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Clinique La Prairie, Switzerland

Wellness

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The international arms race among wellness retreats continues, with mind-body programs that reach beyond the treatment room. These three spas have the added benefit of their exotic locales to remedy and recharge guests.
ALEXANDRA CHENEY

CLINIQUE LA PRAIRIE – Switzerland


Unquestionably a pioneer in the field of longevity, Clinique La Prairie focuses on preventative medicine and nurturing aging cells. For nine decades the wellness center has overlooked Lake Geneva and the French Alps in the hamlet of Clarins. It was the first spa retreat to integrate DNA testing into its health programs, and it continues to merge scientific research with bespoke therapies and treatments.


A spa, hospital, and hotel, Clinique La Prairie boasts more than 50 specialists with wellness itineraries ranging from master detoxes to rebalancing programs and revitalization regimens. Diagnosing exactly what a client needs through a combined medical, spa, and holistic lens is central to each program. It’s not just what you eat, for example, but when and how. It’s the impact of the food on the digestive tract and internal organs, as well as the skin and nervous system. It’s considering your predisposed tendencies and learned habits. Every action and response plays a part, and Clinique La Prairie adroitly adapts and responds. Sometimes the answer is a visceral organ massage, other times a heavy metal test.


While each guest is on his or her own journey, the work of identifying and rectifying nutritional and lifestyle changes “leaves people looking radiant, balanced, more youthful, sculpted, and in better health by the time they leave,” says Simone Gibertoni, CEO of the Clinique. “Our goal is to tap into advances in science that heal inside and out.” The tools that Gibertoni and her team have at their disposal are plentiful: rooms for cryotherapy, infratherapy, and photostimulation. There’s also a hammam, a Kneipp course, an ice fountain, and a dry floating bed. Locally sourced ingredients are at the core of head chef Sara Bussetti’s daily menus, but it’s her attention to detail that exceeds expectation (not everyone makes recipe tweaks by testing out nine types of rice and four kinds of turmeric). From $20,300 for the seven-day, six-night Master Detox program; cliniquelaprairie.com

SIX SENSES BOTANIQUE – Brazil


“Wellness is freedom” has long been the guiding philosophy of Six Senses resorts. Freshly rebranded, the Botanique Hotel is now Six Senses Botanique, surrounded by mid-tropical Atlantic forests and the Mantiqueira Mountains. Exploring possibilities beyond the spa includes wandering the 700-acre property, which supports activities like bird-watching, waterfall hikes, and forest foraging. Many of the spa services, from the Amantikir Asian fusion massage to the Alchemist’s body treatment, can be arranged en plein air. Whether in the privacy of one’s villa garden or close to one of the handful of natural springs, Botanique aims for reconnection—both to oneself and nature.


The alignment between wellness and food is evident in the organic, terraced produce gardens serving freshly picked veggies, as well as the mindful inclusion of bounty from local olive oil mills, wineries, cheesemongers, and charcuterie producers. What’s more, the Alchemy bar, a signature space inside every Six Senses property, upcycles kitchen scraps and waste like seeds, flowers, and whole coconuts to create exfoliating recipes for soaps and oils for the skin. Delving into a trio of wellness days throughout the spring and summer months, Botanique will present the Mind Your Brain program, which focuses on how to wake up and successfully tune one’s brain into the day’s tasks, improving mental clarity. Next up is Boost Your Immunity, which looks to the body, and Love Your Heart, which emphasizes deeper self-connection.


Sustainability remains at the core of Botanique, which is built from indigenous materials like jacaranda wood, chocolate slate, and natural stones. The addition of 14 villas has allowed Six Senses to further recognize local traditions, like the incorporation of 3-ton boulders from the adjacent river, which double as bearing walls. From $550/night, including breakfast; sixsenses.com

OCTOLA – Finnish Lapland


The number eight reverberates through Octola, a private wilderness retreat set amid the silver birch, pines, and Arctic evergreens in Finnish Lapland. “I see life in the colors of Arctic nature,” says founder Janne Honkanen. “Witnessing them has a certain healing power.”


Octola’s rooms (named after the 88 constellations), kitchenware (made by a local ceramic artist), and the proprietor’s dog, Casi (meaning “eight” in Finnish), all echo “the number that represents infinity and also new beginnings,” says Honkanen. A former snowmobile racing driver, he built Octola and its surrounding infrastructure after surviving a brain tumor. He intends for visitors to commence transformation from the moment they slide into their hand-knit slipper-socks (no boots indoors).


Sustainability at Octola means water flows via a natural spring, fresh herbs and vegetables are plucked from neighboring organic farms, and electricity and heat come from wind and geothermal sources. The 10-room, glass-and-timber lodge and new two-bedroom Octola Villa tapped into building techniques of the local Lapp and Sámi tradition. Not a single piece of art hangs on the walls because “nature is art.” In other words, return to simplicity.


Yoga teachers, private trainers, and massage therapists are on call, while the extensive list of outdoor activities includes reindeer herding, sleigh rides, sustainable amethyst mining, snowshoeing, and sauna raft cruising under the midnight sun. The emphasis here is on moving very fast (tobogganing, snowmobiling, ATVing, dogsledding) and simultaneously slowing down (viewing the northern lights, hiking, hot-air ballooning, ice fishing, birding). Even a private meeting with Santa can be arranged. The single no-no: geo-tagging the property. “Some things are best kept secret,” says Honkanen. From $12,350/night; octola.com


For more of the best places around the world to get mindfully and physically healthy, log on to our comprehensive 2021 Wellness Guide at luxurycard.com/wellnessguide.

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