Palm Rocks wellness retreat

International Wellness Retreats 2023: The Best Places to Meditate in the New Year

Travel /


Forget sitting cross-legged on your living room floor – this is the jet-setters' guide to finding your zen

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more

Meditation: the practice of focusing your mind on a thought, object or activity to achieve inner calm and mental clarity. It can be difficult if the number 32 bus is trundling past your open window, or your toddler is trying to spoon-feed porridge to your laptop in the next room. Looking to boost your health and wellbeing? Find some headspace in one of the most beautiful spots in the world; here is the jet-setter’s guide to international wellness retreats and the best places to meditate in 2023.

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

Wellness Retreats: The Best Places in the World to Meditate in 2023

Photo 1 of
a small path with archway and stairs

Image (c) William Joshua Templeton

Silent Mandali Experience

Where? Mandali Retreat Centre, Italy

What? This wellness retreat is your ticket to restoration after a hectic festive period. Every January, Mandali is well-equipped for this desire for respite, and the spiritual sanctuary, set high on an Italian hilltop just over an hour’s drive from Milan, eases guests into the New Year with stillness and silence. With idyllic views across the Swiss Alps and Lake Orta, Mandali is the ideal retreat to rest, reflect and reset.

When? 2–8, 15–20, 20–22, and 22–27 January 2023

BOOK: 3, 6 and 7-day retreats available. mandali.org

Palm Rocks wellness retreat

Palm Rocks

Where? Sotogrande, Spain

What? Ahead of the official launch of Palm Rock’s new wellness retreat in September 2022, celebs were spotted flocking to Sotogrande – a private community on the Costa Del Sol – to be the first to experience the offering. Relax like Ed Westwick, Amy Jackson, Vogue Williams, and Spencer Matthews: from sunrise poolside sessions to compound weight training at the on-site gym, the four to seven day immersive retreat focuses on dramatically improving both mental and physical health, headed up by a team of elite trainers, including British fitness entrepreneur and celeb trainer, Chris Wharton.

The luxury villas and talented chefs will keep you well housed well fed amongst restorative yoga sessions, one to one personal training sessions and hikes in the stunning surrounds.

When? 6–12 April, 27 April–2 May, 25–30 May, and 15–20 June 2023.

BOOK: Private ensuite room £2,495, shared room £1,995. palmrockretreats.com

Schloss Elmau surrounded by snow

Yoga, Taiji and Qi Gong Retreats & Annual Yoga Summit

Where? Schloss Elmau, Germany

What? A spa retreat and cultural hideaway in the Bavarian Alps, Schloss Elmau is set to host a series of Yoga, Taiji and Qi Gong Retreats from now until May 2023, as well as the sixth Annual Yoga Summit at the end of May. The retreats aim to instil refined states of attention, concentration and mindfulness across a week – though day-long courses are also available, as well as special courses for children and teenagers during holiday periods.

When? The Annual Yoga Summit will take place from 21-26 May 2023. The Yoga, Taiji and Qi Gong Retreats will occur across multiple dates between now and May 2023 (check here).

BOOK: schloss-elmau.de

sunset over a natural lake with rocks and plants

LT & Co.

Where? Ibiza, Spain; Deia, Mallorca,

What? Suitable for all levels, LT & Co. retreats have low-impact, mindful movement at their heart, guided by Lizi, with classical and dynamic pilates to help you move, breathe and connect, as well as strengthen, lengthen and tone. Alongside daily sunrise and sunset Pilates, there are guided wild hikes and wellness workshops, with ample opportunity to explore the location, alongside plenty of delicious Mediterranean, plant-based food, prepared daily with seasonal and fresh produce carefully sourced from local markets. You’ll also get a cute LT & Co. gift bag, including brands like Aesop.

When? 

Ibiza: 17–21 June 2023

Deia: 14–18 October 2023

BOOK: ltmovement.com

Soneva Fushi

Image (c) Julia Neeson

SOUL Festival

Where? Soneva Fushi – Baa Atoll, Maldives

What? Pioneering, sustainability-first Soneva is partnering with wellness enterprise ORGANIC INDIA on the inaugural immersive wellness festival, SOUL, in autumn 2023. Over 10 days, guests from across the globe will explore wellness in all of its forms, led by a line-up of visionaries, thought leaders, and wellness pioneers, and celebrating both ancient healing traditions and modern innovations through workshops, programmes and one-to-one consultations. All proceeds from tickets sold will go to the Soneva Foundation and ORGANIC INDIA Foundation to support the development of positive impact environmental, social and economic projects.

When? 29 September–8 October 2023

BOOK: From USD 6,900 for two guests, for a minimum three-night stay. This includes two festival tickets and full access to the entire programme, with luxurious private villa accommodation, daily full board at selected dining destinations, and complimentary round-trip wheeled plane domestic transfers. soneva.com

Yoga in the forest

Wylder Retreats

Where? Ibiza, Spain

What? Teaching sustainable wellness and skills that will last longer than the retreat itself, Wylder retreats are the ideal yoga-based retreats, not too far from the UK. Typically set across four nights, guests enjoy activities from yoga and pilates to hikes and sound healing sessions. Additionally, all meals are plant based, and a zero-waste cooking workshop will teach guests skills to take home with them (along with their new feeling of tranquillity and a goodie bag to boot).

When? 2023 dates to be announced.

BOOK: wylderretreats.net

spa at eden roc cap cana

Cenote Wellness Retreat at Eden Roc Cap Cana

Where? Dominican Republic

What? Surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders – pristine beaches, towering cliffs and tropical forests – Eden Roc Cap Cana is always a good idea. Their new Cenote Wellness Retreat adds another string to their bow. From December, guests can partake in yoga and meditation sessions, have massages, drink healthy smoothies, and retreat to the unique cenote waterfall fountain. Eden Roc Cap Cana’s underground cenote formed when a cave ceiling fell; making the most of it, guests can not experience private diners, spiritual spa treatments and gentle fitness sessions here, as well as the therapeutic experience of hearing the water – said ‘to be in the womb of the mother earth’.

When? Launching in December 2022, then ongoing.

BOOK: edenroccapcana.com

a yoga stage with wood roof overlooking forest

The Retreat at Nirjhara

Where? Tabanan, Bali

What? With a spectacular cascading waterfall that gives the hotel its name, Nirjhara offers 25 suites and villas in a natural, environmentally-conscious haven of relaxation (with reclaimed hevea wood, natural stone and traditional sirap roofing), close to volcanic sand beaches as well as Canggu and Ubud. The Retreat is a spa celebrating age-old healing practices and rituals; there’s everything from massages to sound healing, body scrubs to reflexology. Likewise, off-property ‘blessings’ are influenced by spiritual traditions. One blessing, for example, invites guests to tune out to tune in with an immersive experience in the foothills of Ubud.

When? Ongoing

BOOK: From £260 per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast. nirjhara.com

spa treatment room overlooking serene wilderness

Image (c) Alan Keohane

SAHA at The Oberoi

Where? Marrakech, Morocco

What? The Oberoi’s new holistic wellness programme, SAHA (meaning ‘health’ in Arabic), has been created by leading specialists and is focused on four key cornerstones: Soul & Spirit, Active Body, Holistic Treatments, and A Better Plate. The Oberoi is already a haven of meditative tranquillity where guests can take time to rediscover inner peace and serenity, and the new wellness programme has been specially designed by The Oberoi team, originally for the local community in Marrakech, to put health and safety at the forefront. With personalised wellness plans and packages guests will improve their well-being, whether they are looking at a more holistic approach to day-to-day life, to keep fit during their stay with dynamic fitness activities and a dedicated fitness trainer, or discover inner peace (be it through yoga, meditation, mindfulness activities, or experiencing a good night’s rest with the hotel’s sleep therapy programme). 

When? Ongoing. Guests can choose from a 3 to 7-night programme.

BOOK: Bookings include a stay in a deluxe villa with a private pool, along with treatments, therapies, and activities from the four key cornerstones. oberoihotels.com

Anantara

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

Where? Oman

What? When you’re in a crowded Covent Garden studio and the person leading your guided meditation tells you to imagine yourself in a calm and beautiful place, this should be it. Perched 2,000 metres above sea level on the rim of a great canyon, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is the highest five-star resort in the Middle East. Enjoy the clifftop yoga on Diana’s Point, where guests are invited to de-stress the mind and body, with incredible views of the sunrise over the great canyon. The perfect spot for daily meditation practices. (Just don’t look down!)

When? Ongoing

BOOK: anantara.com

Le Refuge de La Traye

Refuge de la Traye

Where? Meribel, French Alps

What? Refuge de la Traye – a zig-zag of stone and log cabins – sits, randomly sprinkled, atop a snowy landscape above Meribel, like granola on yoghurt. With seven bedrooms and a private chalet, access is via foot (for the energetic, if weather allows) or electric snowmobile. Once there, you’ll quickly realise it’s worth the journey. The Refuge re-opened late last year following a full face lift, adding eco-reponsible systems respecting the delicate nature of its setting. Rooms are designed for rustic hedonism: swish yet simple with raw wood panelling, sheepskin throws, natural wools and linens and superb amenities. Ski, if you must – the snow taxi heads off for a main ski lift at a leisurely 9.45am. Better still, stay put and snowshoe in the peaceful landscape before a heat treatment in the spa.

Iyashi dome, a Japanese infrared sauna experience, gently sweats out toxins while you lie body-encased in an MRI-style scanner. Or enjoy the sauna and hot tub, alternating with a whizz outside to jump into snow, experiencing pin-pricks of icy ecstasy. Wellsystem is a gentle, pummelling massage with ‘water pillows’ strapped to the body. Or how about a milk bath and snooze in the warm hay bed, nestling in like a tiny chick. Once the mountain air and spa have ironed out stress and recharged the spirit, quench hunger with the Refuge’s beautifully presented, traditional Swiss fare accompanied by local wines. After all that, you sleep like a baby.

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: refugedelatraye.com

BodyHoliday

BodyHoliday

Where? St Lucia, Caribbean

What? Lost your fitness mojo recently? Get it back in style at BodyHoliday St Lucia, where an impressive line-up of Olympic stars and famous athletes are running wellness retreats. Travelling with your kids? The WellFit Families retreat is perfect for multi-generational holidays, offering the chance to train with Welsh Olympic sprint champion and TV presenter Jamie Baulch.

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: From $320pp. bodyholiday.com

Mirihi Island Muraka

Mirihi Island

Where? Maldives

What? Check in to one of Mirihi Island’s yoga packages to combine your meditation escape with some of the world’s best yoga classes. Along with group or provate yoga sessions, guests can also enjoy some time away from it all in their private water or beach villa, on a secluded beach, or whilst enjoying a spa treatment. There is a no television policy in the villas or Wi-Fi in the restaurants, so there’s nothing to come in between you and your meditation. Inner tranquility, here we come.

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: mirihi.com

Adler Thermae

ADLER Thermae

Where? Tuscany, Italy

What? How do panoramic views over the Tuscan hills sound for your meditation getaway? While there’s no specific mindfulness programme on offer, this is the perfect place for self-guided meditation and a digital detox. Find a secluded spot in the quiet gardens and let your mind wander (before bringing it back to the present and focusing on your practice, naturally).

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: adler-thermae.com

The Legian Seminyak

The Legian Seminyak

Where? Bali, Indonesia

What? Meditation has been an intrinsic part of Balinese culture for hundreds of years and, from a young age, children are taught to meditate during temple prayers, learning to sit silently with the village priest as he chants mantra and rings his holy bell. So what better place to visit for an introduction to meditation? The Legian Seminyak in Bali’s ‘Wellness by The Legian’ concept incorporates spa treatments, nutrition, fitness and personalised wellness programmes to help guests find their zen. The programmes and treatments are simple, holistic and inspired by the rich local healing heritage and local products including yoga, mindfulness meditation, positive affirmation and visualisation sessions.

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: lhm-hotels.com

Marbella Club

Marbella Club

Where? Marbella, Spain

What? If you thought Marbella was just a playground for the rich and famous to drink Champagne in the sunshine, think again. Marbella Club offer a range of year-round wellness retreats, with a focus on the connection between inner health and outer beauty, ranging from the signature ‘Mediterranean Lifestyle’ program, to ‘Tranquility & Sleep Enhancing’ and ‘Optimal Fitness & Energy’. Aerial yoga and outdoor activities also make the most of the beautiful surroundings, including cycles along the promenade and hiking in the nearby mountains.

When? Ongoing

BOOK: Rates start from €449, including breakfast. marbellaclub.com

Amanpuri Awareness, Thailand

Awareness at Amanpuri

Where? Thailand

What? Trouble quietening your mind? Let the experts guide you at Amanpuri Awareness’ Thailand programme. Promising to lead you on a highly meditative experience, you will begin your journey with a consultation to help form your bespoke itinerary. You will be guided throughout by a former Buddhist monk on this mind, body and soul transformation through yoga, meditation and reflection. You’ll also experience complementary therapies such as Teiki and cranial sacral therapy. And all in a beautiful green Thai setting. Yes please.

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: Health and Fitness Travel offers 7 nights at Amanpuri, including full board, a wellness programme, spa treatment and return private transfers. healthandfitnesstravel.com

Bawah Reserve

Bawah Reserve

Where? The Anambas Islands, Indonesia

What? Accessible only by private seaplane from Singapore – in the relatively unknown Anambas Islands, between Malaysia and Borneo – Bawah Reserve is the ultimate choice when you want to go off-grid. As well as partaking in activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and hiking, there are plenty of spots perfect for self-guided meditation. To relax further, guests can head to the Aura Wellness Centre and have unlimited treatments which are included in the all-inclusive rate.

When? Ongoing.

BOOK: bawahreserve.com

AKIH SunsetYoga

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Where? Maldives

What? Escape to the all-pool villa sanctuary of dazzling Maldivian hues with Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas to kick-start your meditation practice this year. Realign your chakras with blissful spa treatments overwater and Ayurvedic cuisine. Alongside the other wellness offerings, you can practice meditation and yoga with one-on-one training overlooking the ocean.

When? Ongoing

BOOK: kihavah-maldives.anantara.com

And if you can’t travel…

We also called on Dominique Antiglio, Sophrologist and founder of BeSophro to get some expert advice on choosing meditation locations…

‘Sophrology is a type of dynamic meditation that I love to practice because it can be easily incorporated into daily life. I have had amazing Sophrology experiences at the Ghats in Varanasi, India which faces the Ganges River, as well as being wrapped up among the mountains of Courmayeur facing Mont Blanc, and also in Ibiza when facing the sea. I also love practising early morning on Primrose Hill as it offers such a beautiful view over London, and no two days are ever the same so I have a unique view each time.’

But you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. ‘For best practice at home, I advise people to create a private space at home or in the office with a comfy chair. If you have a small, shared space only, don’t let it stop you, as you can put your headphones on and listen via a guided practice.

‘You may wish to personalise your space with a photo of a loved one or have an item of sentimental value nearby to enhance the connection of the space to your inner world. You could also light a scented candle to create a sense of calm and tranquillity in your space.

‘Personally, I have a comfy chair in my light, airy and minimalist office where I love to sit and start my Sophrology meditation practice mid-morning. I usually have a cup of herbal tea nearby to drink when I finish too. I also practice in between meetings, and even on the Tube and in taxis – if I feel tense, just five minutes of simple breathing and relaxation techniques is enough to relax me.’

So if you do make it to one of our ultimate meditation locations, you’ll have to pack the memories up to take home with you, back to your hardwood floor with the number 32 bus outside, to conjure up the images of your retreat as you find your inner calm on demand…

Featured Image: Palm Rock.