Your Guide to Choosing the Right Wellness Resort

Man in hot tub on Skyterra Wellness campus

What is a Wellness Resort?

A wellness resort, often called a wellness retreat, is a specialized vacation that combines lodging with activities and services aimed at fostering holistic well-being and health. These resorts are synonymous with rejuvenation, featuring a multitude of activities, treatments, and classes designed to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. As the importance of mental and physical well-being has become more prominent in recent years, wellness retreats have surged in popularity. They have become sanctuaries for those looking to escape the mundane, heal, and rediscover themselves amidst serene settings.

With wellness resorts gaining prominence, choosing the right one is pivotal in ensuring an enriching and transformative experience. Through the lens of our resort, Skyterra Wellness Retreat, we illustrate key facets to consider in making a decision about your ideal wellness experience.

Location:

Choosing a location that resonates with your personal preferences is crucial, as it sets the tone for your entire experience. Wellness resorts located in the desert are very popular and offer warmer weather year round for guests who prefer to lounge by the pool and enjoy what the resort has to offer. Beachfront locations are among the most popular settings for wellness resorts. The rhythmic sound of waves, the expansive horizon, and the therapeutic nature of saltwater combine to offer a serene environment perfect for meditation and relaxation. Beach resorts are ideal for those who enjoy spending time by the ocean and participating in water-based activities. It is important to note that weather can be an important factor at beach retreats, with many of the activities being weather based, and hurricane seasons affecting your stay. 

Mountain locations are also common for wellness resorts, offering a more nature-oriented wellness experience. Cradled amidst towering peaks, these resorts are a haven for those seeking fresh air and expansive views. The mountains' majesty can inspire introspection and a deep sense of peace, with hiking trails and natural vistas acting as the perfect backdrop for physical activity and contemplation. Mountain wellness resorts may be better suited for those who prefer a more seasonal atmosphere and are more adventurous, preferring a wide range of nature-focused activities outside of the resort.  Whether it's the tranquil openness of the desert, the allure of the ocean's endless expanse or the mountains' steadfast grandeur, wellness resorts capitalize on these natural environments to offer transformative experiences

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

Nestled in the tranquil and scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, just outside the thriving tourist destination of Asheville, Skyterra offers a blend of mountain tranquility and adventure. Our 155 acre resort includes nine miles of walking trails encircling a breathtaking waterfall.

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Activities

Having a broad spectrum of activities allows for a rich, multi-faceted experience that caters to a range of interests and fitness levels. Yoga and Meditation are the staple activities at most wellness resorts, offering a range of styles and levels to suit all guests. These sessions aim to improve flexibility, balance, and mental clarity. Most wellness  resorts offer a variety of fitness classes from aerobics to strength training, catering to different fitness levels and preferences.

Yoga and Fitness classes are a must for any wellness resort and when looking at different programs it is important to make sure their yoga and fitness experts are certified experts in their field. Other activities are more varied depending on the resort and may include: 

 

Hiking and Nature Walks: To capitalize on the serene and often picturesque locations of wellness resorts, guided hikes and nature walks are commonly offered to allow guests to connect with nature and get some exercise.

 

Nutritional Workshops: These workshops educate guests on healthy eating habits, meal planning, and the benefits of different foods, aiming to equip them with knowledge to maintain a balanced diet.

 

Spa Treatments: Most wellness resorts house spas offering treatments like massages, facials, and body wraps, focusing on relaxation and rejuvenation.

 

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Workshops: These sessions usually involve learning relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and other methods to manage stress and enhance overall well-being.

 

Cooking Classes: Many resorts offer healthy cooking classes where guests can learn to prepare nutritious and delicious meals, emphasizing the importance of mindful eating.

 

Art and Creativity Workshops: Engaging in creative activities like painting or pottery can be therapeutic, and many wellness resorts offer such workshops as a way to express and rediscover oneself.

 

Holistic Therapies: Some resorts provide alternative therapies like acupuncture, Reiki, and reflexology, aiming to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit.

 

Outdoor Adventure: Some resorts may also feature more adventurous activities like rock climbing, kayaking, or horseback riding, providing diverse ways to stay active.

 

Personal Development Workshops: Workshops focusing on goal setting, time management, and other personal development skills are also common, aiming to foster personal growth and self-improvement.

 

Counseling and Therapy Sessions: Individual or group therapy sessions may be available to address specific mental health concerns and foster emotional well-being.

 

These activities typically aim to cater to various aspects of well-being, offering a balanced and comprehensive approach to wellness. Different wellness resorts may have a unique combination of these activities, reflecting their specific philosophy and focus. It is important to decide what you want to spend your time doing, whether it is an activity you already know and love or something new you would like to try. 

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

Skyterra offers an extensive range of activities. Our Yoga and Fitness experts provide a multitude of classes each day, all  included in your stay. Our location in the Blue Ridge Mountains allows us to provide world-class hiking experiences and a wide array of activities in the surrounding nature, including: kayaking, fly fishing, horseback riding, and stand-up paddleboarding. One of our most popular activities is Pickleball, for which we have 4 dedicated courts and an on-site instructor for those new to the game. We also have many educational and mental health oriented options, such as meditation sessions, nutrition classes, and cooking workshops each of which has been tailored to inspire, challenge, and rejuvenate every guest. For more information on our activities please click here.  

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What is included?:

Understanding exactly what is included in your stay is pivotal to gauge the value and avoid unexpected surprises. Many resorts will lure guests in with a lower price only to add extra costs for classes and food. Make sure to have a good idea of what aspects of a wellness resort are crucial to your experience and confirm that they are all included in your stay and if not, make sure the extra cost is included in your budget. 

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

Skyterra provides a holistic, all-inclusive package that offers structured fitness classes, three daily meals and snacks, personal coaching, nutritional guidance, and recreational activities at no extra cost. Our Spa offerings such as massages and facials are not included but are priced reasonably compared to most other resorts. 

Guest Reviews and Testimonials

In today's digital age, reviews and testimonials play a pivotal role in shaping our decisions, especially when it comes to selecting a wellness resort. However, it's essential to ensure that the feedback you're relying on is genuine and representative of the majority. Almost all wellness resorts will have a section on their website dedicated to testimonials. These are usually glowing reviews from satisfied guests and can give you a glimpse into the positive experiences individuals have had. Websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews can provide a more unbiased view. These platforms allow past visitors to rate their experience and provide feedback. Remember to look for patterns in reviews. If multiple guests mention a particular pro or con, it's more likely to be accurate.

Today, many people share their experiences on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. By searching for the wellness resort's name or checking out their official page, you can view guest photos, read comments, and get a feel for the resort's vibe. Some guests might tag the resort in their posts or use a specific hashtag, offering unfiltered insights into their stay.

Sometimes, the most trusted reviews come from friends, family, or acquaintances who've visited the wellness resort. Personal connections can give you an unfiltered view of their experience and offer recommendations or suggestions. 

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

Skyterra values the myriad of positive testimonials and feedback received, underscoring our unwavering dedication to fostering transformational and diverse experiences in a supportive and nurturing ambiance. We are proud to have a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor with over 120 reviews from former guests. Our testimonials page is filled with honest descriptions, all from real guests who wanted to share their experience at Skyterra. Outside of reviews, Skyterra is also proud to have been chosen as the number one best wellness resort in the United States by USA Today for 2023. 

Experienced and Certified Staff:

One of the most crucial components of a fulfilling wellness resort experience is the expertise and demeanor of its staff. After all, these are the individuals guiding you on your journey, ensuring safety, and enhancing your overall experience. Here's how to delve into the qualifications and characteristics of a resort's staff:

 

Certifications:

Yoga Teachers: A commonly recognized certification for yoga teachers is the RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) designation from Yoga Alliance. There are different levels, including RYT 200 and RYT 500, indicating the number of training hours completed. Some teachers might also have specialized training in styles like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, or Yin Yoga.

Fitness Instructors: Certifications from organizations like the American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) are indicators of a well-trained fitness instructor. They might also have specializations like personal training, group fitness, or specific modalities like Pilates or Zumba.

Massage Therapists and Spa Treatments: Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT) have undergone rigorous training and are required to meet state-specific licensure standards. For other spa treatments, like acupuncture, look for licensure from recognized bodies, such as the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

 

Gauging the Culinary Experience:

While there isn't a specific certification to gauge the culinary expertise, online reviews can be incredibly telling. Look for consistent mentions of the food quality, variety, dietary accommodations, and presentation. A resort that regularly receives praise for its meals likely has a skilled kitchen staff and a commitment to nutrition.

 

Assessing Staff Friendliness:

The demeanor and approachability of staff can significantly impact your experience. Online reviews can be a goldmine of information in this regard. Look for guests mentioning staff by name, recounting personal interactions, or noting how the staff went above and beyond.

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

Skyterra boasts a team of caring, certified experts specializing in varied wellness spheres, ensuring a plethora of personalized, dynamic sessions designed to address individual needs and preferences. We ensure that each member of our staff is overqualified and all certifications required for their position. From fitness instructors and yoga teachers, to dieticians and chefs, we are proud of how skilled our staff is. More information can be found on our website with descriptions and certifications of each member of the Skyterra Team

Skyterra’s ethos is deeply rooted in creating a welcoming environment. Our reviews frequently celebrate our staff's warmth, attentiveness, and their genuine investment in each guest's wellbeing.

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The Spa Experience:

In recent years, the spa experience at wellness retreats has transcended the traditional notion of just relaxation. While the soothing ambiance and luxurious treatments are still foundational, many spa offerings have evolved to integrate holistic well-being, focusing on both the body and mind. A comprehensive spa experience should offer a combination of treatments that promote relaxation, beauty, and internal balance.

 

Massage: One of the cornerstone treatments, massage therapy offers an array of benefits from relieving muscle tension and improving circulation to promoting relaxation and reducing stress. With a range of techniques such as Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stone, massages cater to various needs and preferences.

 

Acupuncture: Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points in the body. It's used for various purposes including pain relief, relaxation, and balancing the body's energy.

 

Facials: More than just a beauty treatment, facials provide deep cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration for the skin. They can be tailored to address specific skin concerns such as aging, acne, or sun damage, using a range of products and techniques.

 

Body Treatments: These encompass a variety of services such as body wraps, scrubs, and baths. Often incorporating natural ingredients like mud, seaweed, or essential oils, these treatments exfoliate, nourish, and rejuvenate the skin.

 

Therapy Sessions: Beyond the physical, many resorts now offer therapy sessions focusing on mental and emotional well-being. These sessions can range from traditional talk therapy to more specialized modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness-based stress reduction.

 

Nutrition Sessions: Understanding the link between what we eat and our overall health, many spas now offer nutrition counseling. Here, certified nutritionists or dietitians provide guidance on balanced eating, address specific dietary concerns, or offer strategies for sustainable healthy living.

 

Skyterra's Perspective:

At Skyterra, our spa offerings are designed to envelop our guests in a cocoon of well-being. We provide a comprehensive range of treatments from relaxing massages and rejuvenating facials to the holistic benefits of acupuncture. Our body treatments, utilizing natural and premium ingredients, promise a sensory experience and tangible results. Recognizing the deep connection between the mind, body, and spirit, we offer therapy sessions tailored to individual needs, providing a space for introspection and growth. Furthermore, our nutrition sessions, led by certified experts, empower guests with knowledge and strategies to continue their health journey beyond their stay. Every spa treatment at Skyterra is a step towards holistic well-being, ensuring our guests depart feeling refreshed, balanced, and enlightened.

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Holistic Weight Loss Program:

For many guests venturing to wellness resorts, weight loss is a primary goal, often underpinned by a desire for holistic transformation. A comprehensive weight loss journey transcends the simplistic calculus of calories in and calories out; it delves deeper into the realms of emotional well-being, self-awareness, and long-term lifestyle shifts. In the modern age, where health challenges are increasingly interwoven with daily stressors, mental well-being, and lifestyle choices, a weight loss journey that is merely anchored to dieting or rigorous exercise can feel short-sighted and often counterproductive.

It is imperative that wellness resorts strike a delicate balance when incorporating weight loss into their programs. Resorts solely fixated on weight loss can inadvertently offer a grueling, regimented experience, placing undue emphasis on rapid results rather than sustainable change. This can not only be physically taxing but can also neglect the emotional and mental aspects of a guest's well-being. A holistic wellness approach ensures that weight loss is seamlessly integrated with relaxation, mental health, and overall rejuvenation. When resorts recognize the interconnectedness of physical health with mental and emotional states, they offer a more nurturing, comprehensive, and ultimately successful weight loss journey for their guests. The true essence of a wellness resort lies in its ability to blend the tangible goals of weight loss with the intangible facets of holistic well-being.

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

The holistic LoseSmart Program at Skyterra is one of our most popular offerings. The LoseSmart program is a comprehensive, four-week venture focusing on sustainable health and well-being, integrating extensive coaching sessions, educational workshops, and personalized check-ins to instill enduring, healthy weight management practices.

Price:

When it comes to selecting a wellness resort, price is undeniably one of the paramount considerations for many guests. However, unraveling the price tag can be a nuanced endeavor, as wellness resorts, much like any other sector of the hospitality industry, can vary widely in their costing. This disparity is often influenced by factors like the resort's perceived luxury, location, amenities, and the range of services offered.

Luxury wellness resorts, often located in exotic or exclusive locales, might offer opulent accommodations, gourmet dining experiences, and a plethora of state-of-the-art facilities. These high-end resorts may command premium prices, reflecting their brand's positioning in the market. Conversely, there are more modestly priced options that, while they might not boast five-star lavishness, can still provide a deeply transformative and rejuvenating wellness experience.

However, when considering the price, potential guests should be wary of getting too ensnared in the allure of luxury or being deterred by cost alone. Instead, the emphasis should be placed on understanding what each resort offers in terms of its programs, therapies, activities, and overall approach to wellness. After all, a wellness retreat is predominantly about the personal journey one undertakes - a journey towards better health, relaxation, and self-discovery. Sometimes, a simpler, more rustic environment might offer a deeper, more authentic connection to oneself and nature than a plush, upscale resort.

It's essential to recognize that the value derived from a wellness resort doesn't merely reside in its tangible offerings, but more so in its ability to facilitate transformative experiences. The adage "you get what you pay for" might not always hold true in the context of wellness resorts. It's entirely possible to find mid-range or even budget-friendly options that provide exceptional programs, dedicated staff, and a genuinely rejuvenating experience. As you evaluate the pricing of various wellness resorts, prioritize aligning your budget with resorts that resonate with your wellness goals and promise a journey that is both enriching and transformative.

 

Skyterra’s Perspective:

Skyterra offers clear pricing structures, providing exceptional value and a variety of packages to cater to different budgets, delivering unparalleled services, activities, and amenities without compromise.

Conclusion

In the modern era, wellness resorts have evolved into havens of holistic well-being, offering sanctuaries to rediscover and heal oneself. Selection is crucial, and meticulous consideration of location, activities, inclusions, staff competence, reviews, spa experiences, and pricing are vital. When embarking on a wellness journey, remember to reflect on your unique needs and choose a resort which aligns with your aspirations, offering a rewarding pathway to enduring wellness.