Health is wealth in the Indian Ocean

From traditional medicine for detoxing to powerful mindfulness practices, the Indian Ocean is leading the way in holistic wellness for 2023.

The sweet, cool tea hits my taste buds at just the moment the early afternoon sun reappears from behind a cloud, throwing its full brilliance across my prostrate body.

I breathe in the scent of the oils which have been liberally applied to my hair and body, as the gentle trickle of the pool fountain lulls me into a semi-dreamlike state. My whole body feels warm-inside and out and each one of my senses is stimulated. I’ve achieved ultimate relaxation.
I’m at the recently rebranded five-star Sugar Beach resort in Mauritius, part of the Sunlife portfolio, having just enjoyed an 80-minute Ayurvedic massage in its spa.

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My complimentary Hamman experience beforehand, with its hot steam room, Jacuzzi and cold plunge pool, has only enhanced my treatment.

Quality spa time is just one of the many wellness experiences on offer in Mauritius- and across the Indian Ocean.

Wellness in all its forms is trending for 2023, says James Treacey, Senior PR & Communications Manager at Abercrombie & Kent, and the Indian Ocean is the perfect sell. “Post-Covid, clients are prioritising health, wellbeing, self-improvement and pampering. The Indian Ocean offers space, peace and relaxation in a stunning setting.”

Different clients will be looking for different experiences, but luckily there’s plenty of choice. Although spas are still very popular, experiences beyond this are selling well, says Treacey. “For the luxury client spas are popular including traditional pampering, but also more in-depth health-focussed treatments and therapies.”

The Indian Ocean is an ideal sell, as many destinations endorse organic materials as central to wellness practices and rituals. For example, there’s a focus on plants with healing properties in The Maldives, says Thoyyib Mohammed, CEO & MD of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation.

“Our woods were our pharmacies, and in them we found healing and nourishment. Our intimate knowledge of the flora, combined with the ancient healing knowledge of travellers from all corners of the world, created the local traditional medicine system of Dhivehi Beys which uses natural remedies that have been developed over the centuries.”

When it comes to travel for 2023, the mindset is more reflective, holistic and channelled, says David Kevan, Director of CHIC Locations and tour operator spokesperson for PATA UK & Ireland.
“Both physical and mental health is becoming an important part of holidays, and as Pacific Asia is the spiritual home of healing, many people travel there to achieve emotional and physical wellness,” he says.

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On the back of a new campaign, The Lux Collective’s two Mauritian resorts are highlighting their unique wellness offerings.

LUX* Grand Baie, located on one of the island’s stunning northern beaches, offers hydrothermal wellness facilities, LUX* ME spa and rejuvenating hammam treatments as well as fitness and wellbeing classes including HIIT, cycling, soft-sand running, mobility recovery and Yoga.

While LUX* Le Morne, positioned at the foot of the island’s famous UNESCO Heritage Site, is offering immersive experiences designed for travellers seeking mindful luxury. Only 15 minutes’ from Black River Gorges, clients can access hiking and biking trails, alongside sunset yoga spots and inviting lagoons.

At the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Sundays are all about wellness with a customisable treatment. After a 60-minute massage, guests can dine on organic dishes at the Eat Well buffet and grab a drink at a special detox station.

Sell it: Gold Medal is featuring nine nights at Sugar Beach, half board, for two adults, priced from £2,399pp including Economy Air Mauritius flights from London Heathrow, a 10% discount and £175 F&B and Spa Credit.

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To declutter the mind, The Nautilus, a private island only accessible by seaplane, locks away smartphones on arrival and replaces TVs with relaxing music and mindful meditation podcasts. Daily activities feature restorative yoga practices, meditation, one-on-one Reiki sessions and a Tibetan singing sound bath that can be enjoyed in your villa pool. There’s also a menu of spa treatments, with a popular Abdominal Detox treatment.

From September 29 to October 8, 2023, the SOUL Festival in the Maldives will be held at Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Over 10 days and two weekends, the festival will celebrate ancient healing traditions and modern innovations that benefit individuals, communities and the planet.

Each weekend, panel discussions with acclaimed health and wellness leaders will be interspersed with group yoga and meditation classes.

Guests can enjoy a personalised Wellness Villa experience at newly renovated Anantara Veli on South Malé Atoll. Enhanced with light, sound and scent therapy, the villa comes with Ayurvedic spa amenities, an earthing mat for meditation, and a wellness minibar with herbal teas, healthy shakes and wholefood snacks. All stays include a wellness consultation upon arrival, daily yoga or personal training session, a healthy cooking class, and 20% off treatments at Balance Wellness by Anantara spa.

And guests staying at Heritance AArah can even indulge in some cosmetic treatments which focus on reverse ageing, fixing fine lines and resolve pigmentation problems. Other wellness programmes include healthy cooking classes, weight loss programmes, fitness stays and medical assessment.

Sell it: A minimum three-night stay for two guests during SOUL Festival is priced from $6,900pp and includes two festival tickets, with private villa accommodation on a full- board basis and complimentary domestic transfers.

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Joali BEING, a dedicated-wellness resort in The Seychelles, is offering a Discovery Program which includes a special discount rate on its Best Available Rate and 15% off on selected spa treatments. With the goal of helping guests reach a better understanding of their own wellbeing, the resort gives them tools for reducing stress and fatigue to take with them after their stay.

Therapies take a holistic approach, with sound therapy, skin rejuvenation therapies, learning about eating built around circadian rhythms, and exercise included.

The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island has introduced a nature-inspired Four Elements Wellness Programme. Classes will enable guests to release the mind with water, ground and encourage a sense of peace with earth, nurture the soul and release stiffness with air and energise through fire.

Sell it: Abercrombie & Kent is offering seven nights at Joali Being, priced from £9,936pp including economy flights from London with Emirates, seaplane transfers, and the Joali Being Discovery Immersion programme.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a growing number of wellness resorts – and at different price points, making it accessible to travellers beyond those in the high-end market.

Traditional Thai or Balinese style spa treatments in-resort are common, alongside Ayurvedic resorts, or clients can opt for longer specialised detox or yoga retreats.

The Fortress Hotel and Spa, in Galle, has Ayurvedic packages for clients to experience authentic Sri Lankan wellness rituals. An Ayurvedic doctor helps to select an option that suits the clients’ health needs.

The Santani Wellness Resort and Spa, located at Werapitiya, close to Kandy, caters for the luxury market but is still competitive price-wise compared to other resorts globally of the same calibre. Specialising in detox, anti-ageing and weight loss, each retreat begins with a doctor’s consultation to create a fully bespoke guest programme.

Sell it: A 14-night tour of Sri Lanka, with seven nights at Santani on its detox programme (with treatments and three spa influenced meals daily) starts from £4,000pp, including flights and transfers, and seven-nights staying between Colombo, Sigiraya and Galle.