Wellness and Spas

read Latest articles about Wellness and Spas


How to Maintain Your Wellness on a Trip

Pre-flight massage treatments are available in the Etihad premium lounges at Abu Dhabi airport.

Pre-flight massage treatments are available in Etihad premium lounges at Abu Dhabi airport.

With wellness tourism now a multibillion-dollar industry and one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry, hotels and resorts around the world are taking note and catering to guests looking for an immediate dose of rest and rejuvenation. Sleep-deprived? Check in to a room fitted out with lighting designed to regulate sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Feel jet-lagged? Book a spa treatment that has you sweating out heavy metals accumulated while flying, or have your hotel room transformed into a personal fitness zone so you can work out at your leisure. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, here are 12 ways to keep your health and well-being goals on track while you’re away from home.

By Judy Chapman

 

Go Allergy Free

Breathe easier when you stay at an Element hotel, where rooms come with 100-percent recycled carpet and low toxin paints, which are not only environmentally friendly but also kind to those prone to allergies. Even in a party town, you can check in to a Stay Well room on the 14th floor of the MGM Grand Las Vegas, and you’ll enjoy a personal water filtration system and shower water infused with vitamin C to neutralizes chlorine, thereby promoting naturally healthy hair and skin. A number of hotel brands, including Hyatt and Hilton, are transforming select rooms to receive Pure certification. There are now more than 3,000 of these rooms across the globe, all of which feature air purifiers and hypoallergenic bedding and are cleaned using nontoxic chemicals.

 

Sleep Soundly

With sleep disorders linked to a growing number of health issues ranging from obesity to heart disease, rooms conducive to a good night’s sleep are high on the agenda for luxury hotels.
At The Benjamin New York,
the Rest & Renew program is curated by sleep expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins and includes low-calorie bedtime snacks, herbal teas, and a “work-down call”: a reminder from the hotel’s Sleep Team to power down your electronics before bed. The Six Senses group also called upon sleep experts to create their Yogic Sleep program, which combines wellness consultations with yoga sessions and in-room adjustments such as oil burners before bed and top-quality sheets.

 

Order Healthy In-room Dining

Nutritious, gluten-free dining at The Peninsula group’s properties worldwide.

Nutritious, gluten-free dining at The Peninsula group’s properties worldwide.

Gone are the days when the “healthy” options on in-room dining menus consisted of an egg-white omelet or green salad. Thanks to on-site gardens, all Six Senses properties offer meals and fresh juices that are organic. From London to Bangkok and beyond, Como Hotels are renowned for their Como Shambhala Cuisine and healthy mini-bar snacks, created to help improve concentration and energy and balance blood-sugar levels. And The Peninsula Hotels has updated its group-wide Naturally Peninsula dining options to now include dishes that are nutritious, gluten-free, low in sugar, and prepared using organic and sustainably-sourced produce.

 

Juice It

On-site smoothie and juice bars are an emerging trend. Boost your immune system with seasonal juices, tonics, and elixirs at Lovage, the farm-to-table juice kitchen at London’s Ace Hotel. In Seoul, the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square offers the Nutrition Bar for juices, smoothies, and teas prepared by a “vegetable sommelier”, while the Swissôtel group recently introduced a menu of Vitality Drinks, including power shots and healthy breakfast smoothies filled with fiber and protein; at the Istanbul property, guests are invited behind the bar where they can learn to concoct their own recipes.

 

Choose a
 Fitness-focused Hotel

It’s easier than ever to check in and work out. Rooms at London’s Metropolitan by Como and 45 Park Lane come with yoga mats as well as TVs pre-programmed with fitness channels. Even Hotels, the American wellness-focused chain owned by the InterContinental group, provide in-room cork-floored fitness zones equipped with balls and weights, best paired with workout inspiration found on the Even Hotels app. In its properties across North America, Omni Hotels & Resorts goes as far as offering Get Fit rooms that come with a treadmill and weights kit.

Guest quarters at Even Hotels come with in-room fitness zones.

Guest quarters at Even Hotels come with in-room fitness zones.

Ask An Expert

Hotels around the world are making fitness 
advice as easy to enquire about as, say, where to go for dinner. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, for example, has a certified personal trainer on staff who can consult on individual regimens or lead you in a beachside boot camp program. At Mandarin
 Oriental Hyde Park in
London, Ruben Tabares—an elite personal trainer and nutritionist with high-profile clients such as Mickey Rourke and Naomi Watts—is on hand for strength and conditioning training sessions. Various Westin properties
 employ special running concierges to lead guests on pre-planned routes, and speaking of concierges, LUX* Resorts & Hotels has launched the Me Wellness Concierge Service in Mauritius and the Maldives. With it, guests are offered a complimentary pre-arrival fitness consultation and assigned a personal wellness concierge upon arrival to help with everything from organizing training sessions to providing tips on healthy eating.

 

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

There’s no better time to try something different than when you’re in a foreign destination. Every weekend at The Standard, High Line in New York, fitness artist Nicole Winhoffer runs an endurance workout in the dark—you’ll let your guard down and hopefully come out smiling. In Bali, Hotel Komune offers night surfing so you can escape the crowds and enjoy a different perspective of the waves. Also in Bali, Alila Manggis organizes underwater yoga classes for non-certified and certified divers
in different locations, while sister property Alila Villas Uluwatu holds aerial yoga sessions in its clifftop Sunset Cabana. At the Maldives’ Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, the recently unveiled Yoga Energy Trail is designed to have you completing poses at the resort island’s most scenic lookouts. Equally breathtaking views can be enjoyed during yoga classes on the 37th-floor helipad at The Peninsula Bangkok.

 

Take Time Out to Meditate

With the calming health benefits of meditation now well known, a growing clutch of hotels is offering classes to guests looking to relax and unwind. Complimentary 20-minute lunchtime sessions are available at the Aman Spa at The Connaught Hotel in London, while The Standard, East Village recently partnered with meditation
experts The Path to offer free classes for in-house guests. The new Meditation Suites at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Queensland, Australia, come with a Zen corner equipped with cushions, meditation books, and an iPod stocked with guided meditations.

One of the new Meditation Suites at Australia’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat.

One of the new Meditation Suites at Australia’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat.

Beachside at Bali’s Karma Kandara, whose infrared sauna sessions are the perfect way to detox.

Beachside at Bali’s Karma Kandara, whose infrared sauna sessions are the perfect way to detox.

Do a Digital Detox 

Research shows that constantly staring at a screen is as bad for our bodies as it is for our peace of mind. Destination retreats such as Thailand’s Chiva Som are helping tech addicts kick the habit by banning mobile phones—and even e-readers—in its public spaces. Guests are also encouraged to wean themselves off their digital devices at Aro Hā, a wellness resort whose remote location in New Zealand’s Southern Alps means no mobile phone reception or Wi-Fi throughout the eight-hectare property.

 

Train Before Take Off

At Doha’s Hamad International Airport, the 
new Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre houses a gym, squash courts, a swimming pool, and a spa where anti–jet lag treatments star on the menu. And if you’re luck enough to be flying at the pointy end of an 
Etihad plane, you can enjoy complimentary treatments at the Six Senses Spa located in premium lounges at the Abu Dhabi and Heathrow international airports. For post-flight spa treatments, try therapies designed to alleviate the side-effects of flying such as the Triple Oxygen Treatment at a number of W Hotels & Resorts properties, or book some time in the Infrared Detox Sauna at Bali’s Karma Kandara, where you sweat out heavy metals accumulated from flying.

 

Take It Outdoors

Explore a new city and keep fit at the same time by making the most of scenic jogging and walking trails mapped out for you by urban hotels such as Metropolitan by Como, London, Hotel Ritz, Madrid, and Four Seasons  hotels in Paris, Prague, and Washington, D.C. Checking in to a Westin hotel? The brand teamed up with New Balance to create a range of city and beach running routes suitable for all fitness levels. And if you’ve left your workout gear at home, both Westin and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts loan out shoes and athletic gear, so there’s no excuse not to 
exercise when you’re on the road.

Jogging tours at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris take in some of the city's landmarks.

Jogging tours at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris pass the Eiffel Tower.

Connect with Others

A number of studies have shown that a healthy social life is a contributing factor to longevity. And as such, an increasing number of travelers are seeking less corporate and more convivial places to reside when they’re away. The Standard
 Hotels in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami Beach are big on organizing guest gatherings including full moon acupuncture sessions, fire ceremonies, astrology classes, and meditation groups. The Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong has just launched Whiskey Wednesdays, group whiskey tasting sessions with a side of pampering in the property’s Nail Bar, and the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal offers complimentary workshops in its Alchemy Bar, where guests can learn how to make herbal potions and scrubs in a communal environment.

The Alchemy Bar at the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal, where guests can learn how to make all-natural body scrubs, face masks, and lip balms.

The Alchemy Bar at the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal, where guests can learn how to make all-natural body scrubs, face masks, and lip balms.

This article originally appeared in the June/July print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Wellness While Away”).

Melt Your Troubles Away With Banyan Tree Spa Bangkok’s New Candle Massage

Perched sky high on the 21st floor of Banyan Tree Bangkok, the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa piques the interest of spa enthusiasts for good reason. The spa prides itself in its focus on a non-clinical and holistic approach based on traditional Eastern healing therapies, and after 20 years of providing a relaxation nirvana is adding yet another reason for even the city slickers of the fast-paced capital to pay a visit. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Banyan Tree Spa Bangkok has created a new 90-minute Candle Massage experience. The melted oil of lavender-scented soy candle is utilized in this indulgent treatment for its warm therapeutic benefits. It also comprises a welcome foot bath, a gentle foot scrub, hand massage and foot massage. Afterwards, guests will be offered a 30-minute post-treatment ‘Calm Time’ where they can enjoy delectable refreshments while sipping on their choice of soothing tea in the lounge area before easing their way back into reality. From now until November 30 2016, the Candle Massage treatment, designed and conceptualized by Banyan Tree Spa Academy will be offered at a discounted price of US$127.

For more information, visit Banyan Tree Spa Bangkok

Upcoming Swim Fitness Retreat in Bali

For those looking to get in shape during their next vacation, Chōsen offers week-long luxury boot camps in exclusive locations around the world. These holistic fitness retreats are designed to challenge and rejuvenate both the mind and body, with qualified experts to guide their guests toward a healthier lifestyle.

Starting on June 25, Chōsen will hold a retreat in Bali on swimming and mindfulness led by three-time Olympic medalist Andrew Lauterstein. Apart from the chance to perfect their technique in the pool, participants will also receive a one-hour personal training session with the Australian Olympian.

Guests will be based at Chōsen’s property in the beach town of Canggu, which contains seven private villas, along with a variety of living and dining spaces, a swimming pool and yoga pavilion. The itinerary includes a daily mixture of yin yoga, fitness sessions and adventure activities; participants will learn to improve their diet by taking culinary classes and enjoying a range of organic meals throughout their stay.

For more information, visit Chōsen.

Bath’s New Liquid Assets

It’s been a decade since thermal bathing returned to Bath, England’s historic spa town. Now, it’s a new five-star hotel with hot spring water of its own that’s making a splash.

By Christopher P. Hill
Photographs by Martin Westlake

I am as wet as one might reasonably expect to be in a place called Bath. It’s a drizzly December night in this moist corner of southwest England, but that hasn’t deterred me or four dozen other bathers from wallowing in the open-air thermal pool on the roof of the Thermae Bath Spa. I feel a little like an onsen monkey, immersed to my shoulders in 34°C water as wreaths of steam waft up to the chill black sky. Couples canoodle at the pool’s edge against a backdrop of church spires and Georgian rooftops, or take turns under the gleaming chrome pipe that gushes with mineral-laden water from Britain’s only hot springs, themselves fed by an aquifer buried deep in the limestone beneath the city. Never mind all the cornflower-blue pool noodles or the fact that we’re atop a big glass-wrapped cube amid an otherwise remarkably intact 18th-century townscape: we’re doing as the Romans do, or rather did, back when they founded a settlement here called Aquae Sulis and built baths (and temples) of their own. Two thousand years later, I find myself wondering what they would have made of the place today.

Modern Bath is primarily a city that serves visitors, be they college students (who account for one in five residents during the school season, according to my walking guide Tony Abbott) or tourists (more than seven million annually, mostly day-trippers). This was true in Georgian times too, when it became the fashion among London’s idle rich to decamp to Bath in the winter. Here, they attended concerts and balls, gambled and shopped, and drank or bathed in the curative waters, which promised relief from gout, palsy, infertility, and assorted other ailments. Orchestrated largely by a Welsh dandy named Beau Nash, Bath’s reign as England’s  “premier resort of frivolity and fashion” didn’t outlast the 18th century, but it did bequeath the city its gorgeous Palladian terrace houses and porticoed public buildings, all clad in the local sandy-beige limestone known as Bath stone.

Today inscribed as a World Heritage Site, the city’s elegant architectural endowment was, however, almost its undoing; during World War II, Bath fell victim to the so-called Baedeker raids—Luftwaffe bombing missions that targeted strategically unimportant but historically significant English cities given top rating in Baedeker’s Great Britain, a popular German guidebook. The 1942 attacks killed upward of 400 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings in what is remembered locally as the Bath Blitz. Miraculously, most of the city’s architectural treasures—including the high-Gothic Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent, and the ancient Roman Baths—escaped relatively unscathed.

I learn about this on a morning tour with Abbott, who also recounts some of his hometown’s more recent misfortunes, notably the decline of its manufacturing industry (the last big employer, crane-makers Stothert & Pitt, shut down in 1989) and the closure of its public baths for nearly three decades when a teenage girl died of amoebic meningitis after using the facilities. That was in 1978. “I swam in these waters myself as a kid,” Abbott says. “Losing the baths was like losing the soul of the city.”

But tourism has continued to keep Bath afloat, as witnessed by an abundance of museums and any number of establishments that trade off local heritage, like Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, whose famed buns are said to be made from a recipe dating back to the 17th century. Jane Austen is on the agenda too, with tributes to her stays in Bath enshrined in a narrow Georgian townhouse with period exhibits and a twee Regency-style tearoom. (The city also holds an annual festival in her honor, bonnets and all.)

All this might come off as fusty were there not so much else going on. Since 2002, the churchyard of Bath Abbey has hosted a Christmas market that packs in more than 150 stands selling everything from mulled wine and gingerbread to hand-knitted alpaca scarves and deco-rative glass objects. Restaurants like two-year-old Clayton’s Kitchen, with its farm-sourced meats and amazing heritage vegetables, are bringing new verve to the dining scene. The recently restored Holburne Museum, sited across the Avon River at the far end of Great Pulteney Street, now sports a striking glass-and-ceramic extension, while the ruins of the Roman Baths, one of northern Europe’s most important sites from antiquity, have benefited from a five-year, US$8 million renovation that was completed in 2010.

Alicia Yoon’s Guide to Korean Beauty

As the founder of Peach & Lily, the leading online supplier of South Korean skincare to the U.S., New York–based Seoul native Alicia Yoon knows the landscape of her beauty-obsessed country better than just about anyone. Here are her tips to navigating its offerings.

By Gabrielle Lipton

Ingredient List
The historical use of fermented ingredients like rice and certain alcohols in Korean skincare is “having a resurgence,” says Yoon, with new technological processes fermenting products more effectively than ever. As she explains, fermentation breaks down enzymes, creating bacteria that are highly skin-compatible and packed with antioxidants; and because fermentation creates its own preservatives, parabens and other chemicals aren’t needed to keep products fresh. For botanical and herb-based products, Yoon recommends trying those with ginseng, a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps skin stay strong. Snail secretion filtrate is also “an oldie but a goodie, and a great multitasker” that hydrates, firms, and refines lines while keeping bacteria at bay. Also, in the beauty-supplement sections found in just about every South Korean drugstore, look for collagen pills containing hyaluronic acid.

Top Shops
The Myeongdong district is Seoul’s beauty capital, home to more than 120 beauty stores and spas including Shangpree and a wide array of premium brands at the Lohb’s and Lotte department stores. The neighborhood of Samcheong-dong is “very East-meets-West, with boutiques, natural beauty stores, and concept beauty stores” such as Lyanature and Innisfree, while the fashion-centric Garosugil area is where you’ll find outlets of beauty brands like Espoir and Aritaum.

Best Brands
Created by its namesake spa in Seoul, Shangpree is a line of “unbelievable products, and each takes about four years to formulate by master aestheticians.” Yoon recommends the S-Energy Long Lasting Concentrated Serum (US$120). For products rich in rare minerals, try Cremorlab, which was created by a pharmaceutical company with exclusive rights to a thermal spring in the country’s Geumjin area, whose unique waters are used in hydrotherapy for cancer patients. “I have a lot of favorites from Cremorlab, including all of the sheet masks [from US$6] and the Smooth Pudding [US$48], an extremely hydrating cream good for all skin types.”

Travel Tips
In-flight skincare is crucial to keeping skin hydrated on long-haul flights, says Yoon, who flies back to Seoul every six weeks. “I board bare-faced, then mid-flight I use cleansing wipes, followed by Be the Skin’s Botanical Nutrition Power Toner (US$29), a couple Cremorlab sheet masks in a row, and then a light oil and heavy cream,” such as Be the Skin’s Botanical Nutrition Power Cream (US$39) or Cremorlab’s Snow Falls Melting Cream (US$42). “That night, I use a heavy facial mask—usually Rose by Dr. Dream’s Dream Age Sleeping Pack [US$95]—and the next day, I’m fully recovered.”

This article originally appeared in the February/March print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Seoul Sister”).

The Blissful Techniques of a Vietnamese Massage

A clear mind and a healthy body are paramount for travelers trying to make the most of their time abroad, and perhaps the easiest way of reaching this traveler’s nirvana is through a massage. But with massage parlors on every block, and techniques ranging from standard full-body to hot-stone massage, how does one figure out which door leads to awakening?  Desak Made Sri Ambarwati, head of The Nam Hai’s serene spa facility, lets us in on a treatment that is sure to leave one  refreshed, relaxed and ready to soak it all in: the Vietnamese massage.

How would you describe the Vietnamese Massage?

The Vietnamese massage is a stimulating deep tissue massage that focuses on the muscles and tendons. By applying an ancient style of targeting pressure points, muscles and tendons the masseuse is able to release tension, rejuvenate, and also relax.

And how is the Vietnamese Massage different than other types of massage?

Though it does share similarities with several massage techniques in neighboring Southeast Asian countries, it is historically Vietnamese, which means you’ll only find it here for one [laughs]. But what makes the Vietnamese massage different is ultimately the combination of different approaches. Usually when someone receives a treatment, the therapist  might focus only on relaxation, or reflexology—but with the Vietnamese massage there is a holistic approach, and the treatment is effective as a medical, therapeutic and mindfully stimulating experience.

That must keep the therapist busy, learning and knowing all these different approaches?

[Laughs] It definitely keeps the therapist busy. Usually, they must have a versed background in massage therapy, and even after that they must undergo several weeks of training course to understand the intricacies of the massage. It’s also an added benefit if the therapist is Vietnamese, as there is typically a greater historical and cultural appreciation for the art.

What are some of the methods used in the Vietnamese massage, and what are the benefits?

Like I said before, the Vietnamese massage focuses on tension release, rejuvenation and relaxation, and the best way to achieve these is through the use of pressure points, thumb pressure, knuckle pressure, both pulling and pushing, and a focus on the spinal cord. By using a mix of styles, the Vietnamese massage seeks to balance the chi of the spine, help with blood circulation, and relieve blood clotting. This diverse approach allows guests to feel not only relaxed, but limber, clear-headed, light-footed and energized.

Some people get massages and say that they are painful, especially since the Vietnamese massage employs pressure points, is this something to worry about?

Absolutely not. First of all, therapists can always be told to increase or decrease the pressure. But aside from that, we have to remember that again, the Vietnamese massage doesn’t just focus on pressure points and deep tissue stimulation—but an array of techniques. So when someone gets a Vietnamese massage, one of the best things about it is that it should never be painful, nor should it ever be too light. It hits a perfect equilibrium.

So if someone were to get a Vietnamese massage at The Nam Hai Hoi An, how would the process unfold?

One of the things that is unique to Vietnamese massage compared to other types of Southeast Asian massage is that we start with the back instead of the feet and legs. The reasoning behind this is to immediately immerse the guest in total relaxation. After working on the back and guiding the guest into relaxation, the therapist would then move down to the legs and feet before proceeding to the arms, hands and chest. Another important facet in Vietnamese massage is the head. Towards the end of the massage, the therapist focuses on the head and the numerous pressure points that rest there, and in doing so, is able to release the pressure and relieve headaches that might be persisting—it’s also very, very relaxing and one of the best ways to end a massage, at least to me [laughs].

So if we’re sitting down for a Vietnamese massage do you have any last-minute recommendations?

Always go for 90! 90 minutes I mean. There have been so many times when guests tell me they want a 60-minute massage and I say, “Really? Are you sure you don’t want 90 minutes?” It isn’t until after that they come back saying, “Ambar, can we add another 30 minutes? You were right!” So don’t settle for the 60 minute, I think. Of course the 60-minute massage is still fantastic, but it’s so fantastic that when you finish, you’ll definitely want at least another 30 minutes.

This story was originally published on GHM Journeys in partnership with DestinAsian. For more information, visit GHM Hotels

Ayurvedic Bliss at Soham Wellness Center

By Gabrielle Lipton

As the saying goes, the body is a temple, which means that sometimes it needs some maintenance­­—or, at least mine certainly did when I first came to Seminyak’s Soham Wellness Center. After a weekend of surfing Bali’s waves, I was in desperate need of something to help counter my recent bout of sun exposure and painful overuse of my upper body. And while Bali’s spa culture runs the gamut from ad hoc massages on the beach to full-blown wellness getaways of a Gwyneth Paltrow intensity, I wanted something of a mix­—the levity of a day-spa with the level of professionalism and indulgence of a luxury retreat. And so I headed to Soham, a brand-new, one-stop-shop for everything health and wellness: all manner of classes, a spacious fitness center, an Olympic-size lap pool, steam rooms and Jacuzzis, a café, a boutique, and a gorgeous top-floor spa.

In the modern spa lobby with the accompaniment of some herbal tea, I sorted through the extensive menu of some 50 treatments, finally landing on the Best of Ayurvedic ritual—a two-hour treatment involving a massage, body scrub, and oil drip. As the spa specializes in Ayurvedic techniques, my therapist assured me that it was a good choice and promptly handed me a questionnaire to determine my dosha type. One of the principles of Ayurvedic practice is balancing one’s dosha, or natural state of body and mind (hot or cold, light or deep sleeper, calm or energetic). When certain channels in one’s body are blocked, clogged, or tense, the dosha can be thrown off and health compromised, but the focus of Ayurvedic treatments, such as this one, is to re-calibrate the body back to its most open and ideal state.

After determining that I was a pitta type, I was led through a set of Balinese double doors to a spacious, dimly-lit treatment room with a modern Balinese style, and the treatment began. Unlike the kneading of a Swedish massage, my therapist used Abhyanga techniques of long, gliding motions to stretch my muscles and focused on specific pressure points to activate my lymph nodes, helping to detoxify impurities and increase circulation. After about an hour of massaging, she began with the scrub: a natural mixture of ground chickpeas and herbs including coriander and cardamom, both known for being high in antioxidents. Finally, the treatment ended with warm coconut oil dripped from a brass vase that slowly ran over my scalp and through my hair­—intensively moisturizing and deeply relaxing. When it was over, I could hardly get up from the table.

While I’m not an Ayurvedic expert, I do know that I left feeling wholly different and with that much-desired spa glow. My parched, red skin was calmed and smooth again, my hair was bouncy and shiny, and my muscles no longer felt like coiled balls of wire. Soham is certainly channeling something right.

For more information, visit Soham Wellness Center.

Ireland’s Ashford Castle Opens a Spa

With stone and marble walls, bronze-detailed doors, and scrolled wood massage tables, the new spa at Ashford Castle in western Ireland’s County Mayo is the buzziest new spot on the global spa circuit—certainly the most opulent. It was the final component of the castle-hotel’s two-year, US$75 million restoration, which finished in November and now sees the former home to countless nobles and the Guinness family fitted with a hammam, manicure and pedicure salon, relaxation area, well-equipped gym, five treatment rooms, and a terrace overlooking the castle’s peaceful lake, Lough Corrib. The only thing to compete with such views is by the indoor pool, where South African ceramicist Jane du Rand created a dazzling mosaic wall mural inspired by Celtic folklore. —Gabrielle Lipton

A Wellness Retreat on Bali’s Northeast Coast

Bali‘s Spa Village Resort Tembok, a spa resort tucked away in the island’s quieter northeastern coast, is calling all solo female travelers to participate in its latest wellness program, the Return to Yourself: A Yoga and Wellness Retreat. The program will be facilitated by Savitri Talahatu, wellness director at the 31-room resort, and will combine both regular specialty yoga classes, guided meditation sessions, and spa treatments into its schedule, allowing visitors to both relax and connect with oneself amid the surrounding beauty of the resort. With a recommended itinerary of 4-days and 3-nights, the program will also take guests on a range of activities and excursions tailored to help participants discover the culture and spirituality of Bali, including a cycling excursion to a nearby waterfall, a trip to a purification ceremony at the Pondok Batu Temple, as well as sampling organic local cuisine. Price starts from US$ 1,500 per retreat.

For more information, visit Spa Village Resort Tembok. 

Get Fit with Visiting Practitioners at Four Seasons Bali

Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay understands the common struggle to stay in shape, especially during the festive holiday season where temptations to overindulge lay ahead, which is why it has prepared a lineup of some of Asia’s most inspiring personal trainers and international massage therapists next year to add to its regular daily activities available for guests.

With its 2016 Visiting Practitioners program, the hotel will welcome, among others, Jean Chia, a Singaporean personal trainer specializing in circuit, core training and High Intensity Interval Training; César Tejedor, the ‘Tibetan singing bowl masseuse’ who combines physiotherapy and Tibetan medicine in his therapy; as well as Julian Eymann, whose deep tissue trigger point technique has earned him loyal clients such as Clint Eastwood and Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan. Running throughout different periods from April to October next year, the resort encourages guests to break a sweat over their getaways, and leave the island not just relaxed and refreshed, but also fitter than ever.

In addition, the hotel has also launched a surfing program in partnership with luxury surfing company TropicSurf and is looking forward to launching a new ocean-front yoga venue where guests can join a fun class of AntiGravity or flying yoga in a traditional Bale perched on the edge of the ocean.

For more information, visit Four Seasons