Whether economic turbulence or the always-on nature of 21st-century business is to blame, the world is a stressful place. And all too often we don’t give ourselves the space to rest, recuperate and refocus. Sometimes, we need to put wellness before wealth creation, pack our bags, and seek out new horizons – and some much-needed perspective.
Little wonder then that wellness has become one of the most talked-about niches in the global travel industry, as discerning travellers increasingly place wellness at the heart of their high-end travel plans. The numbers don’t lie: wellness tourism is now a $639 billion industry, according to the Global Wellness Economy Monitor released by the Global Wellness Institute earlier this year.
‘Wellness is absolutely a reason to travel – in fact, it’s almost becoming a necessity,’ says Lylie Moolman, Managing Director of bespoke travel business Giltedge Ocean Islands. ‘With today’s stresses and time constraints it’s imperative to take time out and reset. Not only is this important from a physical aspect, but also for spiritual and mental well-being.’
‘People are looking to wellness travel to alleviate their stress and anxiety,’ adds Lara Delafield, Wellness Strategist at Giltedge and a member of the Global Wellness Institute.
‘We’re seeing massive growth in wellness tourism both worldwide and in Africa.’
‘Wellness holiday’ used to mean an abstemious week in a health hydro, but times have changed. The market has evolved to recognise the demand for a well-earned break without asceticism, and a wide variety of journeys to suit time constraints and personal tastes.
Crucially, the market has picked up on the desire for authenticity. Across the continent, and the planet, travellers with an eye for wellness are spoilt for choice when it comes to exclusive transformative escapes.
You don’t have to commune with monks in far-flung Nepal to find a little serenity. A holiday focused on wellness can be as simple as a regional spa getaway, soaking up the comforts of a five-star hotel and a few bespoke treatments. It’s the perfect mini-break to reboot the soul.
On that score the Cape winelands is your friend, with a host of high-end hotels recently revamping their spa facilities. Top of your list should be Delaire Graff, where the revamped spa draws inspiration from Eastern philosophies, incorporating everything from Koshi-chime sound therapy to organic oils. The gorgeous views from the luxurious suites atop the Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch are just as revitalising, and the relaxation room boasts original artworks from Laurence Graff’s personal collection. In Franschhoek, Leu Estates is the most exclusive room in town, where the multilevel spa is as inspiring as the estate’s fine wines and cuisine.