In Travel

The World’s Most Unusual Wellness Retreats

Yoga weekends and surf camps will always have their place when it comes to wellness holidays, but health retreats have since evolved to cover a much broader spectrum of activities.

From sea therapies to creative writing intensives and wine baths, these are some of the world’s most unusual wellness retreats:

Cavas Wine Lodge, Argentina

unusual wellness retreats

Cavas Wine Lodge is one of the most unusual wellness retreats in the world. Image: Cavas Wine Lodge / Facebook

If you thought it couldn’t get any better than a stay in a stunning villa on a 50-acre vineyard in the Andean foothills, think again.

Cavas Wine Lodge has added a ‘wine bath’ to its spa menu. The treatment will see you submerged in a bubbling bath of red wine.

The spa is the first of its kind in South America. It specialises in wine therapy and uses polyphenol rich vine and grape extracts, harvested from the surrounding vineyard. A Malbec scrub and Torrontés wrap are just some of the other sumptuous treatments to try.

The lodge also offers a decadent, seven-hour ‘Perfect Day’ package (AU$275) which includes a three-course wine-matched meal, a bottle of bubbles, a wine scrub and a massage.

Sirenland Writer’s Conference, Positano

Not everyone’s idea of a wellness retreat involves a digital detox. If you prefer wellness holidays to inspire and enrich, consider a learning intensive like the Sirenland Writer’s Conference.

Held once a year at the exquisite Le Sirenuse hotel on Positano’s cliffside, this highly exclusive writer’s conference (AU$6450) promises five big days of workshopping, reading, discussing and exploring – all set against sweeping views of Positano.

Days center around a two-hour mid-morning workshop, taught by best-selling novelists Alexander Chee, Jim Shepard or Hannah Tinti. Afterwards, participants are free to enjoy the world-class hotel spa, swim in the pool or head out and explore Positano.

Evenings are dedicated to reading and discussion. One night will see famed journalist and filmmaker Michael Maren discuss screenwriting and the Hollywood industry.

Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa Sea and Spa, France

As pioneers of ‘thalassotherapy’, the use of seawater to promote healthy skin, detoxification and relaxation, the wellness centre at Brittany’s Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa Sea and Spa are experts in the strictly-regulated practice.

Guests can choose to stay at either of the hotels on the property – the more traditional, resort-style Thalassa Sea and Spa or the fully-immersive Diététique.

If you’re after a less regimented stay, book a room at the Thalassa Sea and Spa, and piece together your own individual wellness journey. Choose from experiences like a 25-minute Aquabike session in the 29-degree indoor seawater pool (AU$40), an acupressure seawater shower (from AU$76), a mineral salt body wrap (from AU$100), or even a 20-minute massage under a fine rain of warm sea water (AU$120).

Diététique offers everything from one to six-day treatment programs, coming daily thalassotherapy treatments with fitness sessions, holistic treatments and a low-calorie, seafood-based meal plan.

B2 Thermalbad and Spa, Zurich

When you picture the perfect wellness holiday, you don’t often see yourself at a hotel right in the heart of a bustling city – much less, within the walls of a former brewery. But that makes a stay at B2 Thermabald and Spa in Zurich all the more unique.

Up until 1996, Hürlimann beer was brewed on the site. Now, the site is home to an incredible, design-driven hotel and spa, with clever nods to the building’s past brewing days. Above ground, the former brewhouse and powerhouse have been transformed into sleek, modern accommodation and a magnificent book-lined restaurant, but it’s what lies beneath that really sets B2 Thermalbald and Spa apart.

Underground, in the 100-year old vaults, the original wooden beer vats have been fully restored and converted into thermal whirlpools, spa baths and relaxation baths that draw from Zurich’s Aqui springs.

Guests can wade their way around the vaulted stone cellars at their own leisure (from AU$45), or head in as a part of a day spa package booking (starting from AU$180). The spa also has a heated rooftop pool where you can relax while watching the sun set over the city.

(Lead image: Cavas Wine Lodge, image: Cavas Wine Lodge / Facebook)

Published 18 March, 2019