Fancy a fillip in the Philippines?
“Everyone wants to feel better!” So went the refreshingly succinct explanation for the growth of wellness tourism at a recent travel industry forum. And who could disagree?
There’s something about the age we live in that makes us feel the need for escape more keenly than ever. As the digital revolution speeds everything up, so our bodies and minds begin to crave a gentler pace.
We require rebalancing; it’s a sub-conscious reaction to the demands of modern life that sometimes bubbles to the surface with a hasty meditation app download or detox recipe torn from a weekend supplement. But the surface is merely scratched, and so the cycle goes on.
“I must find time for a lunchtime massage,” you muse. “And no more mobile by the bed. No wonder I can’t switch off at night.”
The wellness mega-trend is a symptom of a worried world. And as with any symptom, some treatments are more effective than others. When it comes to getting away from it all, there are perhaps just a handful of wellness resorts worldwide whose credentials make them worthy of the name.
The Farm At San Benito is one of them, a member of the London-based Luxury Hotels Group.
The setting alone lifts your spirits. About as far removed from modern metropolitan life as it gets, Batangas province is the verdant, volcanic hinterland South of Manila, the Philippine capital. More than 50 hectares of coconut plantation and pristine tropical forest become the backdrop to your quest for enhanced health and happiness.
At its heart stands a 250-year-old mango tree, said to possess healing powers. As you realise, with pleasant surprise, just how readily involuntary relaxation has set in, you begin to lose your cynicism. Perhaps magic mango trees do exist.
This is no glitzy lifestyle spa, clocking up column inches more readily than it sheds them from the waistlines of its clients. Don’t be surprised, then, if this is the first you’ve heard of The Farm. It’s less about the latest celeb-endorsed hangout and more about making a positive life change – albeit in the lap of luxury.
In fact, The Farm describes itself not as a hotel at all, but a “healing journey” – a must-have in every individual’s life at least once a year.
This is an annual pilgrimage with many advocates, judging by the online guest reviews. It seems The Farm’s low-key, back-to-nature approach to well-being is just what the doctor ordered.
“Holistic” may be a buzzword in spa and wellness, but here it’s justified, with all-encompassing personal programmes combining healing and rejuvenating treatments, organic vegan cooking, physical fitness activities, inner balance, and, of course, breathtaking natural beauty.