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Want to start 2019 as you mean to go on? Giving yourself a well-deserved break and a chance to relax and restore your body is now a necessity, not a luxury, right? Whether you’re travelling solo or want to get away with a friend or partner, we’ve scoured our hotel search to find you the best wellbeing holidays with motivational benefits – sun, sea, scenery and amazing food. From the adventurous to the serene, here’s our top five at home and away.
1. Splash out in Portugal
If the idea of an activity holiday conjures images of rainy cross-country hikes in Ross-on-Wye, you clearly haven’t been to Hotel FeelViana in Portugal. Launched by a surf devotee, this new alpine-style sports and wellness hotel boasts an amazing setting on the northwest coast with its wild and windy beaches backed by dunes and pine trees. This is prime kite, and windsurfing territory – the area even hosted the Windsurf World Cup in June. But don’t worry if you’re far from a seasoned pro. The hotel’s sports centre offers watersports lessons, including stand-up paddle boarding and body boarding, so you can feel a bit braver when you hit the waves. But if you’d rather stay on dry land, you won’t miss out. There’s over 400km of tracks taking in mountains, rivers and beaches, to explore on foot – or join a guided bike tour, which range from gentle to high-intensity. Yoga, Pilates and stretching sessions will keep you limber for tackling new challenges, while the tranquil spa – complete with Turkish bath – will put you back together at the end of the day’s adventures.
The lowdown: A week at FeelViana costs from £695 B&B, including breakfast and flights. Activities are extra: eg, guided bike tours from €30, three-hour kitesurfing lesson €150.
2. Find yourself in Sri Lanka
Set in a rural village among lush green surroundings, the focus at Srimal Plantation Villa is to reconnect with yourself by getting reacquainted with Mother Nature. That’s not difficult with 30 acres of forest, working plantations, vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens and rice paddy fields on the doorstep. The five-day Detox & Recharge package is ideal for strung-out city folk who want to swap pixel pushing at a desk for paddy harvesting or spice picking to the sounds of tropical birdsong. If slogging in the fields isn’t what you had in mind, don’t worry. Your personalised plan, based on your dosha – the three energies that define a person’s make-up – also includes blissful Ayurvedic treatments, such as warm herbal oil massages to dissolve knots and calm the soul. Yoga and meditation help rebalance your mind and body, while an organic, vegan menu using produce from the garden will help restore inner harmony. You’ll want to (Nama)stay forever.
The lowdown: Packages at Srimal Plantation Villa start at $110 (£85) per night for a single room, full board, including treatments.
3. Get physical in Utah
Whether you’re hoping to shed a few pounds, indulge in a bit of chill time or simply get out into the great outdoors, the Red Mountain Resort in Utah has got all wellbeing bases covered. And if the team of wellness experts and huge roster of activities on offer aren’t enough motivation to get you moving your butt, the spectacular surroundings should do it. The resort blends into the majestic landscape, with dusty desert horizons and red cliffs forming an awe-inspiring backdrop. There are also three national parks to explore on foot, by bike or even on horseback. Adventure-seekers can scale the rocks or try canyoneering, while there’s tai chi in Snow Canyon State Park and yoga among the red cliffs for those taking a calmer approach. Your tailored fitness programme will also include studio-based workouts, with every class under the scorching sun on offer. And after all that, you’ll want to indulge in a spa treatment and gaze at the huge skies from the ‘Desert Breeze’ pool.
The lowdown: Wellness packages at Red Mountain Resort start at $305 (£237) for the Essential Retreat.
4. Rest and reset in Menorca
If you fancy a serious life overhaul with a generous serving of glam, Cugó Gran Menorca should fit the (suitably hefty) bill. Nestled in a 250-acre estate just outside Menorca’s capital, Mahon, this palatial 11-room villa is home to the newly launched Mindful Movements retreat, lead by former professional ballet dancer, Chrissy Sundt. Founder of retreat specialists, Silver Linings, Chrissy and her team of experts will help you completely reset your life with nourishing food, soothing therapies and a series of ‘Mindful Movement’ classes. Chrissy believes in the importance of rest and relaxation, so there’ll be plenty of time to unwind in the gardens and in that pool in between all the moving and eating. You’ll be given a tailored programme to help address your wellness needs and you’ll spend quality one-to-one time with the Silver Linings experts to help you make steps to a long-term solution – this is no quick fix and go.
A typical day may see you setting your alarm for an awakening yoga or Pilates class, followed by a revitalising ginger shot and breakfast in the morning sunshine. After lunch, enjoy a spot of massage therapy to get you ready for the candlelit evening feast – the food here is off-the-scale delicious. Ahh, we feel better just thinking about it…
The lowdown: A four-day retreat at Cugó Gran Menorca costs from £1,700 per person full board, including transfers, massage therapy, Pilates and meditation sessions, as well as a welcome gift.
5. De-stress in Devon
For a wellbeing boost closer to home, how about a spa break with sea views thrown in? The dreamy Salcombe Harbour Hotel in Devon perches on the edge of the Salcombe estuary’s shimmering waters with tranquil views of swishing waves and bobbing boats. The yachts’ clinking masts will lull you into a pleasant sleepy state before you’ve even hit the spa. But make sure you do as its top-notch facilities include a gorgeous indoor pool with private poolside cabanas, sauna and eucalyptus-scented steam room, hot tub and chill out room. Treat yourself to a massage, hit the gym for a Pilates or Zumba class or try Aquasize in the pool. In the summer months there’s yoga on the roof terrace, while chillier days can be spent snuggled up in the private cinema. If you can drag yourself away, the hotel sits on the south west coastal path for lovely walks or explore secluded coves with a sailing trip. Back at the hotel, feast on locally sourced oysters and lobster in The Jetty restaurant before a cheeky nightcap of complimentary gin or sherry in your room. You gotta retox to detox…
The lowdown: Spa breaks at Salcombe Harbour Hotel cost from £170 per night including breakfast and a treatment.