Wellness Retreats Provide a Variety of Answers

Wellness is the latest wealth indicator in the U.S., whether that means looking at results-driven wellness retreats, new health products, or eating well. The Wellness Uprising Report released last fall by WSL, a retail tracking consultancy, notes that people of all ages (47 percent, according to the survey) name their top concern as health and wellness and are adopting strategies for healthier living.

CS070H“What began as a fringe movement of people interested in organic food, yoga and shopping at Whole Foods has turned into a national trend driven by a broad constituency of consumers of all ages, incomes, ethnicities and genders. They’re knowledgeable and passionate about taking care of their own and their family’s health,” says WSL’s CEO Wendy Liebmann.

And focused wellness resort companies, such as VeraVia in Carlsbad, CA and Fiveelements in Bali are listening.

The reports findings included these numbers:

  • Nearly half of Americas feel their health (42%) is excellent or very good (32%); 38% good.
  • On average, 85% of Americans are confident they know how to live a healthy life.
  • Stress is the leading obstacle to good health (47%), followed by ‘lack of sleep’ (37%); ‘not enough time to exercise’ (25%) and ‘working too many hours’ (17%).
  • The leading sign of good health today is ‘mental balance’ to 76% of Americans, replacing losing weight, the leader in 2011; feeling energized (74%) and feeling positive (71%).

Results in View at VeraVia

At VeraVia, programs have been developed around today’s busy executive who may have three days or four to find balance in a hurry. The retreat is on the grounds of the former Four Seasons Aviara, now the AAA Five Diamond Park Hyatt Aviara Resort just north of San Diego. Easy access from both San Diego and Los Angeles means that programs are geared for a variety of needs and wants but center around four prime pillars: Fitness, Medical, Nutrition and Wellness. Because programs here are geared for seeing results and seeing those results last, there is much more than massages and heavy fitness classes for the average guest.

veraviaIntegration of the four pillars means guests not only immerse in building lasting fitness and nutritious eating habits, but they also dig deep into the blocks, physical and psychological, that prevent them from reaching their goals.

Designed for long-term, sustained results, a wellness retreat at VeraVia can help guests get where they want to go in four-night to month-long intensive packages that can be revisited for a tuned up any time.


The Natural Touch at Fivelements

For a more relaxing retreat that approaches wellness from the theme of five elements rather than four pillars, a wellness escape to Fivelements in Bali may be in order. Located along the Ayung River in a swell of emerald rice paddies, Fivelements is where you go to here silence in nature and sink into a slow appreciation in the wonders of earth, fire, metal, wood and water.

Fivelements-Nov-2013-001Traditional Balinese healers bring nature’s magic to life for these voyagers. Philosophies here hold that we all live equally in two worlds: the seen or conscious world of Sekala, and the unseen or psychic world of Niskala. To help guests on their travels back to the self and wellness, a Healing Village embraces guests with ambient surroundings where holistic massages are administered with Prana breaths; cleansing and detox are offered with water healing and magical sanctuary; reflexology, acupressure and invigorating bodywork add to an extending menu of possibilities.

Fivelements-0234Emphasis here is on quiet, healing, turning in to one’s spirit and bringing it into balance with the body. But guests can also be tourists here and explore the island at leisure. Only nine guestrooms are in this spread of high grass-roofed ceilings, recycled timber floors, air-conditioning, and flowing white curtains. At Fivelements, focused attention can be given to each guest. Each suite opens onto a terrace over the sacred Ayung River. Each bathroom is a healing alfresco bathhouse with chromotherapy lighting, air-conditioning, sound system with iPod dock, Wi-Fi Internet access and a generous array of amenities.


Wellness Sanctuaries Near and Far


AnandaPalaceAnanda, in the Himalayas: Just four hours’ train or drive from New Delhi, this mountain retreat was once the quarry of rajas but now it is the epicenter of yoga, ayurveda and ancient principles in healing for those who want an exotic health vacation in India. Programs range from three-day introductions to three-week intensives geared to get you balanced, fit, limber and meditative. Ananda provides a great way to get exposure to complicated and mysterious Oriental philosophies and find new pathways to happiness.


CS019HChiva-Som, in Hua Hin, Thailand: The location is a three-hour drive from Bangkok and a world away in wonder and ease. At Chiva-Som, guests stay in private Lanna-style pavilions and create their goals according to trained medical consults at the start of their stay. Days are filled with stretching, fitness, unusual and effective body treatments, massage, seminars and guided meditations while nights are given to lectures from wise healers and visiting authors. The spot on the calm and comforting Gulf of Thailand means long, private beachwalks on soft sands. The bustling tourist town of Hua Hin (former summer palace spot for the royal family) is also worth the exploration.


Mountian HikeRancho La Puerta, Tecate, Baja California: This mountain retreat is within reach for anyone who can get to San Diego. Just an hour’s drive from the border (resort transport is available to guests from the airport each Saturday for their seven-day stay), stays at Rancho La Puerta are serious business with lots of fun mixed in. Rates include all meals, guided hikes and walks, fitness classes, evening programs, lectures, and transfers but do not include massages and cooking classes. Fitness classes range from cardio and strength training to Pilates, yoga and gyrokenesis. And mindfulness and meditation workshops fill in the down time. Single rates start at $3,750 for the week.


RanchMalibuPicnicThe Ranch at Live Oak Malibu, California: The Ranch is just outside Los Angeles and, as can be expected, often has a celebrity or two on the guest list, which never exceeds 16. That’s because the ranch is a take-no-prisoners, commit-now wellness retreat where guests will find their sweet spot when it comes to peak performance. Coming to The Ranch at Live Oak means, at base, committing to a six night, seven-day regimen of challenging daily hikes as well as fitness, cooking and nutrition classes; of course there is daily massage, downtime by the pool and great, fresh dining at a maximum of 1,500 calories a day. Week long program is $6,800 and a R4.0 4-day program is also available.



7100 Aviara Resort Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92011
(800) 527-1936

Puri Ahimsa, BanjarBaturning, Mambal
(011 62) 361 469 206

Ananda – In the Himalayas
Palace Estate, Tehri Garwal
Narendra Nagar, UT 249175
(011-91) 1378 227500

Chiva-Som International Health Resort
73/4 Petchkasem Road
Hua Hin, 77110
(011-66) 32 536 536

Rancho La Puerta

P.O. Box 69
Tecate, CA 91980
(800) 443-7565

The Ranch at Live Oak
Malibu, California
(310) 457-8700


Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

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