Every January, the prospect of a new year imbues us with a sense of possibility. With 365 days stretching out before us, we set lofty resolutions to meditate every day, eat well, and wake up for early morning runs, which are ambitious goals that, unfortunately, often fall by the wayside come January 14.
Rather than starting 2019 off the same way, we turned to Lonely Planet's team of well-traveled editors to find out which self care-focused wellness retreats can help us relax, recharge, and equip us with the skills for sticking to our goals in the year ahead. From a relaxing getaway located in Germany's famous Baden-Baden spa town to a spiritually minded escape conveniently nestled in New York's Catskill Mountains, these are vacations that just so happen to have blood-pressure-lowering and healthy lifestyle-building benefits.
Straight from the pages of the publisher's latest travel guide, Wellness Escapes, here are five Lonely Planet editor-approved wellness retreats that will help you become the person you want to be in 2019, no matter your goal for the New Year.
The Retreat: Villa Stéphanie in Baden-Baden, Germany
The Goal: To detox and to combat stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
The Itinerary: "For state-of-the-art medical facilities and world-renowned specialists, look no further than Villa Stéphanie," recommends Sarah Stocking, Lonely Planet's destination editor for Mexico and California. "Here, visitors have access to cardiologists, physiotherapists, and even orthodontic dentists. The focus is on preventative healthcare, with programs like kickboxing and strength training. Baden-Baden is Germany's most famous spa town, offering a host of cultural activities like contemporary art at the Museum Frieder Burda and music festivals in the fall."
The Retreat: Sivananda Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, New York
The Goal: To immerse yourself in the spiritual.
The Itinerary: "At Sivananda Yoga Ranch, visitors practice not only hatha yoga (relating to physical postures), but also karma yoga and the yoga of good works," explains Stocking. "While it isn't a requirement, there are plenty of important volunteer tasks to go around: cooking, cleaning, gardening, sweeping the temples and more. Have some free time? Do explore the nearby Catskill Mountains (which, incidentally, Lonely Planet named one of the best regions to travel to in 2019)."
The Retreat: The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania
The Goal: To escape the city and reconnect with nature.
The Itinerary: "Less than three hours from New York City, The Lodge at Woodloch is the perfect place to decompress and renew your relationship with Mother Nature, thanks to its more than 500 acres of trails and forests," offers Stocking. "Consider forest bathing, a Japanese practice in which all staff at The Lodge at Woodloch are trained. It's known to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels in humans. Other activities to try include tennis, kayaking, fly fishing, and bird watching."
The Retreat: Indian Springs in Calistoga, California
The Goal: To treat yourself.
The Itinerary: "The hot springs in Calistoga have drawn visitors since the Wappo people built sweat lodges over steam vents 8000 years ago," says Stocking. "For those seeking the ultimate pampering experience, check yourself into Indian Springs for a mud bath and mineral water soak, followed by a deep tissue massage you'll be dreaming about for months afterward. It's the perfect jumping-off point for exploring the vineyards of Napa Valley, where you can wake up early and take in the sunrise from a hot air balloon."
The Retreat: The Storyteller Within in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala
The Goal: To journey inward, learning how to shape a more fruitful, creative, and positive life.
The Itinerary: "Set in guesthouses on the beautiful shores of Lake Atitlán, this women-only retreat focuses on self-exploration through writing," says Bailey Freeman, Lonely Planet's destination editor for South America and Antarctica. "The workshops have been described as nothing short of transformative, nurturing feelings of genuine sisterhood among guests. In the evenings, you can practice yoga or experiment with sound healing and other local Mayan traditions."