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How Destinations Are Creating New Wellness Experiences for Guests

July 14, 2021

Pandemic burnout has left us all in need of replenishment, and travel pros are thinking beyond the spa to focus on their guests’ mental health in new ways. These 10 destinations are defining what resetting through travel looks like today.

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Photo: Courtesy of Galveston Kayak Outfitters

Rethink Rest and Relaxation With a Wellness Trip

Travel as it relates to “wellness” has new significance now. Vacationers have always looked for rejuvenation through wayfaring — in the summer of 2020, interest in outdoor sites that offered connection to the natural world were more popular than ever — and this year, what we seek when we leave home is evolving again. Travelers want to reconnect with one another and themselves, and destinations around the world are adapting to that demand with programs to help them shed stress. Read on to see what recharging looks like now.

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Photo: Cheryl Gerber

Experience the Singular Spirituality of Voodoo in New Orleans

The Old No. 77 Hotel capitalizes on its location in New Orleans’s vibrant warehouse and arts district (just a few blocks from the French Quarter) to collaborate with artists, musicians and other cultural figures in its programming. As of this summer, the hotel will now coordinate opportunities for guests to experience intimate, customized sound healing sessions through an exclusive partnership with Voodoo Queen Kalindah Laveaux and her ensemble of drummers and other musicians. “I utilize the traditional songs and rhythms of New Orleans/Louisiana Voodoo to create a healing, meditative session,” Queen Kalindah explains. “These sacred songs are traditionally used to awaken the energy centers of the body, soothe anxiety and assist in releasing stored trauma and tension. These songs and rhythms honor nature, ancestors and the collective experiences within the culture. These songs, rhythms and this form of healing are over 300 years old and speak to core memories, emotions and natural body movements.” To learn more about Kalindah’s offerings, rates and availability, contact The Old No. 77 Hotel guest services.

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Photo: The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kāʻanapali

Self Care Through Voluntourism at a Maui Resort

Research has shown that volunteerism can have positive effects on our mental and physical health — in some studies, it has even been associated with reduced mortality — and at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kāʻanapali, it’s now associated with an extended vacation as well. In partnership with the Pacific Whale Foundation as part of a statewide initiative to encourage mindful travel, Westin’s new Malama package offers guests the chance to stay a seventh night for free in exchange for their participation in a “voluntourism” activity. Participants pick up a beach cleanup kit with all the materials they need to help beautify the coastline; their service enriches the environment they’re enjoying and fosters a lasting and fortifying personal connection with paradise.

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Photo: Yorkie Acres Farm

Relax, Get Emotional Support and Hang Out With Goats in Maryland

Hideaway Co., a new luxury camping destination in the rolling hills of western Maryland, leans into wellness as a general proposition: certified yogis lead free mindfulness and yoga classes each Saturday and Sunday morning, and masseuses are available by appointment. That said, one could argue that the true stars of its let-the-stress-go show live at a working farm in nearby Friendsville (this name is not an accident). Guests who have a word with Hideaway Co.’s concierge can pay a visit to Yorkie Acres, a working farm where the roster of jovial creatures includes cows, sheep, goats and fowl. “All the animals are friendly and approachable and all add to a moment of zen,” says Anna Baird, Hideaway Co.’s founder. “But those goats are there to snuggle.” Intelligent, affectionate and mellow, goats are popular providers of low-key emotional support for humans; a one-on-one hangout with one of Yorkie Acres’ residents is bookable for a $10 farm donation (but if we’re being honest, it’s pretty much priceless). The farm also sells homeopathic products like herbal teas, raw honey and lotion, all of which are produced onsite.

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