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If you’re under the impression that traveling is an indulgence, you should know that it’s also something that’s good for your health and happiness, as it can significantly reduce stress, and help you have a more positive outlook on life over the long term. These vacations in particular can provide an incredible amount of stress-relief – so much so, that you’ll want to book a trip ASAP.
Abano Grand Hotel - Abano Terme, Italy
Abano Terme is Italy’s oldest spa destination, and located just a short distance from Venice and its picturesque canals. A sign at its entrance greets visitors with “Welcome. Please avoid disturbing noises,” which perfectly sums up this town that’s dedicated to rest and relaxation. The Abano Grand sits within its heart, surrounded by magnificent landscaping and parks. It boasts three thermal pools surrounded by lush greenery, and offers a variety of fabulous wellness treatments aimed to relax and heal, along with a number of gourmet eateries. There are customized programs too, including stress reduction.
Punta Placer Bungalows - Oaxaca, Mexico
This resort allows you to forget all of your cares by going off-the-grid for the ultimate in stress relief. It hosts a collection of only four beachfront bungalows set within the tiny village of San Agustinillo on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. Enjoy relaxing under the palm roofs among coconut trees, without the blare of a TV or the incessant buzz of your smartphone. Instead of surfing the web, you can surf the waves, swim with the protected sea turtles, hike in the Oaxaca rainforest and indulge in a heavenly aromatherapy massage. The sounds of the waves gently lapping against the shore just outside your door is the perfect way to be lulled to sleep at night too.
Aro Hā, New Zealand
Aro Hā translates to “in the presence of divine breath” and this wellness resort in New Zealand’s Southern Alps offers rejuvenation for mind and body. Guests can take part in the resort’s signature wellness adventures, which include sub alpine hiking, vinyasa yoga, and dynamic movement, as well as daily mindfulness practice and healthy vegetarian cuisine. The zen-like qualities of the resort come from its eco-friendly design that focuses on nature, health, self-development and adventure, rather than opulence. Aro Hā has eight accommodation units designed to encourage shared space and are furnished with sustainable materials. Rooms come with bathrobes, over-sized towels, organic body and shower products, laundry service and a separate drying room for hiking boots and jackets.
Ananda in the Himalayas - Uttaranchal, India
Ananda in the Himalayas is the ultimate meditation retreat. Set across a 100-acre estate, it offers sweeping vistas of the Ganges River and the temple villages of Haridwar and Rishikesh. One-on-one guided meditation sessions are customized to each individual’s needs,sometimes incorporating yogic breathing techniques or Buddhist teachings. In addition to meditation and yoga pavilions that are spread throughout gardens and the former maharajah’s palace, the property hosts a 21,000-square-foot-spa, a tea lounge and antique billiards room. Rooms, suites and villages echo the natural surroundings and feature balconies that provide more impressive mountain views.
Velaa Private Island, Maldives
Just about every high-end resort in the Maldives has an impressive spa, but the facility at Velaa Private Island is a notch or two above the rest. One of the world’s four My Blend by Clarins spas, it offers treatments that use products matched to a client’s skin type in an idyllic setting aimed to induce calm and relaxation. Treatments are provided in thatched cottages which stand on stilts right above the crystal clear, brilliant turquoise waters. Beyond the spa are silken sands and premiere diving opportunities, a lush, one-hectare golf course and a three-story wine cellar. Private cruises can be arranged on the resort’s yacht too. Or if you want to just relax and do nothing at all, you can always hang out in your villa, which includes a private pool and a dedicated butler.
Hermitage Bay - Saint Mary's, Antigua
The ultimate in barefoot luxury, Hermitage Bay is a five-star resort with 25 cottages that are tucked into 16 acres of brilliant tropical gardens, and fronted by a postcard-perfect beach with white, powdery sands. Toast to glorious sunsets with only the finest true Champagne from your private infinity plunge pool and enjoy Garden Spa treatments influenced by ancient Eastern concepts of the chakras. Gourmet cuisine is focused around locally sourced ingredients infused into Jamaican, Chinese and Indian dishes, served at a multi-tiered restaurant overlooking the water. The all-inclusive plan includes three meals a day and an afternoon snack, premium-brand drinks, house wines and French Champagne in the winter, along with a host of activities like snorkeling, kayaking and windsurfing along with yoga, Pilates and meditation classes.
AmaTierra - San Pablo, Costa Rica
This yoga eco-retreat and wellness center is an oasis of tranquility in San Pablo, Costa Rica. Nestled on 8 acres of forest in the Costa Rican mountains, AmaTierra is an all-inclusive holistic health resort and yoga retreat that offers personalized wellness retreats to treat your mind, body and spirit. Guests can participate in daily yoga and meditation classes in AmaTierra’s open-air yoga studio that overlooks a lush jungle valley. The resort also offers a range of rejuvenating wellness services including detoxification, energy balancing therapy, nutritional and herbal consultations, and massage therapy. Enjoy the serenity of the Costa Rican jungle in your private casita that features one or two queen-sized beds, a spacious private bath, as well as your own terrace and garden with outdoor seating.
Allison Inn & Spa - Newberg, Oregon
The Allison Inn & Spa in Oregon’s Willamette Valley blends seamlessly into its picturesque setting with subtle earth tones that match the surrounding gardens, vineyards and lush lawns.This region is home to more than 200 wineries, all within easy reach of the property, producing a wide range of varietals, including, of course, its internationally acclaimed Pinot Noir. Every room provides valley views from private balconies or terraces, cozy gas fireplaces, original works of art and impressive furnishings. The onsite restaurant, JORY, named after the volcanic clay soil indigenous to the area, is stocked with hundreds of local bottles, while its award-winning 15,000-square-foot spa even offers “pinotherapy” treatments and “mimosa massage.”
Chiva-Som - Hua Hin, Thailand
This stunning beachfront resort sits within seven acres of banyan-filled gardens and will make you feel as if you’re royalty. This was the region Thai kings chose for their summer palace – Klaikangwon Palace is located just a few minutes north. Guests enjoy a welcoming lemongrass tea followed by a consultation a personal adviser who plans a program that’s perfectly suited to each individual. It may include herbal massage, watsu treatments, cooking classes, yoga, meditation and tai chi. A private butler is assigned as well, continuing the exceptional, attentive service. Rates include all meals and beverages, one daily massage, wellness consultation, unlimited use of water therapy suites and a variety of leisure activities. Accommodations offer a ton of luxury and comfort too, with ocean rooms including a balcony that overlooks the pool, beach and the Gulf of Thailand. It would be nearly impossible to feel stressed by the time checkout comes.
New Camaldoli Hermitage - Big Sur, California
Set along the central coast of California, Big Sur boasts rugged mountains, old-growth redwoods and lush pine forests that extend down to beautiful beaches. New Camaldoli Hermitage, a working Benedictine monastery, offers the chance to enjoy the ultimate in peace and solitude among this spectacular scenery. Guests are invited, but not required, to attend daily prayers, while the rooms, private houses with gardens and outdoor spaces, offer wonderful spots for peace and tranquility while enjoying the sounds of the surf and soaking up jaw-dropping ocean views.