Admit it, your recent trips have included tequila binging in Mexico City, underground clubbing in Berlin and Budapest, and champagne-for-breakfast in St Tropez. Your body, mind and soul are all in need of, let’s call it…some spiritual repair.
That being the case, we strenuously recommend skipping that Loire Valley wine tour this autumn, to get your vinyasa on in somewhere transformationally exotic and inspiring. Being the ardent internationalists that we are, we discovered absolutely glorious yoga/wellness getaways on three different continents, with each destination offering something life-altering (and distinctly Instagrammable) to go along with all those holistically restorative activities.
Surely the BlackBook destination-of-the-moment – Lonely Planet also dubbed Colombia “the 2nd best country to visit in 2017” – Cartagena is a city of mystery, discovery, and almost ineffable beauty. And Blue Sky Yoga, led by Brooklyn natives Marion Mahima Jackson and Christina Mattus (from Greenpoint’s Usha Veda Yoga studio) has organized a remarkable five-night-retreat (October 4-9), in a private mansion within the 17th Century walls of the Old City.
The experience will include candlelight yoga and meditation classes (using top quality yoga accessories by Manduka), sound bath, Rosarian Islands excursions, a walking tour, sound healing and mantras, and healthy, tasty meals. Free time can be used to explore what BlackBook called “Latin America’s most alluring city.”
And no one will mind if you pull a couple of late nights over aguardiente cocktails.
For something a bit more more plush and luxurious, the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech offers the best of both worlds: luxe pampering, and the possibility for far-flung, life-altering discoveries. And let’s face it – Morocco is one of the ultimate “I need to get there one of these days” destinations. So what better time?
The hotel itself sits on 20 hectares of fragrant gardens, just outside the city center. It offers private yoga sessions which can be taken in the studio or those aforementioned gardens (seriously, is that even a decision?), as well as Zumba and belly-dance classes. There’s a classic hamman for body-cleansing rituals, as well as endemic, traditional treatments like the Moroccan Caracal and the Berber-inspired Mour Akouch.
MOM is currently offering a Berber Beauty by marocMaroc package (through 9/30), in conjunction with Marrakech’s renowned skincare brand, which includes such amenities as a Ceremonial Massage, unlimited use of the spa facilities and a daily breakfast buffet of local specialities.
If you really, really want to clear the city smog from your lungs while you do the vajrasana, the Vale de Moses yoga retreats, in Portugal’s Serra de Estrela mountains, are serene and secluded, without actually requiring a connecting flight. Indeed, Lisbon is the closest EU capital to America, and it’s just a scenic, three-hour bus ride from the airport.
Something like an upscale camping excursion (run by husband and wife Andrew and Vonetta Winter, and voted a “Top 25” retreat by the Guardian), it includes silent forest meditation walks, yoga classes and workshops, Tui Na massage, swimming and mud baths in the Zêzere river, lots of healthy, home-cooked feasting, and even a Friday night dance party. The scenery, of course, is beyond breathtaking.
And do consider spending a couple of days in fabulous Lisbon, one of Europe’s truly beautiful yet unspoiled cities – with plentiful sunshine, an exciting culinary scene and absolutely electric nightlife.