Taking the Waters: Top 4 Wellness Resorts in the Asia-Pacific
Much more than spas and yoga mats, the latest wave of wellness resorts boasts everything from kid-focused massages to adrenalin-pumping sports. Here are the top healthy fads of 2016, and where to find them.
Fiji: The A-zen-aline Rush
The rage: Theory has it, when we experience “positive” stress from activities like bungee-jumping, the adrenalin influx releases endorphins; when this is then followed by relaxing experiences like meditation, the results are blissed-out relief.
Hop on the bandwagon... on the pristine and private Laucala Island in Fiji. Check in to one of the villas hidden amongst coconut plantations, tropical rainforests and palm-fringed beaches. Divers will be awed by the Great White Wall, a facade of white coral which turns an iridescent shade of lavender the deeper you go.
Top off the day... with a trip to the Spa Garden where you can pick out your favorite spices and herbs to make your own essential oils and soaps.
Travel perk: Fiji Airways is offering the “Fiji’s Gone Coconuts” sale for travel dates from Sep 1 to Nov 20, with discounted roundtrip tickets starting as low as $4,680.
Rates from $37,218 per room per night; accommodates two. Laucala Island, Fiji, (+679) 888-0077 laucala.com
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Bali: Little Royals
The rage: In an era where stress seems to begin in kindergarten and playing takes place on smartphone screens, lifestyle illnesses like diabetes and obesity are creeping up at an alarmingly young age. Planning a family holiday before the year ends? Throw in a mix of kid-centric yoga sessions, mini-spas and healthy cooking classes to round out your family wellness foray.
Hop on the bandwagon... at Bali’s Villa Sungai, where juniors are pampered with an array of kids-only activities from mini massages to manis. Alongside the turquoise blue waters and white sands, kids can also relish in afternoon tea parties with children from the local Villa Sungai team and enjoy crafty activities like hair braiding and kite making.
Travel perk: Book through smithandfamily.com for a free 90-min spa treatment for each adult and a 30-min massage for each child.
Rates from $7,473 per room per night; accommodates two. Jalan Desa Cepaka, Kaba-Kaba, Kediri, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia, (+61) 410-324-535, bali-villasungai.com
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Koh Samui: Surf’s Up
The rage: Surfing and its offshoots such as stand-up paddleboarding have been making waves in the travel industry, attracting a tribe of explorers ready to trade ritzy hotel rooms for wave-rocking experiences and healthy local food. As a result, we’re seeing more chic resorts combining watersports with wellness programs to hit the sweet spot.
Hop on the bandwagon... at the chic W Retreat Koh Samui, where you’re welcomed with neon-colored cushions and pop art décor. Surfers can knock themselves out in the fully-equipped water sports and activity center, or head to W Beach, which boasts one of the best kitesurfing spots in Thailand.
Simmer down... with a 120-minute Thaimazcal Program ($1,120) at Away Spa, the first Mexican Temazcal-inspired herbal sauna in Asia with deliciously named body scrubs such as “Berry Colada” and “Banana Mojito.”
Rates start from $23,670, accommodates four. 4/1 Moo 1 Tambol Maenam, Surat Thani, Koh Samui, Thailand, +(66) 77-915-999, wretreatkohsamui.com
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Cambodia-Vietnam: Healthy Cruising
The rage: Pigging out is no longer the only item to check off on your seafaring to-do list, as healthy cruising tops the list of the latest wellness travel fads. Think on-the-water fitness, spas and even medical beauty amenities.
Hop on the bandwagon…with a 4-day Mekong Discovery Cruise journey from Phnom Penh. Board the deluxe 20-suite Aqua Mekong, Aqua Expeditions’ newest addition to its collection of luxury small ship cruises, and sail down the Mekong River to the humming city of Ho Chi Minh. Feel the stress ebb away with an authentic Asian massage on board—choose from a circulation-boosting Khmer massage or soothing Vietnamese aromatherapy with the healing scent of lemongrass.
Dine on... a bowl full of Mekong river prawns and catfish in the on-deck restaurant, led by Asia’s top ranked chef David Thompson. Foodies can even take a tour with the chef to Chau Riverside Market where he sources fresh ingredients.
From $28,380 per person, available July-Nov from aquaexpeditions.com.