The full-body treat­ment


Va­ca­tions that boost your phys­i­cal and men­tal well-be­ing with a novel com­bi­na­tion of adventure ex­pe­ri­ences, fit­ness train­ing, no-guilt gourmet meals and stress-bust­ing classes are find­ing fa­vor with trav­el­ers who want to re­turn home bet­ter than they left. ¶ But well­ness can be hard to de­fine, and it may com­bine sev­eral el­e­ments. Here’s a guide to what it usu­ally isn’t — and what it of­ten is.

It is not just: about weight loss. It is of­ten: fo­cused on health­ful habits that may lead to weight loss.

“Any time I would look into any kind of retreat kind of thing, it looked like fat camp,” said Eric Leib, 39, who did a four-day health and fit­ness retreat at Ver­aVia, a com­pre­hen­sive luxury well­ness pro­gram at the Park Hy­att Aviara Re­sort in Carlsbad.

Un­like a spa get­away, it in­cluded med­i­cal eval­u­a­tions, nu­tri­tion and be­hav­ioral coun­sel­ing and in­di­vid­ual phys­i­cal train­ing. Each pro­gram is cus­tom­ized to help clients achieve spe­cific goals, of­ten in­volv­ing weight loss, ex­ec­u­tive health, stress man­age­ment or a par­tic­u­lar med­i­cal is­sue.

It is not just: ex­treme ath­letes seek­ing ex­otic ad­ven­tures.

It is of­ten: for par­tic­i­pants whoare al­ready phys­i­cally fit.

“I went rock climb­ing and moun­tain bik­ing and all th­ese things that I love to do,” Leib said.

The Four Sea­sons in Vail, Colo., has had suc­cess with well­ness packages that take guests on hearty moun­tain hikes with lla­mas, fly-fish­ing or river raft­ing, said gen­eral manager Mark Her­ron.

His guests may al­ready be phys­i­cally fit but lack the op­por­tu­nity — and the req­ui­site pam­per­ing pre- and post-adventure— to par­take of ad­ven­tur­ous pur­suits.

“It’s about tak­ing care of them­selves and feel­ing good,” Her­ron said. Many trips are po­si­tioned as mo­ti­va­tional re­wards for fam­i­lies to main­tain fit­ness the rest of the year. “This is the one ex­pe­ri­ence you can’t buy— you have to earn it,” he said. The luxury ho­tel adds to the re­ward with gourmet pic­nics and ex­pert guides.

Par­tic­i­pants “want to be able to han­dle th­ese ad­ven­tures and in a way so they can tell their friends and fam­ily that they had lunch with a llama on a moun­tain, or did a level-five raft trip on the Arkansas River,” Her­ron said.

It is not just: trav­el­ing to In­dia for med­i­ta­tion and mas­sage.

It is of­ten: about in­tro­spec­tion that can lead to re­plac­ing old habits with newer, more health­ful ones.

The Fair­mont Scotts­dale Princess in Ari­zona, for in­stance, of­fers a Well & Be­ing pro­gram with packages for im­prov­ing sleep and ex­ec­u­tive health that can in­clude acupunc­ture, mas­sage, coun­sel­ing on nu­tri­tion and us­ing breath­ing for stress re­duc­tion.

The re­sort is also adding a So Sound Acous­tic Res­o­nance Room that is said to help re­duce guests’ chronic stress, fa­tigue and pain by us­ing an er­gonomic lounge chair that in­cor­po­rates sound and vi­bra­tion to cre­ate a “mu­si­cal mas­sage” that aids re­lax­ation and sen­sory in­te­gra­tion.

It is not just: tak­ing aweek off and do­ing things that are good for you, then re­turn­ing to your old life. It is of­ten: a learn­ing va­ca­tion that en­hances what you al­ready do or leads to change.

“Whether the guest is here for busi­ness or plea­sure, to­day’s trav­eler is look­ing to main­tain as much bal­ance in their well­ness life­style as pos­si­ble, up­hold­ing their weekly ex­er­cise rou­tines and nu­tri­tional di­ets,” said Char­lotte Prescott, direc­tor of the spa and fit­ness at the Bilt­more Ho­tel in Coral Gables, Fla.

And what’s ex­pe­ri­enced can sus­tain what’s learned. “We help peo­ple re­boot their me­tab­o­lism,” said Kirk­land Shave, pro­gram direc­tor at Moun­tain Trek re­treats in Bri­tish Columbia, which of­fers an ac­cel­er­ated ex­er­cise pro­gram, a high-nu­tri­ent diet, dig­i­tal detox and coun­sel­ing about nu­tri­tion, sleep and stress man­age­ment. “[We] give them ev­ery tool to … ad­just into a world of sugar, stress, sleep­less­ness and soli­tari­ness.”

Eric Lieb

THE VER­AVIA well­ness pro­gram at Park Hy­att Aviara Re­sort in Carlsbad in­cor­po­rates not just phys­i­cal train­ing but coun­sel­ing and eval­u­a­tions.

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