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8 wellness getaways around the world for a healthy dose of R&R

Shut down your computer, turn off those alarms and reward yourself by finally booking that relaxing holiday that won’t require an additional holiday just to recover!

Travel is meant to act as a break from our everyday stressful lives, but all too often we end up booking holidays with an overloaded itinerary and in overcrowded areas of popular tourist destinations. But if you’re in need of a true escape, think about booking a wellness getaway.

Whether your idea of relaxation is reconnecting with nature, enjoying a bit of yoga on a deserted beach, or being pampered with world-class spa treatments, there’s bound to be a wellness retreat with your name on it. Even the world’s most popular cities offer peaceful and private oases; it’s just a matter of knowing where to look.

To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve handpicked some of the top wellness getaways around the world that will see you returning home fully rejuvenated.

A luxury Balinese wellness retreat

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With nine eco-luxe cabins that blend seamlessly into the secluded jungle, Fivelements Puri Ahimsa is everything you would expect from a luxury Balinese wellness retreat. Only 25 minutes from the beating heart of cultural Bali (Ubud), this eco-friendly retreat has created a peaceful sanctuary where you can connect with the natural environment, and take advantage of ancient Balinese healing techniques.

Suites are set throughout the rainforest, with floor to ceiling glass and wide private balconies that invite views of the surrounding jungle. There’s no need for ambience music; you’re surrounded by the natural sound of cascading waterfalls, and the tranquil flow of the sacred Ayung River, of which every suite sits facing.

The suites themselves have been created with organic materials, in a style that is authentically Bali; bamboo supports meet a high thatched roof ceiling, with open-air bathrooms for showering under the stars, and a stone bath sunk into the outdoor deck.

When it comes to healing and activities, there is a wide range of wellness programs offered by Balinese healers who draw old-world wisdom that has been passed down from one generation to the next. Every program is highly personalized, though may include therapies like Balinese acupuncture, massage, and blessing rituals, as well as a focus on sacred arts like meditation, yoga, and martial arts.

Organic food plans are also central to the retreat (don’t expect meat, sugar or alcohol here), which focuses on an all rounded experience of rejuvenation by targeting healthy eating, fitness, and mindful activities.

Fivelements Puri Ahimsa

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (186 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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Considered one of the best spas in the world

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Absolute Sanctuary sits amid lush tropical rainforest, five minutes from the beach on the Thai island of Koh Samui. And while you’ll find all of the typical spa treatments and healing therapies you would expect from a luxury wellness retreat, they’ve specifically become known for their holistic approach to fitness and weight-loss regimes.

Their aim is to bring affordable workouts into a luxury setting, and your personalized program may include everything from weight training, to boot camp workouts, as well as five hours a day of complimentary yoga and pilates (their glass-walled yoga studio looks straight out into the rainforest). As an incorporation of Thai culture, they offer training in the ancient art of Muay Thai, and to wind down, incorporate beach walks, meditation, and temple tours to de-stress at the end of each day.

While the spa schedule is authentically Asian, with Thai massage, and a detox menu sourced from local ingredients (think seafood curry, Thai noodles, and superfood smoothies), the interior of the resort has been decorated with a Moroccan theme. The 38 rooms blend vivid colour combinations with ancient Moroccan patterns and decoration, and modern facilities. And all rooms include a private balcony with views over either the pool or the sea.

Absolute Sanctuary

8.0 Very good (57 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.6 / 10
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A spa getaway in Singapore

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As one of our closest major international hubs, flights to Singapore from Australia have always been affordable, but it’s often finding reasonably priced accommodation that proves to be the tricky part. For those seeking wellness, One Farrer Hotel and Spa offers plush luxury at a rate that won’t break the budget.

And they offer a hotel experience that has been designed to recharge your mind and body, despite being at the centre of one of the world’s busiest cities. To enrich the soul they have commissioned over 700 pieces of contemporary and abstract Asian art meaning you don’t have to leave the hotel to immerse yourself in Asian culture.

With 243 contemporary suites and villas across three hotels (they have a ‘hotel-within-a-hotel’ concept going on), rooms here are spacious and set up to be a rejuvenating escape from the city. On-site, they offer an Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, where you can choose between relaxing in a sun lounger with a martini, or laps followed by a session in their fitness centre.

Their Asian Wellness Spa is set up at the centre of a lush tropical garden and features a menu of treatments that blends techniques from the best of East and the West. Choose between a range of face and body therapies, or opt for a soak in their authentic Japanese onsen (steam rooms and sauna available for detoxing).

After, take a rejuvenating walk through one of 14 tropical gardens, or retreat to one of their five fine dining restaurants for gourmet healthy dining. Take advantage of their in-room pillow therapy by ordering a lavender-infused pillow from the menu.

One Farrer & Spa

Top rated
Singapore, 2.8 km to Boat Quay
9.1 Excellent (3338 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Say Aloha! to an island escape

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There’s nothing more rejuvenating than retreating to a tropical paradise such as Hawaii, and while islands like Oahu and the Big Island see hundreds of thousands of tourists, escaping the crowds is easy by heading to a less commercial island like Maui.

While there are plenty of ways to connect with nature in Maui, and fitness comes naturally as part of the tourism scene (hiking trails here take you through volcanic landscapes, and national parks allow you to swim at the base of thundering waterfalls), The Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers one of the best spas in the United States.

The largest spa in Hawaii, treatments at Spa Grande bring together healing techniques from ancient Polynesian traditions. With over 40 treatment rooms, you can choose from facial and body beauty treatments from an extensive massage menu, or a ‘Healing Waters of Maui’ hydrotherapy circuit. This unique circuit will see you jump between different water therapies, including detoxing in a Japanese sauna, soaking in up to five speciality baths (including a Roman hot tub), standing in a Swiss jet shower (which creates the feeling of a massage through the motion of the water), and sitting under the flow of a cascading waterfall.

They also have a state of the art fitness centre on-site that runs daily classes, or you can join yoga on the beach, or more active excursions like stand-up paddleboarding, sea kayaking, or scuba diving.

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (3021 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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A wellness getaway in Africa

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Cape Town has a lot going for it in terms of adventure offerings, from scaling mountains to diving with Great White Sharks, and taking a classic African safari. But it’s not all about adventure, and if you look to the banks of the Liesbeek River, The Vineyard Hotel offers a perfect wellness retreat.

The Vineyard Hotel is a colonial mansion from the 1800s, set amid seven acres of landscaped gardens, with views overlooking Table Mountain. Only 10 minutes from the city centre, they offer modern accommodation in a historic setting, and you can put together your own desired schedule based on their onsite activities.

Beautifully landscaped with indigenous trees, secret paths, and expansive vineyards, the on-site gardens have long been a local favourite for a relaxing stroll (though there’s also well established five-kilometre jogging route), and their Angsana Spa offers health and beauty treatments that channel Asian expertise. Book in for a Thai massage, or organize a soothing body treatment like a mud mask facial, or polishing your body in Almond Milk or Honey Sesame.

They also have a state of the art fitness centre where you can work out individually, or book in for a group wellness program that includes fitness training, garden yoga, sports massage, pilates, and mountain hiking. Don’t be surprised if you find giant African tortoises wandering freely around the vineyard.

Vineyard Hotel

Top rated
Newlands, 2.6 km to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
9.1 Excellent (1687 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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A five-star wellness resort in the Maldives

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A stay in the Maldives can be surprisingly affordable, especially if you have unused Marriott Loyalty points. Having recently merged with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa now falls under the Marriott brand. And there might be nothing more rejuvenating than a couples massage, or a body wrap, in an overwater bungalow from a spa on its own private island.

Accommodation at this five-star wellness resort ranges from modern deluxe hotel rooms that sit directly on the beach, to inland island cottages which offer more seclusion. There are overwater bungalows which allow you to plunge straight into the turquoise ocean or expansive villas that are fully self-contained and feature a personal butler (because who’s got time to unpack when you’re supposed to be there to relax), and a private ocean plunge pool. Each of the rooms is decorated with traditional rattan furnishings, thatched roofs, and beautiful timber floors which evokes a tropical mood.

While soaking up the Maldivian sunshine might be rejuvenating enough, the world-class spa offers a range of treatments including Ayurvedic treatments, body scrubs, massages, facials, foot baths, beauty treatments, and Maldivian body wraps. While the resort sits on its own private island, it’s only 20 minutes away from the Velana International Airport.

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (873 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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A wellness getaway set amidst swaying palm trees

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Fiji has long been a favourite among Australians looking for an affordable holiday, and there’s no better place to get your wellness fix that Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort. A five-star resort that recreates the feel of a traditional Fijian village, the hotel sits secluded in its own little corner of the Coral Coast, fronting onto a beautiful golden sand beach with postcard-perfect swaying palm trees.

Accommodation here ranges from deluxe ocean view hotel rooms to spacious suites, or, for those looking to disconnect, traditional beachside bungalows (bures) that have been remodelled to offer five-star interiors. Bures offer thatched roofs, hand painted traditional tapa ceilings, and many come with their own private hammocks.

The Bebe Spa fuses indigenous Fijian methods for healing with luxury spa products, and some of their healing techniques have been 3,000 years in the making. The spa sits above the resort on Vakalomalagi Hill, and this elevation allows you to enjoy treatments on an open-air balcony with uninterrupted views over the lush landscape and South Pacific Ocean.

The spa offers treatments that range from open-air hydrotherapy to indigenous aromatherapy and uses coconut-based oils for their Bebe Vakaviti Signature Massage; an hour-long gentle massage treatment that combines traditional Fijian massage with ancient Hawaiian techniques. They also offer exfoliation and detox treatments, as well as a range of physical activities including yoga, pool aerobics, coconut bowling, and cooking lessons in Pacific cuisine to promote healthy living.

Hotel Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (1390 reviews)
Excellent Service 9 / 10
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Mix golf and wellness in New Zealand

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If you’re looking for an affordable wellness retreat, why not look to our next door neighbour? Flights to New Zealand are often cheaper than domestic flights to some parts of Australia, and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown has the added benefit of being home to the best day spa in the country.

Millbrook is a resort famous for its 27-hole golf course, though the five-star property also offers an award-winning day spa built into the spectacular Southern Alps. The retreat sits on a massive 500 acres of country, but for those who aren’t interested in the fairways, this is a great place to relax in the mountain air and open space. There are 160 rooms at Millbrook, which range from deluxe rooms to self-contained suites, and luxury resort homes. There’s a very retro village vibe, which truly makes you feel as though you’ve made it to the countryside.

The day spa offers a huge range of decadent spa treatments and has taken out the title for “New Zealand’s Top Spa Resort” at the World Travel Awards for several years running. There are a range of treatments aimed at rejuvenating your mind, soul, and body, and they focus their sessions so that by the end of it you’re feeling both pampered and energized. Choose from body and beauty treatments that include nourishing body wraps, deep cleansing body scrubs, anti-aging facials, and specifically created therapies to relieve the tension of pregnancy. The massage menu is just as extensive as the beauty treatments, with options from deep tissue, to relaxation, or an aroma stone massage.

Millbrook Resort

Top rated
9.5 Excellent (1016 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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