Established 1978

Transformational Spas

by Teresa Rodriguez

Now that the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to look forward to 2014. Why not make this year the year of positive transformations? To help you out, we have compiled a list of famous international healing spas with programs designed to change your body, mind, and health.


1. Intensive Weight Loss and Detox in Spain

SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain is a prestigious resort, which has created an incredible weight loss program that goes beyond just shedding unwanted pounds. The clinic’s goal is to assist you in reaching your ideal state of health by restoring and increasing your energy levels. The program includes healing macrobiotic meals, spa treatments, and other therapies that help stabilize your metabolism, reduce your blood glucose levels, and lower your stress. Located in Albir Beach, a region of Valencia, the medical hotel is perched on a beautiful mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It is inside the Sierra Helada Natural Park, an area that is recognized by the World Health Organization as having one of the world’s best climates.


Where: One hour outside of Valencia

Price: 7 days: $ 5,277; 14 days: $ 9,372

Contact:   +34 966 811 199


2. Spiritual Transformation in Thailand

You’ll find Chiva Som hidden away on an endless white sand beach that kisses the calm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. This piece of paradise is a luxury health resort that combines international spa standards with Thai hospitality. Everything it offers has a focus on a holistic approach to health that incorporates mind, body, and spirit. Your respite here will include treatments in the opulent 70-treatment-room spa facility, a variety of classes and programs, and fresh, low-calorie cuisine. The Inner Peace Retreat is centered on the simple mantra, “Calm the Mind, Move the Body.” The first step is learning simple meditation techniques through pranayama. After just a few minutes of this yoga breathing exercise, you will find yourself ready to begin turning off the harmful chemistry created by stress.


Where: Three-hour drive (in a reserved Chiva Som Mercedes) from Bangkok’s International Airport

Price: 7 days: $ 10,918

Contact:  +66 3253 6536


3. Himalayan Bliss

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, the birthplace of the ancient arts of ayurveda, yoga, and meditation, you’ll discover Ananda. It is a retreat dedicated to restoring balance and harmonizing energy. Set among 100 acres of virgin forest, Ananda is built around the majestic palace estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, which offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas, the valley of the holy town of Rishikesh, and the Ganges River. Ananda advances a life-changing experience that consists of a delicate blend of the mind, body, and spirit—and involves all five senses. From diet and exercise, to beauty, health, and cuisine, each aspect of your being will be taken into consideration. Providing an array of outdoor activities and a diverse range of wellness retreats and delicious spa cuisine—combined with the ancient regimes and philosophies of ayurveda, yoga, and Vedanta—Ananda is the ultimate escape from the mundane to the spiritual. Here you will find restful harmony in a soothing haven.


Where: Three hours from New Delhi

Price: $770 per person, per night

Contact: +91 1378 227500


4. Caribbean De-stress in St. Lucia

The tagline at The BodyHoliday is: “Give us your body for a week, and we’ll give you back your mind.” Located in Castries, St. Lucia, this luxury wellness experience is created for those who want to get a bit more relaxation than detoxification. It’s an all-inclusive resort and daily massage treatments are included. Treatments range from hot stone massage to holistic therapies, which include acupuncture. For those who want to get active, you can partake in a bevy of fitness classes, including fencing, archery, and golf. There is no shortage of water activities to enjoy in the warm, blue Caribbean either. These include waterskiing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving—all from the resort’s beautiful beachfront property. Yes, wine is served here, too.

Where: Castries, St. Lucia

Price: $450 per person, per night

Contact: 800 544 2883


5. Borderless Healthcare in Bali

A new trend in medical tourism is high-end aftercare resorts. Basically, these are resorts you go to after you’ve had a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, or a new set of teeth implanted. The Spa Village Resort at Tembok, Bali, is one such treasure. Hidden in the tranquil, coastal enclave of northeast Bali, the resort provides the perfect holistic retreat. The peaceful atmosphere, warm sunshine, fresh air, and soothing sounds of the ocean lend an ideal environment to heal and recharge. Programs offer guests a holistic itinerary, which evaluates and focuses on individual needs, from healthier diets to de-stressing through meditation, to movement awareness classes. The resort also offers an impressive selection of fresh food and endless spa treatments. Of course, you are welcome to visit for the wonderful healing experience, even if you haven’t had any “work” done.


Where: Two and half hours from Denpasar International Airport

Price: $330 per person, per night

Contact: +603 2783 1000


6. Best of Show in Mexico

Rancho La Puerta has set the international spa standard since its inception in 1940. It is continuously named the Best Spa in the World by numerous magazines, and it’s the home of the phrase “spa cuisine.” This is definitely the place to go if you want a solid week of transformation on many levels. The program is a Saturday-to-Saturday, seven-night experience, offering more than 120 fitness classes per week, plus daily morning hikes, lectures, and spa treatments. You will stay in your own private casita, which is stocked daily with wood for the fireplace—a wonderful treat after a long day of hiking, classes, and activities.  Rancho La Puerta recently launched a new fitness, health, and wellness program called Executive Wellness. It has partnered with Lifewellness Institute, a famous medical center in San Diego, to provide a one-week program that specializes in positive life transformations under expert guidance. At the centerpiece of the program is the Lifewellness physical examination. Following the thorough evaluation of your current health status, plus insight into any future health risks, you’ll enjoy a one-week stay at Rancho La Puerta, where the property’s fitness and nutrition experts will customize a workout and eating plan tailored to your individual needs.


Where: Fly into San Diego Airport, and you’ll be picked up and taken across the Mexican border into Tecate

Price: $3,400 per person, per week

Contact: 800 443 7565


7. Mind, Body, and Spirit Cruise

Ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises is inspiring its guests to relax, refresh, and recharge with a new mind, body, and spirit-themed exotic cruise through some of the most exquisite waters in the world. Crystal Symphony’s first voyage of 2014 is a 12-day “Southern Seas Soliloquy” itinerary, which begins on January 8 in Valparaíso, Chile, and sails across the southern Pacific to the Tahitian, Easter, and Pitcairn Islands. On the roster are a guest yoga instructor, an “extreme” athlete, a health and wellness expert, and a ZUMBA® teacher, as well as a repertoire of active excursions and a host of fitness classes.  These include onboard spinning classes, Pilates, dancing, stretching, circuit training, Nordic walking, and something called Walk-on-Water, which features “weighted vest” power-walking on the ship’s 360-degree promenade deck. Additional experts will also stretch travelers’ minds with talks about space exploration, world affairs, and Leonardo da Vinci.  In port, you can go snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV-ing, four-wheeling, volcano trekking, helicoptering, and jet skiing with stingrays.


Where: The 12-day cruise sails from Valparaíso to Easter Island, Chile; Pitcairn Island/Adamstown, UK; and Moorea, Society Islands, before ending with an overnight in Papeete, Tahiti

Price: $4,675 per person

Contact: 888 722 0021


Teresa Rodriguez is a travel expert and the founder of She is also the author of several books, including Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone and Body, Mind, and Solo: 7 Keys to Conquering the World Alone. 

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