With wellness retreats on the up, there’s no better time to escape for a relaxing and rejuvenating retreat to some of the world’s most enchanting waters. Sit back while the big blue works its healing magic…
Whether it’s immersing yourself in the ocean or simply gazing out at the horizon, there’s something about water that immediately brings peace. If, as a traveller, you seek waterways on vacation and drive coastlines in search of secluded bays for the immeasurable sense of serenity you feel by simply being around it then you’re not alone. Studies show that humans are pulled toward Mother Nature’s blue for, in part, its restorative benefits.
Hailing back to the Victorian times when doctors would prescribe sea air as a cure for all sorts of both physical and mental issues, today some of the world’s most luxurious retreats are making use of everything from mineral-rich natural waters to soothing hot springs to cure aches and revive spirits. If you’re looking to take to the waters – be it as an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life or to address some more serious issues – these world-class wellness retreats are the perfect place to start.
Japan has understood the healing power of mineral bathing since the days of the shogunate, when samurai would use onsen baths to restore their health and recover from the rigours of battle. It’s this same ceremony that inspires the exquisite Amanemu in the forested hills of Ise-Shima National Park, designed around vast hot springs. Fed by the mineral-rich waters, this holistic approach to wellness fuses Japanese healing practices with nature-inspired therapies from around the world.
Both its wellness immersion programmes and holistic Aman Spa revolve around hot springs which, as well as aiding in recovery from fatigue and injury and relieving pain, have been known to improve general wellbeing too. Elsewhere there is an outdoor infinity pool with stunning views over the bay plus library and bikes for nipping around the resort or exploring. Ise-Shima, Japan Book now
Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Perhaps one of the most famous bodies of water in Europe, the milky blue waters of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon have long been celebrated for their mysterious restorative qualities. Rich in therapeutic minerals and surrounded by a surreal basalt lava field in Grindavik on the country’s Reykjanes Peninsula, not only has it been named one of National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World, but the unique algae and high concentration of silica in the water have been proven to directly benefit the skin, helping with everything from psoriasis and eczema to premature ageing.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, be sure to check into the luxurious Retreat at Blue Lagoon which, encompassing a subterranean spa and geothermal lagoon, comes encircled by the mineral rich waters, making it an immersive realm of relaxation and rejuvenation. Marrying otherworldly landscape with serene Scandinavian design – the interiors take inspiration from the slate grey of the rocks and the earthy tones that cover them – spend your days between the lagoon’s waters and the underground spa where you can enjoy silica salt rubs, hot stone massages and facials using products by Blue Lagoon Iceland. Norðurljósavegur, Iceland Book now
Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, Jordan
With its renowned healing benefits dating back over 2,000 years to the height of the Roman Empire, it’s no surprise thousands of tourists flock to Jordan’s Dead Sea to immerse themselves in its mineral-laden mud. Rich in magnesium-based salt, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can benefit conditions like eczema and psoriasis, not only does the water have a healing effect but the combination of salt water plus sand can act as an exfoliant, leaving you with silky soft skin. For luxury lodging, the Movenpick Resort & Spa lies on the north-eastern edge of the Dead Sea at the Earth’s lowest point – some 420 metres below sea level – and, laid out over seven hectares of lush gardens, is a feast for all the senses.
When you’re not spending time bobbing about in the ocean, head to the colossal 6,000 sqare metre Zara Spa where you can make the most of the region’s natural surroundings without leaving the resort. There’s an array of Dead Sea inspired treatments, including mineral-infused massages and wraps, and underwater massages plus its very own therapy centre which makes use of the Dead Sea water to aid everything from skin conditions to joint and muscle pain. Dead Sea Road Sweimeh, Amman, Jordan Book now
Ocean Residence, Milaidhoo Island, The Maldives
There’s no better way than to immerse yourself in the calming azure waters of the Indian Ocean than with a private overwater villa, and they don’t come more serene than the 475 square metre Ocean Residence at Milaidhoo Island Maldives. Authentically designed with a thatched roof and unparalleled views of the sea, step straight into the water below from the light-filled bathroom which is, quite literally, perched on the edge of the ocean.
The villa’s private sundeck comes with swing chair and sun loungers, plus a huge freshwater and infinity swimming pool, while spa treatments can be arranged on the deck of the villa or in the suites of the over-water Serenity Spa. Post-massage, head back to your villa for even more R’n’R on the secret loft deck, hidden inside the roof – the perfect place to relax. Milaidhoo Islands, Maldives Book now
Six Sense Kaplankaya, Turkey
Never tried a watsu pool before? You don’t know what you’re missing out on. There’s no better spot to experience its incredible healing powers than at Six Senses Kaplankaya which, set on a naturally beautiful stretch of ancient Aegean coast just north of Bodrum, is a lesson in the art of getting away from it all.
Incorporating water as a healing method, the resort is also one of only a handful in Europe to have a watsu pool – a therapy that works on physical and emotional freedom by relaxing the body and putting the conscious mind to a meditative state. Lie back and relax as you are floated, cradled, rocked and stretched by an experienced practitioner, while the therapeutic benefits of warm water combined with muscle stretching, shiatsu, yoga and meditation leave you feeling revitalised and renewed. End your blissed-out day at the Crystal Steam Room which features a pure rock quartz crystal known as a master healer, amplifying energy and improving both concentration and focus. Milas, Turkey Book now