Where will you vacation this summer? We suggest combining a summer getaway with a healthy excursion at a luxury wellness retreat. A joint study led by the Global Wellness Institute and SRI International defines wellness tourism as "all travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one's personal well-being." As a $439 billion market, wellness tourism encompasses trips for all needs, interests and desires. Below, we've compiled a list of some of the top global wellness hotspots. Whether you're interested in learning how to adopt healthier habits (Sha Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain), seeing the world (Escape to Shape traveling fitness spa), escaping it all (Simply Healing Detox Retreat, West Sussex, England), embarking on an Ayurveda journey (Vivanta by Taj, Bekal, Kerala, India), discovering inner peace (Chiva-Som, Hua Hin, Thailand) or simply visiting one of the top spas in the world located in our own backyard (Spa Palazzo, Boca Raton Resort and Club), we've found a destination for everyone.
For Healthier Habits: The Sha Wellness Clinic
Location: Albir Beach, Alicante, Spain
Philosophy: "The Sha Method combines the effective elements of modern macrobiotics nutrition and the curative powers of natural therapies with a dynamic and practical educational program, totally personalized to satisfy the needs of each person and his or her health goals."
Length of programs: Two to 14 days
Areas of focus: Natural therapies, macrobiotic diet, non-invasive aesthetic medicine and anti-aging treatments
The diet: Macrobiotic dishes made with organic ingredients and highlighting Mediterranean and Japanese fusion cuisine
The accommodations: Nearly 100 suites, ranging in size from 250 to over 1,000 square feet, span five buildings and were decorated in a minimalist style by interior designers Elvira Blanco Montenegro and Francisco Palacios.
The amenities: Swimming pools, waterfalls, relaxation areas, Zen gardens
The spa: Inspired by global spa treatments, the Sha spa offers Far East therapies combined with western advances. It also offers beauty treatments including an array of facials and wraps.
Fitness: Full fitness area with personal trainers at hand, as well as Tai Chi, yoga and Pilates classes
Featured therapies: Acupuncture, reflexology, hydrotherapy, therapeutic massages
Featured classes/lectures: Cooking and meal preparation, paddle tennis, Pranayama breathing techniques
Special features: Oxygen bar, cupping treatments, an array of personalized programs including Stop Smoking, Sleep Well and Detox
For more information: shawellnessclinic.com
To See the World: Escape to Shape
Location: Varies. Escape to Shape is a traveling fitness spa that visits exotic locations throughout the world, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco, Croatia, Germany and Istanbul.
Philosophy: "Escape to shape offers vacations combining luxury, culture and fitness at unique locations around the world...Each location, activity and menu is hand selected and curated by owners Erica Gragg and Francesco Anchisi so as to ensure that guests experience the most authentic and very best each culture has to offer."
Length of programs: Seven days
Areas of focus: Total body workouts, local cuisine, cultural excursions and classes, relaxation and spa treatments
The diet: Though exact menus change depending on the destination, meals are organic (where possible) and inspired by the local cuisine. The diet is low fat and high fiber, focusing on fresh fish, lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For those participating in the weeklong Destination Detox program, diet includes one-day juice cleanse as well as raw foods.
The accommodations: Spacious room with in-suite bathroom and deluxe amenities
Number of guests: Typically limited to 12 guests per trip.
The spa: Spa treatments vary depending on location of excursion.
Fitness: Yoga, Pilates, circuit training, hiking, kayaking, biking and surfing
Featured therapies: Massages
Featured classes/lectures: Language classes, cooking classes, meditation, cultural excursions (wine tastings, dance lessons)
Special features: On most locations, guests have the opportunity to give back to the local community through service excursions.
For more information: escapetoshape.com
To Escape it All: Simply Healing Detox Retreat
Location: West Sussex, England
Philosophy: "Simply Healing specializes in delivering personalized detox programs, which focus on boosting health, weight loss, fertility and general well being."
Length of programs: Five to 10 days, with some weekend programs available
Areas of focus: Juice detox, weight loss, fertility enhancement and menopausal hormone balance
The diet: Fruits, vegetables, juices, soups, broths, herbal supplements and herbal teas are implemented to boost the detox process.
The setting: Situated on 18 acres overlooking the South Downs and surrounded by woods
The accommodations: The 10 rooms in the eighteenth-century home offer luxury amenities and privacy.
The spa: Six treatment rooms are available for holistic spa therapies and treatments.
Featured therapies: Variety of wraps (aroma algae, cashmere and silk, milk and honey, detox fitness), detox foot treatment, reflexology, hopi ear candles, massage therapies, colonic hydrotherapy and facials
Featured classes/lectures: Channelling, counselling, nutrition consultations
Special features: The lush grounds and picturesque surroundings will transport you back in time.
For more information: simplyhealingcentre.com
For an Ayurveda Journey: Vivanta by Taj
Location: Bekal, Kerala, India
Philosophy: Vivanta by Taj marries luxury accommodations with a world-class spa, offering a number of specialized wellness retreats. "Blending ancient Indian wisdom with contemporary therapies, Jiva Spa offers the best in Indian rejuvenation therapies."
Length of programs: Four to 14 days
Areas of focus: Ayurveda detox, de-stress, yoga, holistic wellness
The setting: Situated on 26 acres and bordered by the Arabian Sea
The accommodations: Seventy-three rooms and villas open up to lush greens and are appointed with luxury fabrics and amenities.
The spa: The hub of all of the resort's wellness experiences, the Jiva Grande Spa covers 165,000 square feet and includes meditation pavilions, yoga studios, relaxation and vitality pools.
Fitness: In addition to a fully equipped gym, the resort offers a yoga retreat to learn authentic yoga with the help of trained practitioners.
Featured therapies: Ayurveda treatments, Indian aromatherapy, scrubs and wraps, facials
Featured classes/lectures: Yoga, meditation, nutritional advice, personal training, body analysis
Special features: Vivanta by Taj focuses on creating a luxury experience, so if you're looking to indulge and detox then this is the retreat for you.
For more information: vivantabytaj.com
To Discover Inner Peace: Chiva-Som
Location: Hua Hin, Thailand
Philosophy: "Chiva-Som is about learning to live, enjoy and appreciate each moment. By inspiring our guests to develop a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit, they can create a personal path to optimal health and wellness."
Length of programs: Three to 14 days
Areas of focus: Yoga, detox, natural healing, fitness, physiotherapy, weight management
The diet: Organically grown and fresh produce, lean meats and fish; a detox diet is also available.
The setting: Nestled in seven acres of tropical gardens and located right on the beach.
The accommodations: Fifty-eight rooms and additional Thai pavilions offer outstanding views.
The spa: Seventy treatment rooms with a kinesis studio, gum, watsu pool, flotation pool and sauna
Fitness: Daily fitness activities including Pilates, yoga, Thai boxing, aerobics, aqua exercise and hiking
Featured therapies: Body cleansing cocoon, deep-hand massage, facials, body shaping therapy, crystal therapy, hydrotherapy and holistic health services
Featured classes/lectures: Spa cooking classes, health and wellness consultation, kinesthetic assessment
Special features: Chiva-Som's physiotherapy unit treats a wide range of conditions such as lower back, neck and shoulder problems as well as sports injuries.
For more information: chivasom.com
In Our Backyard: Spa Palazzo, Boca Raton Resort and Club
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Background: "Inspired by Spain's legendary Alhambra Palace, the 50,000 square foot Spa Palazzo is a symphony of palatial gardens, grand arches, carved stone, smooth marble, handcrafted tile, elaborate mosaics and cypress woodwork."
Special Packages: Waldorf Astoria Spa Experience Package (Lomi-Juma massage, ritual bath), Diamond Experience (lifting facial, magnetic ritual, diamond manicure and pedicure), Renew & Detox (O2 awakening facial, detox marine algae wrap and massage)
Areas of focus: Luxury spa treatments, anti-aging
The accommodations: Founded in 1926 by Addison Mizner, this landmark building offers five styles of guest rooms and suites with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway.
The Spa: As one of Condé Nast Traveler's 25 Top Spas in the World and Top 100 Resort Spas in the United Spas, Spa Palazzo sets a high bar for revitalization. In addition to 44 private treatment rooms, the spa includes lounges, two sunning terraces, a whirlpool and steam, sauna and inhalation rooms.
Fitness: On-site fitness activities include three fitness centers, Yoga, Zumba and Hydro-Fitness classes, golf and tennis.
Featured therapies: A variety of facials, ritual baths, mineral massages, citrus drench wrap, honey scrub, bamboo scrub, reflexology
Special features: Located on the hotel property, the Cenegenics Medical Institute of Boca Raton offers health evaluations to help patients look younger, regain vigor and stamina and live longer.
For more information: bocaresort.com