Sprawling across 7000 acres in the beautiful area of La Romana, a short drive from Punta Cana, sits Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. The resort offers a wide variety of rooms and suites, including one and two bedroom condos, golf lodge rooms and villas, all of which come with a complimentary 4 person golf cart. The golf cart is essential for getting around the idyllic grounds of Casa de Campo to visit the multitude of restaurants, the three golf courses, beach club, pools, meeting rooms and, of course, the spa and fitness facilities.


Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, located on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, spans 70 acres of lush grounds and picturesque waters. Historically, these legendary waters provided a welcome respite for weary travelers looking for rest and rejuvenation on the historic trade route ‘El Camino Real’. Due to the natural springs, the resort has a lush vibrant feel with tall trees, spacious lawns and lush foliage in every shade of green imaginable. Emphasizing harmony rather than balance, guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in nature and benefit from the phytoncides, a substance emitted by trees and plants which can help to calm the nervous system.


The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort sits a on a 750 meter stretch of private beach overlooking the ocean and boasts a multitude of wellness facilities and offerings to suit all activity levels. On arrival at the resort, guests are provided with a activity schedule packed full of wellness related endeavors such as yoga, Pilates, meditation, cycling, zumba, ballet, strength training, kettlebells, TRX, barre, aerobics, rock climbing and pool based fitness classes. I chose to try a rock climbing class in the afternoon and sunrise meditation followed by yoga the next morning. With expert instructors always on hand to provide guidance and ensure safety, guests at the Carillon are always in good hands.


In addition to the impressive list of 40+ activities per day, the Carillon boasts an expansive fitness area with ocean view and state of the art equipment including Technogym ARTIS cardio machines and Technogym Kinesis functional training equipment. There are several pools to choose from at The Carillon. Family pools are at ground level while the adults only Atlantic Rooftop Pool provides the perfect setting for a morning aqua fitness class or a relaxing quiet place to spend the day.

Thursday, 29 June 2017 21:06

Top 10 Tips To Improve Your Spa Retail


How often do spa directors get together in your area?Your spas are not in competition with each other!Guests in your resort would not normally visit a spa at a competing resort. Get together, strengthen your community and learn from each other.What sells? What works? What are guests looking for?



It’s likely that up to 80% of your income comes from 20% of your guests.

What do your guests want? What do those top spenders have in common?



When your guests have to get on a plane to go home, they are concerned with weight and space in their luggage. Make it easy for them to try a new line or product with travel sizes or starter kits.

Thursday, 29 September 2016 22:51

Announcing the Winners of Mexico's Best Spas 2016

Spa & Wellness Mexico awards the Best Spas of Mexico. Revealing the results of the best spas in the country, Spa & Wellness Mexico aims to increase knowledge and awareness of the industry among tourism, health and wellness experts, in addition to informing the general population of the wonderful the benefits of our spectacular spas.


The Best Spas of Mexico are:

• Apuane Spa, Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita
• Armonia Spa, Emerad Bay Pueblo Bonito, Mazatlan
• Awe Spa, Playacar Palace, Playa del Carmen
• Banyan Tree Spa, Mayakoba, Riviera Maya
• Feel Spa, Live Aqua, Mexico City
• Gem Spa, Coral Beach, Fiesta Americana Grand, Cancun
• Kinan Spa, Hotel Belmond Maroma Resort, Riviera Maya
• Luna Y Mar Spa, The Resort at Pedegral, Cabo San Lucas
• Miilé Spa, Excellence Resorts, Riviera Maya
• Naay Spa, El Dorado Casitas Royale, Riviera Maya
• Naay Spa, El Dorado Seaside Suites, Riviera Maya
• Nizuc Spa by ESPA, Nizuc Resort, Cancun
• One & Only Palmilla Spa, Los Cabos
• Rancho La Puerta Resort & Spa, Tecate
• Remede Spa, St. Regis, DF
• Sense, A Rosewood Spa, Rosewood Mayakoba
• Sense, A Rosewood Spa, Rosewood San Miguel De Allende
• Spa, JW Marriott Cancun
• Spa de Autor, Grand Velas, Riviera Maya
• Spa Makawé, Grand Sirenis Matlali, Puerta Vallarta
• Spa Matilda, Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende
• The Spa at Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas
• The Spa, Capella Ixtapa
• Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya
• Zoetry, Paraiso de la Bonita, Riviera Maya

Spa & Wellness Mexico also recognizes the best Boutique Spas and Day Spas around the country. Providing excellent service, quality spa treatments and meticulous attention to detail, these spas create noteworthy wellness experiences, maximizing often limited space and without extravagant facilities.


The Best Boutique Spas & Day Spas of Mexico are:

• Casa Azul Spa Urbano, Monterrey
• Dos Casas Spa, San Miguel de Allende
• Hela Spa Polanco & Hela Spa Santa Fe, DF
• Rosas y Xocolate, Merida
• Spa by Liverpool, Mexico City
• T’ai Spa & T’ai Spa Boutique, Merida

Thursday, 29 September 2016 22:29

Rancho La Puerta

Having heard for many years about the wonderful Rancho la Puerta, located in Tecate, Baja California, it has long been a dream of mine to visit and experience for myself one of the original wellness destinations. Founded in 1940 by Edmond and Deborah Szekely it has been through many renovations and reinventions, always staying true however, to its foundation of promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. A visit of anything less than a week at Rancho la Puerta, I realized, wouldn’t provide the complete experience and would definitely be over far too soon. The friendly atmosphere is incomparable to any other retreat experience I have encountered, This seems to be a feeling echoed by the numerous repeat guests who often joke that the ranch is like summer camp for adults. I can simply say that my week there was exceptional and filled with so many new experiences that I enjoyed immensely.



Rancho La Puerta’s sprawling 3,000 acres include 32 acres of gardens, the ranch grounds, organic gardens and hiking trails. The grounds around the main facility are certainly impressive and, although I rarely saw a gardener, all the lawns are well groomed and the plants well attended to. The mix of plants and flowers gives the impression of a naturally wild meadow, yet I imagine it takes a fair bit of work to achieve. Maps of the ranch can be found at regular intervals along the winding pathways., However they are not exactly to scale and things occasionally look closer or farther than they really are. By the end of the week I had just about learned my route to all the venues I needed to get to, but the first couple of days were filled with wrong turns!



The spacious and well-appointed suites are dispersed around the property in clusters. I was hosted in the beautiful ‘Villas Sol’ section of the ranch with a spectacular and unobstructed view of Mount Kuchumaa where we hiked each morning. The room was equipped not only with the essentials of an extremely comfortable bed, roomy bathroom and dressing area, desk and terrace, but it also had an open fireplace, a mini kitchenette area for tea and snacks, a reverse osmosis drinking water tap to reduce waste from plastic bottles and the wonderful cell-phone sleeping bag. Putting my phone away for periods of time is a practice I am trying to carry through into everyday life, however difficult that may seem! The Villas Sol and Villa Luna encircle the Villas Pool, a quiet, relaxing space to refresh in the cool water or soak in the Jacuzzi during the fresh evenings. After arriving from a long journey the pool was my first stop after lunch. Here, I met several other guests, who all visit the ranch regularly - one of whom was enjoying her 21st visit!



The hikes for me were one the highlights of the ranch experience.  With a variety of options each morning; you can choose the difficulty level you prefer - I started with a moderate mountain hike to Alex’s Oak Tree. Sitting atop a relatively small mountain, this oak tree was a favorite spot of the late Alex Szekely, former manager of the ranch and son of Deborah Szekely, Co-Founder of Rancho La Puerta, who passed away aged 44 in 2002. The subsequent hikes throughout the week ranged in difficulty, and I progressed to the 5.5 Mile Coyote Hike by the end of the week. While on the Professor’s Hike (a 3.5 Mile hike) I was treated to the spectacular view of ‘Skull Rock’ with a background of low cloud sitting in the canyon beyond. I wasn’t able to complete the Raven Hike or the 7-Mile River Hike during my stay, which just means there’s a good reason to return.


Exercise activities

I could fill an entire magazine solely dedicated to the variety of activities available at Rancho La Puerta. However, with limited space, I will attempt to highlight my favorites. 

Cardio Drumming: It occurred to me that this class was a great way to get males and females, young and old, to take part in a fairly standard, dare I say it… aerobics class! Add in the large barrel drums, and your grapevines and L-steps are a lot more interesting! 

Feldenkrais: Using small, subtle movements, the body is adjusted and realigned as each participant is encouraged to listen to their internal feedback and make natural self-corrections. Although it’s difficult to explain, everyone who participated seemed to agree that the class was ‘really strange but really good’! 

Pickleball: I was introduced to this fun and entertaining game on the first morning of my stay and, as someone who likes tennis (but spends most of the time running after the ball), this was a perfect alternative for me. A small court, a short paddle-like racket, a whiffle ball and a fairly straightforward set of rules made this game great exercise and very enjoyable.

Pilates: My stay fell on the same week that visiting instructor, Odile Zelenak, led the Pilates classes. Hailing from Northern California, Odile expertly guided all levels of participants through the Pilates classes with a range a difficulty levels suitable for all.

TRX Suspension Training: A favorite of mine, this functional, whole body workout is equivalent to fairly tough session in the gym and, as our expert instructor advised, ‘beginners class’ doesn’t mean ‘easy class’!



With such an abundance of activities available every hour at the ranch, it was really a struggle to fit any relaxation in. However, I managed to ‘schedule in’ some relaxation in the form of Crystal Bowl Sound Healing, Tai Chi and spa visits etc.

Crystal Bowl Sound Healing: This amazing experience is one that I repeated daily for the 3 afternoons it was offered. The sound of the singing bowls gently vibrates through your body and encourages such a deep relaxation that, I am certain, would not be possible just by laying down for 45 minutes - despite the early mornings and full days of activities. On the days where I took part in the Crystal Bowl Sound Healing sessions, I certainly found I had renewed energy for the evening activities.

Labyrinth: This beautiful meditative pathway provides a place for introspection and contemplation whether you are searching for an answer to a question or clearing your mind of thoughts.

Tai Chi:  Our expert instructor talked about the foundation of Tai Chi, its purpose, and led us through a simple sequence that was easy to master but left us feeling like experts.


La Cocina Que Canta (The kitchen that sings) 

Designed by Deborah’s daughter, Sarah-Livia Brightman, La Cocina Que Canta cooking school provides guests hands-on culinary educational experiences that enhance the stay at Rancho La Puerta. Set amidst the 6 acres of organic farmlands where the ranch cultivates its many ingredients, the kitchen celebrates the magic of cooking.

With visiting internationally-renowned expert chefs who have a passion for teaching, the ranch attracts many culinary enthusiasts who can also take home a variety of cookbooks - including the ranch’s own; Cooking With The Seasons At Rancho La Puerta.

I was lucky enough to visit at the same time as Chef Raghavan Iyer, author of numerous cookbooks and a teaching enthusiast. He guided us through the process of creating the most diverse and delicious vegan Indian cuisine I have ever tasted. 



Spread across four locations (Women’s Health Centre, Men’s Health Centre, Villas Health Centre & Beauty Salon) the spa offerings at Rancho La Puerta include wraps, scrubs, facials, water treatments, gemstone therapy, grooming services and, of course, an extensive range of massages. With four main themes of, Cleanse, Relax, Energize & Restore the spa assists guests in selecting the service best for them. With some, such as the Xocolatl (Chocolate) Skin Replenishment, you are invited to mix ingredients yourself before the journey begins. My favorite experience was the Japanese Restorative Facial, where a deeply relaxing facial massage sent me into a state of pure bliss and after which my skin felt firm, lifted and intensely hydrated.  


Bazaar del Sol

Tucked away in one corner of the ranch is Bazaar del Sol. A quaint little terrace-lounge-bar-boutique offers the perfect place to relax, socialize, read, work or enjoy the events such as live music or markets showcasing jewelry, arts & crafts. With a selection of wine and high speed Internet, this is often a hub of activity at the ranch!


Sara Jones