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Chapter 5: What Drives You to Travel?

Receive a spa treatment in Hawaii

Receive a spa treatment in Hawaii

Relax in the geothermal spa in Reykjavik's Blue Lagoon

Relax in the geothermal spa in Reykjavik's Blue Lagoon

In a world constantly in motion and full of life’s unavoidable busyness, it is often hard to stop and step away from it all in fear of falling behind. However, studies have shown over and over again that it is good and even necessary to occasionally take a break and replenish one’s strength, relax, de-stress and recharge. To help make deciding where in the world to take a holiday for the sake of one’s health and wellness easier, hotels.com has compiled a list of recommended spa, resort and health havens for the worn out traveler.

Domestic

Honolulu, HI – $153

Voted as the slimmest city (also one of the healthiest) in America by the Huffington Post in November 2011, Honolulu, Hawaii is the ideal vacation spot for a health and wellness holiday. It is ranked 28th in Top U.S. Destinations for American Travelers and seventh in Top U.S. Destinations for Overseas Visitors and certainly offers more than just sun, sand and surf. For breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and lush mountain scenery, hike up the slopes of Leahi, one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. For a more off-the-beaten path hike, Kaena Point offers scenes of a dramatic lava shoreline and views of the Waianae coast. Hanauma Bay on Oahu’s eastern tip in Honolulu is considered one of the island’s best snorkeling destinations. This bay not only offers clear blue waters and colorful fish, but also provides a wonderful education center with exciting exhibits, information, and a theater presentation detailing the Hanauma Bay’s transformation from a volcanic crater to Hawaii’s first Marine Life Conservation District.

Cambridge, MA – $222

An interesting city on Huffington Post’s list of America’s Healthiest Cities is Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was awarded the title “Healthiest Overall.” With hotel prices up 11%, this historic American city certainly has more than meets the eye. Founded in 1630 and rich in history, Cambridge is the perfect place for a walking tour. Stroll through the elegant Brattle Street, called “King’s Highway” or “Tory Row” before the American Revolutionary War, to see historical buildings such as the modernist glass-and-concrete building that housed the Design Research store, and the Longfellow House National Historic Site, where George Washington and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow both lived (at different times). This is a great way to be fully immersed in the country’s past while taking an enjoyable tour. To see even more historic sights of Cambridge and Boston in a truly serene atmosphere, take an evening sunset cruise through the Charles Riverboat Company. Relax as the Captain points out all the important and intriguing landmarks, and watch the sun peacefully set in the sky towards the end of the tour.

International

Reykjavik, Iceland – $163

Discover one of the ultimate health and wellness destinations by visiting Reykjavik, Iceland, where the 34% increase in hotel prices only reflects the city’s emerging popularity. According to Iceland of Health, Iceland has a very “eco-friendly lifestyle, where simplicity of low stress living is merged with the newest technologies.” With healthy ingredients, quality water, hot springs and glacial rivers, one can easily find both food for the body and food for the soul. When visiting Reykjavik, one important place that should not be missed is the Blue Lagoon. Voted as the best Medical/Thermal spa worldwide in 2009 by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the steamy waters of this geothermal spa are rich in minerals, such as silica and sulfur, and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is known to provide medicinal healing. Other activities to partake in are snorkeling in Silfra or going on a tour of Jökulsárlón – a glacial lagoon where more of Iceland’s finest natural wonders can be found.

Bangkok, Thailand – $94

Rising seven spots on the list of Top Overseas Destinations for Americans from 24th in 2010 to 17th in 2011 is Bangkok, Thailand. With hotel prices up only 3% from 2010 to 2011, Bangkok is the perfect place to go for a relaxing and affordable getaway. Known for its famous massages, Thailand has become a world holistic center with activities that tend to both body and mind. For a truly unwinding experience, visit Divana Massage and Spa, a rare gem in a bustling city. Surrounded by almost an acre of tropical garden, this naturally luxe spa contains five private spa treatment rooms with different soft music playing in each room, providing a perfectly serene environment. Rasayana Retreat, another must-see destination, is a quiet detox, holistic health center, which specializes in rejuvenation through several different methods, including weight loss programs, naturopathic treatments, aromatherapy, and acupuncture. With so many great restful and rejuvenating activities, one will surely be ready to jump back into everyday life with renewed energy.