Whether you’re curious to experience the benefits of hot springs, want to immerse yourself in nature, or simply yearn for uninterrupted time to reset and unwind, there’s something to be found in this collection of restorative travel destinations.
For Forest Bathing: Yakushima, Japan
It’s no secret that spending time in nature is good for the mind, body, and soul, but the benefits of getting outside have never been more spoken about than over the past few years. As simple as it sounds, its effects have shown to improve the quality of a person’s sleep, mood, focus, and stress levels. In Japan, forest bathing has been celebrated since the 1980s when its practitioners first coined the term ‘shinrin-yoku’: to absorb the forest atmosphere. Journey to Yakushima National Park, home of expansive, lush greenery and towering trees, for a dramatic detour from your usual daily walking route.
Where to stay: Sankara Hotel & Spa
Sankara Hotel & Spa’s location makes it special; it’s surrounded by a unique combination of mountainous terrain, infamous cedar-trees, and vast ocean. That said, there’s few better places to retreat after forest bathing. The open setting and calming atmosphere promises to extend and maximise the day’s soothing effects.
The Dead Sea in Jordan has long been celebrated for its skin-detoxifying benefits. Its salt water and mud are ripe with minerals believed to draw out unwanted toxins, and submerging your body within it is said to exfoliate, soothe, and even reduce swelling or inflammation. As such, it stars as an ingredient in a range of beauty products, but those looking to experience the benefits in their most true form should venture to Israel and immerse in the water before it gets bottled and shipped to the shelves.
Where to stay: Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Spa
Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Spa sits on the corner of the Dead Sea and features two waterfalls in its grounds. The first is especially hot. It reaches temperatures of up to 65°C and its water is cooled, then channeled into one of the resort’s pools. The second flows freely into an open pool to create a natural thermal-water experience.
For Es Vedra’s Magnetic Pull: Ibiza, Spain
To see Es Vedra is to experience its true force. It’s famed for being the third most magnetic point on Earth, which could be the reason no one seems to visit Ibiza just once. Some believe it’s the gateway to Atlantis, but whether or not mythology is true, it remains a respected landmark today. The towering limestone rock in Cala d’Hort’s Natural Reserve reaches 400m above sea level at its highest point. Hike the cliffside on Ibiza’s west coast to see it from afar, or follow a certified kayak instructor to get as close as possible.
Where to stay: Petunia, Ibiza
There’s simply no better-positioned hotel than Petunia to enjoy Es Vedra’s majesty. Nestled on a quiet hilltop close to Cala Vadella and surrounded by greenery, no sight or sound obscures the view from its sweeping roof terrace. Settle in before sunset, cocktail in hand. It’s true what they say: life’s about balance, after all.
For Hot Springs: Pamukkale, Turkey
If hot springs appeal, there are 17 to be enjoyed in Pamukkale, the UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkey. Its waters are heated deep beneath the earth by natural lava and temperatures range from 35°C to 100°C. When they rise and reach ground level, the calcium and hydrogen carbonate within them react to create calcium carbonate and limestone. This is what makes Pamukkale’s stone so white, and the pools so famous. Rumoured healing properties include those for asthma and rheumatism, as well for the skin, eyes, kidneys, and digestive organs, amongst others. As with all natural health claims, personal experience and belief are sure to play a part, but one thing is guaranteed, Pamukkale is a natural marvel.
Where to stay: Six Senses Kocatas Mansions, Istanbul
Extend the restorative travel theme to the city and make the hour-long flight from Pamukkale to Istanbul for a stay at Six Senses. This unique outpost is set in traditional Turkish architecture with a newly opened spa that offers uncompromising views of the Bosphorus River.
For A Spiritual Experience: Mount Phousi, Laos
Translated literally, Mount Phousi means ‘spiritual mountain’. It’s an appropriate name considering the history that this 100m-tall wonder is steeped in. Its Eastern legend tells of Hanuman, the Hindu king and commander of the monkey army, carrying it from India to Luang Prabang.
CF Top Tip: Hike to the top and visit Wat That Chom Si. The small but beautiful temple is a shrine to Buddah and an homage to this city’s ancient history.
Where to stay: Amantaka, Luang Prabang
Amantaka mimics the serenity of its surrounding area, respectfully nodding to Luang Pabang’s Buddhist roots and spiritual connotations with its in-house experiences. The spa menu features traditional rituals and remedies infused with locally sourced herbs, and guests are welcome to receive a daily Baci blessing. It takes place as part of a chanting ceremony designed to create balance and harmony.
For Blissful Escapism: The Maldives
Perhaps you yearn for the kind of sublime peace that you find when lying on a quiet beach, out-of-office on, and nothing but the sound of the sea to infiltrate your thoughts. Rest is restorative, and for many, it’s most readily found when travel involves doing nothing and seeing no one. There’s science to this notion: the sound of waves has been proven to relax the mind, and the colour blue has a calming effect on the central nervous system for many. Destination choice is personal, but the cluster of white-sand islands that make up the Maldives is arguably one of the most blissfully indulgent places to rest.
Where to stay: The Standard Hotel, Huravalhi Island
For 2022, The Standard Hotel on Huruvali Island welcomes marma healer and Ayurvedic practitioner Vipin Raj to its roster. His physical, mental, and spiritual treatments – specifically chakra and energy balancing – will instill a sense of calm and escapism. Teamed with the setting, as well as the hotel’s hammam and additional wellness treatments, Huruvali Island might just become the place you leave feeling more refreshed than ever.