From Sri Lanka to Switzerland: five of the best destination spas for 2022

Wellness is something worth travelling for. These destination retreats offer some of the best rejuvenating experiences in spectacular locales.

By Sam Lewis
Published 12 Mar 2022, 06:00 GMT, Updated 14 Mar 2022, 15:26 GMT
Les Près d’Eugénie offers visitors a large variety of swimming pools and thermal baths.

Les Près d’Eugénie offers visitors a large variety of swimming pools and thermal baths.

Photograph by Protégée par le droit d'auteur

1. Ulpotha Yoga & Ayurveda Retreat, Sri Lanka

For yoga in the wilderness

A rotating roster of yoga teachers and masseurs offers two-week stints of pure relaxation at this spa retreat that sprung up in the lush jungle in the midst of a traditional agricultural community. The yoga takes place in an open-sided shala, with curious monkeys peering in, and the massage table can be set up in a multitude of outdoor locations — perhaps on the peaceful banks of the beautiful ‘tank’, a lake man-made thousands of years ago, or beneath the surrounding trees. Expect delicious vegetarian food from local produce, showers open to the sky — and no electric light. Go to bed as the sun sets and wake as it rises to see buffalo ploughing the  mist-drenched rice fields from your hut. A programme of expert ayurvedic treatments is available and part of the proceeds raised are used to fund a much-needed medical clinic for the villagers, so you’re doing some good for others, as well as yourself.
From £1,890 per person for a two-week stay.

2. Les Près d’Eugénie, Eugénie-les-Bains, France

For thermal and herbal therapies

The sumptuous Ferme Thermale spa is as much a draw as the resort’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant or chef Michel Guèrard’s famously delicious but low-cal cuisine minceur, with two mineral-enriched natural springs used to enhance wellbeing since Celtic times. Set in a beautiful timbered building within a pretty garden, where guests filter in and out of a peaceful, double-height relaxation area with crackling open fire and soothing tisanes, the spa offers treatments that use plant-based Sisley products and focus on herbal or water-based remedies. The facilities are amazing: white clay pools, Turkish baths, spray-downs and herbal baths with massages, aromatic warm mud wraps and yoga on the spa menu.
From £210 per room per night.

3. BodyHoliday, St Lucia

For active relaxation at the beach

A 33-room Wellness Centre offering unlimited fitness, yoga, Pilates, tai chi and dance classes is the star attraction at this luxury all-inclusive beachside spa, which combines ancient Eastern wellness practices and Western science to create personalised programmes that sometimes includes training with Olympic athletes. A complimentary daily treatment can include full-body massages and a range of luxurious facials and beauty treatments is also on the menu alongside paid-for therapies such as acupuncture. New programmes created in response to the pandemic include Wellness Rehabilitation, a personalised timetable that can include ocean swimming and bike rides, personal box fit, ayurvedic treatments, chanting, Bhutanese healing and osteopathy, depending on the guest’s goals; or a non-medical Covid Convalescence Programme, intended to replenish those who caught the disease, however mildly. And for anyone who thinks healthy living should also be enjoyed in moderation, the resort has wine salons, too.
From £290 per person per night.

4. Wolgan Valley One & Only, Australia

For a natural reboot in the mountains

All six treatment rooms and hot and cold outdoor spa pools have views of the surrounding landscape at this breathtakingly beautiful 2,800-hectare nature reserve set in the Blue Mountains just three hours’ drive inland from Sydney. Stay in private villas that resemble homesteads and book authentic treatments such as a destressing Bushman massage using chemical-free products made by Sodashi, native to Australia and based on ancient healing traditions. Also on the menu are outdoor yoga, meditation and hikes or horse-riding through the wilderness. There’s a strong emphasis on sustainability, including tree-planting, wombat conservation, a kitchen garden serving the restaurant and water purified and bottled from the local creek.
From £1,450 per villa per night.

5. Guerlain Spa, The Woodward, Geneva, Switzerland

For lakeside relaxation

Opened in 2021, the Guerlain spa features a number of impressive facilities including the city’s longest swimming pool along with saunas, steam rooms, a snow shower and hot and cold Swedish baths. Fitness classes range from high-energy to Zen while treatments, specially created for the hotel, emphasise the idyllic location, with options for sculpting, massaging and rejuvenating using Guerlain products and Gharieni treatment beds. Highlights include The Spirit of Lake Geneva, a full-body massage with Guerlain aromatherapy blended oils; inspired by the tranquillity of the lake and exclusive to The Woodward, this blissful sensory experience hydrates the body as it re-energises the mind. Treatments are even available for children, or as a family, as well as make-up lessons and a tearoom for sipping rejuvenating pre- and post-treatment infusions.
From £1,020 per night.

Published in the 2022 edition of National Geographic Traveller (UK) The Spa Collection

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