One of the main components of optimal wellbeing is paying attention to our personal needs on a regular basis. This means addressing and balancing our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. In our busy, noisy and hectic modern world, where stress-filled lifestyles are all too common, this has become more important than ever. We must make proper self-care a priority if we are to function optimally and enjoy a good quality of life. Otherwise, we risk subjecting ourselves to all sorts of imbalances and dis-ease that can impact us negatively on all levels of our being, and reduce the quality of our life.
Therefore, in order to thrive, we must make proper nourishment, sleep, movement and fresh air a priority on a daily basis. However, given the overwhelming physical, chemical, and digital challenges of modern life, we also need additional support on a regular basis. This will vary for each one of us, depending on our personal lifestyle and health needs, but in general will require effective time-outs that provide for deep relaxation, healing, balancing, and enjoyment. It may be as simple as participating in regular yoga and meditation classes during the week, or enjoying outdoor excursions on the weekends. However, it should also include some prolonged time-outs that consist of various getaways or vacations, during which we can fully unwind, unplug and rejuvenate.
Unfortunately the modern vacation doesn’t always provide benefits for our wellbeing, and may in fact put more stress on our already vulnerable system. Most people for example, consider their vacation time, a time to over-indulge in unhealthy foods and drinks. Additionally, some of us create or choose to participate in stressful itineraries that do little to offer the mental and physical relief we so desperately need. Hence for effective self-care, we must make sure that our time-out or vacation properly addresses and supports our whole-being health needs, so that we return adequately strengthened and refreshed.
In this article, I will share with you about several possible destinations that offer a variety of holistic healing programs designed to optimize the wellbeing of your mind, body and spirit. The criteria for choosing these ones specifically is that I have had some level of personal experience with them, that they have both a luxury and holistic component to them, and that they are also well-known, trusted and respected options worldwide.
(Please note, none of the below-mentioned facilities sponsored this article, and it is simply my intention to share this article with you for informational/inspirational purposes.)
Grail Springs Wellness Retreat
Location: Bancroft, ON, Canada
Holistic Paradigm: The Grail Springs is fully designed and intended to serve as a healing and holistic retreat getaway. Everything from the grounds to the rooms, activities and ambiance reflect its strong commitment to offer a deeply relaxing and transformative experience. It is a small and private, 13-room retreat, which allows each guest to receive personalized care and be treated like family. It also has several eco-tabins, which provide for a type of “glamping” (glamorous camping) experience during the warm parts of the year. Each of the rooms in the main building are uniquely appointed, and provide options for in-room fireplaces, specialty tubs, and other luxury touches.
Its main features include: optimally healthy cuisine, a yoga and meditation program, a wide variety of healing spa treatments and hydrotherapy options, several types of saunas, hiking trails, non-motorized water equipment, a boutique, local artist, expert coaches to support personal healing needs, inspirational documentaries, and an educational evening speaker series.
The Grail Springs is nestled amongst Ontario’s beautiful forests, in the midst of Canada’s crystal capital, and sits directly on the shore of a spring-fed lake. The clean, fresh and natural environment of the surroundings provides a powerful healing all on its own, and offers unique benefits during each of the four seasons. The interior, rooms and public areas, are professionally decorated by the founder’s interior design talents, and provide an atmosphere of luxurious elegance, balanced with comfort and warmth. No detail has been overlooked, and guests to the Grail Springs can instantly get a feel for the unique and positively transformative energy of the place.
Dietary Paradigm: An emphasis on whole, plant-based, organic and acid-alkaline balanced meals that are vegetarian (mostly vegan and gluten free). Guests are also offered herbal teas, healing elixirs and have a juicing option. There is no alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
Holistic Healing Spa: Offers numerous treatments for physical, mental, and emotional healing, which include various massage therapies, colonics, energy treatments, hydrotherapy, beauty treatments, weight loss treatments, detox treatments, and more.
Unique Offerings: Theme weeks, distinctive summer and winter activities, horseback riding, nature-trail guide, a labyrinth, and ceremonial teepee.
Personal connection: I have had the pleasure of speaking, teaching and offering retreats at the Grail Springs since 2012, and staying there as a guest as well on several occasions.
For more information visit: grailsprings.com
Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness Resort
Location: Urubamba, Cusco, Peru
Holistic Paradigm: The Aranwa Sacred Valley Resort is a large and spacious property of 101 rooms and 14 suites, nestled in the lush Urubamba valley, on the Vilcanota River. The grounds are stunning with their gardens, inland lakes, and some local wildlife, and the buildings and interiors are picturesque. The resort provides for a great balance of luxury, beauty, simplicity and comfort. The rooms are very spacious, offer some unparalleled comforts, and are decorated in colonial, modern and minimalist-styles. The entrance and lobby provide a great first impression and the flower-filled grounds are a delight to walk through. Although the resort provides some of the common vacation offerings, like an alcoholic bar and common animal-centric cuisine, it also has a clear wellness component and atmosphere.
Its main features include: the largest wellness center in the region, a yoga and meditation space, two restaurants, a bar, a swimming pool, a chapel, event room facilities, a boutique, a small museum and art gallery featuring local artists, a movie theatre, a library, a beauty salon, a fitness center, a few short paths for walking, and health and wellness recovery programs.
Aside from its many offerings, one of the other big selling features of this wellness resort is its proximity to the historic city of Cusco and the sacred site of Machu Picchu. The Aranwa Sacred Valley Resort offers one of the most dreamy, story-book settings, which provides a rich and healing sensory experience, thanks to its Colonial architecture, surrounding mountains, lush greenery and colorful botanicals.
Dietary Paradigm: There is an emphasis on more wholesome, high-quality, locally-sourced and healthy meals, though guests have the selection of typical plant and animal foods. Vegan/vegetarian accommodations are possible. Common beverages of all kinds are available, so it is up to each guest to make personally-aligned healthy choices.
Holistic Healing Spa: Unno spa offers numerous treatments aimed for physical, mental, and emotional healing, which include various massage therapies, hydrotherapy, oxygen and aromatherapy room treatments, beauty treatments, Ayurveda treatments, and more.
Unique Offerings: On-site llamas and other local birds and animals, a variety of personal activity options, and access to local artwork and Shamans.
Personal connection: I have had the pleasure of visiting this property personally for a 5-day stay, as part of a spiritual group trip, in November 2011.
For more information visit: aranwahotels.com/en/sacred-valley
Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa Resort
Location: Koh Samui, Thailand
Holistic Paradigm: The Kamalaya Wellness Resort is another destination that is specifically focused on healing and rejuvenation of the mind, body and soul. The resort is located on the southern-most, secluded and quiet coast of the idyllic island of Koh Samui and is nothing short of a tranquil hideaway. It is set within a lush hillside, on the beach and features over 70 rooms and suites of all kinds. There are numerous unique luxury accommodations to choose from, and the decor boasts Asian elegance and simplicity, focused on natural furnishings and colors, which are amongst some of the most architecturally stunning. Although this section of the coast is not ideal for swimming, given the shallow water and rocky bottom, it provides good opportunities for some beach walks, sun gazing and beautiful boulder-etched nooks for meditation. In fact, the entire essence of the property and its approach is very meditative and provides for outstanding opportunity to go within and experience a deeply spiritual holiday. The resort landscape is also full of native and exotic plant and bird life, which provide for a rich and healing experience for the senses and integrative experience with nature.
Its main features include: wellness programs for all areas of physical, mental and emotional health, detox, stress and lifestyle support, yoga, meditation and fitness classes, spa, holistic medicine, on-site naturopathic, ayurvedic and other natural health doctors and specialists, a restaurant, cafe, tea lounge, activities and pools.
The Kamalaya healing experience rests on three pillars: the connection with nature, the integration of holistic wellness, and connection with people, and weaves in Buddhist principles for self-inquiry and peaceful living. The wide selection and focus on healing experiences truly make Kamalaya transcends the spa experience to deliver an empowering holistic lifestyle experience.
Dietary Paradigm: The resort focuses on providing guests a variety of healing food choices via its emphasis on fresh, local, seasonal, and organic produce, as well as extensive vegetarian options, raw dishes, fresh juices, tonics and herbal teas. They offer a specific Detox Cuisine, which features only low inflammatory, low allergenic and low GI vegetarian dishes. The menu also provides for a limited selection of animal-based (certain meat and goat dairy) dishes.
Holistic Healing Spa: The holistic spa offers one of the largest lines of treatments for physical, mental, and emotional healing, which include various massage therapies, energy treatments, hydrotherapy treatments, natural healing via Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Thai herb treatments, detox, colonics, lymphatic drainage, and more.
Unique Offerings: Guest presenters and special events, a holistic team of doctors and specialists, and specifically-tailored wellness packages.
Personal Connection: Although I did not stay at this property yet, I had the chance to experience the grounds and facility in person during a trip to the island in March 2013.
For more information visit: kamalaya.com
Villa del Palmar Loreto Resort & Spa
Location: Islands of Loreto, Meixco, Baja California Sur (Mexico)
Holistic Paradigm: The Villa del Palmar Loreto is part of the Villa Group of luxurious resorts. It is a new, roughly 5-year old, and large property, which will continue to grow with future developments. Currently it offers 180 rooms, which are composed mostly of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom suites. The bedroom suites are very spacious, offer two bathrooms, an in-room jacuzzi tub, and full kitchen with all the amenities one would require for in-room meal preparation. The overall decor and ambiance is of comfort and simplicity, with touches of luxury weaved throughout. This holiday destination offers the most common “resort-like” experience, as compared to the other options mentioned above, however it also offers a focused holistic wellness component that is available for those who seek it. Part of its holistic selling feature is its seclusion and privacy where one can go to truly unwind, detach and immerse themselves in the surrounding natural beauty.
Its main features include: a 39,000 square foot wellness center, which features a state-of-the-art spa facility, several pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, hiking trails, beach, golfing, yoga and meditation classes, non-motorized water equipment, childcare center, a convenience store, disco, daily activities, and nightly entertainment.
The Villa del Palmar Loreto is situated on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, facing the islands of Loreto and surrounded by Sierra de la Giganta mountains, amidst a desert landscape, providing for a diverse and unique connection with the natural world. Guests to this property can experience as many holistic and health-promoting activities as they like, or simply retreat into the tranquil natural surroundings for silence and solitude.
Dietary Paradigm: There is an emphasis on more wholesome, high-quality and healthy meals, though guests have the selection of typical plant and animal foods. Vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options are easily available and provide great variety and health considerations. Common beverages of all kinds are available, so it is up to each guest to make personally healthy choices. However, freshly made green juice is available for breakfast, and the Sabila Spa offers an optional juice therapy.
Holistic Healing Spa: Sabila spa offers numerous treatments aimed for physical, mental, and emotional healing, which include various massage therapies, hydrotherapy, beauty treatments, detox treatments, and more.
Unique Offerings: El Santuario yurts on the beach for yoga and meditation, beach party, nature-trail guide, and Janzu/Watsu water massage.
Personal connection: I had the pleasure of visiting this property personally for a 3-day stay, as part of a press trip, in April 2016. (Read my full review of Villa del Palmar Loreto here.)
For more information visit: villadelpalmarloreto.com
When we come to understand and respect the wholeness of our being and what it takes to thrive today, we begin to prioritize holistic living, where a balance is struck between our state of being and doing, and where the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states are each properly honored and nurtured. We cannot wait for others to tell us when the time is right for us to take a break, rejuvenate or re-balance. It is up to each one of us to invest appropriately in our own wellbeing. As I shared in the introduction, this must be a priority on a regular basis in our lives, on both a micro and macro scale, otherwise we risk burnout, chronic fatigue, weight problems, all sorts of acute and chronic diseases, and simply put living in a dissatisfied state, given the unnatural lifestyles promoted throughout our modern society.
As you can see, there are so many ways to invest in our own healing, balance and rejuvenation. We have so much choice today between the many classes, programs and offerings to make healthy living fit and work with our personal needs. In addition, we also have the option of enjoying some of the fully immersive, luxury holistic holiday experiences, as mentioned above. Whether you prefer a luxury holistic vacation or a rustic holistic vacation experience, know that there is something out there for everyone today.
The most important thing is simply to take your self-care seriously and commit yourself to making You a priority, where you work with your needs for the best wellbeing on a regular basis. Additionally, if we are to invest financially in a vacation or holiday, isn’t it worth it to have it support our state of health and wellbeing, rather than deplete it? Remember, your health is created via all the actions that you choose daily, so let’s be sure to choose wisely so that we can make the best of this life experience!