, they serve the best in town). […]

Six of the best yoga retreats

Pinetrees Lord Howe Island: Yogi to the stars Charlotte Dodson leads retreats at Pinetrees Lodge on the World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island – far from traffic jams, emails and mobile phones (no phone reception here). The historic guesthouse offers a daily program of yoga taught by Dodson, Ayurvedic and spa treatments, massage, aerobic fitness, […]

Slow travel: The destinations you should visit to have a real holiday

Tiger nest monastery, Bhutan. Photo: iStock My first real moment of pure slow travel occurred in Bhutan while relaxing in a wooden hot tub awaiting a hot-stone massage. That day, I had hiked to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, the fantastical Buddhist temple clinging to the edge of a mountain cliff overlooking the Paro Valley. I was […]

Spa holiday at Amatara Wellness Resort, one of the world’s leading luxury wellness resorts

Amatara Wellness Resort is one of the world’s leading luxury health resorts. It has all the hallmarks of a holiday romance: falling madly in love, swearing eternal allegiance, then abandoning it as soon as you touch down back home, with niggling feelings of guilt and regret. But a trip to a health resort doesn’t have […]

Spa Village Resort Tembok: Healing the mind and body in old Bali

Magic moment: Spa Village Resort Tembok, a doof-doof free zone. A getaway to a secluded spa resort gives Rachael Oakes-Ash a welcome taste of old Bali. Manis sees dead people. The Balinese shaman princess spoke to her first departed spirits when she was a child, or so she tells me as we float on mercury […]

Stay healthy on holiday

Stay healthy on holiday SPONSORED Traditionally, wellness travel would have included spas, massages and general relaxation but these days there is a much wider range of wellbeing travel options. Long gone is the notion that when you go on holiday, your wellbeing does too. Instead, more and more travellers are incorporating wellness and lasting benefits […]

Surfing: Five more no-boys-allowed surf and yoga retreats

Maid in the shade: Surf Dames hosts luxury surf camps at Raglan in New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images GREAT ESCAPE Escape Haven runs luxury week-long surf and yoga retreats exclusively for women in Bali, Byron Bay and Sagres, Portugal. Packages include surf and yoga lessons, meditation sessions, massages, most food and a full-day tour. Prices […]

Take a moment for the slow travel movement

Slow travel SPONSORED Ticking off as many tourist attractions as you can used to be a prerequisite of a good holiday. The problem was, all that rushing around often meant you’d come home more exhausted than when you’d left. Being burnt out after your holidays just didn’t make sense, especially if you had a stressful […]

Taking the waters: the best spas in Victoria and Melbourne

Peninsula Hot Springs has a hilltop spa with 360-degree views of the Mornington Peninsula. Photo: Supplied Star gaze at the Peninsula Hot Springs. Photo: Supplied Warnambool Pool: You might find yourself alone, gliding up and down in the orange-tinged waters, absorbing the goodness (sulfur, bicarbonate, sodium, magnesium, potassium and chloride) into your body. Photo: Supplied […]

Talalla Retreat, Sri Lanka: A refreshing retreat experience

A beach in southern Sri Lanka. When you decide to take a few days for yourself, to slip away from the wild world and disappear into the quiet folds of a retreat, the last thing you want to see as you arrive at said retreat is a young child. Alas, within minutes of entering Talalla […]

Healthy holidays: 50 best wellness retreats, spas and feel-good destinations

Reggaelates at Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa. We’ve come a long way since wellness travel involved packing runners in case you could squeeze in an early morning jog, or goggles for a few laps of a chlorine-rich pool. If you were really lucky, perhaps it was a Swedish massage at a rudimentary hotel […]

‘Happy ending’, or legit? How to choose the right massage parlour overseas

You never know what kind of experience is on offer. Photo: Alamy Having a massage in another country can be one of the most delightful experiences of overseas travel – or the most challenging. Getting (nearly) naked in the company of a complete stranger with whom you haven’t even had a drink beforehand doesn’t come […]

Cryotherapy the cold, hard facts on the world’s coolest spa trend

Cryotherapy – cryo comes from the Greek word for ‘icy’ or ‘cold’. Photo: iStock Having worked for a spa magazine in my formative years, I’ve become pretty au fait with obscure treatments over the years. I’ve been pummelled with sticks of bamboo in the name of tension relief; I’ve had salt thrown at me to […]

Countries with the longest life expectancy: The 10 countries where people live longest

Italy outranks Australia when it comes to living a long life, with an average life expectancy of 82 years. Photo: Shutterstock Live long and prosper, they say – though it would seem like a more accurate statement to say, “Prosper, and live long.” Taking a glance at the countries around the world with the longest […]

Oasia Hotel Downtown review: The Singapore wellness hotel that can make you feel better

Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore: Lots of touches designed to create a sense of wellbeing. Photo: Supplied THE PLACE Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore LOCATION At first glance the new Oasia Hotel Downtown Singapore resembles any of Singapore’s flash new hotels, although the beginnings of a vertical garden growing on its striking red facade gives some clue […]

Wellness holidays: World’s 15 most amazing spa retreats

Radiance Retreats in the Pyrenees. Facilitated by renowned Byron yogi Jessie Chapman, these lush retreats are a mix of yoga and meditation, nutritional talks, guided nature walks, gourmet meals, cleansing juices and massage treatments. KAMALAYA, KOH SAMUI. The extraordinary, wellness retreat – favoured by the likes of Sarah Ferguson, Elle McPherson, Oliver Stone and Annie […]

The world’s best and most luxurious retreats worth busting your budget

The relaxation area at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. Face it. Few experiences are as soothing as stepping into a luxury spa, where the air is scented with aromatic oils and the softly spoken therapists seem to anticipate your every need. Peek behind the scenes, however, and you will find that feeling good is big business. […]

The world’s best and most luxurious retreats worth busting your budget

The relaxation area at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. Face it. Few experiences are as soothing as stepping into a luxury spa, where the air is scented with aromatic oils and the softly spoken therapists seem to anticipate your every need. Peek behind the scenes, however, and you will find that feeling good is big business. […]

World’s best hotel spas and spa retreats: The top 25 places for rest and relaxation

Four Seasons Sayan, Bali. This slick, contemporary hotel is made for holistic holidaymakers who are unwilling to forgo five-star comforts while soul searching. Four Seasons Sayan, Bali. This slick, contemporary hotel is made for holistic holidaymakers who are unwilling to forgo five-star comforts while soul searching. Four Seasons Sayan, Bali. This slick, contemporary hotel is […]

Lotus Spa, Emerald Princess: Getting a facial on a cruise ship (from a man’s perspective)

Spas on cruise ships can offer a range of wellness treatments including facials. Photo: Alamy Gunta from Latvia has screwed up her face in what I can only assume is some sort of bastard love child of awe and disgust. So I say it again: “No, I’ve never had a facial.” She’s still looking at […]

Tipi Valley, Portugal: Where Bali meets Europe

Praia de Odeceixe, Portugal. Photo: Alamy Yoga, surfing and spectacular beaches. Sound like Bali? Think again. Life is simple on the south-western tip of Europe. On Portugal’s western Algarve, people live from fishing boat to table, men in woollen caps stand in the sun outside family-owned cafes lingering over espressos and cigarettes, and it’s not […]

Best places to swim in cities: Top 10 urban swimming spots

LA BAIGNADE, CANAL DE L’OURCQ, PARIS: Naughty swimmers have been breaking the rules and taking a dip here for years but 2017 is the first time in decades that swimming has been legal in the canal at La Villette in the city’s north-east. Swimmers are corralled in three large floating pontoons and the sheer giddy […]

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