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Top Wellness Retreats

Joelle Mentis, Staff Writer

SHA Mexico Mind and Body Studio

It was an epic holiday season where there wasn’t a party invitation declined. You rightfully leaned into the good life and celebrated 2023 in style. The good life though has many definitions. The start of the year is the optimal time to plan out your wellness strategy. It could be as easy as getting a trainer at the gym, or working with a nutritionist. There’s no need to go at it alone though when wellness also gives you a reason to travel at these reset retreats. Whether you’re looking for wellness with a glass of red wine at the end of the day, or if you’re hard-core bone broth cleanses, there’s a wellness center for that. These are the places to reset and get ready for all that’s to come this 2024.

The Wellness Center: Chivitr

The Location: Phuket, Thailand

The Approach: Exercise and Alternative Medicine

Sometimes all it really takes is someone to get you out of bed in the morning. At Chivitr, whose name means ‘life’ in Thai, you won’t sleep in. The owner of this reset retreat gets you out of bed at the crack of dawn. But you’re not supposed to torture yourself to get healthy. The morning hike through Hat Naihan Park distracts with its beauty.

Your 3-5 day retreat will be structured around water and nature-based exercise, with Thai boxing and yoga in the mix. Of course, you also get a bespoke itinerary. Maybe you want to focus on Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments, where they have top practitioners. Or you can opt for electro-lymphatic therapy, and a special full-body scrub massage. The food matches the holistic wellness vibe, with a seasonally inspired menu, which the owner often cooks herself. If you like food and actually want to eat during your wellness retreat — Chivitr is for you.

The Wellness Center: Viva Mayr

The Location: Altaussee, Austria

The Approach: Mild Starvation and Clinical

Viva Mayr seems to have a supernatural force over those who visit. This reset retreat will really reset you — so much so that you might come out of it with a whole new outlook on life. Our Tastemakers comment on the lack of self-consciousness that you feel while at the resort because you’re stripped down to the basics. What happens when you’re you’re completely taken out of the everyday routine and your body is somewhat shocked into a reset is nothing short of magic. You gain a new mindfulness. Specifically, the type of bliss at Viva Mayr involves mild starvation and a minutes-long process of chewing.

You’re not devoid of pleasure, though, because there are plenty of relaxing massages. But the rest comes with futuristic medical procedures to increase brain and muscle performance, and fat loss. While they won’t be borderline insane and take your phone, meals are limited to breakfast and lunch, so a cozy cooking show will have to suffice. The results? Incredible. This is the place to come not only for weight loss but to reset your circadian rhythms. Surely the gut-cleansing laxatives are doing something.

The Wellness Center: Lanserhof

The Location: Lans Austria, and Tegernsee and Sylt, Germany

The Approach: Mild Starvation and Clinical

The Austrian approach doesn’t let you play around. At Lanserhof, you might even be prescribed a bone broth-only diet. This is a reset retreat really designed to reset your gut but don’t be scared. Guests who go for weight loss or hormonal imbalances describe entering a dizzy altered state. You eventually lose the hunger pangs in the evening as it’s all in the magic of the Lanserhof way. You know it’s good if most of the clientele is repeat and those who really have serious medical issues. Craniosacral therapies (among others you need a few repetitions to pronounce) and a 24-hour on-call medical team ensure that even in your weakest state, you are never in discomfort.

For those that are prescribed a food diet, there is a whole philosophy that goes along with it, and cooking classes that teach you how to replicate it. Depending on your energy levels, they have a range of exercise options from yoga, to hikes, to Zumba classes. The best part about Lanserhof is that everyone is on a different journey. You can go in lieu of a cleanse, or you can go as a patient with a more serious illness — either way they have you covered. That’s part of the reason that this is one of the best wellness retreats for those who need to revamp their lives.

The Wellness Center: SHA Wellness

The Location: Alicante, Spain

The Approach: Medical Wellness

The SHA experience isn’t a passive one. Though this is a gorgeous reset retreat, you’re not sitting back. In fact, it’s like camp for adults, where you have a full hour-by-hour schedule from your morning HIIT class all the way to your gourmet dinner in the evening. SHA is a true wellness center versus spa, though they do have treatments that change the shape of your body, even in a week. Bring your brain as you’ll participate actively in the re-education of your diet, exercise, and wellness routines.

The SHA method focuses on your health across 8 distinct areas. There’s healthy nutrition, natural therapies, preventive and healthy aging medicine, advanced aesthetics, cognitive stimulation, and emotional health, well-being and inner balance, and physical performance. They make you a plan that incorporates treatments across each category. In between sessions you’ll relax by the infinity pool and take in the views which is restorative in itself. Some people arrive on Day 1 and barely leave the property except for the morning hikes on Day 10. As far as the food goes, this is one of the best wellness retreats whose food is mind-blowing good.

The Wellness Center: Chiva-Som

The Location: Hua Hin, Thailand

The Approach: Spiritual

Chiva-Som has been around for longer than some of our writers have been alive, which is a testament to how well their philosophy works. The no-screens in public areas rule has become progressively harder to enforce but it is nonetheless beneficial for everyone’s health. This is the kind of place where you’ll spend sessions re-learning how to breathe, whether it is to improve your sleep or regulate your emotions.

Thailand is the perfect setting for a detox too as the beach, or banyan tree-lined walks will have you forgetting Instagram altogether. Your treatments will incorporate a mixture of Thai massage, and things like bone density training, which will have you doing movements that have you thumping your feet on the ground, making you feel decidedly childish. None of that matters, though, as the highly experienced staff encourages you the whole time.


Q: Which wellness centers give you morning laxatives?

A: Lanserhof and Viva Mayr

Q: Which wellness retreat has an exercise approach?

A: Civitr focuses on exercise

Q: Where will I learn the most?

A: Everywhere. But at SHA, the philosophy incorporates educational opportunities.

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