Skip to main content

Retreat and Renew

The inside track on some of the world’s leading longevity retreats. 

Turtle House at Joali Being in The Maldives

Four specialist retreats in nurturing environments where the importance of relaxation is taken to another level, leaving guests on the path to a healthier existence. 

Joali Being, Maldives  

Ocean Sala, Meditation

This sophisticated boutique retreat is built on the practically postcard-perfect Bodufushi Island in the Raa Atoll, one of thousands that make up the Maldives archipelago. 

The warm Indian Ocean laps against the white sandy shore, while swaying coconut palms frame this paradisical setting. 

Created by Turkish entrepreneur Esin Güral Argat, the wellness retreat is centred around the “joyful feeling of weightlessness”. 

“Joali Being is the first wellbeing island of its kind in the Maldives; it’s a truly transformative destination that aims to give and revitalise,” says Esin. “We offer personalised programmes around preventative care and meet specific objectives such as gut reset, reverse ageing and women’s health.”  

Longevity is a broad term, and the four pillars of Joali Being take centre stage in overall wellbeing and encouraging a healthy and long-lasting life lived to its full potential. Wellbeing programmes range from five nights to three weeks. 

Lotus Singing Bowl Meditation, Joali Being

I had come to Joali Being to experience their four-pillar approach, covering mind, microbiome, skin and energy. 

Areka, the impressive spa, has 39 treatment rooms and spaces including Kaashi (hydrotherapy hall), Seda (sound therapy Hall), the Discovery Sound Path, Core (movement and fitness zone) and Ocean Sala (overwater deck for anti-gravity yoga and meditation). In addition, there’s multiple classes including yoga, nutritional cooking, herbology and perfume making. Also on offer are watersports, padel and tennis. 

But things were about to get personal with a tailored spa experience, influenced by Asian wellness traditions.  

“Marhaba, Miss Lisa.” I was greeted the Joali Being way, with right hand on heart, as I entered the Areka spa. 

My wellness screening consisted of a 60-minute consultation with naturopath Dr Shradda Shetty, who used a Qest4 bioresonance machine to assess my body and help to create a personalised week-long wellness programme that included fitness and nutrition advice, and a plan to take home. 

I tried sound healing, a soothing process where a therapist played various sounds while I soaked in the sensations. 

Watsu is a water shiatsu therapy (hydrotherapy); a thoroughly relaxing experience in 35-degree salted water where a therapist applied acupressure, massage and stretches. Some find this an emotional experience; I dozed off, apparently. 

I took advantage of this utterly luxurious five-star retreat and its superb restaurants. In the evenings, I cycled from my water villa, clickety-clacking over the 1.5km wooden boardwalk to either of three restaurants: Flow, Mojo or Ocean Sala Grill. Catching the slightest breeze while cycling was a relief from the humid air.  

The spectacular health-conscious meals are curated by an integrative medicine specialist and include lots of locally sourced fresh fish, seafood and sushi, plus prime cuts of meat, all sustainably certified and humanely treated.   

The 68 villas are either built over the crystal-clear waters of a lagoon (water villas) or overlook the sea (beach villas), with private infinity pools, a personal jadugar (butler), and your own pale blue bicycle with personalised plates (your name is carved into wood and attached to the rear of the bike). 

The Turkish Hammam at Joali Being

Inside, the spacious villas impress with their high, chapel-like ceilings... the acoustics sound great on the villas’ large Bluetooth speakers. 

The large beds are just a few feet away from the private infinity pool, ideal for a bed-to-pool wake-up dip. Televisions don’t exist here, and you won’t find plug sockets next to the bed, to enhance your sleep. 

Esin is clear when it comes to sustainability. “It is our responsibility to support sustainable tourism by offsetting all carbon emissions from guest accommodation. 

“We also have our own compactor for tins and paper; a woodchipper that helps to create natural fertiliser; a rocket composter for all wet rubbish; a desalinating water system to create fresh water bottled in glass; a rain-harvesting process for landscaping, and our menus are all Fairtrade.”  

It was at this exclusive hideaway that I learnt how to truly relax, giving myself permission to do absolutely nothing except practise for longevity and better living.  

Joali Being has villas from $3,300 (approx. £2,780) per night based on two sharing a beach villa with pool on a B&B basis. The writer was flown courtesy of Qatar Airways.  

Palazzo Fiuggi, Italy  

The spa at Palazzo Fiuggi

Palazzo Fiuggi, located an hour south of Rome in the medieval town of Fiuggi, is a wellness retreat fast becoming one of the world’s leading medical spas and an innovator in well-being through their longevity and rejuvenation programmes.    

Fiuggi’s history stretches back to the 1300s, when Pope Boniface VIII claimed the village’s natural spring water cured his kidney stones. Today, the water is recognised globally for its therapeutic properties, and Palazzo Fiuggi’s own water fountain plays an important role in detoxifying the body during a stay at this stunning retreat. 

The villa was originally constructed in 1913 to be the most luxurious hotel in Europe, and recently went through a €30 million redevelopment. Handmade Murano chandeliers dangle from high vaulted ceilings, while shimmering white marble and spectacular golden murals adorn the villa. 

Frequented by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, the spectacular retreat boasts indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a technologically advanced 6,000 square-metre spa and medical area with 21 treatment rooms and a movement lab, a dedicated yoga studio, hydro circuit rooms, Himalayan salt rooms, frescoed salons and elegant ballrooms. It offers 102 guest rooms and suites with stunning views onto eight acres of parkland and beautiful gardens where guests can immerse themselves in the peaceful and natural environment or enjoy the tennis and padel courts. 

“I’ve been to many spas over the years. I’ve relaxed and retreated, deep-tissued and shiatsu’d; woken up with the birds for yoga and cardio; starved, meditated, cleansed. But never have I ever experienced anything like this,” said Winfrey.  

Programmes run for seven, 10, 14 and 21 nights and they aim to reduce the ageing of tissues with an integrated approach, using specialised tests to identify any imbalances. A customised treatment plan is created, which focuses on diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle to promote healthy ageing.    

On arrival, a unique reception awaits to signal the start of my wellness journey: a traditional Turkish Hamman that includes a gentle wash with hot Fiuggi water and black soap. A touch of rose water to the skin brings natural purity and hydration to achieve complete relaxation of mind, body and soul. 

Heinz Beck & Prof. David Della Morte Canosci @tysonsadlo/ Herd Represented

Later, medical and holistic examinations diagnose your body-mind-spirit state of health and set a baseline against which to measure your goals. 

“Our diagnostic panel includes medical, genetic and epigenetic tests, hormone tests and microbiota analysis, as well as dynostics (metabolic analysis). Bioelectrical impedance analysis determines body composition, hydration levels, fat and non-fat mass to determine appropriate diet and lifestyle interventions,” say Palazzo Fiuggi. “This impressive facility is the result of collaborations with researchers from the best universities in the world who help in developing protocols on water, food, nutraceuticals and genetics that not only underpin the programmes we create for guests, but that also contribute to research projects across the world.” 

The longevity and rejuvenation programmes are designed to improve health with aesthetic and functional effects, supporting the regeneration of the body’s tissues. A personalised and sustainable training plan is created to improve the long-term ageing process. 

Palazzo Fiuggi

When it comes to food, there’s over 1,600 exquisite recipes all created by three-Michelin-starred chef, Heinz Beck. The extraordinary meals help with detoxification, weight control, and immunity defence. 

Before leaving, a final medical examination takes place to evaluate your progress against the objectives established at your first assessment and to fine-tune your onward wellness plan to continue at home.  

Clinique La Prairie, Switzerland  

The pool at Clinique La Prairie

Lake Geneva’s Riviera runs between Lausanne and Montreux, passing through the stunning Lavaux vineyard terraces that date back to Roman times. The steep terrain is full of vibrant green vines, heavy with plump, summer-ripe grapes. 

My destination, the town of Clarens, hosts a multiple-award-winning lakeside health resort. Surrounded by stunning gardens, Clinique La Prairie overlooks the spectacular lakeside setting while the towering mountain backdrop takes your breath away. The fresh air and view alone deflect stress. 

Since 1931, Clinique La Prairie has been recognised as the world’s leading wellness and health resort. Dedicated guests come from far and wide for life-changing bespoke longevity and wellbeing treatments and programmes; many are loyal, repeat treatment seekers.  

Specialising in preventative medicine, this leading institute has over 90 years of scientific research in longevity and boasts 50 of the world’s top medical specialists who oversee wellbeing, nutrition and movement programmes ranging from seven to 14 days, including the popular seven-day master detox (from CHF 19,450).  

Surrounding Lake (c) C Johann Sauty

Based on a holistic practice, every programme — tailored to your exact DNA and health profile — incorporates a founding four-pillars philosophy. 

Clinique La Prairie say: “Every programme is based on a holistic approach that targets senoinflammation and boosts immunity using the four cornerstones of longevity: medical insight, nutrition, wellbeing and movement. Our advanced screenings allow us to build a comprehensive health map, using preventative medicine, supplements, a longevity diet and mind-body connections during your stay to positively influence your metabolism and genes and enhance your life.” 

The master detox aims to slow down negative ageing effects, boost the immune system, reduce heavy metals in the body and purify and cleanse one’s system, resulting in mental balance and a stress-free, well-rested body. Other programmes include healthy weight (seven or 14 days), revitalisation (seven days) and the revitalisation premium (seven days).  

Clinique La Prairie

The resort’s polished and stimulating environment is the perfect setting for re-energising and by combining wellbeing with medicine, nutrition and lifestyle plans, guests can expect the ultimate in regenerating detox experiences and diagnostics. 

Accommodation is divided between The Chateau (connected to the spa), The Residence (for longer stays) and the Medical Centre; most of the luxurious rooms and suites have views across the lake and the Alps... a sight that never gets old. 

The welcoming therapists and staff always greet you by name yet are completely discreet; their conversations with guests are always out of earshot.  

The spa is a 1,600 square-metre heavenly designed multi-sensory experience. On the first day, medical assessments result in a bespoke programme to follow. Additional tests and programmes are decided upon after each day’s evaluations based on your progress: expect a busy schedule at this other-worldly retreat. 

You won’t go hungry because the Michelin-star worthy Seeds restaurant is generous with its portions of seasonal and regional dishes.  

“At Clinique La Prairie, we believe that an anti-inflammatory diet is the most powerful nutrition to promote health and increase longevity.” 

Expert nutritionists deliver a personalised menu. Alternatively, healthy gourmet food is served à la carte in the restaurant or try the spa café for superfood smoothies and lighter options. 

Don’t expect fondue or Swiss chocolate but do delight in the creative and skilfully crafted mostly vegan food (the Russian detox salad is a favourite), rounded off with a healthy dessert.  

RAKxa – A Higher State of Being 


Traditional scalp therapy at RAKxa

RAKxa is a secluded integrated wellness resort in leafy Bangkok where devoted international health-pilgrims flock to work on their minds, bodies and souls. 

This next-level luxury health resort is set among 85 acres of lush green oasis just an hour from the buzzing city centre and its international airports. 

On check-in, guests are welcomed with a glass of cool jasmine tea accompanied by the sound of singing bowls, then escorted to a striking and spacious modern villa, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking either a saltwater pool or beautiful garden set against a lush tropical backdrop. Even with 60 villas and two private residences, the resort never feels overly populated. 


Facial skin analysis at RAKxa

At RAKxa, there’s an impressive international team of experts on hand, including medical doctors, healers, nutritionists, specialist chefs, physiotherapists and trainers, who are there to create personalised programmes with no expense spared and exceptional specialised care. 

Guests undergo a physical assessment with state-of-the-art equipment and the results allow the experts to suggest the most beneficial classes, exercises and treatment programmes. 

RAKxa is a relatively new resort, and one of the most exclusive medi-spas in South-East Asia. Bespoke programmes in the ultra-modern facility last for three, five, seven, ten or fourteen nights. You can expect advanced medical therapies and time-tested traditional treatments with multiple consultations and scientific diagnostics.  

The bespoke treatment plans are tailored for each guest and might include acupuncture, mindful exercises, hydrotherapy, probiotic replacement therapy, meditation, tai chi, cryotherapy, massage, weight management, energy healing, oxygen therapy and use of the medical gym, to name just a handful of treatments from a list as long as the nearby canal. 


The Pavillion at RAKxa

Meals are an important part of the treatment process. Beautifully laid tables set the stage for three-course lunches and dinners, with moderately portioned delicious dishes plated on designer tableware.   

Detoxing here isn’t just about food: there’s a mobile phone detox, too. Devices aren’t allowed in public spaces; instead, there’s an opportunity to meet with other guests over a traditional tea-making ceremony.  

RAKxa is the ideal retreat for investing in personal preventative health, keeping in top physical and mental shape and improving chronic health issues. It’s ideal for wellness junkies who can’t resist throwing themselves into the arms of luxury and taking advantage of the ultra-modern treatments, equipment and therapies on offer.  

With a principal focus on longevity, RAKxa offers an insight into the path that wellness resorts will take in the future. 

This article originally appeared in Billionaire's Longevity Issue. To subscribe, click here.