From tranquil, tropical paradises to exclusive sleep schools, you won’t feel lonesome on your ownsome at these luxury vacations that are perfect for the solo traveller
Solo travel is a growing trend. Not only is there no need to compare bucket lists or compromise on dinner plans, but post-pandemic there’s an increasing urge to rediscover and heal our inner selves, and sometimes that’s just not possible with family or friends in tow. “The 21st century provides more work, more stress and more social media than ever before, so people are looking for experiences that offer an escape from the stresses of daily life,” Roland Fasel, COO of Aman Resorts, tells MOJEH. “Solo travellers often express their love for travelling alone for two reasons – firstly, the chance to spend more time with their own thoughts, offering a real opportunity for reconnection with the self, and secondly the ability to be the sole decision-maker about the activities they want to do.”
Countless studies back the notion that solo travelling is most popular with women, as not only do they have more means and fewer obligations than women of past generations, the perception that travel is self-care is clearly coming to the fore. Taking a vacation is a shortcut to wellness and self-actualisation – two things that women invest lots of time and money in. “Travel in general is an experience that can have a hugely positive impact on one’s mental health and wellbeing, whether experiencing other cultures or having the opportunity to take a break from daily routines. This is even more prominent when this time is spent alone,” adds Roland.
Whether it’s a sleep spa in Portugal or a soul-searching escape to Japan where, quite frankly, two’s a crowd, there’s an impressive number of international destinations and retreats that are even better when you go it alone. And while there’s no denying that solo travel can be a daunting prospect, your own Eat, Pray, Love moment could be just a flight away. “Don’t expect not to be afraid, it is daunting to travel alone if you haven’t before,” explains Cornelius O’Shaughnessy, founder of the award-winning Bodhimaya retreats. “Feel the fear and do it anyway. Do it regularly or have an extended trip if you really want to find your true self, and grow into a new, more aligned and authentic you.” Fortune favours the bold, after all.
Milaidhoo Island, The Maldives
While most think of the Maldives as a quintessential honeymoon destination, its network of 1,190 low-lying coral islands and stilted bungalows perched over a majestic turquoise sea make for a dream destination for solo travel – and none more so than Milaidhoo Island, which will win you over with its intimate island atmosphere, well-considered private pool villas, and the best Maldivian restaurant in the country.
From fitness classes to traditional cooking experiences, the resort has a wealth of specially-curated activities with no plus-one required, including trips to Hanifaru Bay for snorkelling with manta rays and whale sharks (you can even learn about the lagoon’s coral reefs with a marine biologist, and plant coral to help the reefs grow), private yoga and meditation sessions on your villa deck, and Maldivian cooking classes that will equip you with plenty of recipes to take home, plus complementary watersports, such as SUP and kayaking. With four overwater treatment rooms boasting sensational views and the soothing sound of lapping waves, be sure to spend time in the intimate spa, where treatments are centered around African rituals and local ingredients. Of course, there’s the glistening ocean right on your doorstep too – so blue, it almost looks like a painting. Book now
Hästens Sleep Spa, Portugal
If you’ve ever slept on a Hästens’ mattress, you’ll appreciate the power of a good night’s sleep – which is also the inspiration behind Portugal’s family-owned O Valor do Tempo group’s first hotel in the charming village of Coimbra, a two-hour drive north of Lisbon, designed to address wellbeing with books (it’s right by the famous Joanina Library) and sleep. Entirely dedicated to providing guests with a world-class 40 winks, the property’s 15 unique rooms make for the perfect escape from screaming children or snoring partners, each complete with a Hästens limited-edition Herlewing mattress (which typically runs around Dhs147,000). There’s also a bathroom lined with 1,200 hand-carved, gold-plated marble book spines that correspond to actual titles that guests can borrow, which took a team of 18 craftspeople over four months to create, alongside the bathroom’s 50kg book-shaped marble counter and the lobby’s bookshelf-inspired mosaic walls. Drawing upon its nearly-170 years of expertise, Hästens promises the snooze of your life with time-specific music playlists, a pillow menu and an in-room channel of sleep health videos. It’s impossible not to drift off to. Book now
Hotel Lutetia, Paris
The most famous historic getaway on Paris’ Left Bank, Hotel Lutetia delights guests with its inventive seasonal menu and marble-clad wellbeing space. Adding another string to its bow, the wellness hub has now launched a customisable detox package at its award-winning spa, the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, designed to help guests detox and rebalance in a luxury setting.
Ideal for solo travel, you’ll be supported by a renowned nutritional expert every step of the way, with a healthy meal plan, plus an in-depth programme of physical exercise, yoga, meditation and mindfulness included. Guests can pick and choose to create a tailored programme to suit their needs, which is complemented by a seasonal menu of contemporary French cuisine, with some Japanese and Southeast Asian flavour elements. Your biggest decision will be whether to enjoy some laps in the beautifully lit pool, or chill out in the whirlpool tub, sauna and hammam. We recommend the latter, full-body massage included. Book now
Aman Tokyo, Japan
Answering the growing global demand for optimal health, the elite group of Aman hotels is dedicated to catering to those seeking a solo escape centered around personal wellbeing – a highlight being its Tokyo outpost’s three-night Misogi Retreat. Combining bodywork, nutrition, mindfulness and meditative practices, guests will take part in everything from daily yoga, meditation and breathing exercises to Shakyo, a Sutra hand-writing meditative practice, and traditional Japanese lessons in flower arranging.
A top pick for those looking to immerse themselves in Japanese culture while learning some handy new self-love skills, the retreat includes a traditional Chinese medicine consultation and acupuncture sessions, seasonal daily herbal bath pouches, and access to the hydrotherapy facilities in the spa, where you can soak in a warm Japanese bath. Not only does the warm water lower blood sugar levels and flush out toxins, when paired with cold-shower bursts it improves circulation, increases the heart rate and stimulates the production of beta-endorphins. Accommodation, a daily health juice, a wellness minibar and airport transfers are all part of the package. Book now