Sunday 20th December 2015

By mira

The world of exquisite resorts and spas has developed, expectations have duly increased and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the cream of the crop, the best for what it is that you are specifically looking for. I’ve sourced the best resorts for five categories from holistic spiritual awakening and a pampering yoga retreat to a full-on detox and silence. I wrote this feature for a magazine a while ago and I’m sure there are plenty of new spa and detox resorts… but these are still some of the best!

Capri Palace, Italy

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High up in the picturesque town of Anacapri lies the majestic Capri Palace Hotel with its famous medical spa, the Capri Beauty Farm. Under the supervision of Professor Francesco Canonaco, a medical doctor who specialises in food science and immunology, Capri offers a comprehensive range of programmes targeting specific areas of the body. The Metabolic Response programme targets metabolism for sensible weight loss through exercise programs and tailored Mediterranean meal plans, The Heart School deals with cardiovascular problems and The Leg School probably the most sought after – Gwyneth Paltrow came to tone up her legs pre-Iron Man – offers a seven-day programme involving cold mud and bandage wraps, dipping in and out of the Kneipp pools and lymphatic drainage massages all designed to improve circulation and swelling – thus the appearance of your legs. The exercise schedule involves a combination of fitness with a personal trainer, gymnastics in the thalassotherapeutic pool and ecological walks. All this within a grand Mediterranean palace with columns, arches, vaulted ceilings, antique artefacts and white architecture, with rooms that offer breathtaking views over the Bay of Naples and hills of Mount Solaro – the setting for your health programme can’t be more spectacular.

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Ananda, Himalayas  The lifestyle experience at Ananda is as much about the setting as it is about the yoga and Ayurveda, if not more. Soothing mountain environment is itself refreshing, but set at the Himalayan foothills in a secluded location, not far from Haridwar and Rishikesh, the birthplace of the ancient sciences of Yoga and meditation, Ananda effects a spiritual and holistic experience. Once the residence of a Maharaja, this palace is now a place to restore your energies. The Sanskrit word for ‘bliss’, Ananda, surrounded by the Sal forests with views of the Ganges below and mountains above, certainly lives up to its name. The tailored programmes at Ananda are based on Ayurveda, designed to heal, cleanse, revatalise and restore the body’s natural balance by cutting out certain foods according to your body type. And if it’s relaxation you’re after, being at one with yourself and with nature, then pick anything that might take your fancy from the menu of 79 body and beauty treatments incorporating European, Ayurveda and Oriental systems of holistic health. The Spa Cuisine menu at Ananda includes Indian, Oriental and European cuisine and uses organic vegetables and herbs, imbibing the philosophy of better living.

Como Shambhala Estate, Bali

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The Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri sits on a lush forest-covered area of land outside the Ubud region. Immersed in gardens and set amongst trees high above the Ayung River, with the background of chirping birds and the sound of running water, the Como allows mental quietude by being at one with nature and through the practice of yoga and Asian therapies. What better place to focus on yoga or participate in one of the Yoga Retreats with world-renowned teachers in the teak-wood yoga pavilion than an Edenic setting so at one with nature. Hand-in-hand with the yoga is of course what you eat, and detoxing at Como is designed to be a pleasure with a delicious eclectic menu that mixes Asian and Mediterranean elements, along with a special raw menu. Whether you’re in a suite or villa, they’re all spectacular with
net-canopied colonial beds, some with alfresco showers and others with views of the river valley. There is also a 25-metre pool surrounded by coconut trees and ferns, along with exceptional foliage-clad spa and wellbeing facilities which include floating treatment rooms and a climbing wall. And so, if you’re yearning for complete seclusion, longing to be revived with life-changing yoga and lifestyle practices, Como Shambhala is the perfect pick!

Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives

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Still somewhat undeveloped, the islands in the southern atolls of the Maldives have a faraway, seemingly hidden charm about them. The Park Hyatt Hadahaa, a perfect mix of simplicity and luxury, is entirely secluded and boasts one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, making for some great snorkeling. The lush vegetation and trees surrounding your private villa’s own outdoor pool acts as a enchanting boulder from the world, and yet stepping onto the beach just outside, mere steps away from the villa, there often won’t be a soul in sight. To describe it as private would be an understatement. And the villas themselves, contemporary yet cosy, have large glass windows which open up into the garden or the lagoon depending on the villa type. If you’re in a beach villa, walk barefoot on the pure smooth sands to the lagoon pool, where the resort’s main restaurant is located. Don’t be surprised if you have one of the Park Hyatt’s two stunning pools completely to yourselves. As the sun sets, a rejuvenating treatment at the gorgeous Mandara Spa, surrounded by a carpet of mangrove, is unbelievably relaxing. And so, reveling in the lap of luxury, you’ll be immersed in silence but for the sound of the waves rippling at the shore.

Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand

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Built around a centuries-old cave temple, once used by Buddhist monks as a place for meditation, Kamalaya is an oasis of quietude nestled in hills, streams, ponds and swaying palm trees. The Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa, with open and closed treatment rooms, relaxation areas, a steam cavern and hot and cold pools, all of which command spectacular views over the greenery and then the bay stretching ahead, focuses on cleansing the body both on a physical and spiritual level. From the various Wellness Programs which include Stress and Burnout, Ideal Weight, Optimal Fitness, Yoga and others, the Detox Program is the most sought after. Kamalaya’s approach to detox is designed to support the body’s ability to eliminate toxins and reestablish its ideal balance. Depending on the length of Detox – anything from three to fourteen days – the program features a range of therapies, the Detox cuisine as well as vitamin and herbal supplements. Both restaurants at Kamalaya serve a wide range of artful and delectable detox dishes, fresh juices, smoothies and cocktails. This healthy and nutritious cuisine is an integral component of the holistic wellness concept.

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