Top 5 wellness resorts for a nature immersion getaway

Reap the benefits of 'shinrin-yoku', a Japanese forest bathing concept believed to aid in health restoration.

The Datai Langkawi's spa embraces the healing elements of the rainforest (Photo: The Datai Langkawi)

Hoshinoya Kyoto, Japan
Experience the benefits of shinrin-yoku in its country of origin by spending some time at Arashiyama’s Hoshinoya Kyoto. To get there, take a boat ride down the gradually narrowing Oi River, leaving behind Kyoto’s cityscape and arriving at a place with lush natural surroundings. Interestingly, the scenery forming the backdrop of this picturesque riverside resort was developed by human hands through the strategic planting of trees, as well as the reshaping of the river by a 17th-century tycoon. The result — a vast Japanese garden and protected area waiting to be discovered beyond the gates and paths lined with rhododendrons. Located close to the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the resort is a worthy setting for a healthy dose of forest immersion.


Located close to the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the resort is a worthy setting for a healthy dose of forest immersion (Photo: Hoshinoya Kyoto)


Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia, Canada
Nestled in the Unesco Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve, this luxury wilderness resort offers forest bathing experiences amid its pristine Acadian Forest ecology. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, it is surrounded by hectares of spruce, maple and birch trees, as tall as 30m or more — just what one needs for an escapade into the wilderness without having to do away with daily luxuries. Another plus point is that the lodge borders the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, the largest protected area in the Canadian Maritimes with undisturbed wildlife habitats, expansive wetlands, pockets of old-growth pine and hemlock forMedia settingsest, and the headwaters of nine major river systems that flow to both the Atlantic and Fundy coasts.


Enjoy Trout Point's wood-fired hot tub amidst the Acadian Forest (Photo: Trout Point)


Mayflower Inn & Spa, the US
Connecticut’s Mayflower Inn & Spa is situated amid lovingly tended gardens and woodlands. A naturalist is on hand to teach visitors all about the local flora and fauna. Guests can also hike to the Macricostas Pinnacle, winding through meadows, farmlands, wooded ridge and wetlands. Thereafter, they can enjoy a delicious picnic while taking in the breathtaking views of Lake Waramaug and the surrounding hills and mountains, truly immersing oneself in the natural surroundings.


Connecticut’s Mayflower Inn & Spa is situated amid lovingly tended gardens and woodlands (Photo: Mayflower Inn & Spa)


San Luis, South Tyrol, Italy
Located in a 40ha protected reserve of alpine park and 4ha of fields sown with orchards, berries and rare spices, San Luis has a small lake whose water reflects the peaks of the Texel Group of mountains. You can indulge in forest immersion throughout your trip by opting for one of the wooden chalets nestled deep in the forest or a treehouse of one or more levels that is set amid a naturally grown spruce and larch forest. Guests can focus on the miraculous powers of nature while thoroughly enjoying the trees, shrubs, mosses and their wonderful effect on the body, mind and soul.


Set in 40 hectares of alpine park, San Luis' lodges are structured to facilitate primordial encounters with nature (Photo: San Luis)


The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia
Situated in the northwestern tip of the lush tropical island of Langkawi, the resort has a 10-million-year-old rainforest as its “back garden” and Southeast Asia’s oldest mountain, Machincang, as its backdrop — making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature and relax. On your walks led by its world-renowned resident naturalist Irshad Mobarak and his team of passionate naturalists and marine biologists, you may spot the long-tailed macaque, dusky langur, Sunda colugo, flying lizard, Tokay gecko and more.


The resort has 121 rooms, suites and villas, all with enchanting views of the lush tropical rainforest (Photo: The Datai Langkawi)


This article first appeared on Aug 12, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia. ​


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