5 hotels with wellness offerings that go beyond a dingy gym


There are few buzzier terms these days than “self-care.” While it may mean different things to different people, the overall idea of, well, caring for yourself has become a full-blown movement that only seems to be growing. And though the phrase itself long ago may have reached its point of hilarious over-saturation, there’s no denying the value in prioritizing your physical and mental wellness — and that’s certainly the case when it comes to travel. Sure, in many ways, travel in and of itself can be a form of self-care; but it can also come with a solid dose of stress. The good news? The self-care movement is plenty strong in the travel industry, and increasingly more hotels are offering guests unique wellness experiences that can counteract any travel stress. Here are five around the world.

Herbal remedies at The Bristol Hotel

Bristol, Virginia

The Bristol Hotel is right in the heart of the Appalachian Mountain region; and when you stay there, you not only get stunning views of the mountains, but you also get the chance to try all sorts of herbal remedies made with wild herbs indigenous to the region. Through a collaboration with Appalachian Alchemy and local herbalist expert Lesley Setchim, the hotel offers guests upon-request medicinal mountain remedies, like sleepytime tinctures, CBD tea, pain-relief salves, cold and flu herbal syrups and even supplements for pets. You can select your remedies a la carte or choose a package that suits you, like “Rest and Recharge” (which includes CBD salve and a sleepytime tincture), “Calm and Ground” (which includes a lemon balm tincture and a sage and spirit smudge spray) or “Adventure Awaits” (which includes a natural bug spray, allergy tincture and skin-healing salve). “As natural remedies and CBD oil continue to play major roles in the wellness space, we are excited [to] collaborate with The Bristol Hotel and provide guests with unique, locally-sourced remedies for their travel ailments, whatever they may be,” Setchim said. “With immune and digestive system support and sleep-promoting effects, our many products offer a variety of benefits that are made perfect for the busy traveler.”

An in-room fitness center at Swissôtel Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Swissôtel Chicago’s 1,700-square-foot Vitality Suite (the only one in North America and third in the world) is a hotel room and gym in one — and by “gym,” we don’t just mean a yoga mat and exercise ball. An entire room of the five-room suite is devoted to fitness, with a Peloton bike, water rowing machine, weights, “Wellbeing Wall” with built-in strength-training equipment and a TV loaded with on-demand workouts. And it’s not just about working out: The theme of the entire suite is self-care, with Lunya Sleepwear pajamas (an exclusive partnership between Lunya & Swissôtel Chicago’s Vitality Suite), essential oils, a convertible standing desk, black-out blinds and “vitality” food and pillow menus for healthy eating and comfy sleeping. If the Vitality Suite is booked (or you can’t swing it financially), you can still get in on the hotel’s wellness offerings by requesting an in-room Vitality Kit (which includes the aforementioned yoga mat and exercise ball, along with a few other fitness tools and exercise cards), working out in the penthouse fitness center (which, along with views for days, includes high-end equipment and a separate studio with on-demand virtual classes) or booking a session with the on-staff personal trainer.

Courtesy of Swissôtel Chicago

A private Blue Lagoon at Silica Hotel

Grindavík, Iceland

Iceland’s most famous site is the Blue Lagoon, a massive geothermal spa set in the middle of a lava field outside of Reykjavík. The Lagoon is stunning, and its silica-, algae- and mineral-rich water and mud are said to do wonders when it comes to moisturizing and revitalizing your skin. But, being that it’s so famous, the Blue Lagoon also comes with a heavy dose of crowds. If you prefer a more intimate experience, the impeccably designed Silica Hotel (which is affiliated with and walkable to the Blue Lagoon) has its own private lagoon that you can step right into from the hotel. Not only is this lagoon — which contains the same water and mud — less crowded and more peaceful than the public version, but it’s also open almost all day (from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.); so if you’re a guest at Silica, you can dip in as many times as you want throughout your stay. If you time it right and you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch the Northern Lights while zenning out in the private lagoon at night. (And if you do want to check out the main Blue Lagoon, fear not: a Silica booking includes a ticket.)

Courtesy of Emma Sarran Webster

A Dead Sea salt cave at Danubius Hotel Helia

Budapest, Hungary

“Across Central and Eastern Europe, salt therapy has a long history of being used to prevent and treat a range of vascular, respiratory and dermatological diseases,” said Katie Matthews, editor of Where to Stay in Budapest. (Indeed, according to Healthline, halotherapy has long been touted as a promising alternative treatment for a range of conditions.) But, “while the science is still out on halotherapy, as it’s officially known, proponents claim it’s also a great way to relax and de-stress.”

One of Matthews’s favorite spots to do so? The Danubius Hotel Helia in Budapest, which has its own salt cave made with salt from the Dead Sea. You can book one salt cave session, or combine it with even more spa and wellness treatments (like time in an infrared sauna, a dip in one of the thermal baths and an ayurvedic massage) for a truly relaxing retreat. As for the salt therapy, “the best part about partaking [in it] in a city like Budapest?” Matthews said “When you’re done, you [have] a world-class city at your doorstep.”

Zen Horse Yoga at Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Lanai, Hawaii

Pairing animals and yoga may not be a new thing (it’s been all the rage for at least a couple years), but that doesn’t make it any less cool. If you tend to gravitate toward four-legged friends, the experience of connecting with them while stretching and practicing your yoga poses could prove to be the ultimate self-care experience. You can try it out on Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island, Lanai, during a Zen Horse Yoga session at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s nearby ranch. The class, which is available by request, takes place under the sky at sunset and gives you the chance to freely move between downward dog and petting horse.