New York, New York Travel Agent
Spas and Wellness Travel
Many of my clients are very fitness oriented and frequently go on spa and wellness style vacations, as do I. So, when I was invited to attend a wellness seminar in Italy’s Lake District, I jumped at the chance. It was an intense training on the types of spas and health facilities and immersion experiences in treatment methods and health programs. I’m now a certified wellness planner with Travel Leaders and Virtuoso.
Resort spas around the world are excellent for many couples. One spouse can play golf, tennis or go mountain biking while the other takes yoga classes. Then they can unwind together with an indulgent soak in a hot tub or steam bath and side-by-side—or separate—massages.
European spas tend to differ from what Americans think of as spas. While Americans usually only stay one or two weeks and are focused on facials, massages, and treatments, Europeans spend up to a month and often seek a holistic health orientation.
Many European spas are situated near hot springs where the tradition of using the healing powers of water can pre-date ancient Rome. Here, the focus is on “taking the waters” and getting active outdoors. Days might start with a 6 a.m. hike and include meetings with doctors and nutritionists so guests can bring more healthful recipes and habits home. Massages, facials, and other treatments are often part of the regimen.
For people looking for a life-transforming experience in the U.S., I recommend destination spas such as Miraval, with locales in Tucson, Austin and the Berkshires, the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas, and Canyon Ranch in Tucson and Lenox. People often go to these with a specific goal. It could be to stop drinking alcohol or smoking, to learn to eat better and lose weight or simply to detox, clear the brain and de-stress.
These facilities vary greatly in their goals and style. In some, there is a heavy concentration on yoga, meditation and detoxing; others are more focused on fitness and healthy eating. Many spas incorporate herbs and flavors of the area into healthy and fun signature treatments. In wine country, there are vino-therapies. In St. Lucia, you may find yourself covered in chocolate. Great spas don’t come cheap, but there are moderately priced options, especially in the Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas.
I take the time to understand the goals and motivations of each trip. When a client was distraught after losing her husband, I suggested a week at a spa close to home. One of her close friends, also a client, asked what her friends could do and I suggested that they tag-team and each spend two nights at the spa with her. The woman said that having her friends come along with the yoga breathing and relaxing had been wonderful.
Spa getaways can be helpful in adjusting your attitude and handling stress. But spas, wellness resorts, and active vacations are great choices even when there’s nothing amiss. With my training and experience, I can find the getaway that’s right for you.