Peace and Pleasure Pilgrimages: Six Immersive Retreats to Celebrate International Day of Happiness
March 20 is the annual International Day of Happiness, a day to celebrate feeling good – and for people around the world to acknowledge the importance of looking after their own happiness. With travel taking ‘mind, body and soul’ wellness to the next level in 2023, a retreat or a restorative vacation is a great way to get some respite from life’s troubles and restore balance and creativity. In fact, with nearly half of global travelers (44%)* wanting to embark on a getaway involving mindfulness or meditation this year, we have selected six retreats around the world with an immersive approach to attaining peace and pleasure – including less conventional ways to feel bliss. From a silent retreat in Spain to an explorative polyamory retreat in Colorado, these wellness retreats will ensure travelers reignite their inner glow.
Rejuvenating Wellness Retreat – Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Nestled amongst the hills in south Bali, the REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali is a magical resort that offers bespoke wellness retreats uniquely packaged for each guest. Situated on three hectares of luscious emerald green forest, the stay’s wellness goals range from de-stressing to weight loss. Guests can immerse themselves in restorative yoga and Pilates, relaxing spa treatments and even emotional therapies that will support and nurture their wellbeing. Or, simply unwind in the stunning outdoor swimming pool, sauna or hot tub guaranteed to leave guests feeling revitalized and renewed. The onsite restaurant serves locally sourced, healthy food, from divine zucchini pesto pasta to warming kale miso soup, and menus are tailor-made to each guest depending on their requirements. A Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay, this resort invests a percentage of revenue back into the local community and organizes activities led by local guides. For those on a spiritual quest, a Soul Purification Experience is hosted at an 11th-century holy water temple in Ubud and encourages healing and harmony.
Supportive Menopause Retreat – Chichester, United Kingdom
Located on the magnificent 12,000-acre Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, the Goodwood Hotel is a cozy and traditionally styled stay set in the heart of the English countryside. This intimate boutique hotel offers a fantastic three-day wellness retreat to support and guide women as they navigate the menopause, apt for the 42%* of travelers keen to take a health hiatus in 2023 to mark an important milestone. The retreat provides evidence-based advice from industry-leading experts on how to manage symptoms, along with a holistic and personalized approach to nutrition and exercise. Women will experience a one-to-one consultation, healing sound bath ritual and revitalizing breath walk as well as spa treatments from body brushing to promote circulation to an abdominal massage to reduce bloating. Aiming to empower and ease the journey through this physical and emotional transition, the retreat will give women the tools they need to thrive. Luxury facilities include a spacious indoor pool, warming spa bath, steam room and sauna and the hotel is also home to several fantastic restaurants that all foster a field-to-fork philosophy grounded in local and sustainable eating.
Adventurous Polyamory Retreat – Colorado, United States
The Rocky Mountains in Colorado is an extraordinary destination offering postcard-worthy views of mountainous peaks and glistening lakes where visitors can set their hearts racing with skiing, hiking and horseback riding, which are highly recommended by local travelers**. It’s also home to another exciting adventure – a polyamory retreat. With more than a third (36%)* of travelers keen to embark on an erotic escape in 2023 such as a bondage camp or kink resort, an explorative trip to Colorado offers sexually adventurous travelers the opportunity to live out their fantasies. Hosted twice a year in Breckenridge, a charming town located west of Denver, the long-weekend retreat welcomes polyamorous people in a poly-normative and accepting environment. The retreat organizes an ice breaker gathering, karaoke and even a pajama party for participants to connect in a relaxed environment, and has a strict consent policy to ensure their well-being. For those wanting to extend their stay nearby, the Marriott's Mountain Valley Lodge at Breckenridge offers a cozy aparthotel with massage facilities, a heated pool and a hot tub. For adventurous travelers seeking an adrenaline rush, a Half-day Canyon Rafting Adventure in Cotopaxi provides an opportunity to hit the iconic rapids of the Bighorn Sheep Canyon.
Calming Silent Retreat – Altea, Spain
Built on the site of a 300-year-old olive mill, Hotel Tossal d'Altea is a blissful stay that offers two silent retreats each year in the spring and the fall. With 40%* of travelers reporting that they would be keen to try a silent retreat in 2023, this traditional, family-run stay is the perfect oasis for those seeking peace and quiet. Set amongst olive, almond and orange trees, and a stone’s throw away from a quiet beach, the restored farmhouse with its charming terraces and gardens offers a variety of spots for guests to sit in meditative silence. The retreat encourages guests to integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives and focuses on the power of silence through sitting, lying down, walking and mindful movement, all interspersed with comfortable breaks of discussion. Thanks to these sustained periods of silence and candle-lit meditation, guests can hone in on self-compassion and kindness in a safe and supportive environment. The purpose-built meditation center has huge windows flooding light into the studio and provides incredible views of the Sierra de Bernia mountains. Nearby, the beautiful town of Altea is famed for its bright blue domed church, quaint streets and Mediterranean charm, while a peaceful Sunset Catamaran Cruise is well worth the short drive to Calpe’s scenic bay.
Restorative Yoga Retreat – Quimixto, Mexico
For travelers seeking harmony through the practice of yoga, the Xinalani Retreat Mexico is situated on a sandy beach bordered by lush jungle in a setting that resembles pure paradise. This secluded hideaway aims to support its guests in physical and personal growth, as well as spiritual transformation, with a variety of classes in its six amazing studios. Whether perfecting child’s pose, downward dog or defying gravity with aerial yoga, guests can increase their flexibility and strengthen their bodies in mindful movement. After class, there’s the opportunity to unwind in the resort’s peaceful spa center or sweat it out in a traditional temazcal, a clay-like sauna where guests are guided in breathing exercises by a knowledgeable local shaman. Visitors can immerse themselves in other alternative wellness activities such as a cacao ceremony, ice bath therapy or meditation to nourish the mind, body and soul. This eco-chic retreat, only accessible by boat, is located on the southern part of Banderas Bay and guests can take part in surfing and snorkeling to enjoy the water. It’s also renowned for its delicious yet healthy Mexican dishes from crispy grilled chicken with peanut sauce to world-class guacamole.
Comforting Pregnancy Retreat – Soldiers Point, Australia
For expectant parents preparing to welcome their baby into the world, a pregnancy retreat or ‘babymoon’ is the perfect way to combine pampering with rest and relaxation ahead of this exciting new chapter. Bannisters Port Stephens is an elegant hotel set on a scenic peninsula in New South Wales that offers a midweek babymoon package for pregnant women and their partner, complete with spa treatments and special treats. Upon arrival, guests can savor a mocktail on the delightful poolside terrace before settling into one of its waterfront rooms which have been specially designed for calm and relaxation. Expectant mums will be treated to a prenatal pregnancy massage that aims to nourish the mind and body with light movement and subtle scents, and pampered with skincare gifts. Guests can dine at the on-site Rick Stein restaurant which, as part of this Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay, serves locally sourced and organic food. For those who can tear themselves away, take a short drive to Newcastle for a Hunter Coast Nature Cruise to explore the biodiversity of this beautiful stretch of coast.
*Travel Predictions 2023 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,179 respondents across 32 countries and territories were polled (including 1014 from Argentina, 1006 from Australia, 505 from Austria, 504 from Belgium, 1009 from Brazil, 503 from Canada, 1009 from China, 1010 from Colombia, 505 from Croatia, 505 from Denmark, 1010 from France, 1001 from Germany, 500 from Hong Kong, 1005 from India, 504 from Ireland, 504 from Israel, 1008 from Italy, 1003 from Japan, 504 from Mexico, 502 from The Netherlands, 1007 from New Zealand, 1009 from Portugal, 507 from Singapore, 1008 from South Korea, 1001 from Spain, 505 from Sweden, 508 from Switzerland, 500 from Taiwan, 504 from Thailand, 1006 from the UK, 1009 from the US and 504 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2022.
**Based on local travelers input from Booking.com’s Travel Communities who have visited the destination in the past.