Why your next trip should be a wellness retreat

by possandruby

There are many reasons why people travel and off the back of the impacts from the global pandemic, health and wellbeing is a growth sector for the travel industry. Many travellers are looking to new ways of incorporating wellness experiences into their holidays. 

According to the Global Wellness Institute ‘Consumers are increasingly aware that all aspects of their lives — where they live; how they work; what they eat; and how they exercise, socialize and travel — impact their health outcomes, mental resilience and overall sense of well-being.’ Hence, they see a need to incorporate wellness into their holidays and in some cases make it the focus.

To learn more about wellness travel and in particular retreats we spoke with travel writer, Jenny Littlewood, staycation queen and creator of Little Wandering Wren.  We recently shared a similar wellness experience with at Revivo Resort, Bali, in a fully customised program and have reflected on wellness retreats as a trending driver for travellers. Jenny has enjoyed a variety of wellness experiences around the globe and we invited her to share some insights and pros & cons of this type of travel.

How would you describe a wellness retreat?

A wellness retreat is all about giving yourself the space to concentrate completely on self incorporating your mind, body and soul.  You do not need to book into a wellness resort, you just need to get away. I know people who book an Air BnB for a weekend, pack some baths salts, candles, self help books, download some podcasts and mute the WIFI, they go for long walks and have pure me-time.

My wellness retreats over the years have taken many forms. Scrapbooking weekends with the girls were my early wellness retreats. We would load the car with photos, wine and chocolate and head off to any house big enough to hold us all and stay up all night chatting and sticking our photos in albums. We called it our therapy weekends.

As I got older and creakier, yoga became an important part of my life so in turn did yoga retreats. I am a self declared destination yogic. Offer me a yoga retreat in an exotic location and I’m there!

My Australian yoga teacher Julia with Blissfull Bali Yoga ReTreats introduced me to the idea of an overseas retreat. This gave me extended time to concentrate on my yoga while having the opportunity to explore the wonderful Ubud area.  The combination of wellness with travel seemed a perfect mix, for me travel and being immersed in another culture always heightens my appreciation and happiness in life.

By the time the mid-life spread had taken hold, it was out with the wine and chocolate and I joined a gym that offered a Fit’cation at the seaside resort Komune, Bali. More regimented bootcamp than restful, this was the ultimate wellness escape. We started each day at 6am for group training sessions, our food was matched to our macros, we did yoga and indulged in the wonderful on-site spa. It was full on but rewarding!

If you want to take it to another level book into a Wellness Resort as I did recently at Revivo Resort Bali. Resorts such as this are focused of offering program completely focus on wellbeing.  Most take a co-design approach where you will design your retreat based around your needs these are an intensive immersion of wellness.

Wellness reading

Why did you chose to go on a wellness retreat?

A wellness retreat is a way of checking in with yourself.  I believe it is a time for reflection and a chance to reset any bad habits that inevitably creep in.

In 2020, I twice visited the multi award winning Kamalaya Koh Samui in Thailand. Kamalaya was my first insight into the world of holistic wellness retreats. I was blown away with the variety of their programs. I left feeling so full of vigour that I decided to make a wellness retreat an annual holiday. Some people go skiing each winter, or to the beach each summer, I have elected to have an annual wellness retreat!

In 2021, I joined a Menopause Retreat at The Pavilions, Bali. This was an opportunity to learn from experts about a phase of my life which struck me quickly. To be honest, I will never know what was causing what, as COVID and my days confined overseas impacted me emotionally. Was I teary and emotional, struggling to sleep and gaining weight from menopause, or was it all COVID induced?

After the passing of my father without the opportunity to say goodbye, my general emotional wellness was impacted further. I found myself a shadow of my former self, except that my shadow was getting bigger and bigger. This was seriously time to take charge and I booked into Revivo Resort, Bali.


Do you have to be a gym junkie or yogi to participate in a wellness retreat?

No, not all. Choose a retreat which suits your needs. You are likely to find some element of fitness is included, because this is an important part of wellness. You choose what you want to do and what you want to achieve.

For me, I’m into low impact aerobics but I always like to try out new things that I can’t do at home. I like water aerobics and mindfulness yoga the best!

Do you get the chance to meet other travellers?

Yes – if you choose to, at Kamalaya Resort a table in the dining room is set up for those who wanted to meet others.  I personally always love the connections gained at a wellness resort, as you all have a common purpose.

revivo breakfast

What are the benefits of this type of holiday?

A change is as good as a holiday they say, but sometimes I feel actually what we need is a rest! These days it feels a luxury to have downtime, I like to end a retreat feeling better and that I’ve had a positive impact on my wellness. My retreats have always left me feeling calmer and energised to return to my daily life and tackle whatever life throws my way.

What I especially enjoy are the consultations with health professionals and the holistic approach to wellness. Some retreats offer in depth medical analysis to compliment your wellness journey. Blood tests and body composition analysis can add to the picture of your health and help you decide where your priorities should lie.

At Revivo Resort Bali, I left with a private retreat journal full of my notes, ideas and inspirations. I was beginning to identifying what was important to me in my next stage of life. I have a new found confidence and the motivation to go after my chosen lifestyle, in saying that each of my wellness retreats has been a transformational experience.

Are there destinations that are best suited for wellness travel?

 I find destinations where the surrounding nature is soothing adds to my experience. Anywhere I can hear the sound of water is always a bonus. I love attending wellness retreats in Asia, particularly Bali and Thailand. I enjoy the spiritual connection with these countries and immediately start by feeling more Zen!

How should one prepare for a wellness trip?

Well, you can just arrive, collapse exhausted and let things unfold! However, the best retreats will ask for your input in a pre-arrival questionnaire which allows them (and you) to prepare for your retreat. I certainly think it is worth investing some thought into what you are hoping to achieve.

Prior to booking, I would suggest spending time researching and reading reviews on your chosen retreat. You are likely to find a full-on schedule once there. I like to tap into whatever is the particular specialty of my chosen retreat, if the online reviews are saying that ‘acupuncture with Kimberly is the best thing ever‘ then book it.

Finally, understand all the associated costs, set a budget for your retreat and stick to it. There is nothing more deflating than the final bill breaking the bank and you feeling like your wellness is an expense not an investment. Some retreats are costly but seeking out packages, setting time limits and saving in advance will ensure you are prepared.

What would be your three top tips for those trying wellness travel for the first time?

1. Determine your wellness priorities and find an all inclusive package at a reputable wellness resort. 

2. Look for recent reviews to see how well staffed the wellness resort is operating in the current climate.

3. Tell all your family and friends that you will be off grid for a few days, add in a digital detox to your wellness retreat.

Thanks to Jenny at Little Wandering Wren you have some insight into the benefits of a wellness retreat. You can find her on instagram @littlewanderingwren and enjoy her staycations, travel tips and of course wellness adventures. We encourage you to research and chose wellness retreats that suit your needs and what you are hoping to achieve, online review platforms can give you insight into real life experiences.

Leave a comment or question below regarding wellness holidays and retreats, we would love to hear your experiences and thoughts.

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1 comment

Little Wandering Wren November 10, 2022 - 2:07 pm

Thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts on wellness retreats, Revivo Resort Bali was pretty special, wasn’t it?


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