From remote islands in Indonesia to the heart of Manhattan, here are Jeremy Jauncey's top picks of wellness escapes for 2020

Wellness travel is one of the fastest growing segments of the industry—across the world amazing hotels have popped up offering all manner of ways to get your mind and body back to their best. Here are my recommendations for the best health-focused properties to visit this year.

See also: Jeremy Jauncey's 9 Amazing Travel Experiences For Animal Lovers

1. Equinox Hotel, New York City

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Above Equinox Hotel in New York takes luxury wellness to new heights (Photo: Courtesy of Equinox Hotel)

Definitely my favourite hotel in New York, the new Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards elevates fitness, culture and community to luxurious new heights. Hotel guests become Equinox members throughout their stay and are invited to reimagine how they move, eat, sleep, work and live while maximising every moment.

From a stunning new flagship Equinox Club and a regeneration-focused spa to dynamic dining destinations and rooms designed to ensure that every night of sleep is a dream come true, the property has set the standard for wellness luxury across the world. Rooms are designed with complete black-out blinds; mini bars and room amenities are healthy and promote sleep; and the in-room dining menu is the healthiest I’ve seen. 

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See also: 5 Of The World's Most Luxurious Urban Wellness Centres

2. Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Bawah Reserve

Bawah Reserve, one of Indonesia’s most exclusive, off-the-grid resorts, has launched two restorative wellbeing programmes for guests—Journey to Calm and Journey to Vitality. During personalised journeys, guests learn and practice six key pillars of wellbeing: the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and environmental. The programmes incorporate natural elements of Bawah’s six tropical islands, 13 beaches, lush forests and three lagoons, and are paired with spa treatments, healthy organic meals, meditation and other activities.

The Journey to Calm programme is designed to combat stress and help guests find inner peace. Guests take part in life coaching with a co-created action plan and tailored movement sessions focusing on breathing, mindfulness, daily yoga and floating meditation, using weightlessness to release mental blocks. Daily spa treatments are also included, along with other island experiences that allow guests to disconnect from the world.

The Journey to Vitality acts as a reboot programme for guests looking to enhance their physical health and wellness. Activities include personal training sessions, a posture analysis, paddleboard yoga and private cooking classes featuring ingredients picked from the reserve’s permaculture gardens. 

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See also: 5 Luxury Wellness Retreats To Help You Find Inner Peace—In Six Days Or Less

3. North Island, Seychelles

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Above The exclusive North Island in Seychelles has just 11 villas (Photo: Courtesy of North Island)

Comprising just 11 villas, North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, is located 30 kilometres from the Seychelles mainland and is accessible via a scenic helicopter flight or a one-hour boat ride. The island has been expertly designed and, with pioneering conservation programmes, offers the highest standards of hospitality, earning it numerous awards. The island not only offers a calming refuge from the modern world, but also an invigorating, refreshing getaway connected to the island’s natural beauty. The North Island Spa is dwarfed by giant granite peaks, enjoys an open sea breeze and overlooks turquoise waters.

On arrival, guests of the spa are immediately immersed in island life with each tailor-made treatment starting with a barefoot ritual. A private consultation to create a bespoke spa experience is then formulated as part of a holistic journey of visual and textural contrasts, arousing the senses and rejuvenating mind, body and soul.

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4. Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa

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Singita in South Africa brings its guests back to nature
Above Singita in South Africa brings its guests back to nature (Photo: Courtesy of SIngita)

Singita, the long-time leader in African conservation and ecotourism, has introduced some of the continent’s most impressive wellness offerings—none more so than its Sweni Lodge in Kruger National Park. The property has woven wellness into its entire guest experience. This includes a farm-to-table food journey, which often ties in with community partnerships for sourcing fresh produce, and focuses on menus that feature smaller portions, less meat, are less wasteful and celebrate fresh, seasonal flavours.

Guests are encouraged to participate in everything from yoga sessions and meditation on private decks to bush walks, as well as enjoying nourishing African body treatments that tap into the continent’s ancient healing rituals and essences.

The opportunity to spend hours each day in wide-open spaces ensconced in complete silence—breathing in fresh air and connecting with nature—is the culmination of new luxury, and a mainstay of Singita’s offering. It embraces a philosophy of wellness and wellbeing that creates an environment for city-weary guests to reconnect with nature and enjoy the luxury of time and space throughout.

Massage menus honour Africa’s most healing rituals and ingredients, and each holistic treatment—which can be enjoyed in-room, outside or in dedicated treatment areas—is a sensory experience. They’re specifically designed to restore a sense of balance, connect guests with the pristine surroundings of the lodges, and offer nourishing benefits, while soothing and revitalising both body and soul.

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See also: Singita Founder Luke Bailes On Asian Travellers' Growing Interest In Africa

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