As published here on Glamour UK.
If you’re sick of seeing avocados and humble brags about work outs on your Insta feed, you can only expect more to come – wellness is on the up, and everyone is paying attention, with celebs and beauty insiders alike espousing the healing virtues of everything from crystals to herbs to #cleanbeauty.
Don’t worry if you don’t know your ashtanga from your ashwagandha – we’ve come up with a cunning plan so that rather than embark on some scary regime in the pursuit of superior wellness, you can instead combine a holiday with a side of serious spa joy.
And we’ve even gone and tested a bunch to come up with this tight edit so that you know you won’t be getting a dud.
Some are a bit strict (see VivaMayr), others a bit more of a pamper with an incredible view (step forward, Huvafen Fushi). Whichever way you go, there’s something on this list to leave you feeling completely restored. Oh, and leave your ‘gram looking pretty goals…
The Original VivaMayr FX, Austria
The vibe: Medical clinic par excellence meets lakeside retreat. The intention of their famous ‘Mayr cure’ programme is not merely to pamper and cosset, but rather to fully overhaul – think lessons in chewing, colonics should you need one, a room for vitamin infusions, and a whole range of holistic therapies spanning everything from craniosacral therapy to nasal reflexology all designed to reset and restore ruffled nerves and muddled digestive systems.
Come with… Either someone you’re on fairly intimate terms with, or alone: part of the signature VivaMayr treatment is the guzzling of Epsom salts to flush out the system, so you can expect lots of trips to the loo and a fair amount of scatological chat among guests.
Hero Treatment: The stomach massage. Alright, it’s technically not a treatment but rather a diagnostic method used daily by the doctors to ascertain how the cure is progressing and how your organs are responding, but it’s oddly relaxing and really very soothing.
You’ll leave feeling… Utterly renewed – it may be hardcore, but it truly works and has accordingly amassed an army of famous VivaMayr devotees rumoured to include everyone from Kate Moss and Jourdan Dunn to Lisa Eldridge and Liz Hurley.
Terre Blanche Hotel and Spa, France
The vibe: Nestled in a particularly picturesque part of Provence, everything about Terre Blanche is chic with a capital C. The spa is enormous, with a manicured ‘zen space’ outside from which you can sip lemon tea in the balmy weather, while the rooms, complete with terracotta terraces on which you can enjoy many croissants in the morning, are sumptuous and ripe for a sneaky Instagram shot. Remember to pack your bikini – the incredible Art Deco swimming pool is impossible to resist.
Come with… Someone who’s into the good life with whom you can enjoy the spa, the wine, the freshly-baked bread, and the local market selling juicy fruit and hand-embroidered smocks.
Hero Treatment: A massage at Terre Blanche is a thing of joy as the therapists tailor the treatments to your ailments, so you can go and choose something to both relieve aching muscles and leave you feeling sprightly in one session. Also, the scented, 100% natural oils smell heavenly.
You’ll leave feeling… Desperate to book back in. And mellow. Very mellow.
Anazoe Spa at Costa Navarino, Greece
The vibe: Perched on the Pelponnese peninsula lie two linked hotels comprising Costa Navarino, where you’ll find all the ingredients for a restorative holiday including a panoply of eateries including a traditional taverna and series of village-style cafes, many swimming pools (some even coming off the back of hotel rooms), and, yes, an impressive 4000 square metre spa. But don’t let its scale fool you – the attention to detail at Costa Navarino is impressive, with everything geared towards showcasing and preserving this beautiful part of Greece.
Come with… Anyone in need of a proper holiday and keen on all things Greek – there’s more than a whiff of Mama Mia about this one.
Hero Treatment: Olive trees are a key part of the Costa Navarino mission – in order to build the golf courses, they uprooted and replanted hundreds to preserve them, and now harvest their own olive oil. The signature Oleotherapy treatment makes use of the healing, antioxidant properties of the oil, so book in for that.
You’ll leave feeling… Healthier – all that fresh Greek food and time in the warm Ionian Sea is a great tonic if you’ve been under the weather.
Spa Metropole by Givenchy, France
The vibe: Laid back Riviera style made achingly chic thanks to the input of a host of stylish folk from Karl Lagerfeld to Didier Gomez with an injection of Givenchy in the spa, you can expect everything here to be impeccable and tasteful.
Come with… A dazzling wardrobe – you’ll need it given that the hotel is just off place de Casino and a mere stroll away from iconic Port Hercules.
Hero Treatment: If you’re ever going to go for it, this palace of excess is the place to do it, so we’d recommend going for the 2-hour face and body Le Skin Noir Renaissance Integrale Givenchy treatment to leave your skin and muscles feeling buttery soft.
You’ll leave feeling… Pampered AF. And probably a bit unwilling to go home.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Italy
The vibe: Venice is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places on the planet – but it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you visit during warmer months, when the tiny streets are jam-packed with tourists and the 177 canals that traverse the city make things a bit confusing. Enter this haven. Tucked award from the hordes on Isola Delle Rose, you’re a short gondola ride from the splendours of Venice but in a sanctuary of sorts. The rooftop alone from which you can gaze out at the Lagoon is well worth the visit, but we also rate the Michelin-starred Dopolavoro Dining Room and would recommend clearing at least an afternoon to luxuriate in the award-winning GOCO Spa Venice.
Come with… Your significant other – this is a city that’s made for romance.
Hero Treatment: Opt for a classic Deep Tissue massage – you’ll need it after all that plodding around the streets of Venice.
You’ll leave feeling… Slightly (okay very) peeved that you ever have to leave. But also extremely relaxed and possibly a little more rounded – Italy wouldn’t be Italy without a little pasta and a dash of wine.
Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
The vibe: A knot of 43 bungalows sit on this private island that’s a serious departure from real life. The underwater spa takes things a bit further – not only can you have a stellar treatment, but you can have it while gazing into the depths of the blue ocean as fish shimmy on by.
Come with… Your phone – if you’re after a brilliant shot for your feed, you’ll find views worthy of sharing everywhere. But also take someone you like enormously, because the island is secluded and very much somewhere to go and relax.
Hero Treatment: Time your stay around one of Teresa Tarmey’s residencies. The facialist to mega stars like Sienna Miller and Poppy Delevingne, Teresa wields a laser like no other – and if you were ever going to have down time for your skin to replenish post-treatment, you’ll have it here.
You’ll leave feeling… Completely and utterly blissed out.
Bio -Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria
The vibe: Don’t think of the Stanglwirt as a hotel – it’s more a sprawling eco-friendly, homely series of wooden buildings – with some seriously luxe additions. There’s the bar with a glass wall so you can watch the snow white Lippizaner horses practising routines, an enormous spa comprising a series of grotto-like steam and saunas, a lake water-filled outdoor plunge pool, tennis courts overlooking the mountain range, and the comfiest beds you can imagine.
Come with… Your family – there’s something for everyone at this place.
Hero Treatment: Facialist to many an A-lister (think Emma Roberts, Elle MacPherson, and Gwyneth) Dr. Barbara Sturm has brought her famous Molecular Facial to the Stanglwirt, so book in for that if you’re after a firming, deeply hydrating treatment.
You’ll leave feeling… Much fitter – all that jumping in and out of the various pools and trying all the variety of gym facilities make for great tone that you get without putting in too much effort.