Where to Travel to Get Healthy in 2017
Follow Diane Kruger, Oprah and Rob Lowe's leads to wellness-minded resorts in Bali, Ojai and Tulum, where it's not just about pampering but getting healthy, fit and happy.
For Angelenos, starting a new year often means a clean diet, detox plan, sober month, facial or massage. But by setting aside a few days or even weeks to get away, it’s possible to get an entirely fresh start: think laughter yoga and chakra healing in Bali, or a personalized lifestyle overhaul with an acclaimed fitness expert in the Maldives. After all, stars aren’t the only ones who should be indulging in cortisol-lowering, feel-good holidays.
At the lush Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan — where Julia Roberts stayed surrounded by emerald-hued nature while filming Eat, Pray, Love — every activity, class and spa treatment seems infused with extra magic from the island. Even without a full wellness itinerary, the riverside surroundings and Zen suites (with private pools) are totally calming. But add in one-of-a-kind treatments from the Sacred River Spa, including multi-sensory rituals to address each chakra, four-handed synchronized massages and traditional Balinese, Chinese and Indian ingredients and techniques, and a person can leave totally transformed. Other tempting treats include AntiGravity yoga in a lotus petal-inspired bamboo yoga bale, set above verdant rice paddies; and meditation classes plus Life Talks addressing loving kindness, relaxation and present-moment awareness by the resident Buddhist monk-turned-wellness healer, Ibu Fera. fourseasons.com/sayan
When he’s not on a yacht surrounded by models, Leonardo DiCaprio — Rihanna, too — has been found at Zurich’s opulent wellness hotel The Dolder Grand, which boasts a 43,000-square-foot spa haven that Oprah once tweeted was the "best spa ever." The pampering offerings include four totally customizable wellness programs that target relaxation, vitality, detox and beauty through hours-long itineraries including personal training sessions, bamboo shiatsu massage, meditation, and a variety of healing facials and body rituals (imagine a scalp massage while being cocooned, weightless, in a waterbed and enveloped in hydrating body cream). The expansive space includes, of course, the expected mirror-like pool along with a sanarium, steam bath, snow room, sunaburo room (where deep Japanese-inspired tubs full of pebbles warm as your body is immersed) and an infinity-edge whirlpool overlooking the lake and mountains beyond. thedoldergrand.com
The Beckhams and Rob Lowe have been known to unwind at the Maldives’ One&Only Reethi Rah, where unfathomably clear turquoise waters surround white powdery beaches and private lagoons. Serenity is practically guaranteed, thanks to an Instagrammable spa sanctuary with tailored treatments in sea-view villas. Techniques marry East and West with herbal poultices or warm volcanic stones, crystal steam rooms and swirling vitality pools. But if you’re looking to return home with a new body, that’s possible too. There’s yoga in an over-water pavilion or at sunrise on a private island, Pilates, and Power Plate training. Additionally, U.K.-based health and fitness expert Harry Jameson is holding several exclusive retreats at the resort in 2017 (the first from Jan. 15-21), which include full-body biometric and physiological assessments that comprise sleep monitoring, nutritional testing and body composition measurements pre-arrival so that he can build a perfectly individualized plan for the retreat. oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-reethi-rah-maldives
Since opening in 1923, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has been an easily accessible getaway for Hollywood, and has seen everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Brad Pitt on its bucolic grounds. The area is inherently peaceful, as the Chumash Indians always have believed, and that feeling oozes through to its guests. In the spa, more traditional modalities mix with less expected offerings, such sound energy therapy or a personal meditation pod called the somadome, which uses LED color therapy, binaural beat meditation and microcrystalline tiles (which reset the body’s meridian alignment and block energy emissions from electronic and magnetic fields) to intensely relax and restore the user. Guests can get in touch with nature via a Kuyam mud treatment in a Moroccan-tiled chamber, or embark on a guided hike or geocaching adventure. ojairesort.com
Over the holidays, Tulum’s Hotel Esencia was bursting at the seams with a who’s who including Diane Kruger, Kate Bosworth, Jason Wu, Rebecca Romijn with husband Jerry O’Connell, and Jane Lauder. They obviously were interested in the stunning Caribbean sea, snowy beach and, undoubtedly, fresh margaritas on offer, but also probably drawn to the hotel’s new palapa-roofed health club (which houses Pilates reformers), juice bar and spa. Starting with sunrise yoga, the destination is adept at shutting down stress, which only continues through bespoke treatments using ingredients harvested from the Caribbean water and jungle floor. A long list of therapies including rituals using cacao, coffee, lime and copal incense, as well as reiki, "emotional freedom technique," and, of course, a red carpet facial. Because even when Hollywood is off-duty, in this day and age of social media they must always be ready for their close-up. hotelesencia.com