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Enter Your Eat, Pray, Love Era With 7 Of The World's Best Wellness Retreats

27/01/23

Author: Katelin Rice

DOCUMENTED BY: @aroharetreats

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Imagine waking up to the fresh smell of pine leaves. Your phone's alarm traded for the gentle sounds of morning birds. As you stretch out on your plush, 5-star bed, a soft streak of sunlight hits your face.

You get up and make your way to the restaurant for breakfast and a green juice that will taste infinitely better than anything you make at home. The rest of your day will be spent doing yoga, swimming, hiking and getting massaged.

This might sound like an impossibly relaxing pipe dream but it’s the reality of a wellness retreat. Spending a week offline at one of these destinations has become increasingly popular in the past five years as we yearn to look after our physical and mental health. This is #selfcare at its highest tier; an opportunity to truly rejuvenate your mind, body and soul (with as much – or as little – spiritual healing as you desire).

If this sounds like the manifestation of your wildest wellness dreams, we’ve rounded up seven of our favourite off-grid retreats that will help you reconnect with yourself and with nature (while considering the planet along the way). From sinking into natural hot springs to eating lunch from an on-site  regenerative farm, there’s a wellness retreat for everyone.

Soma

Byron Bay, Australia

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Documented By: @soma.byron

Soma

Byron Bay, Australia

It would only be right to start off this list of luxurious wellness offerings with Soma Byron, the backdrop for TV series Nine Perfect Strangers. Unlike the hellish experience that befalls Melissa McCarthy’s character, in real life the contemporary retreat is the perfect soul-reviving escape. 

Set on 22 hectares of rolling green hills and lush bamboo forest, Soma belongs to technology entrepreneur Peter Ostick and sought-after wellness and meditation practitioner Gary Gorrow (who has worked with celebrities including Cate Blanchett and Zoe Foster Blake). They regularly run courses on meditation, stress and anxiety management, and “rounding” which is an advanced form of Vedic Meditation

Alongside its plant-based menu and a slew of wellness facilities which includes an infinity pool, yoga dome, fire pit, zen garden, infrared sauna, and magnesium ice bath, there are 10 luxury guest rooms, each fitted with a king-size bed and rain shower. While the accommodation is modern and beautiful with expansive windows and sustainable architecture, the location is definitely the standout. “There's a tangible healing energy that emanates from this land,” Gary told Vogue. “We want everyone who comes to Soma to feel like they have entered an oasis far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”

Sterrekopje Farm

Franschhoek, South Africa

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Documented By: @sterrekopjefarm

Sterrekopje Farm

Franschhoek, South Africa

Looking for a once in a lifetime wellness experience? Cradled in the foothills of the Franschhoek mountains of South Africa lies Sterrekopje Farm, a tranquil place of healing, creativity and rest. It’s not exactly a retreat, resort or hotel, but rather an incorporation of all three. It’s designed to accommodate two to seven day stints, with activities customised to the duration of your stay. 

While the overarching focus is on rest, there are plenty of other roles to get involved in throughout your stay like yoga, pottery, painting and foraging. On that last point, Sterrekopje offers farm-to-table eating, using its seven hectares of productive garden and more than 60 varieties of indigenous and heritage plants to feed guests. Owners Nicole and Fleur recently restored Sterrekopje’s ancestral lands to be as fruitful and sustainable as they were generations ago, using regenerative farming practices to return nutrients to the soil and revitalise the surrounding ecosystem. 

Scattered across the 50-hectare property are 11 sanctuaries and suites, each fitted with one-of-a-kind art, hand crafted furniture, elaborate murals and the finest soft furnishings. Everything there has been carefully curated to foster deep restorative sleep and inspire contemplation and creativity. To top it all off, resident groundskeepers and hole diggers Winston and Frankie are on hand to show you around.

Castle Hot Springs

Arizona, United States of America

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Documented By: @castlehotsprings

Castle Hot Springs

Arizona, United States of America

Only an hour outside of Phoenix (and about 30 minutes away from consistent cell service) lies a true desert oasis: Castle Hot Springs. A stay here will become a memorable journey that includes access to hot springs, farm-to-table meals and activities like yoga, meditation, guided hikes, rock climbing and archery. It also offers tailored programs throughout the year, like a workshop to help improve your sleep with Dr. Rebecca Robbins. 

The naturally warm, mineral-rich geothermal hot springs have attracted people to the area for hundreds of years. Here you can take a soak before any spa treatment; including using the HaloIR booth, which combines dry salt inhalation and infrared light to help improve circulation. Nutritional nourishment comes courtesy of the property’s award winning restaurant which uses produce from its on-site gardens and greenhouse. You can also take a guided farm tour to learn more about biodiversity, the specific challenges of farming in a desert and how to incorporate better gardening practices at home.

Aro Hā

Glenorchy, New Zealand

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Documented By: @aroharetreats

Aro Hā

Glenorchy, New Zealand

Challenge old habits and inspire new ones with Aro Hā’s multi-award-winning health retreat. With views of the stunning Glenorchy backdrop, this retreat has been visited by Oprah, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon. The programs have been developed to fundamentally transform physical and emotional well-being through the cultivation of healthy daily habits. Forget alarm clocks, endless appointments and shots of coffee to navigate your day. Aro Hā will teach you how to reset your habits by waking to the chimes of a Tibetan bowl, watching the sunrise over the mountains from the yoga studio, eating plant-based food and hiking in nature. The evenings are all about rest and relaxation via infrared saunas and full body massage. 

The solar and hydro-powered suites and common areas are minimally styled to encourage the mind to focus on self-transformation and the surrounding natural beauty. Aro Hā translates to "in the presence of divine breath" in Māori, which is exactly how you’ll feel in this amazing setting away from technology and social media.

Gaia Retreat and Spa

Byron Bay, Australia

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Documented By: @gaiaretreat

Gaia Retreat and Spa

Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay is known as the spiritual and healing capital of Australia, gradually becoming a mecca for wellness enthusiasts. The region’s immense beauty and rolling landscapes are what attracted original co-founder Olivia Newton-John to open Gaia Retreat and Spa, a wellness sanctuary in the Bundjalung Country hinterland. 

The experience is described as “laidback-meets-luxe”, a place where you can indulge in a wellness experience to suit your own goals. Enjoy morning yoga classes and unwind at the spa which has a large menu of massages including lymphatic drainage and the popular Royal Kahuna treatment. The 22 elegantly appointed private villas, suites and guest rooms are all nestled amongst lush gardens and rainforest, adding to the property’s tranquil, rejuvenating effect.

The White Lodge

San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

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Documented By: @whitelodgebaja

The White Lodge

San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Whether you love to surf, or just enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline, The White Lodge is the perfect wellness and holistic spa for ocean-lovers. Hidden away in Mexico’s remote East Cape sits ten private suites, bungalows and cottages, all of which were hand-built using natural materials. Each room has a stunning minimalist design, with brightly lit spaces, thoughtful touches and, for some, a private indoor plunge pool.

The White Lodge's on-site spa, Zenica, offers ceremonies and rituals to nurture the mind and features a Temazcalli which is a traditional Aztec ceremonial wood fired sauna. You can also hire electric bikes to explore the nearby trails, wander around the Arroyo Seco ‘dry stream’ that weaves around the property or play a few holes of minigolf. The retreat runs entirely on solar power, the staff are all local to the area and the food is sourced locally and made fresh on site. Of all the retreats listed, The White Lodge is probably the most reasonably priced, particularly if you check out its package deals.

Secret Bay

Portsmouth, Dominica

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Documented By: @secretbay

Secret Bay

Portsmouth, Dominica

Perched over the cliffside of Dominica and fringed by a dramatic rainforest, Secret Bay is an intimate six-star getaway with unrivalled views of the Caribbean Sea. While it’s actually a resort at heart, Secret Bay also doubles as a holistic health retreat to add onto your stay. 

The 10 private cliff top villas come with their own indoor-outdoor living spaces, refreshing plunge pools and dedicated villa host. Experiences range from deep tissue massages with essential oils to reflexology, yoga and meditation practice and dermatological skin care using mineral-rich mud. The plan can also include a nutrition consultation with meals designed to optimise health. Guests also have access to two secluded beaches for moonlight strolls or the opportunity to take paddleboards, kayaks and snorkel gear to explore the calm shores and pristine reefs.

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Forest Bathing Soothing Bath Soak

Gracious Minds

Cotton Cashmere Robe

JH Lounge

Angel Eye Jellies

Foile

Ritual Serum

LESSE

Umber Towel

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Velvet Rose Restoring Body Oil

Gracious Minds

Luna Candle

Vahy

Bioactive Mask

LESSE

Pomegranate Seed Oil & Pink Clay Hand & Body Soap

SPHAERA

Daily Jelly Moisturiser

Foile

Regeneration Mist

LESSE

Milk Cleanser

MELYON

Jojoba Face Oil

Foile

Detox Serum

MELYON

Cotton Cashmere Robe

JH Lounge

Angel Eye Jellies

Foile

Neon Neroli Candle

Váhy

Body Lotion

MELYON

Olive Towel

købn

Crema Hand Towel

købn

Night Cream

MELYON

Clay Towel

købn

Cotton Cashmere Robe

JH Lounge

Day Cream

MELYON

Beyond The Surface Hybrid Serum Mist

Gracious Minds

Desert Nōmad Candle

Vahy

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