10 Wellness Retreats to Check Into for New Year's
From fireworks to meditation, start a new New Year's tradition at one of these wellness resorts around the world.
Photo By: Pura Vida Adventures
Photo By: WOOD&SMITH
Photo By: Grand Hotel Kronenhof
Photo By: Exotic Yoga Retreats
Photo By: Ponta dos Ganchos
Photo By: Canyon Ranch Lenox
Photo By: COMO Shambhala Estate
Photo By: The Lodge at Woodloch
Photo By: Alfredo Azar Photography
Photo By: PeopleImages
Pura Vida Adventures, Costa Rica
Pura Vida Adventures offers a little bit of everything at its New Year’s Surf Camp, week-long surf and yoga camp on the Nicoya Peninsula. (Don’t worry, beginner surfers are welcome.) In addition to daily surf lessons and beachfront yoga classes, indulge in spa treatments at open-air huts and healthy, filling meals that focus on locally-sourced ingredients, not weight loss. In between shuffling from the ocean to the spa, decompress in upscale tropical bungalows at Hotel Tropico Latino, where you’ll find large beds and private hammocks. Save energy for New Year’s, which involves a special dinner, a dance party on the beach and bonfire with live drumming. Oh, and while most of Pura Vida’s retreats are women-only, the New Year’s Surf Camp is co-ed.
Maya Tulum Resort, Mexico
Yoga enthusiasts craving a pared-down retreat will find it at Maya Tulum Resort, one of Mexico’s oldest yoga-centric resorts that’s been around for more than 30 years. Though today there’s plenty of competition, you can’t beat the beachfront location, quality of daily yoga classes and lodging options. Plus, there’s an abundance of vegetarian meals, and, unlike the more austere retreats, alcohol is not a dirty word here. Detox at the full-service spa, which even offers native Mayan treatments. Or be reborn in the temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremony, a 70-minute meditative experience. New Year’s brings a Tibetan bowl meditation on Dec. 29, a beachfront gratitude ceremony on Dec. 30, and cocktails, dinner and live music on New Year’s Eve. If you didn’t overdo it, greet the New Year with an 8:00 a.m. yoga class.
Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Switzerland
A Swiss wellness heavyweight, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof has long attracted jetsetters seeking relief at its award-winning spa. While everything about this five-star hotel is over the top, the 20,000-square-foot spa impresses with an extensive menu of holistic treatments, a flotation room and saltwater grotto. And there’s no missing the glass-enclosed pool offering front-row views of the Alpine mountains. Take your New Year’s resetting to the next level with the hotel's new mental health offering. Led by psychologist (and extreme athlete winner) Thomas Theurillat, the program involves life coaching and goal setting, culminating in a full-day hike to help really clear your head and implement your 2018 plan.
Willka T'ika, Peru
Combine a much-needed wellness reboot with a bucket-list item. The upscale, eco-friendly Willka T'ika in the Sacred Valley is a magnet for wellness seekers, as retreats often incorporate Andean healing rituals, alternative treatments (crystal light therapy), massage, yoga and vegetarian meals. The New Year’s trip, led by Exotic Yoga Retreats, spends downtime at Willka T'ika, where guests welcome New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with yoga and meditation. But the real kick-off to the New Year is spending two days at Machu Picchu, allowing enough free time to contemplate the year ahead at one of the wonders of the world.
Ponta dos Ganchos, Brazil
Drop off the face of the earth at Ponta dos Ganchos, a tropical oasis in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, about 50 minutes from the nearest airport in Florianopolis. It’s a major splurge, but all you have to do here is lounge around your bungalow, equipped with a plunge pool and deck, scarf seafood at the beachside restaurant and schedule in-room massages. Of course, all of this relaxing doesn’t mean a snoozy New Year. Instead, look forward to an evening with a special dinner, live DJ and dancing, open bar and fireworks. There’s also the annual tradition of paying tribute to the Brazilian goddess Yemanja, plus walking to a deserted beach.
Canyon Ranch, Massachusetts
Canyon Ranch remains a go-to favorite for those desperately in need of a wellness tune-up. The five-star retreat goes beyond offering the highest level of spa and fitness classes. It also focuses on three-dimensional health by addressing medical, nutritional, spiritual and life management issues. While you can’t go wrong with either location (the original is in Tucson), the one in Lenox combines serious intention setting with fun on New Year’s Eve. Spend the final hours of Dec. 31 playing casino tables, getting astrological predictions and partaking in a transformational fire ceremony before saying farewell to 2017.
COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali
Go beyond fitness classes and spa treatments (although those are great, too) at the world-class COMO Shambhala Estate near Ubud. Instead, take your health and 2018 resolutions up a notch by coordinating customized treatment programs with holistic practitioners. These plans can also focus on career goals, stress reduction and more. You can even customize meals with a nutritionist and Ayurvedic doctor. Although, be prepared to break this diet with a special New Year’s Eve dinner and brunch. Both will also be accompanied by traditional Balinese dancing — and perhaps become part of a new New Year's tradition for you.
The Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania
The Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos is perfect for those who want to usher in the New Year with a steady diet of top-notch spa treatments and gourmet meals. This destination spa also provides a full lineup of fitness classes to rival any gym, along with enough activities to keep anybody busy. On Dec. 31 alone, guests can partake in primitive fire making, silk-scarf painting, a meditative forest bathing walk or a cooking demonstration. (And that’s just a small sampling.) Ring in New Year’s Eve with a specially crafted menu and live music, followed by fireworks, dancing and a midnight toast. And no, that’s not all. Budget time on New Year’s Day to luxuriate in the indoor pool circuit, and dry off in the fireplace lounge to feel reborn.
Chable Resort & Spa, Mexico
Less than two years old, Chable Resort & Spa on the Yucatan Peninsula is recognized for its spa, which focuses on treatments that highlight ancient Mayan rituals and shamanism. Many of these treatments incorporate the spring-fed cenote (a deep pool believed to hold energetic properties) that the spa is built around. Speaking of energetic properties, experience an energy cleansing ceremony and Mayan oracle reading on Dec. 31. The New Year starts with a cenote water blessing ceremony and temazcal (sweat lodge) ritual. The latter involves a traditional Mayan ceremony, best likened to meditative sweating. Of course, there’s fun to be had too, complete with an all-out New Year’s Eve party and New Year’s Day brunch.
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Massachusetts
This affordable wellness retreat in the beautiful Berkshires is a perfect escape year-round. Although it’s geared toward yoga, many of Kripalu’s programs also cater to other interests, from nutrition to watercolor painting. And while most of the New Year’s programs are yoga-oriented, they’re still accessible to all skill levels. For example, the New Year’s Spiritual Renewal Retreat focuses on the meditative aspect, so you’ll spend more time practicing breathing techniques, reciting mantras and taking stock of your life. The Bhakti Bliss New Year’s Celebration focuses mostly on kirtan, or chanting, culminating in a New Year’s Eve concert. For those wanting a more yoga-heavy program, there’s also the New Year’s Vinyasa Yoga Intensive: Living From Purpose, and the New Year’s Yoga Retreat: Align Your Body, Awaken Your Heart, both of which combine an active practice with spiritual prep for the year ahead.