We don’t need just a holiday, we need to be inspired – and we are going to greater lengths to chase our transcendental highs. We’re taking Ayurvedic sabbaticals in Sri Lanka, climbing mountains in Bhutan, venturing off the grid in the wilderness and still squeezing in yoga. All to live our best lives or, at the very least, to feel awake. Did someone say soul retreat? Taking a break from regular life is a self-care power move (especially if it transports us beyond wi-fi and reliable phone reception). It’s all about living with purpose rather than just existing. Namaste, ladies – let’s do this.
Escape To Thailand For A Wellness Boost
Are you in need of a health retreat? Seven days of wholesome food and scheduled exercise with massages and facials on tap? Amatara Wellness Resort in Phuket, Thailand, is a top spot for recharging in luxury. Along with the divine setting overlooking the jade green Andaman Sea, the resort’s beauty is in its flexibility. You can pick a package that’s as strict or spoiling as you desire. marie claire chose the Spa Revive package, a solid balance of both, with the aim of nudging us – gently but insistently – into a better general sense of health and wellbeing, ideally with some weight loss on the side. Other options include specific focuses on anti-ageing, fitness, yoga, weight loss or – if you really want to put yourself to the test – detoxification.
The schedule includes three nourishing meals per day, daily spa treatments including massage and facials, yoga and use of the gym, outdoor pool and other facilities. Morning yoga classes take place on a wooden platform with the ocean on one side and a tranquil pond on the other. If that setting doesn’t make you fall in love with yoga, the considered and easily adaptable sequences led by Belgian-born yoga coordinator Loba-Luna Hauke (known simply as Luna) will. The food is exceptional – even the healthy options (think spicy green papaya salad) – and the Thai Hammam spa experience is exquisite.
Diet and exercise aside, staying in a luxury suite complete with your own infinity pool and daily maid service goes a long way towards clearing the mind, reminding us that life doesn’t have to operate at a hundred miles an hour. marie claire even lost a kilo or two – which lasted until we got home.
Sri Lanka is an emerging destination for mindful travel and no trip is complete without a brush with the local leopard population. Stay in a luxury tent on a pristine beach at the edge of the Yala National Park and spend your days roaming through the quietest corners of the jungle, home to leopards, sloth bears and elephants (hello, spirit animal). If the close contact with nature doesn’t change your outlook, a visit to the resort’s Sanctuary Spa will.
Dreaming Big In Uluru
Sacred to the Anangu people and Australians in general, Uluru stirs you to the core with a spiritual connection to country. The landscape here is staggeringly rugged, but there’s also luxury in the desert. Longitude 131 is an all-inclusive lodge with unobstructed views of the big rock, where you can dip into plunge pools and dine on upmarket bush tucker before retiring to a luxury tent for the night.
Finding Bliss In Tasmania
When all you can see for miles are rolling green hills, and all you can hear is the sound of rushing water outside your door – interrupted only by the occasional chirp from a bird or moo from a cow – you can’t help but let your cares subside. The Derwent Valley is like nowhere else. While it covers more than 4000 square kilometres, just 25 minutes’ drive out of Hobart, you’ll feel a world away from anywhere.
The valley is renowned for its natural beauty. At its heart is the Derwent River, home to an 1820s homestead lovingly restored as a boutique luxury hotel: Woodbridge on the Derwent. Or, less than an hour from Hobart and nestled beside the river, you’ll find Truffle Lodge, one of Tasmania’s only glamping options. You’ll sleep on a super-king bed and have your own private bathroom (complete with bath). You can enjoy yoga on the deck, perch yourself along the river for some platypus-spotting or while away the hours with a good book on a hammock – the definition of R&R.
Perched high above the Coral Sea, Thala Beach Nature Reserve is the ultimate in eco-holidays. The 58-hectare wildlife reserve between Port Douglas and Cairns offers no wi-fi but plenty of lush greenery to help you disconnect from your laptop. We suggest sunrise swims in one of the freshwater pools and sunsets on the private beach. The fresh local food and (strong) bespoke cocktails served in the open-air main lodge are a bonus.
High And Mighty
With its majestic glacial valleys and heart-stopping peaks, Bhutan is a transformative travel hotspot. In this isolated Himalayan kingdom, happiness is valued over monetary gains and Buddhism permeates every aspect of local life. Amankora encompasses five intimate lodges sprinkled across the terrain. Travellers can trek from lodge to lodge through breathtaking landscapes, bathing under prayer flags in the forest by day and relaxing with spa treatments and fine cuisine by night – or they can just take the chopper.
Tiny House, Big Exhale
There’s nothing to do but read, play board games and talk. Kindled, a tiny house three hours west of Sydney, is a digital dead zone and the perfect mini-break from omnipresent devices. The hand-built micro-house serves up all the necessities and nothing more on 101 hectares of gum tree conservation area. It’s beautiful in every sense, but Instagram will have to wait for the trip home. Love the concept? Watch this space – Kindled has three more tiny houses launching shortly.
STAY: Kindled Tiny House