Bespoke Living

5 Top Health and Wellness Programs from the World’s Most Luxurious Hotels

Head off on a virtual escape this summer, with hotels finding creative ways to take indulgent treatments beyond their sumptuous grounds

With international travel and hotel stays set to decrease by at least 50 percent this year—according to digital research consultancy eMarketer—a trip abroad may not be on the cards this summer. Thankfully the world’s top hotels have stepped up to fill the gap, offering virtual health and wellness programs that range from spa treatments to tailored eating plans and personalized yoga sessions.

While these online experiences won’t ever quite replace that blissful moment you step off a plane and into your vacation, they are worth taking a moment to enjoy from the comfort of home—and all without having to pack. Here are five to check out until you can check in.

Improve Your Mental and Physical Well-being with BodyHoliday St Lucia, West Indies

This luxury Caribbean resort is a world-leader in wellness breaks, so it follows that its digital health initiatives would be just as impressive. You’ll find virtual classes, blog posts and tips from its expert practitioners across its Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels. Among the highlights are breathing workshops with the hotel’s resident wellness expert Dr Maha Lakshmanan, full-body resistance workouts, guided meditations, and stretch and tai chi classes.

A group doing yoga near to the ocean at BodyHoliday St Lucia
BodyHoliday St Lucia’s yoga instructors are highly practiced in hatha, ashtanga, and vinyasa, and currently offer masterclasses from the hotel’s BodyYoga program on all its social media channels. Image: Courtesy of BodyHoliday St Lucia

“We wanted to help viewers improve their mental and physical well-being, so took great care in putting together our content,” says Rebecca Platt, corporate director of sales and marketing. “The advice and classes we offer are inclusive and easy to do at home, and can be seamlessly incorporated into a daily routine. Our trainers developed exercises that work with items you already have—for instance, our resistance class makes use of a suitcase—while other teachers show you how to introduce simple Ayurvedic practices into everyday activities for balance and harmony.”

Step-by-Step Spa Treatments from Hotel Bellevue in Lošinj, Croatia

While nothing can replicate the hands-on bliss of a massage or facial, you can still reap the benefits of these treatments at home, thanks to Hotel Bellevue’s LH&V Home Edition. This online portal for wellness services includes video tutorials and DIY recipes from the therapists who work at its award-winning Bellevue Spa Clinic.

The view from a hydrotherapy tub at Hotel Bellevue, Croatia
The lauded spa at Croatia's Hotel Bellevue boasts a number of Finnish saunas, including one on its exterior deck accompanied by a hydromassage tub—and breathtaking views of the surrounding Čikat Bay. Image: Courtesy of Hotel Bellevue

Follow their steps to a relaxing hand or foot massage, or find recipes to make your own face tonic, eye mask, night cream, and face peel. Most can be made in a matter of minutes, using ingredients you’re likely to already have. All you need to make the miracle pack for eyes, for instance, is a finely chopped potato and some cotton pads.

Fasting for Health with Buchinger Wilhelmi, Marbella, Spain

Buchinger Wilhelmi offers two idyllic European locations—one in Marbella with breathtaking views of the ocean and the Rock of Gibraltar, and another overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Constance in Germany. The luxury wellness clinic has been treating and preventing illness with its pioneering medical fasting program for 100 years and, with the concerns of the pandemic in mind, has now released a video series addressing key health issues.

The view from Buchinger Wilhelmie's Marbella Wellness Clinic
The view from Buchinger Wilhelmie in Marbella offers a much-needed escape, while its therapies and virtual offerings stay firmly rooted in reality and “focus on body, psyche, and immunity to prepare you for this challenging time.”

In the online discussions, Buchinger Wilhelmi’s director of research and Medicine Dr Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo shares advice on boosting the immune system. This includes the benefits of time-restricted eating—such as reduced inflammation, and improved metabolism and sleep, along with practical advice on how to change our eating habits so that they become an integral part of our wellness regimes.

“From our continued research we know that fasting is not just good for general health, but also boosts cell rejuvenation and immunity and, also crucially, lifts mood—all invaluable during this crisis,” she says. “We know little about COVID-19 as yet, but we do know that some of the main factors of severe corona illness are obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. These are the three main indications that Buchinger Wilhelmi has been treating for a century.”

Recipes for Relaxation from Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla

Spread across one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches and known for ultra-luxurious spa treatments at its in-house Arawak Spa, Belmond Cap Juluca offers guests a dream-like escape. During the pandemic, however, it’s adopted a pragmatic approach: “When you can’t go to the spa, let the spa come to you.”

The outdoor pool at Belmond Cap Jaluca
Dubbed “Anguilla’s beacon of barefoot luxury” by Forbes, the exclusive Belmond Cap Jaluca was recently redesigned and features luxurious additions, such as an ocean-facing infinity-edge pool and the Arawak Spa. Image: Courtesy of Belmond Hotels

Head to its website, where you’ll be invited to sample signature spa treatments from the comfort of your own home. At the top of the list is a step-by-step guide to a warm, silky bath filled with its four-ingredient relaxation salts. Then simply follow the easy recipe, using Epsom or Himalayan salt, baking soda, your choice of essential oils—peppermint or citrus for a pick-me-up; chamomile or green tea for relaxation; or rosemary, anise, or ginger for a detox—and, to finish, a sprinkling of crushed tea leaves.

Online Tutorials from Seaham Hall in Durham, England

From its cliff-top location in the North East of England, Seaham Hall casts a proprietorial eye over the area’s ancient coastline. Well-known for its exquisite spa escapes, it’s now also offering a a superb program of online tutorials and exercise classes via its YouTube Channel that can help keep both your mind and body in shape.

The outdoor spa pool at Seaham Hall in England
Seaham Hall’s expansive spa boasts 17 treatment rooms, a pool, outdoor hot tubs, and a hi-tech gym, along with a virtual offering of online video tutorials that are focused on holistic wellness. Image: Courtesy of Seaham Hall

Among the highlights offered by this luxurious hotel, part of the prestigious Pride of Britain consortium, are directions for at-home spa treatments, such as facials; low-impact classes, such as yoga and Pilates; and high-interval intensity training (HIIT) and core workouts. Plus, it’s running a highly recommended series of 30-minute hypnotherapy sessions on topics that may well have become a concern over the past few months, including loneliness, letting go of frustration, and building self-confidence.

Banner image: Courtesy of Belmond Hotels