Whether you're hoping to maintain your healthy lifestyle on holiday, or kick-start new fitness and eating habits when you're away, it’s easier than ever to embrace wellness while travelling. From refreshing cryotherapy facials to microbiome-boosting superfoods, wellness techniques are now offered by hotels all over the world: a chance to try the latest practices, feel the benefits for yourself, and return with a new spring in your step. Here are five focuses – Mindfulness, Superfoods, Fitness, Beauty and Technology – to discover the latest wellness practices, and the best hotels to try them in.
One of today’s most powerful wellness practices is mindfulness: being fully present and engaged in the moment. It’s an especially useful tool for creating more meaningful travel experiences, by helping you slow down and fully take in the destination.
Many hotels now offer guidance from expert practitioners, alongside breathwork, yoga and spiritual energy workshops too. For example, yoga sessions at Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, Algarve focus on full-body harmony in private one-to-one classes, in addition to calming spa treatments. These personalised retreats are suitable for beginners and advanced yogis alike.
Meanwhile in Egypt, Marriott Mena House, Cairo, is set in lush landscaped gardens overlooking the Great Pyramids – the ideal setting for meditation, outdoor yoga, or simply sipping a soothing herbal tea in the presence of these ancient wonders. The hotel's decadent Saray Spa also offers locally-inspired treatments such as sea-salt baths, Dead Sea facials and a full-body immersion in milk and honey – in the manner of Queen Cleopatra herself.
Other top picks for mindful travellers include the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, whose rooftop hydropool has magnificent views of Scotland’s capital, and JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, an island retreat which hosts outdoor yoga and fitness workshops in its tranquil gardens, just a short boat ride from the treasures of Venice.
With new cuisines to try and room service at your fingertips, eating well isn’t always easy on the road. But as hotels respond to guests’ growing appetites for diverse menu options – from vegan and vegetarian dishes to microbiome-boosting superfoods – there’s no need to abandon your healthy diet while travelling.
On Dubai’s glittering seafront, Bounty Beets restaurant at Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark offers an abundance of organic, gluten-free and vegan options – from açai berry power bowls to sweet potato gnocchi – with options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Meanwhile in South Africa, at African Pride Irene Country Lodge, Autograph Collection in Pretoria, all of the hotel’s fresh dairy produce comes straight from its working farm, which guests are welcome to visit too. As well as buying and sampling the certified raw milk products, you can feed the cows and watch the milking process – and in calving season (September–November) even welcome them into the world. The hotel also offers a day spa, jogging trail and walking safaris in a nearby reserve.
Reducing food miles doesn’t just benefit the planet – it results in tastier, fresher, more nourishing food too, and helps to support local communities. The chefs at Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, and the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel in northern Spain have created hyper-local menus that change with the seasons. From fresh seafood to hand-harvested olive oil, this is wholesome, nutritious fare – great for your body, and the environment.
For active travellers with a sense of adventure, combining a run with sightseeing is a great way to discover a new city. Hotels are stepping up to the demand for ‘sightrunning’ by incorporating running concierges into their fitness offerings, alongside options for cycling trips and watersports trips too.
At The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, the hotel’s running concierge takes guests out onto the famous Ring Boulevard, on a 40-minute sightseeing jog that takes in the area’s most important sights, including the State Opera House and Museum of Fine Art. This is an action-packed primer on Vienna, and a great way to explore on a quick visit – or get your bearings before a more leisurely day of sightseeing.
In Tel Aviv, opt for a gentler sightseeing experience via bicycle: it’s a great cycling city, with 136km of dedicated bike lanes and wide boulevards. On the seafront, soak up the fresh Mediterranean air by pedalling along the promenade that stretches between the Sheraton Tel Aviv and The Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel; at both properties, the concierge can organise bike rental and sightseeing maps.
Want to see Cape Town from a whole new perspective? Join a kayaking tour out on the ocean: departing close to AC Hotel Cape Town Waterfront, Cape Kayak Adventures takes guests out onto the water to discover South Africa’s Table Bay coastline, for unforgettable views of Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and the 12 Apostles. Stay at The Westin Cape Town with its Heavenly Spa by Westin and soak up the views of the bay from the infinity pool.
From Middle Eastern hammam treatments to all-natural Mauritian massage oils, a nation’s beauty rituals reveal so much about its culture – and are always a joy to experience.
Indulge yourself with organic ingredients and local beauty products at the Hotel Arts Barcelona, Spain, whose spa treatments feature the luxury Spanish skincare brand, Natura Bissé – and W Verbier, which offers premium La Prairie and Phyto 5 cosmetics.
In Oman, the spa at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel offers skin-purifying treatments, including organic signature scrubs that use locally-sourced Arabic coffee, cardamom, raw sugar and rose oils.
Meanwhile in Mauritius, at Le Méridien Ile Maurice, you can unwind with body scrubs and massages infused with the island’s spices and oils. Traditional Indian Ayurvedic rituals are also offered, alongside yoga and meditation workshops.
Even if you’re away for a city break, it pays to take a little ‘me-time’ for yourself. For example, at The Westin Grand Munich, in Germany, the Deluxe Treatment includes a full-body peeling and aromatherapy massage, plus a hydrating hyaluronic acid facial: just the tonic after a long day exploring. The products are also on sale in its boutique, so you can recreate your spa experience when you return home, too.
If you love to workout while travelling – you’ll enjoy using the world-class cardio equipment which you’ll find in most Marriott properties. Or, try cutting-edge cryotherapy treatments at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha and The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain – which use sub-zero temperatures to stimulate blood flow and reduce inflammation.
Fitness buffs on a tight schedule can take advantage of virtual training in their hotel rooms, with on-demand exercise routines streamed through their room’s television or iPad. At selected Westin hotels you can enjoy high-performance “live” video spin classes whenever suits you and without leaving your room.
Many hotel apps have also embraced wellness, allowing users to book a spa service, order fitness gear, and even select mini-bar preferences for healthy snack and drink choices. Enjoy experiencing all that these hotels have to offer – and perhaps take a few new habits home with you, too.
Published: July 26, 2022
Last Updated: October 14, 2022