HOTELS • January 2020
Is 2020 the year you get in shape, learn yoga, or simply take some much-needed time for you? Travel writer Alicia Miller finds the healthy stays to provide the post-festive reset you’re craving – without breaking the bank
Oozing bygone glamour, this long-standing Cascais seaside star has played host to royalty and film royalty, specifically James Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It’s little wonder – the bells-and-whistles wellness offering, which includes a Banyan Tree spa, a team of doctors, dentists and nutritionists, and extensive hydrotherapy facilities, is fitting for those who demand five-star treatment. Prefer your healthy break with a heavy dose of alfresco activity? You’ll be well catered for too: beachside yoga and 18 holes of golf are part of the mix.
Doubles from £90, B&B
Les Jardins de la Medina oozes that only-in-Morocco atmosphere you’re craving: terracotta walls, reflective pools and orange tree-scented groves. But this atmospheric old riad in Marrakech’s historic medina also nails feelgood restorative breaks, with its eco-friendly creds – it has been awarded the internationally recognized Green Key accreditation for its efforts. Kick back by the mirror-like pool; practice meditation by flickering flames of your in-room fireplace; or get your skin restored to newborn silkiness in a traditional hammam treatment.
Doubles from £179, B&B
With its picturesque rice paddies, honeyed beaches and famously friendly locals, just being in Bali is de-stressing. But indulge in the island’s celebrated massage tradition and you’re guaranteed to shift some muscle knots – especially at Desa Seni, where an edited list of treatments includes chakra therapy and banana leaf body wraps. The hotel’s good-for-you vibe extends beyond the spa: designed after a traditional Balinese village, the grounds boast an organic restaurant, veg patch and yoga retreat too.
Doubles from £174, B&B, including yoga classes
This glamorous resort, built around a stone-fronted Peloponnese manor, is about much more than just spa-ing – though, admittedly, the multi-floor spa is one of the most impressive in Europe, with its womb-like pool, rambling thermal suites and spacious lounges overlooking green hills. It’s also about more than the terraced Greek-modern rooms or healthy – but never depriving – meals (forget strict diets: if you want moussaka, it’s yours). No, it’s really about the mind-expanding philosophies: intimate, expert-led retreats, rooted in Greek mysticism, explore the likes of self-awareness, grief or relationship-building.
Doubles from £303, B&B
Head to coastal Kerala, birthplace of both yoga and traditional Ayurvedic medicine, and you’ll get a break that touches your soul as much as your body. The pleasures are simple at Neeleshwar Hermitage: a smattering of atmospheric thatched huts, modelled after fishermen’s homes with high ceilings and teak floors, cluster around a golden beach. This setting is no doubt soothing, but it’s the daily yoga and meditation sessions, and full-blown Ayurvedic spa – helping to tackle the likes of insomnia or poor digestion – that ensure you leave feeling transformed.
Doubles from £166, B&B
You don’t have to go to the ends of the Earth to benefit from Asian feel-good wisdom. Boutiquey Shanti Som, tucked away in the verdant hills north of Marbella, brings all the yoga classes, giant Buddhas and fiery curries to you – and marries them with sublime walking in Spanish scenery, fresh Mediterranean produce and bargain short-haul flights. A welcoming option for solo travellers (rates are available per person), dip a toe in with a three-night ‘turbo detox’, or delve into a relaxation-themed five-night retreat.
Doubles from £272, half-board
For helpful hints on easing your way into your holiday, click here