10 wellness holidays to kick-start the new year
From sleep to fitness, pilates to spiritual renewal, there’s something to suit everybody
Yoga at the Cliff House Hotel
Wellness is for life, not just for the post-Christmas. Still, booking a restorative break is a chance to give the mind, body and soul a top-of-year kick-start – and acts as a great excuse to break up a dreary January. Need some tips and tricks to sleep better? Or are you ready to up the ante and get active? Perhaps it’s time seek spiritual enlightenment? We’ve handpicked the most enticing wellness breaks, both home and abroad. Yoga mats at the ready…
Rest and relaxation
Knockranny House Hotel, Co Mayo
If a cosy, relaxing winter night in is your idea of bliss, it’s worth venturing out to well-located Knockranny House Hotel to get the full works. Their Wind Down for Winter package is designed to make R’n’R easy. In the Grand Deluxe Suite, a pampering kit awaits with all that’s needed for a restorative night – think a spirulina mask, foot balm, eye cream and bath soak to pour into the jacuzzi. A two-course dinner is included within the €89.50 price tag per person sharing (or €109.50 at weekends), but the indulgence doesn’t end there: head up to your room again for complimentary popcorn and in-room movies to end the night right. knockrannyhousehotel.ie
Savoy Palace, Madeira
Is a traditional spa break more your thing? Opened just in time for wellbeing wanderlust, the grand Savoy Palace in the far-flung Portuguese island of Madeira houses The Laurea Spa. It’s Europe’s newest and largest spa at 3,000sq m. Ready for exploration inside are landscaped pools and waterfalls, sensory showers, Turkish baths and state-of-the-art treatment spaces. Design inspo – imagine a green and floral palette, and the aromas of the salty Atlantic air – comes from the nearby Laurissilva Forest, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Heaven on earth? It just might be. Rooms start at €97.50 per person sharing. lhw.com
Getting there: Indirect flights to Madeira start from €137.
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Co Cork
If the prescribed eight hours is wishful thinking rather than the norm, take your tired self to Inchydoney Lodge for some TLC. The popular seafront hotel has a two-night package to help bring you back to life using the natural sleeping aid of lavender. The Rest Assured package begins with a Sleep Tight Ritual involving a lulling massage with lavender oil. Let it do its magic as you relax with a hot drink, then it’s back to the superior room to use the complimentary Elemis Sleep goodies that are yours to take home. When you’re ready to nod off, jump in to the ubercomfy handmade Respa bed to help transport you to the land of nod. All that – plus breakfast and access to the spa’s thalassotherapy seawater pools – from €299 per person sharing. inchydoneyisland.com
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
When insomnia is a constant drain on your body and mind, it’s time for drastic measures. Enter the Grand Resort in Bad Ragaz, a premium wellbeing resort that gets to the root of the problem in its three-day Sleep Diagnostic programmes. The team run through a number of tests including a hi-tech sleep study in your room. They’ll talk you through your bespoke treatment plan that – if all goes well – sets you up for solid sleep thereafter. It’s not cheap at CHF4850 (€4,462) including an accompanying person, but a run of restful nights is priceless. resortragaz.ch
Getting there: Aer Lingus flies direct from Dublin to Zurich from €105. Bad Ragaz is a 75-minute train ride away.
Cliff House Hotel, Co Waterford
Not too confident with your yoga skills? At the cosy five-star Cliff House Hotel, weekday morning classes are complimentary throughout January and February. Perched up high with sweeping views of the Waterford coastline, the stylish 39-bedroom hotel and spa is a self-care treat itself. So if it turns out yoga’s not your activity of choice, it’s still a restful break for a great value price (from €99 per person sharing). And if a lifelong habit begins, all the better. cliffhousehotel.ie
Glass House Retreat, England
A solid all-round option is Essex’s Glass House Retreat. It’s the state-of-the-art sanctuary you might expect; daily yoga and pilates sessions are standard in each package, as well as other fitness classes, treatments, spa use, and full board (of clean-eating, plant-based meals of course). For the truly serious, there’s a mobile phone safe to encourage a digital detox. It’s not only the sterling-to-Euro prices that make this retreat competitive; breaks for solo travellers start at £520 (€610), or £416 (€487) per person sharing. glasshouseretreat.co.uk
Getting there: Ryanair flies direct from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to Stansted from €30. The Glass House is a 30-minute drive away.
Coopershill House, Co Sligo
Leveraging the location that inspired a young WB Yeats, the historic Coopershill House throws open its doors outwards, and encourages guests to soak up its surrounds. The estate itself is 500 acres, so there’s hours of bracing activity within its walls. But to really get the blood pumping, as part of their three-night Walking in Yeats Country package (€375 per person sharing), the staff provide maps and plan walking routes to the most famous sites in its vicinity. Head to the placid Lough Gill, which gave rise to Yeats’ poem Lake Isle of Innisfree, or Slishwood, featured as “Sleuth Wood” in The Stolen Child. Nearby, there’s also Dooney Rock, the home of The Fiddler of Dooney. The team include a picnic and an afternoon tea to keep hikers well-fuelled – though Christmas excesses may already have that covered. coopershill.com
Stock Hotel, Austria
You don’t need to be a super skier to stay fit in a wintry resort – guests at the contemporary five-star Stock Hotel in Tyrol also get into gear with the three-night Body Management With Dynostics programme. It includes a metabolic analysis to determine how many calories your body needs, because the oft-stated 2,000 calories is the roughest of measures. Armed with this info, a personal training session and a busy schedule of complimentary classes await. To make the most of the winter wonderland surrounding this design hotel, take a spinning class on the fitness terrace, or go wild on guided hikes and Nordic walking excursions to a nearby waterfall. Indoor classes range from aqua fit to Power Plates to military training. Three nights is €987 per person sharing full board (be warned: the food is temptingly top-notch). stock.at
Getting there: Indirect flights to Innsbruck start from €166.
Ard Nahoo, Co Leitrim
If the white noise of life is a little too loud, hit the reset button at Ard Nahoo, deep in the heart of Leitrim’s countryside. Developed and improved since the retreat opened in 2001, its peaceful location in the midst of wildlife and calming views aims to re-centre guests. Home for the duration is one of their comfy eco-cabins, which are largely self-catering, though one vegetarian dinner and organic groceries are thrown in. The days are yours to spend as they suit; here, that means long walks, pure silence, a dip in their hot tub, or simply nothing at all. Imagine that. Two-night breaks are €180 per person sharing, or €210 at weekends. ardnahoo.com
Monastère des Augustines, Canada
Believing that spiritual wellness comes from within, Monastère des Augustines offers a spiritual revamp in the heart of Old Quebec. The convent dates from 1639, and is now a stylish not-for-profit hotel that welcomes people of all cultures and faiths while paying homage to the Augustinian Sisters’ mission – so leave your phone as you check in for a slice of monastic life. Its three-night Renewal package (€750 per person sharing) includes a holistic health consultation, treatments and private classes, access to its daily activities and an end-of-stay consultation. Meals are included too – a silent breakfast sets you up for the day, and lunch and dinner are also based on conscious eating principles. It’s not an extreme environment, however: they serve organic wine, and non-residential guests help mix up the dynamic of this urban retreat. monastere.ca
Getting there: Indirect flights to Quebec start from €445.