This remote riverside jungle lodge is carbon neutral. The palm-thatched wooden cabins offer simple luxury, with 360-degree rainforest views or plunge pools. There’s no phone signal, no TV, very little WiFi and no electricity in most cabins – you come here to disconnect. In fact, you’re so cut off from civilisation that the best way to reach the lodge is by raft – we’re talking proper whitewater rafting through dense jungle. The property was built with minimal impact on its surrounding environment, and no trees were felled in the process. Go on a trek to the local village to meet the resident medicine man, or visit a local family’s home for a traditional Costa Rican lunch before calling at the community’s one-room schoolhouse.
Set on a 500-hectare organic farm, this self-catering retreat occupying three converted farmhouses (sleeping 2-8) is utter pastoral bliss. The surrounding forests are full of wild boar, deer, fruit trees, wild herbs and locally-prized white truffles – and you’re free to forage as much as you please. Pick figs and cherries in summer, or blackberries and pears in autumn, grab staples from the organic shop, as well as local wines and home-grown products (olive oil, honey, eggs, jams, ragout sauces), then cook up a storm in your well-equipped kitchen.
Euphoria is the brainchild of Marina Efraimoglou, who turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) following a cancer diagnosis. She wanted to create an oasis to share her teachings, so she fashioned a one-of-a-kind retreat overlooking the Unesco-listed Byzantine town of Mystras, then brought in leading health experts and created an enormous four-storey spa showcasing world-class innovation. There’s a tepidarium, a hammam, a salt therapy room and a futuristic hydrotherapy sphere pool (very space-age). You can even sign up for a finger prick test to identify your nutritional needs so that kitchen staff can tailor your meals accordingly.
This stunning Winelands farm is a foodie wonderland. It’s got it all: organic gardens with daily guided tours, wine tasting on-site, a bakery with bi-weekly Italian evenings, tea ceremonies in the Healing Garden, a state-of-the-art juicery, an aromatic Spice Garden for private events, and no fewer than three knockout restaurants to dine at – expect sublime, colour-coded dishes at each. Topping it all off, there are seriously stylish suites to stay in, as well as cottages with industrial-style kitchens. If self-catering, a wooden box of fruit and veggies from the farm will await you, or you can help yourself to ingredients from the garden whenever you please.
Sustainability is at the core of this funky beach retreat. A huge emphasis is placed on giving back to the community. Food is sourced from small-scale producers and farmers, and they have a hydroponic farm set up with a local NGO that supplies most of the fruit and veg. You’re encouraged to immerse yourself in island life – master the dance moves to Mauritian sega music, catch your dinner with a local fisherman, learn to cook traditional dishes, throw pots with local artisans… the list is endless. But it works both ways: if you’ve got a skill of your own to share, do!
Eccentric foodie Diana von Cranach runs this extraordinary, secluded hideaway with just four villas in Bali’s northwest corner. She has a passion for raw food – having written her own book on the subject – and tailors innovative healthy eating holidays. Menus change daily but expect Asian inspired flavours, mostly plant-based cuisine (plus some fish and poultry) and completely organic, local produce. Dining is a fun, convivial affair (Diana is a hoot) and all requirements can be catered for: soy-free, gluten-free, vegan and even nightshade-free.
This self-sufficient eco-retreat houses a collection of Mongolian yurts and volcanic-stone cottages dispersed among mango and peach trees. Wind turbines and solar panels power the resort, and most family size Eco rooms get free use of a Hybrid courtesy car. You can unwind with a yoga/Pilates class or have a massage in the Eco Zen Yurt while the kids can greet the myriad of animals on-site, collect eggs from the farm or splash about in the solar-heated pool. A great sandy beach is just 300 metres away. Perfect for a family holiday with a real feel-good factor.
Located on a hill where monks and nuns come to seek enlightenment, this retreat occupies a sacred spot that’s long served as a destination for self-discovery. Accommodation is divided into rooms and thatched villas, which sit among dense jungle, waterfalls and lily ponds. It’s all very Zen. Choose your wellness programme and begin with a medical consultation that assesses your needs. There are yogis, gurus and life mentors to help guide you, and innovative sleep enhancement therapies for those with sleeping difficulties. Spend your days meditating in the monk’s cave, practicing yoga or tai chi, or enjoying a blissful healing massage.
This incredibly cool Alpine retreat functions as a wellness centre, a vegan retreat and a luxury activity base all rolled into one. Spend the day on the slopes, return for a herbal massage or a soak in the alfresco hot tub, then tuck into a fancy five-course dinner with all-organic ingredients. Much of the produce is grown on-site, wines are biodynamic, and there’s an entirely plant-based menu (the head chef is vegan). Mix your own muesli and press your own juices at breakfast, then hold out for the delicious complimentary afternoon tea served daily in the laid-back lounge.
A cable car whisks you up to this hip eco-retreat in Italy’s South Tyrol, where the air is crisp and the views are sensational. Water comes straight from the mountain spring and all power comes from renewable resources. Digital detoxes are encouraged – there are phone-free zones, WiFi is switched off at night and you can choose to have you phone locked away at reception if you wish. Sign up for the supervised exercise sessions (like Nordic walking, yoga or archery) offered daily at no extra cost, or book yourself in for a quirky treatment at the spa. How about a hay bath, a grape seed skin peel, a green tea aroma massage or an algae body wrap? Don’t knock them ‘till you try them!
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