By Angela Fairhurst
At the end of each year, we have an opportunity to review, reflect and rewind. Sometimes, having the right space and place to contemplate our year-in-review can make it just a little (or a lot) more enjoyable. Eco-hotels all over the globe are developing programs that make restoration of health and wellness a priority and are perfect to soothe your soul and re-energize for the year ahead.
Shinta Mani Wild – A Bensley Collection
Deep in the jungles of Cambodia is a luxury tented camp, Shinta Mani Wild – A Bensley Collection. With conservation and protection of the environment and endangered species in mind, the meticulously planned safari-style camp has 14 private one-bedroom tents and one two-bedroom tent. These accommodations are perfectly positioned along the riverbank and among the waterfalls, offering first-class views in the lap of luxury and comfort. Arrival into the camp is as unique as the jungle paradise itself, requiring entrance by a 400m zipline over the forest onto the Landing Zone Bar.
“Wellness at WILD” offers an immersive three-night all-inclusive wellness stay for groups of two to six adults. Guests may choose one of three programs to meet their individual needs: ReWILD caters to the fitness-forward guest and includes guided trail running, mountain biking and fit-yoga classes; Reconnect offers health-minded travelers a balanced wellness lifestyle program; and Restore is designed for guests to rest, reset and recover from stress.
At Shinta Mani Wild, you will find fitness activities aplenty, including sunrise yoga performed atop a seven-story zipline tower overlooking the forest. “Wellness at WILD” packages also include a Post-Travel Recovery Massage on your day of arrival, unlimited Khmer Tonics spa treatments, forest bathing, breath-walking, meditations and deliciously creative cuisine using local ingredients foraged from the jungle. Tailored to guests’ dietary needs and preferences, there are options available for all. A unique and engaging WILD spa experience will even teach you ancient Khmer beauty practices, including how to make your own body products from nature.
Excursions include a half-day pontoon boat experience exploring the waterways ecosystem, kayaking, and joining the Wildlife Alliance rangers on an anti-poaching patrol. The stay includes personal Bensley Adventure Butler services to handle your every need, along with land transfer from Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville airports.
The Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino Coast California
The Stanford Inn & Resort is an historic farm and eco-resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Mendocino. It is North America’s only 100% vegan resort destination boutique hotel and is ideal for retreats, events and family getaways. The wellness program allows for reconnection and restoration with one another and oneself.
The Stanford Inn’s wellness center is a key feature of the resort. Run by Wellness Programs Director Sid Garza-Hillman and the resort’s co-owners Joan and Jeff Stanford, the Stanford Inn offers cooking classes, nutrition and healthy living classes, creative playshops, gardening classes, mushroom exploration walks, guided hikes, breathwork classes, meditation, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, Tai Chi, yoga and a variety of massage/spa offerings.
The well-appointed rooms and suites have first-class views of the Pacific Ocean, Big River, colorful organic gardens and the historic village of Mendocino. Full made-to-order breakfasts are included and served in Ravens Restaurant. “Lunch on the Go” and daily dinner are also available. While more than 95% of the resort’s guests are not vegetarian or vegan, the menu does feature gourmet plant-based breakfast dishes and dinners that offer unique takes on dishes using vegetables. Additionally, Ravens Bar provides a full wine list featuring wines from local vintners and a full range of cocktails.
The Ranch Italy at Palazzo Fiuggi
Noted California wellness retreat The Ranch Malibu, has officially opened its first international outpost in the mountain town of Fiuggi, an hour south of Rome. The area is known for the unique healing powers of its waters, with The Ranch nestled in a 20-acre park located on an ancient hilltop surrounded by 100-year-old Sequoia trees.
Focused on achieving overall health, fitness and longevity while restoring and balancing guests’ strength and mental clarity during their stay, the five-star Ranch Italy at Palazzo Fiuggi combines the award-winning, results-oriented fitness program of its Malibu property with the expertise of a premier medical retreat. Limited to 25 participants each week, guests can choose between a four-night, five-day option (available year-round) or a seven-night, eight-day experience from April – December.
Each program features a daily schedule that is identical to The Ranch Malibu’s signature active routine, including a four-hour morning mountain hike in the Apennine Mountains, followed by nap time, afternoon strength and core training classes, yoga and a daily massage. The rigorous routine is complemented by a nutritionally dense, plant-based menu with an Italian flair, created by The Ranch’s Executive Chef Meredith Haaz and prepared by three-star Michelin Chef Heinz Beck and his Palazzo Fiuggi culinary team. Meals are enjoyed as a group, in a private dining room overlooking the mountains and ancient hilltop town.
Guests also receive a targeted evaluation and diagnostic consultancy with Palazzo Fiuggi’s team of scientists and doctors to gain a deeper insight into their current health, along with where and how to make optimal changes.
Avana Retreat, Mai Chau Vietnam
Built during the pandemic amongst an untouched waterfall, terraced rice fields and a jungle mountainside, Avana Retreat incorporates local Hmong architecture and Thai building design to create the 36-villa resort in Mai Chau, a 3.5-hour drive from Hanoi.
The resort’s open-air yoga pavilion is perched atop a stream, while the property’s eight-treatment-room Orchid Spa is immersed in the lushest of landscapes, providing a wellness sanctuary that is both gratifying and mesmerizing. A comprehensive pampering package, Wild Reconnection, is a signature three-hour transformative experience which includes a body exfoliation using local products, toning and firming wrap, relaxing facial and signature body massage that uses firm pressure and the stimulation of acupressure points, as well as warm Vietnamese herbal packs. Guests also benefit from the use of healing herbs and oils in all of the facials and body wraps offered.
Honoring all that is local is a priority across the board at this wondrous retreat. Avana’s all-day dining venue, Green Chili Restaurant, uses seasonal and hyper-local ingredients for its menu. Freshly laid organic eggs are sourced from the chicken farm on property, while other items are procured from local Vietnamese farmers and used in dishes designed to maximize their flavor and connection to the region.
An homage to a local phenomenon, the Cloud Pool Bar is named after the regular occurrence of fluffy cloud cover that settles just below the property, providing a positively “heavenly” effect that encourages guests to unwind with a local tonic, cocktail or glass of wine.
Additionally, more than 90% of Avana’s staff are from the surrounding area.