Emerging Wellness Spa Travel Trends for 2018 and Beyond

Forecasting the next big trends in wellness travel for 2018, we round up the most significant trends set to shake up the world of wellness next year. From mindful movement holidays, to happiness retreats and architectural wellness, discover the hottest new trends that will influence the wellness world in 2018 and beyond.

Forecasting the next big trends in wellness travel for 2018, we round up the most significant trends set to shake up the world of wellness next year. From mindful movement holidays, to happiness retreats and architectural wellness, discover the hottest new trends that will influence the wellness world in 2018 and beyond.

Preventative Health to Eliminate Disease

With preventable diseases responsible for approximately 70% of premature deaths worldwide each year, it’s more important than ever that we start to take our health in our own hands. As people become increasingly aware of how unhealthy habits and lifestyle can significantly increase the risks of illness, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, there has been an increase in preventative health holidays to keep your well-being in check. Medical spas usually involving a comprehensive health check-up, counselling and spa therapies are advancing to cater to disease prevention.    

Top 3 Destinations: Palacio Estoril Preventative Health (Portugal), Kurotel Healthy Longevity (Brazil), The Farm Heart Health & Stress Reduction (Philippines)

Architectural Wellness

A growing trend in the wellness industry , ‘wellness architecture’ is reshaping the luxury travel sector, providing spaces that are not only structurally beautiful, but also comfortable, functional and sustainable. With guest welfare at the forefront, more ‘healthy-for-human’ hotels are emerging, where both the design and materials used address the physical and mental health of the people inside. This includes ‘living’ buildings, with greenery that grows inside, and design that encourages human movement and mindfulness.

Top 3 Destinations: Aro Ha (New Zealand), Soneva Kiri (Thailand), Santani Wellness Resort (Sri Lanka)

Food as Medicine

A worrying 7 in 10 people take prescription medication , and this unhealthy pill-popping culture has led to an awareness of the need to replace pharmaceuticals with more natural remedies. We’re now seeing a growing trend towards ‘food as medicine’, with more people ditching the drugs in favour of treating their ailments with the right nutrients. This has also led to an increase in nutrition-friendly holidays, where guests can discover the best diet for their body type and health concerns.

Top 3 Destinations: 
SHA Wellness Clinic (Spain), Samahita Candida Detox (Thailand), Sianji Master Detox(Turkey)

SHA cookery

A healthy cooking class at SHA Wellness Clinic 

Break-up Breaks

Contrary to the belief that holidays are reserved for celebratory events such as honeymoons and anniversaries, more people are planning wellness holidays following the breakdown of a relationship. The stress and anxiety caused by major life changes like divorce, lead many individuals on a solo wellness trip, in order to tap into the transformative power of travel. Retreats are responding to this growing trend, with an array of emotional healing therapies, stress management and life coaching services.

Top 3 Destinations: Phuket Cleanse (Thailand), Kamalaya Embracing Change (Thailand), BodyHoliday September Solos (St Lucia)

Mindful Movement

Mindfulness has been a major buzzword in the wellness world over the last few years, and 2018 is set to be the year of ‘mindful movement’. With increased awareness of the connection between the mind and body, a shift towards mindful exercise is occurring, bringing attention and focus to one’s workout, whilst reaping the physical and psychological benefits of exercise. Next year will see a significant emergence of such workouts, as well as more retreats offering wellness programmes with equal focus on being active and mindful. 

Top 3 Destinations: Marbella Club Mindful Triathlon (Spain), Epic Sana Mindfulness Retreat (Portugal), Shreyas Silent Retreat (India)

Technology for Wellness

It will come as no surprise that in this tech-dependent digital age, one of the biggest trends in the wellness industry is still technology. Spa and fitness technology has become increasingly sophisticated, with traditional treatments and activities being adapted to enhance results using technical approaches, from measuring your body composition to high-tech anti-aging medi-spa treatments. Despite the growing awareness of the need for regular ‘digital detoxing’, technological advances in wellness will only continue to accelerate to meet consumer demands.

Top 3 Destinations: 
Six Senses Douro Valley Integrated Wellness (Portugal), Longevity Medical Spa(Portugal), SHA Rejuvenation (Spain)

Six Senses wellness screening

Wellness screening at Six Senses Douro Valley 

Skip Gen Holidays

While last year we saw a rising trend for family and ‘multi-generational’ holidays; 2018 is set to be the year of ‘skip-gen’ trips, where grandparents take grandchildren on once-in-a-lifetime holidays, leaving parents behind. The reason for this shift can be attributed to the fact that the baby boomer generation are now retiring, with their top priorities being family and travel. Skip-gen holidays combine the two, providing the opportunity for major milestones such as graduations and special birthdays to be celebrated in style.

Top 3 Destinations: Zighy Bay (Oman), Sun Gardens Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kamalaya (Thailand)

Happy Retreats

According to recent studies, experiences, not things, make us happy ; therefore, it’s no surprise that people are investing more on satisfying their wanderlust than buying material goods. English author Leigh Hunt writes, “The groundwork of all happiness is good health” and in the same vein, health resorts are highlighting the importance of wellness to achieve joyful bliss. Activities like morning hikes and beach circuit training all foster the production of serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) and the likes of laughter yoga, smile-asanas and inner-smile meditation will soon fill your retreat schedule.

Top 3 Destinations: The Mind Coaching Retreat at MacDonald Monchique (Portugal), SwaSwara (India), Shanti Maurice De-stress (Mauritius)

'Now Age' Holidays

Not shying away from the mystical world, more wellness retreats are beginning to tap into the healing powers of spirituality. The eclectic new-age practices of the 70’s are alive and flourishing in the ‘now’ society, with the integration of holistic or alternative healing therapies to modern western medicine. From crystal and energy healing, to reiki and light therapy, wellness retreats are bringing these unconventional healing techniques to achieve harmony of the mind, body and spirit.     

Top 3 Destinations: Lefay SPA (Italy), Fusion Maia (Vietnam), Ocean Soul Holistic Retreat (Bali)

Holistic healing at Ocean Soul Retreat

 A holistic treatment at Ocean Soul Retreat

Community Wellness 

The wellness tourism industry is placing an emphasis on social responsibility and are starting to take steps to ‘pay it forward’ and give back to their communities. From championing locally-made commodities, supporting farmers by procuring home-grown harvests to arranging community exercises to nearby villages, schools or orphanages, resorts are spreading the essence of wellness to those who need it. The rise of ‘eco-tourism’ complements these humanitarian efforts with a focus on community, environmental preservation and self-sustainability.

Top 3 Destinations: The Retreat (Costa Rica), Shreyas Joy of Giving (India), SwaSwara (India)

Health DNA Testing

In recent years, personalisation has been taking the wellness industry by storm, with consumers increasingly demanding tailor-made fitness programmes and spa treatments to accelerate results. Taking this one step further, people can now discover the role their genes play in their overall well-being with the emerging science of DNA testing. More spas and retreats now offer DNA analysis and consultations, to really tailor guests’ treatment plans to their health needs, and determine any predispositions they might have to certain types of diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.

Top 3 Destinations: BodyHoliday BodyScience (St Lucia),  SHA Rejuvenation (Spain), Longevity Wellness Booster (Portugal)

Healthy Ageing Population

It’s no secret that we’re living longer, but want to look and feel younger, resulting in a boom of healthy-aging holidays to help maintain a youthful glow. Already highly popular with the Baby Boomer generation, the appeal of healthy-aging holidays is also rising in popularity with millennials; the oldest of whom are now in their mid-thirties! From collagen facials and vitamin C injections to non-surgical facelifts and menopause relief, spas and health retreats are offering consumers the opportunity to help slow down the clock.

Top 3 Destinations: Forte Village Anti-Aging (Sardinia), 
Divani Apollon Rejuvenation (Greece), Santani Anti-Ageing (Sri Lanka)

outdoor spa treatment Forte Village

An outdoor spa treatment at Forte Village 


To find the best wellness holidays hot on the trail of these latest travel trends, talk to one of our Travel Specialists on or contact us here to discuss tailor-making your perfect healthy holiday.

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