The secret to a new and better YOU in 2021

Happy New Year Hidden Gem Travel community!  I wish you a fantastic year with hopefully some amazing travel experiences once the world reopens. 

To begin, a bit of good news!  I was recently quoted in the Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journals about Wanderlist and travel in 2021.  See page 12 – the top of the Features Section:

My January 1st post on LinkedIn highlighted some good things that happened in travel in 2020 which I hope will continue in the years ahead

Last week, I shared a few of my new year’s resolutions and tips and asked what your resolutions are for 2021.  If improving or focusing on your health and wellbeing is on your list of goals, this week’s newsletter is for you. 

A wellness vacation can be the secret to a new and better you in 2021!

What’s a wellness vacation?  Read on to learn the answers to these frequently asked questions:

  • Is a wellness vacation for me?
  • Where can I go and be in luxury (it’s been a tough year)?
  • Can I take a wellness vacation on the rivers or seas?
  • Is it better to go alone, with a family member/friend, or with a group of wellness-focused friends?
  • Where can I take a wellness vacation in the USA?
  • Do I have to give up having a drink (of the alcoholic type)?

What is a wellness vacation?

If you’ve never taken a wellness vacation, you’re likely wondering what it is and if it’s for you. 

Ask yourself, “Would I benefit from getting away from my routine and taking time to mentally and physically relax, recharge, and renew?” If the answer is yes, then a wellness getaway is definitely for you!

The next question is what are your goals and interests for your wellness vacation?  The choices go well beyond getting a massage.  Here are some options:

  • Lifestyle reset
  • Instill a new habit
  • Reboot your body
  • Focus on a medical concern
  • Learn and kickstart new exercises and practices
  • Taste and learn to prepare healthy meals
  • Try something outside of your comfort zone; conquer a fear
  • Express yourself through art
  • Start or expand a meditation or mindfulness practice
  • Connect with animals
  • Spend time in the great outdoors
  • Embark on a spiritual quest

A wellness vacation is an opportunity to give yourself what you need most, and wellness resorts have a wide menu of activities.  When I experienced Miraval in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts last summer, the first thing I did was meet with a staff member who helped me plan my time.  My goal was to experience the widest range of activities possible.  Thus, I took classes in cardio drumming (fitness), healthy cooking with grains (in the new Williams Sonoma kitchen), and ax throwing (first time), and chakras (education).  I also relaxed by their stunning pool area. 

Notes – at many wellness resorts, you don’t have to give up having a glass of wine or two (or beer, cocktail).  However, you can expect some restrictions on the use of digital devices. 

The wellness vacation options highlighted below offer Virtuoso perks and amenities!

Aman’s 5-star, awe-inspiring destinations

Time to dream big!  Designed to reflect their natural settings, Aman destinations are known for their space and privacy.  The first retreat was built in Phuket, Thailand, and named Amanpuri meaning ‘place of peace.’  Today with 33 resorts, hotels, and private residents across 20 countries, Aman is a leader in transformative wellness experiences in awe-inspiring destinations.  A Wellness Concierge helps you design your perfect experience. 

One option is Amanjena (pictured), in Morocco.  It’s a perfect example of the Aman experience. Everything about Amanjena is mesmerizing with its oasis of palm and olive trees close to the ancient city of Marrakech. Spend time in the full-service spa with its Moroccan hammam and essential-oil massages. Soak in a rose-petal bath and sip mint tea. Heavenly.

Alternatively, try forest-bathing in the serene forests of Japan. Amanemu offers a host of Japanese wellness experiences such as onsen bathing, breathing practice, Zazen meditation, shiatsu and acupuncture, aquatic bodywork treatment, and exquisite Japanese macrobiotic cuisine.

Wellness journeys on the rivers and seas

AmaWaterways Wellness Journeys are a key focus for this wonderful river cruise line in 2021.  Onboard Wellness Ambassadors help guests integrate physical, emotional, spiritual. social, and environmental wellness activities into their journey along Europe’s iconic rivers.  Unique walking, hiking, and biking tours for all levels are offered on every itinerary.  New for 2021 will be environmentally focused wellness activities like more deeply experiencing the gardens of Keukenhof in the Netherlands and Giverny in France.  Culinary excellence combined with active, daily activities allow you to indulge while not gaining a pound.  And the best part is that’s it’s all-inclusive!  This travel experience is ideal for friends who walk or cycle together. 

If you dream of getting back on the oceans and seas, luxury cruise line Seabourn partnered with holistic guru Dr. Andrew Weill.  He designed a mindful living program across the fleet which includes holistic spa treatments, yoga and meditation classes, and mind-body seminars. All the onboard restaurants offer menu choices that are both delicious and healthful.  Their global itineraries will inspire you to see the world and return home – another secret to a new and better you. 

Wellness in the USA – desert, coast, mountains

If you’re inclined to take your next wellness vacation in the USA, there are many excellent options.  You can choose your climate and vibe from the mountains, desert, coast, or city.  Of course, I have some favorite recommendations that I share below:

In the desert of Sedona, Arizona, Mii amo is a world-class, boutique destination that defies the imagination. With only 16 rooms, you and a group of friends can take a wellness journey together without the masses.  The resort’s 3, 4, 7-day journeys include hiking in the red-rock country, Native American-inspired treatments, lectures on topics like the area’s famous energy vortexes, and stargazing. 

Miraval Resort & Spa offers three locations in Arizona, Austin, and Lenox, Massachusetts – desert, city, or mountains.  All three locations offer an array of personal growth and development programs, luxurious spa treatments, delicious cuisine, and an expert staff of renowned wellbeing specialists. I’ve been to Tucson and Lenox and each time had a transformative experience! 

Note:  One year ago, my blog post highlighted more amazing wellness journeys (all of which I still highly recommend!).  Add those ideas to your 2021 Wanderlist and clues to the secret to a new and better you in 2021.

Wellness in or near the big city

On a coastal bluff only 30 minutes from LAX (Los Angeles, California), Terranea is easily accessible and offers an oceanside wellness adventure of your design.  An Experience Concierge helps you explore the beautiful natural setting through kayaking, whale watching, tide pooling, falconry, painting by the sea, and more. Take a spin class overlooking the ocean and indulge in locally grown, award-winning California cuisine, a world-class oceanfront spa, four ocean-view pools, and a nine-hole golf course.

In late 2019, I toured New York City’s newest wellness hotel, the Equinox Hotel, located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood.  Situated adjacent to the beginning of the Highline trail and Hudson River, off-property walking, running, and biking options are plentiful.  On-property, the 60,000-square-foot Equinox fitness club, indoor/outdoor pools, and innovative spa all incorporate elements of movement, nutrition, and regeneration. Rooms include a yoga mat, city views, and on-demand exercise classes.  Very cool, hip vibes. 

Note – coming to New York City in Spring 2021 is the new Aman hotel on 57th + 5th Avenue’s historic Crown Building.  I’ll take a tour and report back as soon as it’s available to the trade. 

Inspired?  Now that you know the secret to a new and better you in 2021, are you ready for a wellness vacation?  If so, here’s the direct link to my calendar to schedule a chat

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Wellness vacations are ideal for solo travelers, couples/duos (significant others or two family members/friends), or a group of wellness-focused buddies. Mother-daughter-sister groups are common too. 

Wishing you and your family continued good health,


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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