When you think about wellness destinations, California, Arizona and far-flung countries like Bali and Thailand are probably some of the first that come to mind. But Europe and the Middle East are surprising gold mines for de-stressing retreats. It’s time to do a little more than press the reset button. Cross the ocean and get fit, centered and seriously relaxed at four awesome destination spots.
SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain
Located near Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca, SHA Wellness Clinic, isn’t a spa, yet it is. It isn’t a medical facility, yet it is. It isn’t a resort hotel, yet it is. Everyone from Madonna to Vladimir Putin traveled the distance to reassess their health at the sprawling Zen space that links traditional medicine with Eastern therapies. Guests get very regimented programs and are even prescribed specific teas. As for the food don’t expect buffet-style offerings; portions are small and courses are timed to allow you to assess whether you’re really hungry.
Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
The success story of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in the Eastern region of Switzerland, situated about an hour train ride from Zurich, is rooted in the therapeutic and healing effects of the thermal water surrounding the property. A laundry list of spa treatments, medical treatments, and a diverse range of sports and cultural activities including skiing and golf are on deck. Plus, for Instagram bragging rights, you can unwind in their herbal steam bath decorated with Swarovski crystals.
You’d be remiss to overlook the treasure-trove of unforgettable destinations in Israel.
The Efendi in Akko is about an hour from Tel Aviv in the northern coastal plains of Israel. The luxury boutique hotel was the site of two early Ottoman Empire mansions before the founder, chef Uri Jeremias, spent six years and $6 million renovating and joining them. Breakfast is served around a knight’s table in a centuries-old room and they have a 400-year-old hammam treatment room.
The Ritz-Carlton, Israel
Picture waking up to the sounds of the waves breaking on the boats docked in the marina. The Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya treats guests to the ultimate relaxing soundtrack. Once you’ve gotten out of bed, you can spend time surfing in the perfectly blue water of the Mediterranean, practicing sunrise yoga on the rooftop or meditating on the golden sandy beach. If you want to experience a little bit of the hustle and bustle of the city, take a short cab ride to Tel Aviv.