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5 Hotels that Define Modern Wellness Travel

Annie Gabillet

Do you ever get home from a trip and feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? If you said yes, for your next adventure consider a hotel that is focused on making you slow down, treat your body well, and relax your mind. 

Today, many properties are meeting travelers’ expectations when it comes to relaxation, but only a few are truly raising the bar to define modern wellness travel. “With ‘wellness’ being such a buzzword, it can be difficult to discern which are actually breaking the mold, versus the properties that simply have wellness elements,” Erina Pindar Chamberlain, the managing director of full-service travel agency SmartFlyer, told me. Luckily, she can identify the real-deal. 

SmartFlyer’s job is to cut through the noise, so we asked Erina to share the hotels she’s really excited about in the wellness space. “Oftentimes, wellness focus trips are precipitated by some kind of big life event. Whether it be an anniversary, birthday, or even divorce, it’s important that we know why a client is traveling,” she advised. Finding that perfect fit is how experts on her team can help. To jumpstart your daydreaming, here are five hotels that will make sure you feel good when you’re there — and when you return. Not that you’ll want to leave . . .

COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali

Courtesy SmartFlyer

How does an escape to Bali’s rainforest sound? COMO Shambhala Estate stands out with resident experts including a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic doctor, and in-house dietician. ”Whether you’re looking for a yoga retreat or a total wellness overhaul, this Balinese oasis offers a nurturing environment for guests of all backgrounds,” Erina explained. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

Rosewood Phuket

Courtesy SmartFlyer

Nestled in an exquisite Emerald Bay, Rosewood Phuket might just be the ultimate Thai retreat. “The property’s Asaya wellness program offers a deeper level well-being experience with therapies that deliver a mind, body, and spiritual connection,” Erina said. The word Asaya literally means “understanding where you came from” in Sanskrit. “The idea is to embrace your personal journey to self-acceptance. It’s much more than a spa,” she added. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

Alternative treatment options include Sound Therapy, Watsu, and Lifeforce Healing. At Rosewood Phuket, guests can explore curated wellness journeys that focus on mindful eating, meditation, body, and movement. “Think: energy healing through Reiki, abdominal massage with Chi Nei Tsang, as well as more traditional mediation and yoga,” Erina explained.

Courtesy SmartFlyer

Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

The Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti opens August 1, 2019 and has an innate beauty that can be experienced in every season, according to Erina. “In winter, glaciers and snow-capped peaks are the ideal destination for skiers of all levels; while in summer, the idyllic green mountains of the Dolomites provide the perfect sets for hikers,” she said. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

You can also find two golf courses located just a few minutes from the resort. And those who are looking for adventures may choose among horse riding and mountain bike excursions. “The property will cater to those who want relaxation with a fabulous spa. Or, for the more actively-inclined, Lefay’s setting is literally nature’s doorstep,” Erina told us. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

Canyon Ranch Woodside Retreat

Courtesy SmartFlyer

As a brand that was on the forefront of wellness 40 years ago, Canyon Ranch isn’t exactly known for being on the cutting edge of modern wellness, Erina admitted. But she assured us that their newest location in California will flip the script and lead the way with a new retreat concept when it opens in October 2019. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

“While their Tucson and Lenox properties offer a more resort-style environment, Woodside will have just 38 rooms, with the majority being treehouse-style accommodation.” She tells clients to just imagine sipping your coffee on your own deck under the canopy of the idyllic Redwoods in this intimate setting. “The natural environment alone could be considered wellness, but they’ll take it to the next level with their world-renowned culinary offerings and stellar spa,” she added. Food options will include include vegan, pescatarian, and paleo delicacies. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

EQUINOX Hotel

Courtesy SmartFlyer

All eyes are on Equinox Hotel, set to open in July in a Hudson Yards, a neighborhood Erina described as ‘the new cultural crucible of New York City.” Aside from its close proximity to SmartFlyer HQ, Erina’s team loves that the concept goes far beyond a fancy gym. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

“Equinox Hotel has been tailor-made for the traveler that believes in a life well-lived, including indulging in the finer things,” she said. When guests return from business meetings that turn into late nights-out, the property’s focus on sleep science will come in handy. “CEO Christopher Norton, formerly of Four Seasons, home-tested dozens of mattresses, finally landing on a collaboration with Cocomat for one free of metal springs,” Erina said. Then, there’s also the room itself: “Equinox Hotel designed their 212 rooms to provide the optimum sleeping conditions for the best night of sleep in your life.” We’ll have to test it out. 

Courtesy SmartFlyer

When you’re going away to recharge, Erina said the SmartFlyer team will help coordinate all the details with the property well in advance so you can just sit back and relax. “Their arrival should be anticipated to ensure travelers feel taken care of from the second they step foot at the airport. VIP airport arrival, expedited customs, car transfers, spa bookings, personal training sessions, dinner reservations, babysitting services, whatever it may be that they need to really enjoy their trip, we handle it all.” Sign us up.