Subdue the stresses of a modern world by including spa and wellness options in your family vacation planning. Here are five ideas to consider.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Bali
For the most peaceful snooze of your life, opt for the Sacred Nap, offered in an open-air setting within this jungle resort’s Sacred River Spa. Designed by on-site Wellness Mentor Ibu Fera, the experience was inspired by rocking her own baby to sleep. Simulating the batik sling used by Balinese mothers, guests relax into aerial silk hammocks, most commonly used for antigravity yoga. Fera visits each participant, gently nudging the hammocks into a rocking motion, before quietly telling the life story of Buddha, chanting mantras and adding the soothing sound of the singing bowl for more sacred energy. Most, fall asleep within their cozy cocoon before her story ends. Fera also works with guests to create individual wellness programs, sharing techniques for living mindfully and with a loving heart, some of which she learned during seven years as a Buddhist nun.
Pronghorn Resort, Bend, Ore.
Set amid ancient juniper groves in Central Oregon’s high desert, this resort, near Bend, a mecca for outdoor lovers, offers multiple ways to pursue your wellness goals. Spend a day at the full-service spa, sampling restorative services. Take a meditative approach to a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, or ponder the meaning of darkness during a tour of the on-property cave. Visit the wellness Teepee for yoga classes, music-enhanced, guided meditations, crystal guidance workshops and herbal tastings. Stay in vacation rentals or the newly opened 104-room Huntington Lodge where panoramic views of the Cascade mountains will take your breath away.
The Lodge at Vail, Vail, Colo.
For a unique, whole body experience climb into the Dream Pod Float Tank at the Rock Resort spa tucked within this slopeside hideaway. Designed as an alternative or compliment to a massage, you’ll step into the womb-like environment where the water is heated to skin temperature. Thanks to a hefty amount of Epsom salt, you’ll easily float and quickly relax, without the usual sound, light and other distractions that keep us focused outwardly. Floaters report a deep sense of relaxation after the zen-like treatment. Committed to an eco-conscious approach, the spa also offers indigenous massages and wraps, facials, and other treatments using organic ingredients.
Acqualina Resort, Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.
A one of kind wellness experience, the Acqualina Spa by ESPA’s Sound Care Ritual treatment, blends the therapeutic powers of music and massage. The relaxing journey begins with a foot massage during which guests review music choices via an IPad and custom, sound-blocking headphones. Options include original music compositions from classical and new age to Latin and reggae as well as the natural sounds of the ocean or rainforests. The French-based music application is reported to provide natural calm and aid with sleep disorders, stress and anxiety. Later, build sand castles on the beach or relax aside one of three oceanfront swimming pools.
Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Ariz
Choose from the Jet Set Crowd menu to sample treatments that will transcend your location and provide an international flavor to the spa experience. Envelop yourself in the Helsinki Nature treatment during which guests benefit from a mist of cloud milk, white peat exfoliant and a wild-harvested Arctic berry wrap reported to replenish the skin. Try out a Turkish Hammam experience sure to cleanse, exfoliate, mist and massage or go for a soothing Hawaiin style Lomi Lomi massage. Make time to visit the hotel’s hip OH pool, surrounded by colorful chaise lounges. Consider an on-site walking tour to learn about the hotel's Hollywood history and its iconic mid-century modern design.
Historic festivals and cultural celebrations provide expansive experiences of a lifetime for travelers of every age. You'll gain insight into what matters to local communities paired with a bit of history. Here are several to consider:
While many celebrate a New Year with fireworks and frivolity, the Balinese choose to cleanse the spirit, meditate and bask in silence on Nyepi, or Silent Day.
On Nyepi Eve, observe local villagers as they play music, dance and parade colorful, hand-crafted “monster dolls” through the streets, while encouraging evil spirits to join the party, hoping they will then sleep through Nyepi. During the 24 hours of silence that follows, Bali’s airport, seaports, roads and all businesses are closed, steeping the island in a magical, pristine quiet. Lighting and the use of electricity are kept to a minimum and visitors and resort guests are encouraged to join islanders in a day of relaxation and reflection. It’s an ideal time for journaling, napping, quiet conversation, candle lit dinners and stargazing.
Ease into the day with morning yoga at the Four Season’s Jimbaran Bay’s peaceful, ocean-front pavilion. At the Four Seasons Resort at Sayan guests are invited to join in a meditation under the stars aside the roof-top lotus pond. Nyepi falls according to the lunar-based Balinese calendar and thus changes each year.
Nadaam Festival, Mongolia.
A sophisticated and elegant expression of nomadic culture, the Nadaam festival is popular among Mongols and believed to have existed for centuries. The core of the festival is comprised of “Danshig games” - wrestling, horse racing and archery - once reserved only for men. Today, women and girls participate in some aspects. With spiritual roots – both shamanist and Buddhist – the festival celebrates cultural identity with art, singing, dancing and ceremonies throughout the region in mid- Summer.
The 137-year old, Celebration of Life, an annual, month-long festival of Polynesian song and dance, gets underway each July. Singers and dance troupes from 118 Tahitian islands gather for an annual competition highlighting ancestral traditions and legends. Live music accompanies the contenders, using traditional instruments like the nasal flute or vivo, marine shells or pu, and more recently, the ukulele. With meaningful choreography and costumes, it’s considered the centerpiece of the festival. Visitors can also take in traditional sports and games based on ancient athletic activities. Expect a stone lifting competition, a javelin- throwing event, va’a (outrigger canoe) races, a copra competition, and a fruit carrying contest.
Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival, Estes Park, CO.
Jousting knights, hoisting athletes and calling bagpipes have been entertaining families for more than three decades in this scenic mountain setting. One of the nation’s largest celebrations of the heritage, sounds, tastes, and the arts of Scottish and Irish cultures gets underway the weekend after Labor Day. You’ll be serenaded by bands - the marching kind, the rocking kind and everything in-between - hailing from Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States. Don’t miss the free parade down Main Street, a colorful preview of the festival’s glory. Contact: www.VisitEstesPark.com.
Obon, a matsuri, or Japanese festival, is held each summer to honor the ancestors’ spirits and to welcome
them back for a brief visit with the living. A 500-year-old tradition in Japan, the festival begins as small lanterns are lit to guide the spirits
home. There are offerings of food to nourish the spirits, either at household altars or at food stalls lining the streets. A most memorable
sight is bon odori, the traditional dances that take place around a yagura (raised platform). Thousands wear yukata, a lighter summer
kimono, dancing to the beat of the taiko drums. Many communities in the U.S. celebrate Obon. In California’s Santa Maria Valley, all are welcome for a festival that includes taiko drumming, traditional dancing and bonsai and martial arts demonstrations.
Day of the Dead, Mexico.
One of the world's most lively cultural events, Mexico's Day of the Dead is a tradition that takes place each year from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. The ceremonies are thought to reunite the living with their deceased relatives with food, drink and other festivities. Intrepid's Mexico City:
Day of the Dead Original trip combines culture and history for an immersive 5-day experience in the heart of the Dia de Los Muertos festivities and includes a visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan, a chance to witness Day of the Dead ceremonies and to help create a traditional Day of the Dead altar.