11 Transformative Retreats for the Woman With Wellness on Her Mind
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
Girls' nights and girls' getaways are fun. But wellness retreats for women are where fun meets transformation. The pandemic may have wiped last year's retreat calendar clean, but it also helped create a growing need for a holistic holiday. With many hotels back in business and people traveling again, there are plenty of upcoming wellness retreats. Many are designed exclusively for women and led by women. At the very least, they're designed with women in mind. Whether you want to get back into yoga or meditation, learn a new skill like surfing or wilderness survival, or your body is begging for a detox and some one-on-one time with an Ayurvedic doctor, there's a long list of retreats out there for you. Here are 11 you can still sign up for.
A Spa Retreat in Boston
Boston's Back Bay might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think wellness retreat. But it's home to the Best Spa in North America, according to the 2020 World Spa Awards. In fact, the Mandarin Oriental Boston's urban spa is the only Forbes Five Star Spa in the state. Recently, the property launched three-day and five-day wellness retreats designed to get guests back on track after an unprecedented year, 2020. Rates start at $645/night and include accommodations, spa treatments, wellness classes, and all meals prepared by Boston's Revolution Health Kitchen. Think organic, plant-based juices, smoothies, bowls, and soups.
Surfing and Yoga in Mexico
The fact female surfers will compete for the first time at the next summer Olympics is evidence more women than ever are riding waves for some much-needed saltwater therapy. Hosted by Hawaii native Lulu Agan, SwellWomen is five days of empowering women by teaching them how to surf (beginners welcome). It's hosted at W Punta de Mita, a laidback but luxurious property where the beds feature headboards made of old surfboards and guests have direct access to one of the best surfing beaches in Nayarit. Rates start at $4,195 and include all things surfing, restorative spa treatments, yoga, cultural experiences, and meals that will make even the most discerning foodie swoon. This year's retreat will take place April 18-22.
Surfing and Reiki in Costa Rica
Want to learn to surf where Giselle Bündchen surfs in her free time? Head to Costa Rica where there's no better place for a surf-themed wellness retreat than Iguana Surf, Tamarindo's top surf camp for more than three decades. In fact, it's rated No. 1 on TripAdvisor out of more than 205 activities in Tamarindo. Retreats are offered year-round and range from two nights ($270) to seven nights ($1,300). They include private accommodations, fresh breakfast, surf rentals and lessons, a personal rash guard, a surf trip, and even video analysis and photos. Looking to save money? Ask about shared accommodations. Looking for more wellness? For $400 you can add on the wellness package including reiki sessions, personal training, yoga, a guided outdoor excursion, and a tour of what locals call the largest labyrinth in the world.
Emotional Healing on a Crystal Mountain
For an unforgettable retreat in Costa Rica's famous rainforest, book a room — named for a plant or superfood — at The Retreat Costa Rica. Designed by a self-professed spa junkie, this intimate resort is just an hour's drive from San Jose. The Retreat's Vida Mia Spa was built, with Feng Shui in mind, on a "high vibrational crystal mountain" boasting views stretching to the Pacific. Treatments include forest bathing, a heated volcanic clay bath, and Vichy water massages using crystal-infused water. Or make an appointment with the on-site Ayurvedic Doctor, Dr. Vinod Balakrishnan. Meals are anti-inflammatory, and The Retreat's sommelier has the country's largest selection of organic and biodynamic wines at his disposal. Rates start at $260/night. There are eight retreat packages to choose from including Emotional Healing, Fitness Reboot, Luxury Spa, and Immersive Wellness.
Forest Bathing and Stargazing in Arizona
Even just driving through Sedona's iconic red rock landscape can feel like a renewal. But for the ultimate wellness experience, sign up for one of L'Auberge de Sedona's new Revitalization Retreats. These four-night retreats, starting at $4,396/person, include accommodations in private cottages, all meals, three spa treatments, morning workshops, and mindfulness activities like sound healing, forest bathing, and stargazing. Afternoon sessions with a professional life coach and other healers are also included. Revitalization Retreats are offered on select dates June through December.
Horseback Riding in California
Past participants describe this unique retreat at Alisal Ranch in Solvang, California as profound and life changing. The woman behind The Unbridled Retreat is host Devon Combs, a real-life horse whisperer who believes healing and awakening can come from working with horses. Puns intended, her goal is to free women so they're able to take the reins and live an unbridled life. Rates for the three-night retreat, offered April 25-28, start at $3,949/person. They cover suite accommodations, all meals including a breakfast ride on a hay wagon, and two full days of horse encounters including equine coaching and horseback rides. Can't make those dates? Combs offers Unbridled Retreats on other dates in other destinations.
Food and Fitness on Hilton Head Island
If you're looking to find the 2.0 version of yourself, look no further than Hilton Head Health, where guests are dedicated to becoming their best self 24/7, rain or shine. Located on Hilton Head Island, where you don't need to worry about having a rental car, you can relax on island time and not worry about mainland stresses like traffic. Any remaining stress can be reduced with the help of daily sunrise walks, SUP sessions, beach yoga, and fitness classes. Every day there are more than 20 different classes and lectures to choose from. All meals, inspired by the Mediterranean diet, are included. As of February, accommodations are in the new 30-room Sweetgrass Inn. Rates start at $740/night for three-day retreats and $4,750 for week-long retreats.
Paddleboard Yoga in Puerto Rico
If your ideal getaway involves yoga and padddleboarding, or even practicing yoga on a paddleboard, try Just Add Water with JB Yoga. An annual retreat hosted by Jessica Bellofatto, a pioneer of paddleboard yoga and one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the Hamptons, this four-night retreat takes place at a luxurious beachfront home in Rincon (serviced by JetBlue, United, and Spirit). Rates start at $1,900 and include daily yoga, paddleboarding, surfing, local tours, and organic meals prepared by a private chef. Before even leaving Puerto Rico most retreat participants area already signed up for Bellofatto's best-selling Welcome Summer with JB Yoga two-night retreat hosted at Sole East in Montauk. Rates for that retreat start at $1,000/person.
Meditation and More in the Catskills
Menla is located just a 2.5-hour drive north of New York City, but since it sits in a serene valley surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, it feels a world away. If your dream is to run into the Dalai Lama, or see where he spends his time when he visits the U.S., look no further. Menla offers an array of group retreats focusing on everything from Buddhism to yoga, shamanism, and even conscious dying. But it also offers individual retreats allowing guests to customize their own retreat based on their needs. The property sits on a 325-acre estate and includes both private and shared accommodations, a spa, yoga studio, meditation center, and conference facilities. The organic farm-to-table menu is strictly vegetarian. The minimum stay is two nights and rates, which are all-inclusive, start at $628/night.
Survival Skills in Scotland
This brand-new women's only retreat from Wilderness Scotland culminates with summiting Cairn Gorm, one of the tallest mountains in the Scottish Highlands and the namesake for the U.K.'s biggest and most rugged national park, The Cairngorms. Another highlight of this seven-day retreat limited to eight women is "wild swimming." Participants will swim off the coast of a high-altitude beach before warming up with coffee and cake by the lake, or as they say in Scotland, the loch. In between excursions, including an optional visit to the Highland Folk Museum, the days are filled with yoga and workshops teaching survival skills like how to navigate without the help of Google maps. Rates start around $2,400/person, and the retreat's 2021 dates are April 24, Aug. 21, and Oct. 16.
Wellness Classes and Cooking in 'Canada' (Virtual)
If you're needing a retreat but aren't up for traveling yet, that's OK. British Columbia-based retreat specialist company Mountain Trek recently launched Virtual Basecamp Retreats. These 48-hour retreats take place on select weekends and are limited to 12 people. As long as they have Wi-Fi, attendees will have access to a team of experts, mostly women, in every subject from sleep to metabolic systems, hormones, healthy meal preparation — there will be cook alongs — and more. There will also be guided yoga and fitness sessions conducted over live video. And all of this can take place in the comfort of your own home. Rates are $450/person or $600 for a couple (and a friend can count as your plus-one).