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4 Wellness Retreats in the GCC to Escape to This Summer

Travel in health

Wellness used to be as straightforward as grabbing a green juice after a 30-minute Pilates class. While diet and exercise remain essential, our approach to health has become more comprehensive over the past couple of years. This new perspective includes aspects that were previously overlooked, such as understanding the importance of socializing and companionship, ensuring you get proper rest and recovery, and nurturing your emotional and mental wellbeing. The emphasis has shifted from merely looking good to feeling good, and the quality of our years– healthspan– is now as important as the length of our lifespan. 

In conjunction, there has been an influx of wellness clinics and luxurious beach retreats, offering cutting-edge biohacks like cryotherapy, infrared light treatments, and poolside vitamin IV drips for a healthy boost. According to reports, the wellness tourism industry is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025, while recent surveys suggest that an increasing number of travelers are planning trips around improving their well-being. Recognizing that future generations will continue to drive this growth, renowned adults-only retreats are now welcoming children and teens, even providing multi-generational spa experiences which answer our cravings for rest and relaxation. With health-focused hotels and spas popping up across all types of travel– from family vacations and couples’ getaways to relaxing beach escapes– maintaining wellness while traveling has never been easier. And let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to treat themselves to a little TLC after the last few months we’ve had? Below, the wellness destinations to book this summer, from desert escapes in Saudi Arabia to seaside getaways in Qatar. 

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

Be swept away from your stresses by Six Senses Zighy Bay, a calming oasis tucked away on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. Inspired by Oman’s rich history and local traditions, the luxury wellness resort mirrors an Omani village, complete with traditional stone and timber villas and shady, palm-fringed pathways for a relaxing, sun-soaked getaway. A mile of private sandy beach and a backdrop of the dramatic Hajar Mountains ensure complete privacy as you relax in the only saltwater pool in the GCC. 

Specializing in extraordinary experiences, Six Senses Zighy Bay offers an extensive choice of activities to make your stay unforgettable– if you’re an adrenaline junkie, then paragliding into the resort from the top of the Zighy Mountain is not to be missed. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, or underwater, the resort offers snorkeling and diving excursions in the world-renowned Gulf of Oman. You can also explore the magnificent surroundings on yacht charters, hikes, or paragliding trips, with a range of carefully crafted experiences to suit everyone. After a long day of exploring, don’t forget to unwind at the Six Senses Spa, where global practitioners and luxurious treatment rooms will fulfill your wellness needs through advanced technology, nutrition, movement, mindfulness, and specialized therapies.

Anayata Wellbeing, Jordan

Following its success in Thailand, Anayata Wellbeing has opened a branch in Jordan, offering traditional cleansing and wellness retreats in an opulent Middle-Eastern setting. Reboot and rejuvenate with detox, yoga, fitness, and healing retreat programs created by its founders. The Mind Detox offers a mental, emotional, and spiritual health balance experience, while the Juice Detox flushes out toxins and reboots your immune system. Holistic therapies include Reiki Healing, Theta Healing, Craniosacral Therapy, Hypnosis, and Sound Healing with Tibetan Bowls. At personal classes, learn pranayama breathing techniques, Pilates, capoeira, or push your limits under the guidance of skilled and experienced trainers.

Zulal Wellness Resort, Qatar

The Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som, blissfully tucked away on the Arabian Gulf, is ideal for those wishing to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life. Expertly weaving local traditions and Qatar’s rich history throughout its calming wellness paradise, the wellness resort blends Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine (TAIM) with a holistic health and wellbeing philosophy to cater to personal needs. The resort is uniquely split into two areas–the family-dedicated Zulal Discovery offers creative and musical activities for the whole family, as well as outdoor adventures, including kayaking along the mangroves and stargazing. Children’s Reiki treatments and upcycling workshops are just two of the many meaningful moments to be had. Meanwhile, Zulal Serenity, the exclusive adults-only side of the resort, showcases a wealth of transformative treatments and experiences. Reset and renew with invigorating massages, traditional Shirobhyanga, guided pranayama, and advanced physiotherapy, before enjoying wholesome dining experiences throughout your stay.

Habitas Al Ula, Saudi Arabia

Towering rock formations, sandstone cliffs, and the intense blue sky form a dramatic panorama that stretches infinitely into the horizon in Saudi Arabia’s Ashar Valley.  Tucked away in these spellbinding, rugged landscapes is Habitas AlUla, an immersive eco-luxe retreat that specializes in experiences for the soul. The surrounding nature and local community are deeply woven into the boutique retreat, from handicrafts made by local artisans to uniquely sustainable practices. The expertly crafted tented suites are tastefully decorated in keeping with Middle Eastern traditions, using sustainably-sourced materials that seamlessly blend into the surrounding desert.

Though simply chilling in your suite is enough to feel totally immersed in nature, the resort also offers lots of wellness activities such as yoga and sound baths. Discover holistic healing blended with local, Middle Eastern techniques, from sound healing sessions to soothing spa treatments using all-natural, locally sourced ingredients. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can venture further out of camp to explore the desert by hiking, off-road buggy, camel, or horseback.

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