Ventana Big Sur | Big Sur Spa Suite
Warm up by the fire inside the Big Sur Suite / ©Ventana Big Sur
One of the most famous landscapes in the world, Big Sur is a gorgeously rugged, redwood-lined stretch of untouched coastal scenes (that often mist over, creating an eerily beautiful sight), seaside cliffs and undulating mountains. Among this striking scenery, just off the Pacific Coast Highway, is the Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort. Coveted the world over for its rustic, back-to-nature vibe, the adults-only resort is in a prime spot — enveloped by soaring forests and the deep, vast waters of the Pacific. With 160 acres yet only 59 guest rooms and suites, you can be sure of an intimate, private getaway in nature.
While the views alone inspire a zen-like calm (ventana means ‘window’ in Spanish), book the Big Sur Spa Suite for a romantic, relaxing stay. The inviting hot tub on the large wooden deck has exceptional views wherever you look: ocean, canyon or forest — take your pick — and enjoy them with a drink from the artisan-curated minibar. Grab your favorite book and spend sun-kissed days relaxing in the oversized hammock as it sways in the gentle breeze. Inside, there is a charming dining alcove and wet bar — have a nightcap in front of the wood-burning fireplace. In the large stone-adorned bathroom you’ll find an inviting bathtub for two.
[See also: The 7 Best Restaurants in California]
Wellness wonder: Choose from a number of complimentary activities: Head out on a guided hike through the towering redwoods and other local flora, and keep your eyes peeled to spot condors, eagles and red-tailed hawks. There are daily yoga, tai chi or meditation classes in either small groups or private sessions. Every afternoon, there is a wine tasting and cheese pairing. Life is about balance, after all.
Big Sur Spa Suite from $1,925 per night. Contact Seán Carney, generalmanager, email@example.com, +1 800 628 6500, ventanabigsur.com
Calilo | The Calilo Suite
Ios Island, Greece
Dreamy views over the Bay of Papas from the large outdoor marble pool / ©Calilo
In the heart of the Cyclades, cocooned by the cerulean waters of the Aegean Sea, stands Ios Island. Sister islands Mykonos and Santorini are close by, and you can expect the same chic beauty here. While it has a reputation as a ‘party island,’ (one side, near the main town, is full of hedonistic backpackers and college students, and is easily accessible should you wish to cut loose), tranquility can be found on the ‘tamer’ side of the island. Calilo hotel resides in peaceful solitude — tucked away on its own beach, surrounded by hundreds of acres of untouched, striking scenery with meandering coastal paths scented with thyme and oregano. The hotel is fashioned from local stone and thus is seamless with its surroundings. Each suite features tens of thousands of pieces of local marble — the most intricate of which is The Calilo Suite.
It took 13 months to install around 205,000 handcrafted marble pieces to create the über-unique abode. It has dreamy views over the Bay of Papas, and water is a theme here: There is a large outdoor marble pool, an indoor cave pool with a swim-up bar and a swinging double bed over water, ponds, a recessed-in-water lounge for four and a natural rock shower. Have an in-suite massage — the hot stone or hot shell massages are delightful — or try the signature aromatherapy massage, which uses oils infused with local herbs.
Wellness wonder: Ios has some 36 beaches, only a handful of which have been commercialized, and most are reached only by sea or by foot. The famous poet Homer is thought to have seen his last sunset on the island (his grave is said to be at Plakoto, the northernmost part of the island, on a hill). Embark on your own odyssey with a private boat for the day—explore hidden coves and untouched sands, and swim in the turquoise waters.
From $1,390 per night. Contact Vassiliki Petridou-Michalopoulos, operations manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +30 697 011 4922, calilo.com
Royal Savoy Lausanne | Penthouse
The Penthouse occupies the entire top floor of the hotel / ©Royal Savoy Lausanne
The Swiss are renowned for taking health and wellness seriously — the country has myriad wellness destinations, from natural hot spring resorts to medical spas. The Royal Savoy Lausanne, a veritable lesson in old-school luxury, is Lausanne’s grand dame. The hotel has been standing proud since 1909 and has acted as a haven for aristocrats and royalty. The whimsical facade wouldn’t look out of place in a Baz Luhrmann flick with its magical Art Nouveau, castle-esque structure. The hotel had a six-year, multi-million-dollar renovation, which brought with it an elegant brasserie, pruned gardens, a rooftop bar with views of Lake Geneva and an exceptional spa spanning some 16,000 sq ft.
The spa, known as Spa du Royal, has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, saunas, steam baths, cold baths, ice fountains, a hair and beauty salon, a gym and treatment rooms. But for your own slice of the spa life, check into the Penthouse. Occupying the entire top floor of the hotel, it has a 3,875-sq-ft terrace (the same size as the interior) with sublime views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Inside, there’s a library, dining room, cozy living room and a kitchenette with separate access for service staff. The Penthouse has a well equipped gym — in-suite personal training sessions can be arranged — and a sauna and hammam to soothe those sore muscles post-workout.
Wellness wonder: Head to a private wine tasting with the Royal Savoy’s expert sommelier, Benjamin. Sample the finest local Swiss varieties, including those from the surrounding Lavaux vineyards.
Penthouse from $10,600 per night. Contact Hassan Koubeissy, assistant director of sales, email@example.com, +41 216 148 886, royalsavoylausanne.com
Rosewood Mayakoba | Wellness Suites
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The Wellness Suite at Rosewood Mayakoba / ©Rosewood
Embraced by a curving, mile-long stretch of bone-white sand, emerald lagoons and a flourishing mangrove jungle, Rosewood Mayakoba’s destination alone almost insists upon relaxation. The hotel’s spa, Sense, is located on its own private island in the middle of the resort, and there are tons of quirky and innovative programs including Ayurdevic treatments, a multi-day ‘Journey to Resilience,’ and a four-day ceremony with a resident shaman. The resort has also partnered with Eleonora Mendoza AC, a nonprofit organization, to help those in the community by providing workshops to help deal with stress and anxiety.
[See also: The Ultimate Luxury Guide to Mexico City]
To fully immerse yourself, book one of eight Wellness Suites. Sitting at the edge of the sparkling lagoon on the spa’s island, the one-bedroom, two-bathroom loft-style abodes are the epitome of calm. Each one has a meditation pavilion (specially designed for yoga, consultations and meditation), a reflexology fountain (it activates acupressure points on your feet as you walk through the footpath, designed to stimulate neurological zones and energy meridians), a heated plunge pool and a boat dock.
Wellness wonder: Guests of the Wellness Suite have their very own ‘Well-Being Butler.’ The ‘Four Element Ritual’ is a meditative experience (best practiced in the evening), prepared by your butler, which calls upon fire, earth, wind and water.
From $1,150 per night. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, +52 984 875 8000, rosewoodhotels.com
Amanemu | Tsuki Villa
The sleek, minimalistic hotel is in the style of a classic ryokan / ©Amanemu
Built around natural hot springs (onsen) in Japan’s thickly forested Ise-Shima National Park and overlooking Ago Bay (aka the birthplace of the pearl) is Amanemu, Aman’s second outpost in Japan. The sleek, minimalistic hotel is in the style of a classic ryokan (a type of traditional Japanese inn that typically features tatami-matted rooms), albeit an über luxe version. The Tsuki Villa is a 3,617-sq-ft haven of simplicity and style — it overlooks its own thriving garden, and the villa is styled around indoor/outdoor living. The two en-suite bedrooms open onto private verandas; the expansive living area opens out onto a balcony that has daybeds and alfresco dining for six.
[See also: Discover Real Japan on the Three Star Road – Part 1]
Across the garden lies a separate pavilion where you’ll find the villa’s private onsen amenities with hot-spring-fed baths indoors and out. Onsen have been used for relaxation and healing for centuries — legend has it that the samurai would bathe in the waters to soothe wounds after battle. Assuming you won’t need quite that much healing power, the onsen water still has myriad health benefits from reducing stress, pain relief (especially for those with joint problems), and treating skin problems such as eczema.
Wellness wonder: Ise Jingu, also known as Ise Grand Shrine, is one of the most sacred sites in Japan; it dates back to the third century. Explore the shrine with an expert guide, and wear a traditional kimono to witness morning prayers and the ritual dance to the deities, and discover places that are usually out-of-bounds to visitors.
From $4,350 per night. Contact Noriko Tanaka, general manager, email@example.com, +1 833 654 2626, aman.com
Miraval Arizona | The Zen Villa
The stunning spa pool at Miraval Arizona / ©Miraval
A pioneer in well-being, Miraval has a sterling reputation for its all-encompassing offerings in sublime locales. Offering transformative ‘journeys’ that are designed to stay with guests long after checkout, the brand has a cult-like following. Even before you’ve booked, you choose the ‘intention’ of your stay, whether that is mental well-being, a couples’ retreat, or dealing with grief and loss, and are presented with a sample itinerary that you can make all your own. The flagship resort, Miraval Arizona, is at the base of the soaring Catalina Mountains and set among 400 acres of sunny Sonoran beauty.
The aptly named Zen Villa has exceptional views of the mountains from the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the villa’s secluded spot will make it feel like the view is all yours. The villa has two king bedrooms with full bathrooms, one queen bedroom, a gourmet kitchen, private spas, a large terrace and a plunge pool with swim jets. Creating a home-away-from-home, guests of the villa can have groceries, wine and drinks pre-stocked, and chef services are available, plus in-villa programs and massages.
Wellness wonder: There is a daily activity planner, and no two days are quite the same: Think yoga, strenuous hikes, barre, mountain biking and cardio drumming. But Miraval’s culinary offerings are also bountiful — from cooking lessons with master chefs to learning about the world’s five Blue Zones (Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California), and why those who reside there live longer than average.
From $2,439 per night. Contact Mark Stebbings, general manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 800 825 4000, miravalresorts.com
Six Senses Ibiza | Cave Royale Suite
The Cave Royale Suite is an oversized hideaway with a soaking tub mere steps from the oversized bed / ©Six Senses
Synonymous with health and wellness, the Six Senses unique brand of sustainable, authentic resorts has resulted in a devout following of guests who return again and again. Its latest offering, the Six Senses Ibiza, opened in July this year on the boho-luxe island and is the first BREEAM-certified (sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings) resort in the Balearics. The vision of architect and developer Jonathan Leitersdorf, the resort sits on the northern tip of Ibiza, above the tranquil Cala Xarraca Bay, and has a number of cave suites built right into the coastal cliffs.
One of the most magnificent is the Cave Royale Suite, an oversized hideaway with a soaking tub mere steps from the oversized bed, full bar, grand piano and enormous bathroom. The expansive terrace is just made for lazy, hazy days in the sunshine with lounge chairs, an outdoor tub and a dining table — all with views over the crystalline bay. And, for when creativity strikes, there’s a secret door leading to a fully equipped recording studio below (yes, really.) Listening to music has been shown to lower levels of cortisol in the body, and creating your very own sweet music has been linked to improved brain resilience.
Wellness wonder: The Farmat Six Senses Ibiza is a 400-year-old olive press and agricultural estate. Green fingers at the ready — you can help plant and grow organic produce (most of which will supply the resort’s restaurants and juice bar) while learning from the resort’s chefs.
From $5,500 per night. Contact Sandra Asensio, reservations supervisor, email@example.com, + 34 871 005 600, sixsenses.com
Matakauri Lodge | Owner’s Cottage
Queenstown, New Zealand
This Relais & Châteaux property is set right on the lightning-bolt-shaped Lake Wakatipu / ©Matakauri Lodge
Wellness comes in many forms. Spending time with your nearest and dearest might be the thing that soothes you; Matakauri Lodge in New Zealand is made for a multi-generational getaway in the serene outdoors. This Relais & Châteaux property has just 12 lodgings and is set right on the lightning-bolt-shaped Lake Wakatipu. Formed by glaciers more than 15,000 years ago, the lake is the site of Maori legend: The story goes that an evil giant named Matau, who kidnapped the village chief’s daughter, rests beneath the lake, and the moving tide is thought to be caused by his beating heart.
While most of the accommodations have spectacular views of the lake, the sapphire-blue waters are best enjoyed from the freestanding Owner’s Cottage, a 5,000-sq-ft haven with four bedrooms, a spacious sitting and dining room with roaring fireplace, a study and a courtyard with BBQ. On the expansive balcony you’ll find a bubbling infinity-edge hot tub that looks out over the lake and the soaring Cecil Peak and Walter Peak, and the Remarkables mountain range.
Wellness wonder: A favorite activity of the owners and their family, this helicopter adventure takes off from behind the lodge and soars over the Milford Sound. Land at an alpine lake for a picnic; drive eco-friendly golf balls off a mountain range; hike through a rain forest, or try your hand at catching a trout or two.
From $9,650 per night. Contact John Lewis, guest relations manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +64 344 110 08, robertsonlodges.com
Coworth Park | The Dower House
Dower House was first built in 1755 and retains its gorgeous Georgian features / ©Dorchester Collection
About an hour away from London, you’ll find Coworth Park — a resplendent Georgian manor that sits on 240 acres of impossibly pretty meadow. It’s the only hotel in the UK with its own polo grounds (hardly surprising considering its equestrian-loving location in Ascot), so naturally, horseback riding (including off-road hacking and special experiences for little ones) is a must. There’s also a polo academy for players of all abilities, including beginners.
The Dower House is like a manor house within a manor house and is perfect for living out any bucolic cottage core fantasies. The Grade II-listed building was first built in 1755 and retains its gorgeous Georgian features — think wooden structures and exposed-brick fireplaces. It spans some 3,283 sq ft and has three en-suite bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen (personal chef service is available on request), dining room, study, two fireplaces, plus a private gated entrance and parking. Feel the soothing tranquility of nature in your own blossoming garden, complete with a running stream where you might spot the resident family of swans.
Wellness wonder: While you can have treatments in the comfort of The Dower House, the spa at Coworth Park is not to be missed. The futuristic, crescent shaped structure is tucked away next to a thick, verdant forest. Inside, you’ll find an excellent gym, steam room, swimming pool and the ‘Spatisserie’ serving healthy cuisine and indulgent treats.
From $5,540 per night. Contact Zoe Jenkins, general manager, email@example.com, +1 855 900 7009, dorchestercollection.com
[See also: Iconic Spas of the 21st Century]