‘Wellness travel’ is nothing new.
Every civilization from the Japanese to the Romans have a storied history of “taking the waters” at their favorite onsen or bath. Given baby boomers’ obsession with healthy aging, properties around the world court visitors with spa treatments, aerial yoga, aromatherapy and more.
Add Fiji’s newest property, Six Senses Fiji, to the wellness retreat list. Located on Malolo Island, a 30-minute boat ride from Port Denarau (near Nadi airport) Six Senses Fiji proudly tauts its green emphasis. Among its sustainable virtues is a photovoltaic system stored in Tesla batteries, which makes the property 100 percent energy independent.
What appealed to me more than the solar installation, was the resort’s Integrated Wellness program, which tailors a package to each guest.
|IF YOU GO
Six Senses Fiji
** Cost: Accommodations start at $1,400 per day per couple; Wellness Program is an additional $650, $1,000 or $2,000 for three-, five or 10-day programs
** Phone: 855-695-6693
** Email: email@example.com
** On the Net: sixsenses.com/resorts/fiji/destination
The first stage is an assessment with a staff member to determine your needs, which may range from improving sleep or handling stress to boosting your immune system.
I met with Deepak Rawat, originally from India, who doubles as yoga instructor and ayurvedic medicine practitioner. (The resort’s wellness program was developed by an all-star advisory team including Columbia University professor and celebrity doc, Mehmet Oz.)
He began by taking my blood pressure and pulse. Then the session went high tech, with electrode pads positioned on my head and a thumb. He also had me place the palms of my hands and soles of my feet on stainless-steel plates. The electrodes and plates were wired to a Swedish-made black box, which was in turn connected to a laptop.
After 20 minutes of deep breaths and tests to monitor oxygen flow and distribution through my body, arterial stiffness and much more, Rawat printed out my results. “Not bad,” he declared, “but we’ll improve it.”
I had a wellness quotient of 87, on a scale of 100.
Depending on your specific needs, whether shedding pounds or increasing stamina, he promises to take you to the next level.
Rawat proposed a diet, yoga, meditation and exercise program that would get me there.
He called in his second in command, MaheshMurali, also a yogi, who handed me a mat and accompanied me to the yoga pavilion to wrap up my session with some stretches and meditation.
I was soon swimming in a sea of well-being.
With guidance from Rawat, my path to good health seemed a fait accompli. All I needed was a week eating their exquisite, healthy food (some grown right on the premises); immersing myself in Bobo (traditional Fijian massage); snorkeling and diving at pristine beaches; surfing at nearby world class breaks; and getting pampered at the spa with sea grape masks and banana leaf body wraps.
Alas, trip was just a one-day sampling of the amenities.
Fiji has other options if wellness is your goal.
Daku Resort, overlooking Savusavu Bay on Fiji’s second largest island of Vanu Levu, has a Paradise Course series with classes including painting, yoga, snorkeling and birdwatching. The various disciplines combine cultural activities such as village tours with what course director Delia Rothnie-Jones calls visits to “wellness-inducing” local nature spots. These include waterfalls, thermal (mud) bathing pools. Some of the pools are used by traditional healers known as vuniwai, who scoop up gritty organic mud for an exfoliating scrub. The resort also offers massage and vegetarian fare.
A seven-day wellness course start at $1,330 for a double, $1,550 for a single. Price includes tuition, accommodations, workshops, meals and excursions.
Rob Kay is author of Lonely Planet travel guides and writes about travel and healthy aging in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He can be reached at RobertFredKay@gmail.com.