Ananda in the Himalayas: world’s top destinations for yoga
Sitting in the far northern reaches of India, at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range, near the birthplace of the ancient arts of yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, Ananda is a resort with a longstanding heritage for wellness. Ananda stands in a 100-acre estate surrounding a 19th-century maharaja’s palace. There’s an outdoor swimming pool by the spa, a golf course and lush grounds patrolled by peacocks. Treatments take place in the resort’s 25,000sq ft spa, which features hydrotherapy facilities, a gym, and gentle therapists who administer everything from head massages to reflexology sessions. But it’s the Ayurvedic treatments that are the most interesting. Daily lessons in breathing, asana and several types of meditation from the universally respected Bihar method (chanting, silent observation, or Antar Mouna, and horizontal awareness, or yoga nidra, are just some of the offerings).
The Thinking Traveller and Bodyism, Mediterranean
Bodyism is the wellness expert to the stars, training everyone from David Beckham to Elle Macpherson, Emilia Clarke, David Gandy and Pippa Middleton, while The Thinking Traveller offers exceptional, exclusive villas around the Mediterranean (taking on less than 1% of those it’s offered). As part of this exclusive partnership, the Bodism trainer you choose will have specific experience of whatever discipline you are looking to maintain or improve – from mat-based pilates to yoga, circuits, stretching or one-on-one personal training sessions, if you’re after more of a cardio or strength-based programme. Equally, The Thinking Traveller manages 206 villas in five Mediterranean destinations—Sicily, Corsica, the Sporades islands, Puglia and the Ionian islands. The Thinking Traveller x Bodyism approach is like having your own tailor-made retreat with one of the world’s best personal trainers, but in a luxury environment of your choosing. A collection of the most incredible villas imaginable, expect a stunning swimming pool surrounded by lemon groves and olive trees; a leafy terrace for enjoying outdoor meals; and of course Michelin-quality chefs, 24-hours concierge services and a genius cleaning staff.
Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Set on the terraced slopes of one of the world’s oldest wine regions, the natural landscape of Portugal’s Douro Valley was chosen for the Six Senses Group’s European debut. The 60-bedroomed Six Senses property houses the country’s best hotel spa, a reflection of the group’s commitment to wellness. New York-based Clodagh Design has breathed light and soul into this 19th-century building, creating a sense of place through the use of blue and white azulejo tiles, granite floors, ceilings of cork and gold leaf on the walls. Modern artwork adds a contemporary touch. Brimming with an extraordinarily relaxing atmosphere, the hotel is very much rooted in its landscape, with the trees of the forest and the abundant orchard and vegetable garden as much a part of the character of the hotel as the interiors. The spa, a pillar of the Six Senses concept, offers an enormous range of possibilities. Apart from 10 treatment rooms overlooking the garden, where The Organic Pharmacy; Biologique Recherche; and homemade, garden-sourced products are used on face and body; there is also an indoor pool, a gym and a yoga and Pilates pavilion (aerial yoga is also available). There is a physiotherapist on site and a range of Ayurvedic treatments too, and even professionals to help you craft your own customised wellness program while you’re there, to help you ease back into the nine-to-five groove once you leave.