4 wellness retreats to make your holiday unforgettable

A traveller enjoys yoga at a serene mountain landscape. Picture: Unsplash

A traveller enjoys yoga at a serene mountain landscape. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 18, 2024


Wellness tourism has grown in popularity in recent years, marking a profound shift in how individuals approach travel. With the world accelerating in pace and connectivity, people seek more than leisure during their holidays and yearn for holistic well-being.

Club Med Southern Africa managing director Olivier Perillat-Piratoine said the wellness travel trend had surged due to a growing consciousness surrounding health and well-being and was also driven by concerns over stress, burnout and lifestyle-related ailments.

He said the trend had prompted more individuals to prioritise their health and integrate self-care practices into their lives.

“Modern travellers increasingly crave meaningful experiences that enrich their lives and create enduring memories. Wellness tourism offers a unique avenue to immerse oneself in transformative activities and connect with like-minded individuals.”

Perillat-Piratoine said widespread adoption of mindfulness practices, spirituality and self-care rituals had spurred interest in pursuits such as yoga, meditation and spa therapies on holiday.

“Many yearn for destinations that facilitate reconnection with nature, culture and community, providing a sense of authenticity and belonging to a wider collective.”

If you’re looking to experience a wellness holiday, here are four things to do for an unforgettable wellness experience:

Mindfulness and yoga retreats

Perillat-Piratoine said mindfulness excursions provided holidaymakers with an opportunity to deepen their practice in serene, natural settings.

The excursions typically featured daily yoga sessions, breathwork, meditation, nourishing meals and ample opportunities for relaxation and reflection.

“Bali, renowned for its lush landscapes and spiritual ambiance, offers an ideal backdrop for inner exploration.”

He said all-inclusive resorts, like Club Med La Plantation d’Albion, had integrated mindfulness practices, offering activities such as yoga sessions for the whole family and present-moment wellness workshops surrounded by the beauty of the Indian Ocean.

Cultural immersion

According to the UN World Tourism Organization, more than 40% of international tourists engage in cultural tourism, highlighting its significant role in the travel industry.

Cultural tourism offers opportunities for exploration and learning and people across the world seek connection and diversity, engaging in local traditions, cuisine and customs to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

“Engaging in foreign traditions during travels fosters appreciation for diverse cultures and promotes empathy, tolerance and intercultural understanding.

“This cultural exchange enriches travel experiences and contributes to personal growth and self-awareness,” it said.

Adventure wellness

Perillat-Piratoine said that for those seeking an adrenaline rush and physical health element, holidays that offered activities such as hiking, kayaking, surfing, skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking were ideal.

The activities provided cardiovascular exercise and stimulated the release of endorphins, promoting feelings of happiness and well-being.

“Club Med, a leader in all-inclusive holidays, offers over 30 diverse activities spanning land, water and air, catering to a wide range of interests and skill levels. The breathtaking landscapes encountered during these activities offer a natural antidote to stress, helping participants reconnect with themselves and the world around them.”

Spa getaways

Perillat-Piratoine said the ever-popular spa retreat focused on pampering through an array of therapeutic treatments such as massages, facials and body scrubs, designed to promote relaxation, stress relief and overall well-being.

“From luxurious resorts in Phuket to rustic getaways in Chiang Mai, Thailand is the perfect place to indulge in a range of experiences. Thai spas are renowned for integrating traditional practices like Thai massages, which combine acupressure, ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures.”

He said that that whether soothing weary muscles with a herbal compress or detoxifying your mind and body with a traditional Thai herbal steam bath, spa getaways provided an opportunity to unwind and recharge.

“The rise of mindful tourism represents more than just a passing trend; it signifies a profound shift towards holistic well-being in travel.

“By embracing this approach, one can embark on transformative journeys that rejuvenate the body, create lasting memories and promote a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle.”