Category: Experience

BodyHoliday Adds Five Wellness Retreat Options

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BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive health and wellness resort in St. Lucia, is expanding its wellness program with the addition of Villa Firefly and five retreats for mental, physical, and emotional rejuvenation.

Ayurvedic medicine, one of the oldest holistic healing treatments, is at the heart of the program. Dr. Samantha Mahalingam leads the program under the belief that optimum health and wellness is achieved through balance between the body, mind, and soul.

The retreats are hosted at the resort’s new Villa Firefly, a four bedroom, two suite, luxury villa in the tropical gardens of the resort overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The villa can accommodate up to 10 guests with the option of booking the hotel room adjacent to the villa. With this, the retreat at Villa Firefly can host a total of 12 guests.

Each retreat offers specially designed daily programs and custom treatments and activities. Rates start from $550 per person per night, with a supplementary cost applied for individual retreats.

The Vedic Retreat

 

This retreat is for guests who are mentally, emotionally, or physically drained by a demanding work or home life. Using a 360 degree approach, guests take part in authentic, dosha specific treatments, food, and a variety of activities to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul.

Cleanse & Detox Retreat

 

The cleanse retreat is designed to reduce toxins and boost the optimal functionality of both mind and body. It uses organic juicing, special teas, and broths, as well as Yoga, Tai-Chi, and other purifying activities. The retreat includes a Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Bolus Bag, Far Infrared Sauna and Thalassotherapy to assist with the elimination of toxins, boost vitality, and promote skin health, while also acting as a kickstarter for weight loss.

Mindfulness Retreat

 

Built to retrain the mind, this retreat uses a variety of meditation techniques to reduce brain clutter and bring guests closer to appreciating the “here and now.” The objective is to gain mental focus, regulated emotional reactivity, lower stress levels, and improved sleep.

Yoga Retreat

 

Great for yoga lovers from beginner to advanced, this retreat uses a range of styles include Hatha, Yin / Yang, Vinyasa, Sivananda, Pranyama, Ashtanga, and Yoga Indra. Daily workshops are built around proper breathing, yoga philosophy, and yogic food classification. Guests will leave with improved flexibility, muscle tone, strength, posture, and an increased knowledge of the many aspects of yoga.

Weight Loss Retreat

 

Led by the resort’s nutritionist, exercise physiologist, team of fitness specialists, and wellness chefs, this retreat is a holistic approach to weight loss and weight management. The program not only focuses on diet, but nutrition, exercise, and food preparation as a whole. Guests receive pre-arrival consultation and DNA analysis which allows the team to build a personalized plan.

(Courtesy of the Luxury Travel Advisor)

Mexico’s Best Yoga Retreats and Classes

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Yoga may have originated in India, but this health-minded discipline has found a perfect home in Mexico, as an increasing number of hotels and yoga schools are offering classes and venues that are designed to align physical, mental and spiritual well-being in some of the nation’s most beautiful settings.

Mexico’s dramatic Pacific coast provides memorable settings for practicing yoga. In Los Cabos, classes on the beach are included as part of the all-inclusive price at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort, while Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort offers $15 classes on the balcony of its oceanview fitness center. Not far away, One&Only Palmilla employs a group of six on-site yoga instructors, with daily power yoga classes, as well as sunrise yoga on the beach. Private, 60-minute yoga classes are also available, tailored to the needs of couples, families, pregnant women, teens, mothers and babies and people looking to lose weight.

Yoga-oriented packages are a surefire way to make sure every traveler gets the rejuvenating experience they crave. In Los Cabos, CostaBaja Resort & Spa is partnering with Retreats Unlimited — which teams up top yoga, wellness and team-building instructors with resorts to provide retreat experiences — to offer a wellness getaway. Scheduled for April 7-11, the one-time “Renewed You From the Inside Out” program includes yoga, as well as cardio and Reiki sessions, plus styling and beauty tutorials.

The area around Puerto Vallarta is another hot spot for yoga-inspired relaxation. Playa Escondida, in the beachfront community of Sayulita, recently opened a new, thatch-roofed “palapa” hut designed specifically for practicing yoga. Located on a small cliff overlooking the Pacific, the venue hosts daily sessions, as well as private classes for up to 15 people.

Xinalani Retreat, set on 10 acres of jungle on the southern shore of Banderas Bay, is another wellness-focused property. Spiritual and yoga retreats, teacher training and “mind and body” workshops are among its offerings. With just 23 rooms and four dedicated yoga spaces, as well as a spa and “temazcal” (sweat lodge), Xinalani aims to provide lots of opportunities for aspiring and experienced yogis.

North of Puerto Vallarta, travelers looking for a truly private, yoga-filled vacation with family or a small group of friends should consider Villa Lunada, which is — as the name implies — a villa, complete with master bedroom, two guestrooms and a bonus room that can be used for sleeping or relaxing. Located in Punta Mita less than a mile from The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Villa Lunada has an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean that can be used for private yoga instruction.

A sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean is also among the offerings at Capella Ixtapa Resort and Spa, which offers classes on a scenic yoga deck.

 

Yoga in the East

Mexico’s Caribbean coast is another promising place to try out your best upward-facing dog pose.

In the Riviera Maya, the Mayakoba complex has several locations for yoga at its three hotels (Fairmont Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba), as well as at MK Blue, an open-air palapa event space located on the beach. In addition, Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers group yoga classes twice daily, as well as private sessions.

Guests at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort can take part in any of three group yoga classes per week, priced at $15 each, which take place either beachside, poolside or in the hotel’s Cenote Spa.

On a smaller scale is Organic Yoga Mexico, a wellness-oriented property with just five bungalows near the beachfront community of Akumal. In addition to yoga lessons, Organic Yoga Mexico offers activities such as bird-watching, nature photography and jungle hikes.

In the increasingly hip destination of Tulum, Amansala Resort + Retreat offers a variety of yoga retreat packages to fit different vacation goals. Its Beach ‘n’ Bliss program includes two daily yoga sessions, healthful meals, a massage, a Mayan clay treatment and a local sightseeing tour. The property’s Bikini Boot camp retreat, meanwhile, combines yoga with weight-loss practices, while Destination Detox goes for a more far-reaching effect, described as a “complete mind, body and spirit tune-up.”

Courtesy of: Mark Chesnut

SpaHalekulani Announces New Master Series and Wellness Programs

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SpaHalekulani, the acclaimed Polynesian-inspired spa situated within the luxurious Halekulani hotel on the island of Oahu, has announced today an impressive lineup of interactive programming focused on encouraging guests to embrace healthy living through the mind, body and spirit. SpaHalekulani’s legacy of authenticity and tradition is complemented by the Master Series as well as the newest additions to the Living-Well program, both of which encompass the true “spirit of Aloha.”

SpaHalekulani’s new programming takes the guest experience far beyond the treatment room,” said Kamala Nayeli, Director of SpaHalekulani. “Our spa is centered on creating transformative experiences though various relaxation techniques that incorporate mindfulness into health and wellness practices, leading guests to everlasting positive change.”

SpaHalekulani’s Master Series puts Hawaii on the map as it brings world-renowned masters of wellbeing to the property, offering a unique perspective on health accompanied by dynamic treatments for a limited time. In September 2017, SpaHalekulani welcomes Mariko Hiyama, the acclaimed Japanese facial reflexologist and instructor specializing in Sorensensistem™ Facial Reflex Therapy, a concept combining oriental medicine, needleless acupuncture techniques (Zone Therapy) and neuro-anatomy. Using her hands, Hiyama stimulates reflex points and zones on the face and scalp to ultimately enhance the natural balancing and healing mechanisms of the body and mind.

SpaHalekulani’s Living-Well program provides guests with the tools to self-motivate, self-regulate and create lasting change. Starting with a complimentary educational lecture, guests can also purchase a spa package comprised of personalized consultations and wellness workshops with an on-site holistic lifestyle coach as well as authentic relaxation treatments. From August through December, the upcoming lecture series topics for guests are as follows:

  • August – Label Reading 101 is an interactive session that breaks down the listed nutritional facts and ingredients to help guests make more informed decisions about their eating habits.
  • September – Inflammation: The Root of Disease is an informative lecture about chronic inflammation and how to reduce it on a daily basis.
  • October – Optimize Your Sleep is a helpful tool to teach guests how to improve the quality of sleep and why lack of sleep has become a leading epidemic in the United States.
  • November – Boosting Your Energy is a dynamic lecture, instructing guests on how to nourish their adrenals and increase mitochondria for optimal health and long-lasting vitality.
  • December – The Art of Cooking is a creative session where guests learn how inventiveness enhances meals when cooking without a recipe.

SpaHalekulani’s Living-Well also offers interactive workshops for to guests staying on property that include The Power of Mini-Habits, Create Your Own Vision Board and Mindful Breathing & Meditation.  SpaHalekulani’s integrative Living-Well packages include one-on-one sessions and spa treatments that will leave each guest inspired to continue the process of living well at home:

  • Longevity Package: ‘Living with Vitality’ includes two Integrative Coaching Sessions, one Functional Movement Class, one SpaHalekulani Treatment – either a Timeless Facial or Vitality Massage, and ‘Living-Well At Home’ materials.
  • Optimal Health Package – ‘Living the Best Version of Yourself’ includes two Integrative Coaching Sessions, one Private Yoga or Personal Training, one SpaHalekulani treatment – either a Synergize Facial or Massage, and ‘Living-Well At Home’ materials.

For more information or to reserve a treatment, please call 808-931-5322.

About Halekulani

Since its inception in 1984 as one of the world’s finest and most acclaimed independent luxury hotels, Halekulani has received more than 500 accolades, awards and honoraria. The property is one of The World’s Best Hotels on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Gold List and was voted Best Hotel on Oahu in Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels for 2016. Halekulani is home to SpaHalekulani, House Without A Key, Lewers Lounge, Orchids and La Mer, Hawaii’s longest,  consecutively ranked AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Restaurant. For twenty years, Halekulani has maintained a strong commitment to arts and culture through exclusive alliances with Oahu’s most iconic cultural venues.

Is Los Cabos Really Safe?

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“The U.S. State Department´s recent travel advisory warning Americans about the risks of traveling to Cancun and Los Cabos should not be taken too seriously,” (emphasis added), according to an article in the Miami Herald, on 24 August 2017. The article went on to compare crime in Cancun, and the Los Cabos areas to cities in the U.S. Many cities in the U.S. simply have more crime. A careful reading of the travel advisory regarding Cabo specifically, indicates a recent rise in crime, but does NOT warn Americans away, as it does in other geographical locations. To drive this point home, I am unaware of a single U.S. or Canadian tourist having been harmed in a Cabo San Lucas tourist area by criminal factions. It’s just not an issue.

Millions of people come to visit Cabo and La Paz. They return home suntanned, with new experiences and new stories. They are almost always happy for having been here, even though they may be suffering hangovers. Recall that it was John Steinbeck, Nobel price-winner in Literature, that once commented, “Cabo is a drinking town…with a fishing problem.” And, that hasn’t changed much. But more to the point, Cabo beaches are safe, the Sea of Cortez is safe. Our tourist destinations are safe. And aside from the occasional hurricane, the only sign of turmoil and concern we see here, is an increased federal police and military presence. But even still, overall crime in Cabo, is less than many U.S. cities.

On a personal note, I have been a permanent resident of Cabo San Lucas for years. I live and work here, and I am out and about, driving, walking, watching, dining, cruising, sailing, etc., continually. I drive back and forth to La Paz, and other cities in Baja Sur, almost every week, and frequently more than once a week, and I have driven the entire thousand-mile length of the Baja, exactly fifty times as of this writing. In all this activity, I have never witnessed a single event where I felt in harm’s way.

In my experience, Mexicans, especially in the lower Baja, are very friendly, generally kind, and typically considerate. And, I feel SAFE here. I feel much safer than in many U.S. locations I have lived and traveled. But that’s not all there is to it. Los Cabos and La Paz are two of the nicest areas in the world. In my opinion, visitors have no reason to be worried about staying here. Yes, there is occasional violence. But the simple truth is that tourists and ex-pats are not the target.

In an article titled, “The U.S. is raising warnings about Mexico’s tourist hot spots, but some see a NAFTA-related gambit,” published in the Business Insider, on 28 August, it suggests the U.S. State Department is sending a message to the Mexican government that they can destroy their tourism industry if they do not agree to “pay for the wall,” in the NAFTA re-negotiations taking place right now. Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe not. But what I can tell you is that in my Cabo neighborhood, lots of folks still don’t even lock their doors. This is rather reminiscent of America in the 1950´s. I guess we have some catching up to do.

Courtesy of Terry Neal

One&Only Nyungwe House

One & Only Evolves

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One&Only Hotels & Resorts Announces Plans For Brand Evolution

One&Only, created exclusively for the ultra-luxury market, and conceived as a hallmark of excellence, is evolving their portfolio beyond award-winning Beach Resorts with One&Only Nature Resorts, One&Only Urban Resorts and One&Only Private Homes. These new experiences will complement the existing award-winning resort collection, set in some of the most beautiful locations in the world, offering guests a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, a genuine hospitality and a lively energy that is unparalleled.

“I am thrilled we are able to continue to evolve the One&Only experience, providing the once-in-a-lifetime experiences in which our guests seek,” says Philippe Zuber, President and Chief Operating Officer, One&Only Resorts. “Building on the legacy and success of One&Only, it is an exciting time for the brand as we continue to combine completely distinctive experiences with ultra-luxury. We look forward to sharing additional locations for our resorts, whether it be in the ultimate address in a prime city or an authentically wild undiscovered location soon.”

All One&Only Nature Resorts will offer incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences and provide pure celebration of each dramatic location, offering access to nature’s best kept secrets, in an inspired itinerary, curated for the most discerning global travellers. Intimate in size, the architectural design of each resort will respect the surroundings and cleverly frame the best aspects of the natural beauty. Minimal impact will be made to the location, from development through to operations and guests will have an opportunity to ‘give back’ with hands-on, interactive, immersive experiences with the local community, each perfectly curated to the destination.

Following the success of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in Australia as the first hotel in the world to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification by CarbonZero, all One&Only Nature Resorts will aim for this distinction. In addition, our culinary philosophy will be based on the very best seasonal, regional and, where possible, organic produce from local boutique farms, private growers and vintners. A wide variety of spectacular accommodation will place an emphasis on privacy and beautiful vistas. One&Only Nature Resorts will provide luxury of the rarest kind. Like all properties within the One&Only collection, One&Only Nature Resorts will celebrate its location, showcasing the country’s rich history and reflecting the local culture with a design appeal to attract the contemporary traveller seeking ultimate luxury.

Joining Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, two spectacular resorts will be introduced under One&Only Nature Resorts, One&Only Nyungwe House and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, both located in Rwanda. One&Only Nyungwe House is designed to fit harmoniously within its natural surroundings and is situ ted in Gisakura, a working tea plantation, on the edge of the Nyungwe National Park. The Nyungwe Forest is thought to be one of the oldest forests in Africa, with incredible diversity including over 13 different species of primates, representing 20% of all the apes in Africa and 75 different species of mammals.

Luxury suites and villas will be modern in design, yet with traditional African touches, each overlooking the vast African terrain with private decks and fire places. Guests can explore the National Park including exploratory treks to discover chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, grey – cheeked mangabeys and the Kamiranzovu Swamps and Waterfalls. Bird watching should not be missed with over 275 species of birds in the lush surroundings, including giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrow hawks being amongst the bird-watcher’s favourites. Cultural walks can also be enjoyed. One&Only Nyungwe House will begin welcoming guests in 2017.

“We are proud and excited to continue to innovate at One&Only and introduce new experiences for our guests. One&Only Nature Resorts will provide our guests illuminating and immersive experiences full of adventure that will allow for exploration and discovery,” continued Philippe Zuber. “Rwanda is such an incredible destination with truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We look forward to immersing our guests in the country and culture and providing that ultimate connection with nature in the ultimate locations.”

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, located near the village of Kingi, will be incredibly positioned on the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range. This beautiful resort, nestled amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees will provide breath-taking views of Rwandan hills and the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. Guests will be able to discover the magical habitat of Mountain Gorillas, a rare adventure. Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where the critically endangered mountain gorillas live. Experts estimate that there are only 780 mountain gorillas still in existence – and one third of these are in Rwanda. Conservation efforts are funded by a very limited amount of permits and funds are allocated to anti-poaching efforts and local communities businesses. However, after over 40 years of conservation and habitat restoration efforts have helped steadily increase the population of mountain gorillas, with a 14% increase in the past 12 years. In addition to the Gorilla Trek, guests will also be able to discover Golden Monkeys, as well as visit Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Camp.

Bespoke accommodation will honour the location and natural elements will be woven throughout the resort, to inform the design of both the public and private spaces of the resort. Local African cuisine will surround a traditional Boma, providing the perfect location to share adventures from the day and enjoy fruit and vegetables from the resort’s garden. The resort will also offer an indulgent One&Only Spa and Fitness Centre, honouring the inspired surrounds with treatments using traditional African elements, as well as the latest state-of-the-art technology.