Wellness travel is no longer for a tiny, elite group of wealthy tourists. Gone are the days of overpriced luxurious destination spa packages being your only option for primary wellness travel in the U.S. Nowadays, taking a retreat has never been more accessible. Still, it took time for Western wellness practices to adopt a more holistic and down-to-earth Eastern style of the retreat experience. Fortunately, we have, and it doesn’t involve many overpriced luxurious gimmicks that don’t do much for your wellness!
You can find authentic wellness retreats across the U.S., from Arizona to Florida and (of course) California — home to some of the world’s best Western and Eastern-style wellness retreats.
We rounded up California’s 20 best wellness retreats by analyzing Google reviews and ratings for 240 wellness destinations in the state to ensure the best possible recommendations using data science. See our methodology for a full explanation.
What is a Wellness Retreat? They “offer a full-immersion spa experience in which all guests participate,” according to the Global Wellness Institute. “In addition to spa and body treatments, all-inclusive programs typically include a myriad of other offerings such as fitness, mind/body, special diets and cleanses, energy work, personal coaching, nutritional counseling, weight loss, sports medicine, preventive or curative medical services, etc.” These are places for adults who come for self-improvement. Expect to adhere to the program schedules, unlike hotel/resort spas.
From quiet, rustic lodges to retreat learning centers to classic destination spas, our list has something for anyone looking to get a break from it all! Here is everything you’ll find out about on this page:
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Here is a table and a map of California’s 20 best wellness retreats.
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Our research team operates independently to recommend the best destinations using data analysis. Our top recommendations are based solely on data extraction, a ranking algorithm, and a strict-as-possible definition of “wellness retreat.” Our research is editorially independent, but we may earn a commission for any purchases made through links on this page.
The analysis is based on extensive primary data research and secondary expert sources from April to May 2022, including literature reviews and database formulation through visual web data extraction software. Sources include global research institutes, industry-specific businesses, travel promotion publications, booking websites, encyclopedias, travel magazines, health information websites, and industry associations.
The rankings are based on an analysis of 240 yoga retreats in California. We used Octoparse, a data extraction tool, to find these destinations on Google Maps. All data were extracted between 4/23/22-4/27/22. Our algorithm gives each location a score by weighing its number of Google reviews against its average Google Review Score. Our scores are on a 5-point scale.
We used our wellness retreat definition, built off the Global Wellness Institute’s definitions, to individually examine every resort that our data extraction tool found and eliminated destinations that did not adhere to the description.
Our algorithm is proprietary, but if you want to build a similar project, please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected], and we can walk you through the process. You can download a spreadsheet of the top 20 destinations based on our analysis here. Please feel free to use or share this data with whoever may find this helpful — we ask that your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page so its contributors can receive proper credit for their work.
Octoparse, Google Maps, Excel, Tableau, and Flourish are the tools used to gather, analyze, clean and create data for visualizations in this article.
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