Socially responsible, environmentally friendly, culturally enriching, holistically healthy – these are some of tourism’s trendiest watchwords for 2014. And no travel package encompasses all of them quite like the intensive yoga retreat. These getaways manage to balance eco-conscious minimalism with over-the-top luxury. Yoga resort management promotes meditative simplicity while proffering a wide range of rigorous activities. Self-reflection and engagement with nature combine to create an increasingly popular niche: vacations that make us feel good by convincing us we’re doing good. Take a look at these high-end yoga retreats – they’re proof that we’re willing to pay extra for a little peace of mind.
Exclusivity and enlightenment, Caribbean-style
Tolan de Sian Ka’an is described as a luxury eco-camp. Located in the Biosphere Reserve of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula, the resort offers six-day Bikram Yoga retreats between January and April. Right on target with trends in travel and tourism, the eco-camp combines exclusivity with spiritual and cultural awareness. Only 20 yoga students are allowed per six-day session. Together the small group enjoys specialized instruction, discovers Mayan traditions both old and new, and most importantly, develops what the resort calls the energy of healing, love, togetherness, and heightened consciousness. This enlightenment experience costs up to $2,000 per person, and that’s not including flights or ground transportation to the remote beach.
Perfecting the practice at Turks & Caicos
Parrot Cay Retreat is exclusive by association with its luxurious situation amongst the Turks and Caicos Islands. But it also stands apart as a yoga resort where guests engage in rigorous daily practice – on a private beach, of course. The savvy hospitality business management successfully combine themes of reflection and repose with unexpected luxuries like Japanese baths, and an outdoor Jacuzzi garden. A big part of the Parrot Cay brand is its commitment to socially responsible practices. Their website promises that cultural and environmental preservation “drives every decision” they make, and is just as important as making guests happy. And happiness comes at a price: villas cost up to $13,700 per night.
Detox in style at Hotel Aguas de Ibiza
38 Degrees North is a sophisticated yoga retreat built on the beautiful island of Ibiza. A week at the resort promises to reconnect guests with nature while rebooting their overall health and wellness. From kickboxing and paddle boarding, to sunrise yoga and seminars in better sleep habits, participants enjoy a complete detox and rejuvenation experience. There are bike rides through the countryside, complete with stops to investigate locally produced produce and culture, and breathtaking views of the Ibiza coastline. Each day culminates with an hour long meditation class to sooth frazzled nerves and restore inner balance. Luxury accommodations begin at £1505 – roughly $2,000 USD.
Is it just a passing fad, or do you think the health/wellness/social responsibility tourism niche will continue to thrive in years to come?