As we get into the thick of the holidays, and all that comes with them, it’s time to look forward, and inward, and plan a little "me" time in the new year. Claude Davies rounds up the top places to retreat in 2016.
The Class with Taryn Toomey at Playa Grande Beach Club, DR
WHAT As her cult followers in NYC know, The Class with Taryn Toomey is a “75-minute cathartic mind-body experience” where you pulse, bounce, and use sound to break open stagnant layers — and come away looking as great as you feel.
WHEN January 31-February 6, 2016
WHERE Taryn is bringing her Class to the classy but bohemian (and Passported favorite) Playa Grande Beach Club in the Dominican Republic for a winter retreat. Expect two hours of The Class with TT, yin yoga with Heather Lilleston, exquisitely designed bungalows, white sand beaches, poolside cabanas, and long lazy meals with new friends.
WHO Those open to a full body and soul treatment in a place that is itself a retreat - and simply a treat.
Yoga for Bad People at the Shack Yoga, Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
WHAT Shack Yoga owner Isabella Channing enviably divides her time and talents between Bridgehampton, NY (home to her family’s Channing Daughters Vineyard) and Jose Ignacio, Uruguay. At The Shack Yoga in Uruguay, she hosts daily classes and programs, as well as longer retreats offering yoga, meditation, and four kinds of massage. And on your doorstep are a raft of activities, from surfing and paddle boarding to nature walks and nightlife.
WHEN February 14-17, 2016
WHERE Jose Ignacio, the boho beach town in the far south of Uruguay. High season is during our winter (their balmy summer) when Hamptons-sized crowds arrive to settle into the beachside hotels and villas for the season.
WHO In the Shack Yoga’s spirit of being holistic but not holier-than-thou, the upcoming retreat is co-hosted by Hampton’s yoga instructor, Heather Lilleston, through Yoga for Bad People. Their approach is to combine traditional yoga practice with fun, non-yoga activities. Lilleston explains that, “we are normal people. We want to have fun. And we like yoga.” We can all drink to that.
Erika Halweil Yoga Retreat at Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
WHAT Hamptons darling yoga instructor, Erika Halweil, brings her downward dog to Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos for a spring fling that will do no harm, and plenty of good.
WHEN April 27-May 1, 2016
WHERE Parrot Cay, in the Turks & Caicos, is a honeymoon or any occasion favorite for its simple yet luxe accommodation, bright white sand beaches, and totally zen package. The COMO Shambhala Retreat here offers holistic, Asian inspired treatments such as Ayurveda, aromatherapy, pilates, nine treatment rooms, outdoor Jacuzzi garden, and a huge yoga studio. Yoga retreats with internationally acclaimed instructors occur regularly throughout the year.
WHO Lovers of the finer things who want to go inward in high style and with top service. Contact Erika Halweil at yogichick[at]hotmail[dot]com to find out more.
Mii Amo, Ariozona, Year-round
WHAT Mii Amo is the spiritual, immersive, highly personalized, spa destination appropriately located in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. All inclusive packages for three, four, or seven nights allow guests (over age 16) to focus only on their daily selections (with the help of a dedicated advisor) of an enormous menu of treatments and activities. You’ll find everything from myriad brands of massage (including “psychic”) and one-on-one meditation, to Reiki and ancient clay body wraps. Guests learn they can pack light as robes are the default uniform as they move from one selection on their schedule to another, including meals.
WHEN Anytime for three, four, or seven nights, always with a Thursday or Sunday arrival depending on the package.
WHERE Sedona’s famous Red Rocks provide a mystical backdrop to the Mii Amo experience. Complementing the setting and history, all 16 casitas and suites are spare but soothing, with adobe design details and, in most, fireplaces and private patios. The number of guests (tiny) to staff (enormous) ensures attentive, personalized service.
WHO Open-minded seekers who can miss Soul Cycle and find their bliss.
Florblanca, Costa Rica, Year-Round
WHAT A wellness, spa, and adventure resort on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Florblanca engages the senses from the inside out. You’ll be nourished with locally grown foods at the open-air restaurant, Nectar; grounded through the daily guided yoga and pilates sessions, and restored by the extensive spa offerings. Don’t miss a chance to fly through the air by zipline or over the waves on a surfboard. Busy days at Florblanca are rewarded with sweet slumber in your own private beachfront villa.
WHEN All year round, but peak season is from December to April.
WHERE On the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, Florblanca is in an unspoiled tropical jungle setting overlooking the world famous surf of Playa Santa Teresa.
WHO Dreamers, adventurers, practitioners and everyone else who wants a little bit jungle and a little bit beach, all in a private retreat.
The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu, CA, Year-Round
WHAT The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu, California is arguably the best known and regarded of its brand of retreat: the luxury bootcamp. Here, in week-long, highly disciplined programs, participants get healthier, stronger, slimmer and, hopefully, happier, all while getting off the grid and back to basics. The key is the “no-option” daily four to five hours of group hiking, core and ab work, weights, yoga, and private afternoon massages. Even an afternoon nap is mandated! For sustenance, The Ranch offers organic, vegetarian fare, but there’s zero alcohol, caffeine, or processed sugar. The result, according to the Ranch and their repeat customers, is boosted energy, reduced weight, and a detoxed and tuned in self.
WHEN The glory of California is that any time of year is just right, except perhaps the heart of the summer.
WHERE Once the working ranch of silent film star Hopalong Cassidy, The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu spans acres of native grounds in the Santa Monica mountains, three miles above the Pacific Ocean. Most guests stay the full week, but the Ranch also offers a four-day version, R4.0. The goals and methods are the same as the original program, but guests stay the Four Seasons Westlake Village and have access to its award-winning spa.
WHO Luxury travelers desiring a high-end kick in the pants, with green juice and massages to follow.