By Flora Murray
The way we think about wellness has changed. No longer a byword for a quick massage or facial, wellness has come to be understood as a mosaic of physical, mental and emotional factors – each deserving of care and attention. Spas and retreats have responded in kind with an ever-growing line-up of treatments and activities designed to support body and mind, from sunrise yoga classes to medical-grade diagnostics.
Whether you’re searching for cutting-edge facilities or a place to switch off and unwind, we share our favourite luxury retreats and spas with an eclectic range of wellness offerings.
For a total health check: Palazzo Fiuggi, Italy
While adorned with all the fresco-ceilinged, marble-floored trappings of a grand Italian palazzo, Palazzo Fiuggi is first and foremost a medical retreat. Beginning with a diagnostic exam from a team of in-house specialists, guests engage in week-long, targeted programmes designed to optimise healthy living. Between private clinical sessions, guests can relax in the impressive facilities: indoor and outdoor pools, Roman-inspired baths and a hammam, a cinema and a billiard room, walking trails and tennis and padel courts.
For cutting-edge technology: Lanserhof Sylt, Germany
Long esteemed for its medical ingenuity, Lanserhof has outdone itself with its latest venture – an ultramodern retreat on Sylt, a German island in the North Sea. With a team of 10 resident doctors and an additional 32 specialists, the facility attracts guests seeking remedies for an array of ailments from back pain to migraines to digestive issues. New technologies (like a full-body AI scanner with 96 cameras) form a crucial part of the experience alongside holistic treatments like mindfulness and alternative therapies such as acupuncture. This fine-tuned amalgam of clinical and therapeutic offerings is designed to tackle health imbalances at the root.
For ultimate relaxation: Château Saint-Martin & Spa, France
If you’re searching for something a little more laid-back, this Provençal chateau couldn’t be further from clinical. Nestled amidst the olive groves on the site of a 12th-century Knights Templar, Château Saint-Martin is the pinnacle of quiet luxury with an on-site Michelin-starred restaurant and the newly branded La Prairie spa. From signature caviar or rose-petal massages to honey-and-lavender treatments using Bamford botanicals, this is soothing, indulgent treatment at its best – no early morning wake-ups in sight.
For reconnecting with nature: The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
If it takes serene and bracing scenery to help you feel grounded, the Gleneagles estate in the Ochil Hills is made for you. The hotel’s recently renovated 20-room spa boasts two indoor pools and one outdoor thermal pool, a resident naturopath and massage oils made from botanicals indigenous to the surrounding area. If the rolling Scottish landscape is what you’re searching for, the 850-acre estate is also the perfect playground for wild wellness, with programmes combining waterfall bathing, hiking, stargazing, foraging, forest bathing and fly fishing.
For reconnecting with yourself: Eleven Deplar Farm, Iceland
This unique Nordic escape transports a select and intimate group on a ‘sensory-driven’ journey. Rooted in the four pillars of movement, breath, nourishment and connection, the retreat guides guests through revitalising yoga sessions, horseback rides and serene cross-country skiing expeditions across the beautiful Troll Peninsula. Afternoons offer Viking sauna rituals and Tata Harper treatments, while evenings feature sea-to-table suppers followed by restorative sound-healing and sleep-focused meditation.
A former sheep farm, the retreat features 13 elegantly simple bedrooms and a spa, complete with sauna, steam room, hot tubs, flotation tanks and a geothermal indoor/outdoor pool with a swim-up bar – the perfect nook to gaze up at the Northern Lights.
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