Looking to shape up, chill out or spend a little restorative time together as a family? This year, it’s time to find out what escaping from it all can do for you.
It’s the year of therapeutic travel, with more of us using our holiday to work on ourselves than ever before. Our lives are becoming increasingly more sedentary and screen time is perilously taking over our spare time, so it’s no surprise that the number of us booking retreats and wellness holidays has doubled in the past year.
“We’re demanding more from our hard-earned holiday time than a sun-lounger and a pool,” says Stylist’s travel editor Anna Hart. “A retreat for me is any holiday that leaves you feeling better when you get home than when you left.”
It makes sense then that ‘personal fulfilment’ will be at the top of the list for travellers this year, according to Booking.com’s forecast, as we look to add more meaning to our trips. “We want to return physically restored, mentally refreshed, spiritually nourished and culturally inspired,” says Hart. “Our holidays need to work a lot harder – because we do!”
Ready to retreat? Here are five ideas for transformative travel…
1. Embrace a slower pace
Where? La Granja, Ibiza
Swap rush hour for lazy afternoons foraging for dinner at La Granja. The rustic stone farmhouse has acres of pine forest, lush vegetable gardens and a poolside mescal bar, of course. Master farmer Andy Szymanowicz is on a mission to teach visitors the basics of organic farming. You can take part in slow-food workshops, local projects and gorge on farm-to-fork dishes during your stay. You’ll leave feeling enlightened and very well fed.
Opening again in April 2019, garden rooms in the farmhouse cost from €350 per night. British Airways flights from London to Ibiza from £81 return.
2. Have the best sleep of your life
Where? Almyra Hotel, Cyprus
Whether you’re a sleep-deprived parent or just need a proper rest, this stylish beachside hotel offers the ultimate sleep retreat. Daily calming yoga sessions by the infinity pool, Hypnos spa treatments and sauna sessions are all designed to benefit your slumber, and there’s even a nutritionist on-hand to help you eat for better sleep. Dreamy.
The ‘Week of Sleep for Exhausted Parents’ package costs from €980. British Airways flights from London to Paphos from £52 return.
3. Reclaim some quality family time
Where? Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
One of Indonesia’s most remote islands is home to an eco-friendly hotel with a difference. Here, spending time together is a breeze. Learn surfing and river paddle boarding; go rock pooling and forage through the reef; trek to the Blue Waterfall with a picnic; then top it all off with a sunset horse ride together on the beach. Beats scrolling through social media hands down.
The ‘Wild Indonesia’ retreat for 12 nights costs from £8,950 per person.
4. Run away to the mountains
Where? Esplanade Trail Running Camp, Canada
If pounding the pavements is your thing, take it to the next level with a group trail-running trip. Start with a helicopter ride into the remote Esplande Mountains, before taking on five days of 10k running trails. It’s a challenge that will push you to your limits, but the fresh air, postcard-worthy views and cosy lodgings will make it all worth it.
Retreat Golden’s trail running camps run in July and August 2019 and cost from $2,100 CAD.
5. Kick-start your new fitness routine
Where? Champneys Forest Mere, UK
Stuck in an exercise rut? A team training retreat will jump-start you back into action. You’ll do more exercise per day than you’d usually do in a week – spin class before breakfast, anyone? But you’ll also benefit from well-balanced meals and tons of motivation from your boot camp leader. Tip: book a trip led by Susie Woffenden for her inspiring nutrition advice and super-effective ‘lifestyle’ weight training sessions.
Champneys offers 1, 2, 4 and 6-night fitness retreats, starting from £350.