Booking site TripAdvisor last week announced its top international wellness destinations.
It identified ‘zen destinations’ where travellers are able to retreat to focus on well-being, yoga, meditation and self-care.
The top 10 wellness destinations listed were Bali (Indonesia), Rishikesh (India), Sedona (United States), Hepburn Springs (Australia), Ko Samui (Thailand), Costa Rica, Goa (India), Zermatt (Switzerland), Maldives and Ibiza (Spain).
Hepburn Springs was listed as the fourth best wellness destination for its reputation as a spa town nestled in nature, where visitors are able to sample the mineral water and indulge in a massage or spa retreat.
The site also listed highly rated spa hotels, wellness experiences and healthy restaurants for each place.
Shizuka Ryokan Japanese Country Spa Retreat was named, as was the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve and The Surly Goat restaurant.
Owner of Shizuka Ryokan, Catherine Defina, said most people who went to the retreat had some kind of connection with Japan.
“It’s a totally different place to an average hotel. Shoes are left at the door and guests are given a yukata robe. It’s very simple.
“We are about stepping out of normal life and breaking the patterns. We don’t have any TV’s… we don’t have any normal western expectations like beds in the rooms either, we have futons that guests roll out at night.
“We go back to the roots of wellness. [The retreat’s] heart is Japanese, which strips all the window dressings off the buzzword wellness… having that time to switch off, step out of a normal life and reconnect, whether with yourself or with a partner,” she said.
She said the area offered so many things in terms of wellness, as guests are able to enjoy their Japanese spa, walk through the surrounding bush and taste the region’s food.
“This is a beautiful region but it is attractive because of the type of people, accommodation providers and wellness providers that are here. And that all exists because of the mineral water. It is an incredible asset.”