ITERATIONS OF “I didn’t know how much I really needed this until now,” appear on evaluations at wellness resorts all over the world.

Cindy Present, Fitness & Activities director at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, makes a point to read each and every one that is left by guests. Lately, a theme of commitment stands out: “Two days is not enough. I didn’t start ‘coming down’ until day two, then I could really relax.”

And a favorite, “I’m planning on coming here every three months to stay true to myself.” Clients, it appears, want to return home ready to handle whatever life is throwing their way.

Wellness resorts prioritize health for mind and body, and clients have noticed. Repeat guests and more and more new ones seek active escapes. They may arrive on their own or with small groups in tow.

Having men around the house isn’t news for the storied Golden Door Wellness Resort in San Marcos, California. It celebrates an 80 percent return rate among its guests. When attendees at a recent men’s week added up the number of times they previously visited, the total neared the 100 mark.

In April, McKinsey & Co. forecasted the staying power of wellness and its spinoff effect on wellness travel. It reported that the future of the $1.5 trillion (global and overall) wellness market (including products) is here to stay and that consumers worldwide plan to increase spending on health, appearance and fitness. Other data shows wellness tourism to be a $420 million slice of the broader wellness pie.

“If the pandemic has taught us one thing,” the McKinsey report concluded, “it’s that physical and mental health will remain a priority for millions of people across the globe for a long time to come”

At a wellness resort, the means to achieve personal goals starts with an attitude adjustment for both the resort and its guests. Clients are more savvy and are expecting the option of proactive schedules as well as pampering. Trend spotters say to watch for interest in both indigenous practices and high-tech approaches. It’s time to embark on new ground to de-stress and to regroup resources. Relaxation? Yes, but action that is unexpected as well.

For example, for those seeking the benefits of yoga, there’s plenty to discover.

Guests at Cal-A-Vie Health Spa in Vista, California can enjoy crystal yoga to find inner strength and focus in a serene, quiet 400-year-old chapel or out-of-doors during golden hour at the resort’s vineyard. Or, enter aerial yoga at Hyatt’s Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Catalina, Arizona. Consider paddle board yoga classes held lakeside at Lake Austin Spa Resort. Red Mountain Resort near St. George, Utah makes certain there is a mindfulness component to any of its offerings and that includes yoga.

At the Golden Door, guests experience a “Yoga for Everyone” attitude that pushes boundaries for strength and flexibility — in the studio or among a strand of bamboo. All five wellness resorts have developed exertion and meditation programs to help guests relax the mind and develop physical strength.


By Mary Lu Laffey