Spa Stops Along the European Tracks

Rail and Wellness Retreat Spa Stops Along the European Tracks

With wellness travel on the rise, many resorts and retreats are offering mind and body healing experiences. Here are a few worth the journey.

The high Caucasus mountains that encircle Georgia offer a fresh air approach to wellbeing. Take your pick of a calming spa treatment, a hike to the fairytale Gergeti Church or even winemaking classes with a master.

2. The Old Post Office Hotel

From Washington, DC to Dunedin, New Zealand, former temples to snail mail are having a second act as luxury hotels worth writing home about. Whether you want to cleanse with a detox program or reach new levels of fitness, these old Post Offices are the perfect place to stay.

The neo-Gothic landmark that served Ghent’s Central Post Office until the turn of the last century now brings postal chic into the present moment as a boutique hideaway. Walk up to 1898 The Post on Graslei, the historic district’s cobbled main street, and ascend through a spiral staircase into a hallway that slopes down on each side, with rooms and suites couched inside the turrets of the original building. Rooms are categorized with postal themes, and guests can also book the Tower Suite, which offers the ultimate post-office experience in an octagonal-shaped aerie.

The hotel combines contemporary design and old-world charm, with guestrooms incorporating built-in bookcases, rotary phones, and antique writing desks topped by paperweights, pencil boxes, and postcards. After a hearty breakfast of local produce and homemade bread, head to the spa for a massage or facial with organic skincare products. Then, splurge on lunch at the onsite restaurant, which serves up fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables.

With its serene walled garden and woodlands, this historic 250-acre property in Amenia, New York, is a true wellness oasis. The tranquil resort—whose 38 rooms are scattered among four residences—relies on solar power and offers a range of holistic activities, including farm-to-table dining, cooking classes, and daily yoga and meditation. In addition to its state-of-the-art spa, the estate is home to a secluded retreat clad in timber from the Tappan Zee Bridge that has hosted cultural luminaries like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain.

3. The Spa Hotel

Indulge in nature’s healing powers on a detox retreat at this sprawling resort tucked into the Catskill Mountains of New York state. Surround yourself with forest, lake and mountain views in an array of Scandinavian and Japanese-inspired luxury cabins and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul at the onsite spa. Find inner harmony with a grounding sound bath or enlightening Reiki ritual, detoxify with a herbal steam and dry rock sauna, and reconnect to the earth on guided hiking trails. Indulge in a Himalayan KuNye massage and a cleansing herbal bath or detoxify with acupuncture, ayurvedic treatments, and herbology.

A luxurious wellness retreat steeped in history, this grand 265-room Victorian castle resort perched along the glacial-formed Lake Mohonk surrounded by the Shawangunk Ridge has been a sanctuary for health and relaxation since 1869. Recharge your battery with a full menu of detoxifying treatments, holistic experiences ranging from forest-bathing to reiki, and nourishing meals prepared by the acclaimed chef using ingredients from the on-site gardens and fields.

At this renowned destination spa, a blend of medical and holistic approaches to wellness has led to a host of transformative programs. Get a jump start on your health with an anti-aging and wellness biostation where guests can receive personalized diagnostic testing and treatments from hormone replacement therapy to HGH peptides.

Set within 20 km of Circuit Spa-Francorchamps and 33 km from Vaalsbroek Castle, this hotel is situated in the city of Ensival and offers free private parking. It has an on-site spa and wellness center by Ella Bache, as well as a fitness centre. Guests can enjoy the wellness area with an indoor and outdoor pool, a sauna and hot tub.

4. The Spa Hotel in Verviers

The Spa Hotel in Verviers is located just a short drive from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and offers guests a sauna, hot tub and hammam. Its comfortable rooms are also equipped with a mini bar and an iPod docking station.

With a focus on wellness, Ciela in Zambia works with local Zambian wellness products to offer a range of treatments. Ayurvedic, yoga and naturopathy sessions are all offered at the resort, which also provides fresh cold-pressed juices and immune-boosting chef-prepared meals.

For those looking to take a step up from detoxing, the Joali Being retreat is the place to go. Its ethos is not one of deprivation but rather of balance, and the property’s four pillars are Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy. The resort is staffed by a roster of sought-after wellness professionals, with treatments including sound therapy and herbal therapy.

Guests can get their daily workout in at the on-site Orange Theory gym, or opt for the more holistic route with classes like mindful meditation and mindful eating workshops. There are also a number of bespoke programs that address specific health issues, such as sleep or stress management.

The hotel’s 100 neutral-hued, wooden-floored rooms are designed with sustainability in mind, and the hotel is powered by a nearby geothermal power plant. The property is also home to a restaurant named L’Entrepot and a south-facing terrace, which is open to both guests and non-residents. It offers a menu of fresh, healthy, gluten-free dishes that are served in the evening. Those who prefer to dine in can book a private chef to come to their room. Guests can also enjoy a massage at the on-site wellness center.

5. The Spa Hotel in Spa

From a palatial spa complex in Marrakech to a boot camp-style retreat in Italy, these 20 hotels set the standard for health and wellness getaways. They’re rooted in local cultures and traditions, use raw natural ingredients, and put nature front and center. And they’re connecting us to the destinations we visit with immersive experiences like forest bathing, saltwater float sessions and a choice of 65 weekly fitness classes.

While the term “wellness” can be applied to any type of vacation, many wellness-focused resorts and hotels combine healing and luxury with a specific philosophy and approach. For example, Sha Wellness Clinic in Alicante, Spain, blends medical and holistic treatments, and encourages guests to change their lifestyle habits to prevent illness rather than simply treating symptoms. And Ciela in Zambia, a wellness resort and ecotourism company, focuses on using sustainable, locally sourced products to promote health and wellbeing.

Overlooking the legendary Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium, The Spa Hotel is a new 4-star hotel that merges motorsport and nature. Its sleek and modern accommodation is built with biophilic principles in mind, featuring a color palette of sand and pistachio. The property’s spa includes a sauna and two chromatic showers, and its onsite restaurant serves up refined French cuisine crafted with organic ingredients. Guests can also recharge in the rooftop barrel saunas with panoramic city views, or reach new levels of performance and vitality on an exclusive curated experience led by Equinox-certified coaches. The hotel’s other special offerings include a half-day strength and recovery program curated by Maria Sharapova and an annual four-day retreat led by Bon Buddhist master Geshe La. The Spa Hotel is a must-visit for those looking to take their travels to the next level of wellness.

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