Travel, Food & Drink

Sit Back and Relax: Six Eco and Wellness Retreats

In this seasonal edit, Luxury Defined maps out the best luxury retreats and tours where you can reconnect with yourself and your environment

A river tour with a Cousteau, sleep therapy in Tuscany, massages under the stars in Bali, and as much yoga as you can handle. Our comprehensive roundup covers the best luxury travel offerings designed to help you truly unwind.

1. The Alpine cure
Hôtel Royal, France 

Not far from Hôtel Royal in Évian-les-Bains is the Cachat Spring, the source of Evian natural mineral water, renowned for its healthful properties since 1789. Banner image: The pool at Hôtel Royal, which looks out towards Lac Léman.

Hôtel Royal chef Patrice Vander’s detoxifying menu was created in collaboration with an in-house nutritionist. Herbal teas and other brews using Evian water are essential complements.

Hôtel Royal’s Equilibre3 program aims to help guests reset their bodies and minds.

Perched on the French side of the croissant-shaped Lac Léman lies the celebrated town of Évian-les-Bains. It was here in 1789 that the Marquis de Lessert cited the healing properties of the town’s spring water, and for centuries it has been valued for its healthful effects. Embracing its natural surroundings and this spa heritage, the Palace-rated Hôtel Royal has introduced a three-day program, Equilibre3, that offers guests the opportunity to reset their bodies and minds. Head Chef Patrice Vander has devised a detoxifying menu that is paired with a personalized fitness program, restorative spa treatments such as revitalizing scrubs and hydro-massage, and the famous “cure” of 1.5 litres of spring water from the Evian source each day. 

2. The power of sleep 
Castello del Nero, Italy

Castello del Nero is surrounded by the rolling hills of Tuscany, planted with grapes, herbs, and olives that are harvested for use in the hotel’s restaurant and spa.

The castello’s new “Reconnect” spa program is designed to improve mindfulness and reduce stress through relaxation, yoga, nutritious meals, and spa treatments.

Where some vacations are designed to inspire and thrill, others are altogether more sedate and reviving. Castello del Nero’s new “Reconnect” spa program is for those whose wish list includes mindfulness, relaxation—and quality snoozing. It is designed to improve guests’ sleep through a combination of yoga, tailored spa treatments, sleep rituals, immersion in nature, and wellness-focused gastronomy. Nestled deep within the pastoral Tuscan countryside, the 12th-century castle commands extraordinary views over the surrounding vineyards and olive groves of Chianti and is within easy reach of Florence, Siena, and Pisa. 

3. Activities for all
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Italy

The Piscina dei Fiori (the pool among the flowers) is tucked away in the hotel’s tranquil park but still affords stunning views of the lake.

Guests of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como can engage in a range of revitalizing or relaxing activities, from water skiing and windsurfing to canoeing or a leisurely bike ride.

Overlooking Lake Como, the art nouveau Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s owners want their guests to spend their time doing what they love most on their way to a relaxing retreat. If that means staying active, the hotel can arrange water skiing on the lake with ex-world champions, as well as windsailing or kitesurfing. Those who prefer a more leisurely approach can drift along in a canoe instead. The hotel can also arrange parachuting, horse riding, hiking, and biking. Of course, lounging by the pool or losing yourself in the T Spa is always an option. 

4. An eco-conscious river cruise
Aqua Expeditions, Peru and Cambodia/Vietnam

Float along the Amazon or Mekong rivers with Aqua Expeditions and gain insight from conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Eco-minded travelers will enjoy the captivating panorama and diverse wildlife as they travel with Aqua Expeditions.

Experience nature through the eyes of a world-leading conservationist with Aqua Expeditions, which has launched a series of trips along the Amazon and Mekong rivers in collaboration with Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of Jacques). The intimate expeditions are weighted toward conservation and lift the lid on two of the most diverse and distinctive ecosystems on the planet. Pink dolphins, piranha, three-toed sloths, capuchin monkeys, and other wonders of the natural world are likely to reveal themselves during the journey. 

5. Moonlit yogis
The Residence, Maldives

Relax in true island style at The Residence in the Maldives. From sunset paddle boarding to moonlit yoga, discover how the island comes alive at night.

The Residence lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean, fringed by pristine white-sand beaches and surrounded by brilliant blue waters where you will find unspoiled coral reefs and spectacular marine life.

Think of the Maldives and what comes to mind? Unbroken sunshine, blue skies, and even bluer seas? But what happens when the sun goes down? The Residence’s new After Dark Experiences include a night diving or snorkeling trip, where phosphorescent plankton light up the ocean, and the incredible colors of the marine life are illuminated under special diving lamps. Or enjoy stand-up sunset paddle boarding, which offers you the chance to watch the waters light up as the sun goes down. Yoga lovers, meanwhile, shouldn’t miss full-moon yoga, during which they can perfect their poses under the glow of the moonlight and stars. 

6. Massage under the stars
Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali

Located on the tip of Bali’s northeastern coast, Spa Village Resort Tembok embraces the island’s raw natural beauty and rich culture.

The lush surrounds of Spa Village Resort Tembok create a soothing atmosphere for its School of Life wellness program.

Some of Spa Village Resort Tembok’s treatments are conducted outdoors, with the Balinese sky above and sea beyond.

The healing power of nature is called upon at Spa Village Resort Tembok, in Bali, where your massage takes place under the stars, with the soothing sound of the ocean lapping the Balinese shoreline a few feet away. Specially prepared herbal oils are employed to release tension from the neck, shoulders, feet, and hands while the warm night air and the scent of hibiscus flowers allow you to totally switch off. Set against a lush green landscape, the resort’s School of Life Program teaches practices to take home with you, including physical and mental activities, and sustainable education to effect long-term life changes.