The Best Spa Experiences of the Year
Our editors’ picks for restorative, rare self-care experiences.
A selection of products to help you feel like yourself again.
I FIRMLY BELIEVE that all vacations should be enjoyed at maximum capacity. If you come home feeling better than when you left, you did it wrong and ought to start over.
The best way to experience new places is to squeeze in however many meals you need in order to try all the best local restaurants, and you should enjoy yourself so much you forget about wearing any kind of protective gear aimed at shielding you from the elements. I’m not saying this is the wisest suggestion, but considering the curveballs life has been throwing us as of late, we might as well live each day as if it could be our last. You never know!
But be warned: Having the best time humanly possible comes with drawbacks. Once you finally make it home after indulging in your wildest travel-blogger fantasies, you can be left feeling, well, absolutely worse for wear. The person you were when you boarded that airplane a week and a half ago might be overtaken by a lethargic zombie with weird patches of dry skin, split ends, and a stomach that can barely digest an apple.
Thankfully, with some careful planning and early preparation, you can get ahead of this feeling and bounce back from the brink of destruction faster than you think.
As you get older, your stomach changes in ways you’d never thought possible. One day you’re inhaling all the bread, cheese, and butter within a 20-mile radius of Beaulieu-sur-Mer. You’re invincible. There is no delicious treat your youthful stomach can’t tolerate. Suddenly you’re a few years older and on the same journey, except now you have heartburn up to your esophagus, an additional 5 pounds of salt- and alcohol-induced water weight, and a painfully bloated stomach that only gets worse once you set foot on an airplane. On top of this, you lack all energy. You’re in a terrible mood and feel like a stranger in your own skin. Sound familiar? If not, then good for you and your iron gut. You are an anomaly. But for the rest of us who need recovering from enjoying ourselves, I suggest trying the Kroma Wellness’ Deluxe 5-Day Reset.
Many of the self-proclaimed “lifestyle reset” systems on the market are questionable diets masked as full-body, gut-friendly recovery plans. So when I heard about Kroma I was skeptical it would end up yet another unhealthy influencer-promoted program aimed at helping people lose weight in all the wrong ways. I also loathe cleanses and don’t think depriving your body of vital nutrients or things you love helps you reach a place, physically or mentally, that is sustainable in the long term.
However, I was blown away by day two of the Kroma reset, which is also really easy to follow, as their system allows you to eat very frequently, incorporating a healthy dose of lean proteins, fruit, and veggies into meals with Kroma-produced bone broths, smoothies, porridges, cookie butters, wellness tonics, and lattes.
I quickly found that not only did retraining my stomach using Kroma help me make healthier choices overall, but it also revitalized my gut in a way that caused a full transformation of my body inside and out. My skin was clearer, I experienced higher energy levels and fewer mood swings, I slept eight hours a night, I lost every pound of cabin-pressure-induced water weight, my nails were stronger, and I could manage stress better, including on the most chaotic of days. Now, even when I’m not traveling, I continue to drink Kroma’s smoothies and matchas because I actually love the way they taste. SHOP
It only makes sense that after indulging in around-the-clock culinary experiences, your mouth will endure quite a bit of abuse. Perhaps you had so much coffee, red wine, or saffron-rich foods that your teeth have turned color. Or you ate so much zeppole you gave yourself a new cavity. I absolutely love UMA’s Pure Detox Oil Pulling Treatment to combat enamel discoloration, and also to promote healthy gums and fresh breath throughout the day. Having tried other pulling oils in the past, I can confidently say this one tastes better than anything else I’ve found. The combination of coconut, peppermint, clove, turmeric, and sesame is so refreshing, you’ll soon abandon all alcohol-based mouthwashes that leave your mouth feeling like it’s on fire. SHOP
Unpopular opinion: I don’t like getting up midflight unless I absolutely have to use the bathroom. I also dislike when people walk up and down the aisles to stretch their legs. I always book window seats. So for me to move around or stay active means I have to climb over sleeping strangers, which under no circumstance is ever going to happen unless it’s a life-or-death emergency. I simply do not want to move. I want to fold myself into a pretzel and nestle my body between my seat and my window to sleep. Because of this and the aftereffects of in-flight cabin pressure, I often find myself hobbling off airplanes, experiencing painful circulation issues long after I’ve reached my final destination. While there are countless ways to combat poor circulation and bodily fatigue, I’m a major fan of dry brushing and then moisturizing my legs with In Fiore’s Firmante Leg Tonic to transform the lifeless tree trunks I came home with back into legs. SHOP
My hair is the first thing to go when I travel. Whether it’s dried out due to harsh unfiltered water or pollution, fried from the sun, or falling out in clumps because of miscellaneous travel stressors, by the time I return home my coif is reminiscent of a doll who has endured copious amounts of violent hair brushing and a run-in with a lighter. I really wish I were exaggerating for laughs, but I’m not. Luckily, the MFlorens Exfoliate & Revitalize Scalp & Hair Serum system works wonders for people like me. There are three products in their line all aimed at complete cell-to-strand recovery. It’s not necessary to use all of them either, but I’ve found that regularly incorporating serums No. 1 and No. 2 on a rotating basis with their No. 3 Fortify Hydrate Polish Hair Styling Serum is basically the only thing that keeps me from cutting all my hair off and starting anew anytime I return home from a trip. The scents are also so decadently earthy smelling that it’s a line of products suitable for all sexes and genders. SHOP
It took me an absurdly long time to come around to appreciating the powers of essential oils, and now that I know how incredible they are, I’m unsure how I ever lived life without them. Saje Natural Wellness has my absolute favorite set of roller ball oils in both full-size and travel-size sets, with fresh scents aimed at relieving stress, helping you to breathe better, curing nauseous stomachs, soothing achy muscles, and pretty much everything else you might need some on-the-go support with. Whatever ailment you have, Saje Wellness probably has an oil for it. I always push people toward starting with their Pocket Pharmacy Physical Edition before branching out into any of their other products. I never leave home without their Peppermint Halo roller; I use it more than Chapstick. SHOP
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Annette Lamothe-Ramos is the visuals director of Departures. A native New Yorker now based in Los Angeles, she is a multidisciplinary artist and creative consultant working in online media, print, and film. Formerly the creative director and fashion editor at Vice, she has also created original documentary shorts and series for several major streaming platforms.
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.
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