Your golden years are a time of rest and relaxation — so why not do it in style? Whether you want to soak in the thermal springs of the Rocky Mountains or try Reiki in the Himalayan highlands, today's international spas blend the best of modern therapies with traditional rituals. The result, a more restored, rejuvenated you. We went to Tom Marchant, the co-founder of Black Tomato, a travel company that designs tailored itinerates and experiences for travelers, to find the best spa resorts in the world.
Who will love it: Recovering workaholics and aspiring health enthusiasts
Where: Alicante, Spain
What it is: Perched on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the SHA Wellness Clinic has developed a cult-following as the go-to resort for immersive health programs, says Marchant. "Each program is tailored for the guest with a pre-arrival questionnaire and a medical consultation, whether you're a fit and healthy retiree who's looking to boost your training, or a workaholic who's finally taken the time to focus on yourself," he says.
"Their 'Rejuvenation' and 'Life Rest' programs focus on recovering a sense of well-being and reinventing the body — a perfect set-up for a healthy retirement," says Marchant. Expect hydrotherapy circuits, reiki sessions, and shiatsu massages, along with educational classes about nutrition, sleep, and stress management. SHA also designs packages to support women during menopause, he says.
Who will love it: Yogis, spiritual seekers, and people who have chronic illnesses
Where: Narendranagar, India
What it is: Tibetan rituals meet Western and Ayurvedic medicine at Ananda, a 100-acre spa nestled in the Himalayas. With age, the body understandably becomes more fragile, but you're in skilled hands at Ananda, says Marchant.
"Ananda has an emphasis on holistic living," he explains. Their Ayurvendic treatments include Kati Vasti, a treatment designed to ease lower back pain, Choornaswedan, a full-body massage that's designed to increase circulation and relieve rheumatic stiffness, and Talapodhichil, an herbal headpack that may help relieve migraines.
"The goal is to leave relaxed and restored, with a renewed sense of calm," he says.
Where: Yucatan, Mexico
Who will love it: Nature lovers and history buffs
What it is: Located 25 miles from Merida, Chable is nestled inside a 19th-century hacienda and surrounded by the lush gardens of the Yucatán. The spa is centered around a natural cenote, or swimming hole, and rejuvenates its visitors using both traditional Mayan rituals and modern therapeutic practices, including floatation therapy, morning meditation walks, Hatha yoga, and Tai Chi.
"The treatments draw inspiration from traditional fables and sacred symbols to bring about a sense of renewal and purification that may appeal to older travelers nearing retirement," Marchant says. "And the sacred teachings and ancient practices offer the perfect remedy for those whose busy lives have left them feeling disconnected and off-kilter."
Where: Puglia, Italy
Who will love it: Foodies, golfers, and romantics at heart
What it is: A stone's throw from the Adriatic sea, Borgo Egnazia is set amid the ancient olive groves of the Itria Valley, in Puglia, Italy. "The resort is the ideal embodiment of that laidback way of life," says Marchant. Soak in the Roman Baths, indulge in thermal scrubs, or play a round of golf at the San Domenico golf course.
For seniors who are looking for an authentic culture experience — or simply to revamp their diet after retirement and beyond — Marchant recommends the Borgo Egnazia cooking school: private lessons from the resort's "Massaia Mimina" on how to prepare Apulian dishes like orecchiette and focaccia. "Italians are famous for their high life expectancy," he says. "They prove through their cuisine that the key to a long, happy, and healthy life is their diet."
"It's the traditional Italian take on wellness that comes from a good meal and a full stomach," he says.
Where: Telluride, Colorado
Who will love it: Adventurers and activity enthusiasts
What it is: Situated among a beautifully restored ghost town, The Peaks is a cluster of cabins in the Colorado wilderness that blends Old West glamour with modern luxury. Take a dip in the Dunton Hot Springs, hike through the San Juan mountains, or relax with the Dolores River Hot Stone massage. "In the summer, fly fishing — a perennial senior favorite — is a major draw," says Marchant. "There's nine miles of private waters and an abundance of fish. I can't think of a better place to [go fishing]."