To borrow from an old adage, wellness begins at home. But that doesn’t mean your travel destinations shouldn’t also come with a high-vibe sense of zen. As our focus on wellness at home continues to grow, we’ll also be making sure our limited vacation days are spent taking our wellness, fitness, and self-care up a notch.
For the truly wellness-committed, there are retreats. Formerly the trips your weird aunt went on to commune with nature for a few days, retreats have become the wellness in-crowd’s preferred form of vacation. Whether you grab your crew (or take some solo time) and escape to a yoga retreat in Bali, a surf camp in Costa Rica, or a Vispassana (10-day meditation retreat), we’re all about taking wellness on the road.
But we’re also seeking wellness even on a regular vacation. According to Air BnB’s 2018 Travel Trends report, guests are booking more non-traditional homes, with nature lodges (700% growth), ryokans (600%), yurts (155%), and RVs (133%) seeing the most growth. One of their most popular experiences is a secret concert in a London treehouse.
Locally, Air BnB saw huge growth in the popularity of destinations within driving distance of the Canadian rockies, like Edmonton (284%), but also Fernie (179%) and Kelowna (170%) which are sought out for their outdoor activity opportunities like cross-country skiing and fly fishing.
And we’re not messing around when it comes to requirements for our accommodations either. The Global Wellness Summit reported that wellness architecture will be one of the biggest trends including “‘living’ buildings with walls made of algae biofuel cells that grow their own energy.”
“We expect to see the integration of wellness taking shape well beyond the traditional spa environment,” Kathryn and Jennifer Findlay of Core Essence, told us. “Many hotels are beginning to take a more pervasive approach to wellness, and are integrating various design and programming concepts into the guest room space, F&B outlets, and common areas.”
“For example, imagine a low-level, warm bedside lighting that offers gradual exposure in the morning (mimicking that of the rising of the sun) to work in harmony with your body’s natural circadian rhythms as opposed to the traditional blue lighting we always see that actually decreases melatonin production, the all-important sleep-inducing hormone.”
Heading to Vegas? Instead of shacking up at one of the Strip’s more traditionally trendy hotels, you could opt for a Stay Well room at the MGM Grand or the Mirage which feature air purification, a mattress made of memory foam derived from plant extracts, an aromatherapy diffuser, a dawn simulator to awaken you with gradually increasing levels of light and sound, and a shower infuser to reduce chlorine. You can also find these rooms at Marriott locations in Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Richmond, and Tampa.
Lucky for us in Toronto, we can find one spot for a zen getaway close to home with the newly-launched Woodfield. The Muskoka property hosts weekend retreats where organizers can fill guests days with workshops, yoga, and meditation in one of the two yurts, nature walks around the property, and even some quality cuddle time with baby goats.
And the experts at Core Essence have some other predictions for the destinations we’ll be jetting off to for our wellness needs in 2018:
- Iceland: We anticipate a continued interest in Iceland and the Nordic Regions. We’ve been reminded that wellness exists beyond the tropics – think soulful soaks in geothermal hot springs under the northern lights, glacier trekking, waterfalls, volcanoes and so much more.
- Holbox Island: North of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Holbox has been touted by many as the new Tulum. This car-free island is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, a sanctuary to thousands of exotic birds and diverse marine-life. Still a relative secret on the international scene, Isla Holbox is a more laid-back version of what is slowly becoming a more saturated wellness scene in its neighbouring towns to the south.
- Vancouver Island: Sticking closer to home, we love the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (first opened in 1998 as an overnight floating lodge, since then it has grown into a luxury glamping retreat), The Surf School at Long Beach Lodge and just about anything to do with Pacific Rim National Park. The very best wellness experiences need no curation when this is your backdrop.
We’re ready to pack our bags!
Lead image by rawpixel via Unsplash