1. Nestled amid the foothills north of Málaga in southern Spain, The Complete Retreat offers exactly what its name implies: a total escape from the rigors of everyda y life as we know it. Naturopath Lisa Jeans and her team base their practice on the words of Hippocrates—"Let food be thy medicine"—aiming to, according to Jeans, make the body more alkaline. In non-health-guru terms that means you’ll detoxify the body by eliminating caffeine, sugar, dairy, meat, and wheat through a raw vegetable and juice diet. Sound extreme? It is, but the diet—combined with twice-daily yoga, hiking, meditation, and swimming in the chlorine-free infinity pool (pictured)—explains why many who come here lose a reported seven pounds a week.
Booking Essentials $ From $5,480 per couple for a minimum one-week stay; book three months in advance. 44-7941/214-750; thecompleteretreat.com
2. Eight years ago Sting and Trudie Styler bought a Tus-can villa in the south of Florence where they could bring their friends and children to relax and unwind in the summer and during holidays. Since then the dynamic duo has converted its private home into Il Palagio, one of the world’s most elite yoga retreats. Classes are conducted by teachers Chuck Miller and Maty Ezraty, co-owners of the original Yoga Works in Santa Monica, California, who host courses designed for yogis of all levels. The chefs at Il Palagio specialize in macrobiotic cooking and incorporate grapes, olives, fruits, and vegetables—all grown on the property—into healthy dishes inspired by the region. They have even produced, among other delicacies, bottles of extra-virgin olive oil and three types of honey, which guests can purchase and take home. And if you’re the type who finds creamy mozzarella and fresh truffles more appealing than kale, Il Palagio also hosts a gourmand getaway—aptly called La Dolce Vita.
Booking Essentials Rates and further information are available upon request. 44-7796/102-043; palagioretreats.com
3. COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri in Bali is probably the best-known high-end yoga retreat. And while all of Christina Ong’s "silent havens for holistic solutions" merit at least one visit, her newest outpost deserves particular mention. Those looking for an average of five hours of practice a day flock to The Estate— as it is known among the yoga cog- noscenti—to stay in one of the spacious villas surrounded by lush Indonesian jungle. Prominent teachers like Rodney Yee are selected by COMO Shambhala’s board of advisors, an elite set of wellness seekers that includes such boldface names as Donna Karan (who keeps a private home on the Caribbean island of Parrot Cay, one of Ong’s other retreats), Gabrielle Roth, and Robert Thurman, M.D. (Uma’s dad).
Booking Essentials Programs are three, five, or seven nights. Bespoke yoga and detox plans are available upon request. From $495 a night for a double suite to $4,400 a night for a four-bedroom residence. 62-361/978-888; cse.como.bz
4. Part members-only club, part yoga getaway, the London-based In:Spa hosts fitness retreats for relaxation-seekers at three separate properties: two in Spain (Ibiza and Andalusia) and another in Morocco, just outside of Marrakech. At all three places the activity list is less spiritual than sporty: The largely British clientele can be found hiking in the snowcapped Atlas Mountains, bicycling through the countryside, swimming in the pools, eating from a well-balanced menu, and, of course, getting massages.
Booking Essentials From $4,440 a person for seven nights. 44-845/458-0723; inspa.co.uk
5. Situated on seven lush acres along the southern coast of Thailand, Chiva-Som is a far cry from the party vibe of nearby Phuket. The name translates to "Haven of Life," and the attitude is as zen as you might expect. Unlike at most other retreats—or any urban studio for that matter—the majority of classes here are one on one. Each guest works with a wellness advisor, who helps to get the body in balance and establish a sense of overall well-being. If you happen to be visiting with someone who has yet to embrace his or her inner self, other packages—detox, weight management, even golf—are available.
Booking Essentials From $1,650 for a three-day retreat to $15,400 for 28 days. 800-504-8254; chivasom.com
$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards
or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.