Wellness is about so much more than a trip to the spa. As we emerge from our shelters and begin traveling again, we will all have some feelings to work through after such a profound change to outlook and way of life. As part of our Travel Dreaming series with our business partner, Largay Travel, Largay's Amanda Klimak spoke with Dora Karanikas of Hidden Doorways, Rebecca Soloff of Six Senses and Janine Cifelli of Janine Cifelli Representation about the comprehensive wellness programs offered at destinations they represent.
“It’s about well-being. It’s about the mind, the body and the spirit, not just about the spa and getting a massage in a beautiful spot--which we do believe in,” Soloff said, explaining the Six Senses ethos. “We believe it’s much more than that.”
Each visit to a Six Senses property is an immersive experience that focuses on the totality of a person. For example, if you’re having trouble with sleep, as many of us have been during self-isolation measures, Six Senses can do a sleep analysis and assessment at many of its resorts. While you can’t travel there now, the At Home with Six Senses program offers live meditation and yoga, cooking classes utilizing Eat With Six Senses philosophy and tips for staying connected with other people.
Cifelli represents JL Bar Ranch in Texas’ Hill Country, which is scheduled to reopen May 20. The horse program there helps visitors find a peace within themselves.
“Horses in general are a direct reflection of you,” she related. “If you’re a mess, the horse is a mess.” If you’re trying to mount a horse and you’re tense, the horse senses that and tenses up as well. So, in earning the horse’s trust, you have to find a place of calm in your own mind. That ability to achieve that inner peace carries forward long after you leave the ranch.
At Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, there is no cell service, so those of who can’t put our phones down are forced to let go and enjoy their surroundings. Don’t worry, you can still make calls over the internet in case of emergencies, but otherwise you’ll be too busy immersing yourself in wilderness.
“We can take the most Type A personality and actually calm them down,” Cifelli said. “It’s a very spiritual experience.”
In their efforts to redefine wellness, Chablé Maroma and Chablé Resort in Mexico’s Yucatan provide temazcal ceremonies with shamans. “Everyone who’s ever done it comes out totally changed,” after two hours of steam and gratitude, Karanikas said.
The physical experience of wellness is very much tied in with the culture of the destination, making each experience unique. Meanwhile, it’s your vacation, so do wellness your way. If that means relaxing with a cocktail, so be it. At BodyHoliday in St. Lucia, there are dozens of options for classes and treatments, but there’s also no pressure to take part in any of them. That’s one of the qualities that makes it a great place to get into wellness travel, and with Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal.
“Wellness is what you make of it,” Karanikas said. “So many people have turned to focusing on themselves and their wellness at home. Know that you can take that with you when you travel if you want to.”
These destinations offer flexible change and cancellation policies, so you can plan your wellness getaway with the peace of mind knowing you won’t be on the hook if the pandemic wreaks more havoc on plans.
“Our health, both physical and mental, is everything,” Klimak said. “Without our health we have nothing.”