Stress, insomnia, romantic burnout, etc. Here’s the getaway antidote for each.
Sure, travel can transform your whole being. But what if a summer trip could fix a specific issue, such as vanquishing stubborn love handles or lifting your spirits after the beat down of the daily grind? We picked six destinations—plus six backups—to help you complete your mission. We also recommend what to take with you, including some of the summer’s best reads, most flattering swimwear, and essential gadgets. No need to thank us. Just go get your life back on track.
The Problem: I think We Need Some Quality Time
Go here: Asilia Highlands, Tanzania
At the new Asilia Highlands (from $760 per night, all-inclusive), near the Olmoti volcano, cozy up in one of eight geodesic canvas-and-plexiglass domes, lodging inspired by the round bomas the Masai people build. (They’re spaced far enough apart that you’ll avoid frequent contact with other guests.) Arrange for a private sundowner—a gin and tonic, perhaps, or one of 25 whiskeys—followed by a candlelit dinner of local specialties such as green banana soup and ugali, a polenta-like dish that forms the basis of most Tanzanian meals.
Or here: Borobudur, Indonesia
Is there any better place to reignite sparks than a two-person bespoke pop-up hotel somewhere across the world? You pick the destination, then luxury outfitter Black Tomato, through its new Blink service, will find the site; the customization options extend to which direction your bedroom faces. Think about heading to mystical Borobudur ($40,625 per person for four nights), on the island of Java, which has avoided the crush of international tourists you find in Bali. Blink staff will escort you to an elegant tent pitched in the middle of a rice field, beneath the shadow of Mt. Sumbing volcano. Meals, such as Nasi goreng, a spicy rice dish, are served in a separate dining tent; after dinner, watch a traditional Javanese dance performance. Add on as many other tents as you want: A private spa tent for a deep-tissue massage? A library? A bar? After you break camp, the whole thing disappears.
The Problem: I Haven’t Saved the Planet
Go here: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Of the 800 or so mountain gorillas left in East Africa, more than half live in the forested foothills of the Virunga Mountains, a chain of 12,000-foot-high volcanoes stretching through Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wilderness Safaris’ six-villa Bisate Lodge (from $1,400 per person per night, all-inclusive), opening this June, was built to fund conservation projects in these countries. After you’ve gone on a morning trek to see the primates, experts back at the lodge will discuss the gorillas’ genetics, behavior, and endangered status. You’ll also be encouraged to plant a tree as part of the lodge’s reforestation project, which spans 64 acres.
Or here: The Maldives
Yes, the island chain is sinking slowly into the ocean. And, yes, flying thousands of miles to get there isn’t the most eco-conscious act. But you can still do your part with the new Stay for Good package at Soneva Fushi (from $1,124 per night). The staff will arrange for you to spend a few hours each day volunteering with conservation activists. Activities include snorkeling with marine biologists to identify turtles and rehabilitate coral; participating in beach, mangrove, and reef cleanups; photographing mantas to help with identification and protection; and maintaining vegetable gardens. In exchange, Soneva Fushi will give you five extra free nights at the resort to enjoy meals on the beach—tuna curry stew is a local favorite for breakfast—and stargazing at the resort’s observatory. Using the hotel’s telescope, you can count the moons of Jupiter.
The Problem: I Need a Total Health Overhaul
Go here: Rajasthan, India
Forget juice cleanses. Head to Amanbagh (from $600 per night), a 40-room resort with Mughal-inspired architecture and décor nestled in northwestern India’s Aravalli Range. Choose a 7-, 14-, or 21-day retreat based on the ancient practices of Ayurvedic medicine, a whole-body healing approach. An on-site physician identifies guests’ doshas, or mind-body types, and designs a program to restore the equilibrium of their energies. The program includes daily detoxing spa treatments (herbal facials, warm oil scalp massages), meditation, and yoga classes; a custom meal plan using ingredients harvested from the resort’s 86,000-square-foot farm; and cultural activities, such as a visit to the bird-watcher’s paradise of Mansarovar Lake, where you might eye pelicans, herons, geese, and ducks. Still not balanced? Hike through narrow gorges of unhewn marble, or sign up for a yoga or meditation session in an abandoned 17th century temple.
Or here: Obonjan Island, Croatia
Until two years ago, tiny Obonjan Island in the Adriatic Sea had been uninhabited for a decade. Developed in the 1970s as a camp for Croatian Boy Scouts, it sat abandoned until 2015, when Sound Channel, a British music-festival organizer, turned it into a wellness-minded summer resort that draws young creatives (from $65 per night). From June 23 to Sept. 3, there’s live music and daily TED Talk-style programming on topics such as reiki, hypnosis, and lucid dreaming. Select from one of nine daily yoga classes, or work out in the outdoor gym. After exerting yourself, indulge in a hot and cold crystal massage at the spa (from $33), then take a nap in an air-conditioned “forest lodge” or tent.
The Problem: I’m Superstressed
Go here: Coconino County, Ariz.
Cut off the 24/7 data dump at Restival (from $1,495 per person for five nights, all-inclusive), a traveling international wellness festival that lands in September in the Arizona desert 20 minutes east of Flagstaff. The eco-luxe camp of elegant white teepees is outfitted with real beds and linens. (There’s internet and a phone line for emergencies, but most visitors remain off the grid.) When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with an organic elixir such as kombucha, matcha tea, coconut water, or Bulletproof coffee, which is blended with butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows. Then you can take part in collaborations with the local Navajo clan, including traditional dancing, yoga, ancient storytelling, gong sound baths, sweat lodges with tribal elders, art classes, and astronomy lessons.
Or here: Vientiane, Laos
It’s easier than ever to reach the Laotian capital: Recent negotiations with neighboring Thailand opened additional flights from Bangkok (there’s nothing direct from the U.S.), and new hotels have made Vientiane a haven for those seeking peace and luxury. Check in to the Salana Boutique Hotel (starting at $111 per night), a few blocks from the city center. Rooms combine traditional Laotian elements—high-gloss polished wood, local textiles, scattered frangipani flowers—with modern touches, such as spa-quality rain showers and flatscreen TVs. After you’re settled in, go see Haw Phra Kaew. Constructed in 1565 as the royal family’s personal chapel, the Buddhist temple is adorned with wood and stone figures, and its lacquered door features intricate Hindu carvings. Soak in the tranquility of the temple’s shaded, manicured garden before exploring the rest of the city. A great way to see the slow-paced former French trading post is by bicycle; unlike in other parts of Southeast Asia, traffic isn’t crazy, so you won’t be risking death. Bike along the soft bend of the Mekong River on a five-hour guided tour with Vientiane ByCycle ($49); you’ll pass by (more) temples, the presidential palace, and other stately homes.
The Problem: I Can’t Button My Jeans
Go here: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Located in a surf town just outside El Choco National Park, the Extreme Hotel (from $400 per week) is a solar-powered beachfront eco-resort serving omelets with farm salad ($5), among other dishes, by local chef Raul Capellan; some of the ingredients are grown on the property’s organic farm. Before arriving, you’ll talk to trainers about your weight and fitness goals. Once there, you’ll sweat to extreme workouts that include strength training, yoga, kickboxing, and CrossFit, or less common methods for getting your heart pumping, such as salsa dancing, kitesurfing, and trapeze work.
Or here: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hate the heat? Head to the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are flipped. Skiing starts in mid-June, but you can bungee jump, zip line, sky-dive, paraglide, and jet-boat year-round. The region’s four ski areas are all within a 20- to 90-minute drive of Queenstown, and they have trails for all skill levels, plus night skiing for the brave/insane. Tucked alongside the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by snowcapped mountains are several hotels under development. Kick back in between powder hours at the new boutique Hulbert House (from $455 per night), with six suites in an 1888 Victorian villa. Eat dinner at Madam Woo, a Malaysian restaurant featuring Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett. The honey- and soy-tossed squid ($18) will provide lean protein to fuel tomorrow’s black diamond runs.
The Problem: I Haven’t Slept in 12 Years
Go here: Douro Valley, Portugal
The dreamy Six Senses Douro Valley is in a renovated 19th century manor overlooking this tranquil vale, the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. For an extra $150 per night, insomniacs can sign up for a 3- to 10-day yogic sleep retreat, which begins before you leave home with a sleep assessment (“Do you have trouble turning off before bed?”; “Does your bed partner snore?”). Upon arrival, a sleep “ambassador” determines what yoga and spa treatments will best help you unwind, whether it’s a head or full-body acupressure massage. You’ll also get a specially tailored bedtime bag to take home, which might include pajamas, a sleep mask, or custom aromatherapy.
Or here: Berlin
Given its famous nightlife scene, Berlin doesn’t scream “restful.” But the deep-sleep package at Swissotel Berlin might be the antidote for too much partying. Somnologist Dr. Michael Feld developed the program, which begins with a wake-up call and an energizing beverage made of maté tea, mango and pineapple juices, ginger, vanilla, and mint. Then it’s time for a half-hour in front of a light box, which is said to boost mood and energy. Before bedtime, you’ll get a “calm down” drink made with dark Valrhona chocolate (it contains a small amount of caffeine but also tryptophan, which causes drowsiness), orange, sage, and lavender. Finally, you’ll lay your head on a pillow emitting binaural beats, which provide low-frequency tones that supposedly help align your brain waves for optimal rest.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek