Meditation: the practice of focusing your mind on a thought, object or activity to achieve inner calm and mental clarity. It can be difficult if the number 32 bus is trundling past your open window, or your toddler is trying to spoon feed porridge to your laptop in the next room. Find some headspace in one of the most beautiful spots in the world with our roundup of the best places to meditate in 2020…
Wellness Retreats: Best Places to Meditate in the UK
Rudding Park, Harrogate
Pick your meditation hot spot from the UK’s very first Rooftop Spa Garden or Rudding Park’s designated Mind and Sense Zones. The spa aims to re-capture Harrogate’s spa town heritage by drawing natural waters from the grounds of Rudding Park. The Roof Top Spa and Garden (designed by horticulturalist Matthew Wilson) has also been designed to capture and reflect the beauty of its natural surroundings. And to take things even further, they recently created the Woodland Glade: a secluded area in the gardens, allowing guests to experience treatments whilst connecting with nature, inspired by the Japanese tradition of forest bathing. Sounds like the perfect spot for some soul-searching (followed by steam room-lounging), to us.
Book it: A one-night stay at Rudding Park starts from £189 per room per night or a one-night spa break starts from £177 per person including half board, a 50-minute treatment and access to the spa. Access to the Roof Top Spa and Garden is £35 for two hours. ruddingpark.co.uk
Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews
Zen-hunting in Scotland? Check into the Old Course Hotel and check out the new deep detox package, running up until the end of April. A typical day includes meditation and a hike up Mount Melville offering panoramic coastal and countryside views; the perfect place to find calm and contentment. Choose a three to five-day curriculum of nutritional menus, exercise and spa treatments, which will help eliminate toxin build-up from the body.
Book it: The Deep Detox package starts from £1,500 per person, including overnight accommodation and food, based on two people sharing a room and a minimum stay of three nights. The package is running from 1st January – 30th April, 7 days per week, subject to availability. oldcoursehotel.co.uk
Short-Haul: Meditation Spots in Europe
La Réserve, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Located on a clifftop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and nestled within three hectares of luscious gardens, La Réserve could be just the spot for your mind and body reset. Check out the Beauty Splash package, providing a programme of relaxation and escapism to clear the mind. And if it’s beautiful spots for a self-guided meditation you’re after, try the infinity pool – built on two levels with one side gently cascading into the next, with a 360-panoramic view over the ocean. Ommmmmm.
Book it: Priced from 568€ and available throughout the season, the ‘Beauty Splash’ package includes 1 or 2 nights in a standard room along with a buffet breakfast (1 night 568€, 2 nights 774€), 1 hour of aqua yoga, 1 Esthederm Aqua & Sun treatment (60min), 1 detox menu and drink according to the season, at the hotel’s ‘Ilura’ restaurant. The hotel will reopen for the season from 18 March 2020. hotel-lareserve.com
ADLER Thermae, Tuscany
How do panoramic views over the Tuscan hills sound for your meditation getaway? While there’s no specific mindfulness programme on offer, this is the perfect place for self-guided meditation and a digital detox; find a secluded spot in the quiet gardens and let your mind wander (before bringing it back to the present and focusing on your practice, naturally).
Book it: 4 nights’ half-board accommodation including: 3 guided hiking tours, 1 Spa Voucher worth €100 per person for spa and beauty treatments of your choice, free use of the Mountain Bikes and E-Bikes; from € 835 per person. adler-thermae.com
Rest of the World: Far-Flung Wellness Retreats & Meditation Spots
BodyHoliday, St Lucia
If you need help keeping focus on your meditation practice and mindfulness pursuits, check in to one of BodyHoliday’s Mindfulness Retreats. The Mindfulness Retreat aims to train your mind to live in the moment, using a variety of meditation techniques, reducing brain clutter and bringing guests closer to appreciating the “here and now”. The goal is to leave with an increased mental focus, regulated emotional reactivity, lower stress levels and reduction in symptoms of burnout, as well as improved sleep. Sounds like just the ticket, no?
Book it: Rates start from $696 per person per night. For bookings and more information, visit thebodyholiday.com
Amanpuri Awareness, Thailand
Trouble quietening your mind? Let the experts guide you at Amanpuri Awareness’ Thailand programme. Promising to lead you on a highly meditative experience, you will begin your journey with a consultation to help form your bespoke itinerary. You will be guided throughout by a former Buddhist monk on this mind, body and soul transformation through yoga, meditation and reflection. You’ll also experience complementary therapies such as Teiki and cranial sacral therapy. And all in a beautiful green Thai setting. Yes please.
Book it: Health and Fitness Travel offers 7 nights at Amanpuri from £5,520pp or £7,900 for single occupancy. Price includes full board, a wellness programme and return private transfers. For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0203 397 8891
The Legian Seminyak, Bali
Meditation has been an intrinsic part of Balinese culture for hundreds of years, and from a young age, children are taught to meditate during temple prayers, learning to sit silently with the village priest as he chants mantra and rings his holy bell. So what better place to visit for an introduction to meditation? The Legian Seminyak in Bali’s ‘Wellness by The Legian’ concept incorporates spa treatments, nutrition, fitness and personalised wellness programmes to help guests find their zen. The programmes and treatments are simple, holistic and inspired by the rich local healing heritage and local products including yoga, mindfulness meditation, positive affirmation and visualisation sessions.
Book it: The Legian Bali is a 25-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport and is situated on Bali’s southern coast. www.lhm-hotels.com
Bawah Reserve, The Anambas Islands, Indonesia
Accessible only by private seaplane from Singapore, in the relatively unknown Anambas Islands, between Malaysia and Borneo, Bawah Reserve is the ultimate choice when you want to go off-grid. As well as partaking in activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and hiking, there are plenty of spots perfect for self-guided meditation. To relax further, guests can head to the Aura Wellness Centre and have unlimited treatments which are included in the all-inclusive rate.
Book it: Rates at Bawah Reserve start from £1,360 per night in a Garden Suite for two people on a full board basis including round-trip transfers from Singapore, unlimited daily spa treatments, laundry, in-room minibar and a host of land and water-based activities. www.bawahreserve.com
When you’re in a crowded Covent Garden studio and the person leading your guided meditation tells you to imagine yourself in a calm and beautiful place; this should be it. Perched 2,000 metres above sea level on the rim of a great canyon, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is the highest five-star resort in the Middle East. Enjoy the clifftop yoga on Diana’s Point, where guests are invited to de-stress the mind and body, with incredible views of the sunrise over the great canyon. The perfect spot for daily meditation practices. (Just don’t look down.)
Book it: Nightly rates at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar start from £364 on a B&B basis in a Premier Canyon View Room. jabal-akhdar.anantara.com
Escape to the all-pool villa sanctuary of dazzling Maldivian hues with Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas to kick-start your meditation practice this year. Realign your chakras with blissful spa treatments overwater and Ayurvedic cuisine. Alongside the other wellness offerings, you can practice meditation and yoga with one-on-one training overlooking the ocean.
Book it: Nightly rates at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas start from £787 for a Beach Pool Villa for two adults and up to two children on a B&B basis. kihavah-maldives.anantara.com
Or book as a package: Prices start from £3,799 per person based on two adults sharing a Beach Pool Villa for seven nights on a full board basis iincluding economyclass flights and seaplane transfers. This offer is valid for travel completed between 9 April and 30 September 2018 and represents a saving of up to £1,735 per person. Book with Inspiring Travel Company (01244 355527, inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk)
Mirihi Island, Maldives
Check in to one of Mirihi Island’s yoga packages to combine your meditation escape with some of the world’s best yoga classes. Along with group or provate yoga sessions, guests can also enjoy some time away from it all in their private water or beach villa, on a secluded beach, or whilst enjoying a spa treatment. There is a no television policy in the villas or Wi-Fi in the restaurants, so there’s nothing to come in between you and your meditation. Inner tranquillity, here we come.
Book it: Seven nights at Mirihi Island for the Yoga & Mediation Retreat cost $2,950 (£2,113) per person, based on double occupancy. The price is inclusive of taxes and includes accommodation in a Water Villa on a half-board basis (breakfast and dinner in the Dhonveli Restaurant, beverages excluded), daily yoga and meditation, one detox ritual in the Duniye Spa and sea plane transfers. To make a reservation please visit www.mirihi.com or call +960 668-0500
Fushifaru is one of the smallest and newest resorts in the Maldives with 49 beach and water villas that are intimate with minimal interiors. Book on to the Mind, Body & Soul package for the ultimate mind and body set, Maldivian-style.
Book it: Rates for Maldivian Mind, Body & Soul start from £2,290 for three nights at double occupancy and includes a daily one-hour session with one Guru, a 60 minute spa treatment, a daily detox juice and a healthy set dinner menu at Raakani Grill. Five nights at double occupancy start from £4,000 and includes a daily one-hour session with one Guru, three 60 minute spa treatments, a daily detox juice and a healthy set dinner menu at Raakani Grill. fushifaru.com
Makanyi Safari Lodge, South Africa
Head to South Africa to check in to Makanyi Safari Lodge’s new health and well-being Energise week. Located in the southern sector of the Timbavati, an area of prime game viewing, home to the “Big Five”, the bush is renowned for being a calming and spiritual place, and the perfect location to focus on both physical and mental well-being. Guests of Makanyi Lodge Energise weeks will experience everything Makanyi has to offer, including morning game drives with sunrise meditation, healthy cooking sessions, spa treatments, and more. Sounds like the perfect place to find inner peace. With an elephant or two to guide you…
Book it: Makanyi Lodge offers their Energise weeks from £4,900pp, 6 nights all inclusive (exclusive of int. flights, transfers and conservation levies) based on two people sharing. makanyilodge.com
Marbella Club, Marbella
If you thought Marbella was just a playground for the rich and famous to drink Champagne in the sunshine, think again. Marbella Club are launching their year-round wellness retreats in 2020, with a focus on the connection between inner health and outer beauty. Guided by the resort’s in-house team of nutritionists, and naturopaths, guest will enjoy bespoke menus curated by the new chef Andrés using local, seasonal produce. Wellness activities on offer feature Tibetan Bowl rituals, aerial yoga and outdoor activities that make the most of the beautiful surroundings including cycles along the promenade and hiking in the nearby mountains. Spa treatments include facials using natural skincare products from Votary which, combined with the nutritious food and healing activities, will leave you feeling as good as new.
Book it: Rates start from €390. marbellaclub.com
And if you can’t travel…
We also called on Dominique Antiglio, Sophrologist and founder of BeSophro to get some expert advice on choosing meditation locations…
‘Sophrology is a type of dynamic meditation that I love to practice because it can be easily incorporated into daily life. I have had amazing Sophrology experiences at the Ghats in Varanasi, India which faces the Ganges River, as well as being wrapped up among the mountains of Courmayeur facing Mont Blanc, and also in Ibiza when facing the sea. I also love practising early morning on Primrose Hill as it offers such a beautiful view over London, and no two days are ever the same so I have a unique view each time.’
But you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home…
‘For best practice at home, I advise people to create a private space at home or in the office with a comfy chair. If you have a small, shared space only, don’t let it stop you, as you can put your headphones on and listen via a guided practice. You may wish to personalise your space with a photo of a loved one or have an item of sentimental value nearby to enhance the connection of the space to your inner world. You could also light a scented candle to create a sense of calm and tranquillity in your space.
Personally, I have a comfy chair in my light, airy and minimalist office where I love to sit and start my Sophrology meditation practice mid-morning. I usually have a cup of herbal tea nearby to drink when I finish too. I also practice in between meetings, and even on the Tube and in taxis – if I feel tense, just five minutes of simple breathing and relaxation techniques is enough to relax me.’
So if you do make it to one of our ultimate meditation locations, you’ll have to pack the memories up to take home with you, back to your hardwood floor with the number 32 bus outside, to conjure up the images of your retreat as you find your inner calm on demand…