Wellness Travel Awards 2015: The Big Winners

James Lee
Rise of the Spa - Ananda

London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre tonight played host to the Wellness Travel Awards 2015, which honour the very best of health and spa tourism across six continents. TRULY were in attendance to see the winners crowned.

Although the ceremony is still relatively small in scale (now only in its second year), the winners of the Wellness Travel Awards have undergone a rigorous approval process. Initial nominees are selected by a global panel of 33 industry experts, before being whittled down to a final list of nominees in a round of voting by the panel. These nominees then undergo voting by the world’s wellness consumers, to honour the best of the best.

The six ‘Crystal Awards’ are handed out to the locations which exceptional wellness experiences on each continent, with ‘Country Awards’ honouring the best properties in each of 40 countries.

Meanwhile, ‘Category Awards’ cover 20 different categories (such as ‘Best for Couples’ and ‘Best for Yoga’); with 10 awards handed out within each category.

And some people had reason to be very happy indeed with the outcome…

COMO Shambhala Estate (Bali, Indonesia)

Taking home an unprecedented 13 awards, COMO Hotels & Resorts were the night’s biggest winners. Sat in the front row, COMO Shambhala’s Corinna Yap was beaming as the Singapore-based boutique wellness powerhouse had their name appear on the screen over and over.

Of the 13 awards, 12 were impressively taken by COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali; including the accolade for “Best in Asia”. Billed as a ‘retreat for change’, COMO Shambhala Estate’s big evening follows recently being voted the world’s best destination spa at the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards (for the second year running).

So as far as destination wellness retreats go, there’s nowhere more widely acclaimed in the world right now. But if you can’t make the jaunt to Bali just yet, fear not. Our tip for lucky Londoners is to check out the small urban taste of COMO Shambhala situated on their own doorstop, at the Metropolitan by London hotel. Whilst it might not compare to Bali, judging by tonight’s awards, nowhere can.

Congratulations to the team at COMO Shambhala on their continued success!

COMO Shambhala Massage

ESPA Life at Corinthia (London, UK)

While we’re speaking of London, a nod must go in the direction of the UK’s biggest winner of the evening.

The honour falls to ESPA Life at Corinthia, who picked up the “Best in United Kingdom” award, as well as two Category Awards: “Best for Medical Services” and “Best for WOW Factor”. The latter, certainly, cannot be disputed – with the stunningly glitzy facility spanning four floors of the five-star Corinthia London hotel.

No stranger to taking home accolades, Corinthia London has twice before voted “Best UK Hotel Spa” by the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards, and has also been named “Best European Spa” by The Sunday Times Magazine Travel Awards. So it was little surprise to see it honoured again, particularly with some bizarre omissions from the nominee list; such as Pennyhill Park, The Spa at Four Seasons and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental.

However, competition was still strong; with other UK-based nominees including Lucknam Park, Dormy House and The Berkeley; so the team heading up the dazzling space at the Corinthia will be delighted to take home another well-deserved award.

SHA Wellness Clinic (Alicante, Spain)

Expanding our view continent-wide, Europe’s biggest winner was undoubtedly the SHA Wellness Clinic in Alicante, Spain.

As well as winning the “Best in Europe” award, SHA took away nine further accolades, including Category Awards for “Best Overall Healthy Living Program” and “Best for Nutrition”.

The fact that SHA’s methods work won’t come as news to founder Alfredo Bataller Parietti. After suffering from digestive problems for 30 years, Parietti was recommended a doctor who began to educate him on the healing power of proper nutrition; which provided a resolution to the illness. Combining these natural therapies and healthy eating philosophies with the latest advances in Western medicine, the SHA Wellness Clinic was born.

The British tabloids have been telling us for a while that visitors to the clinic include Vladimir Putin, Kylie Minogue and Naomi Campbell. If tonight is anything to go by, it also seems the rest of Europe is now also waking up to SHA’s sunshine-tinted brand of clean living.

Luxury Spa Days in London

Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat (Australia) / Kurotel Longevity Medical Center and Spa (Brazil)

Joining SHA on ten awards apiece, the Crystal Award winners for Australia / New Zealand and South America both ran away with the accolades in their respective continents.

Situated in the remoteness of Queensland’s Gold Coast, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat has a story like few other properties honoured tonight. Renowned for its ecotourism credentials, Gwinganna sum up their concept as one which “combines organic living, spa, movement and relaxation with delicious organic cuisine and vital wellness seminars in a dedicated low tech environment”.

The Kurotel Longevity Medical Center and Spa meanwhile, which notched Category Awards such as “Best Overall Healthy Living Program” and “Best for Fitness”, has spent over 30 years helping Brazilians and visitors alike live healthier lives. Personalising therapies to assist with a huge range of ailments, from stress to cancer recovery and weight control, the South American crown is firmly atop the right head at Kurotel.

Lanserhof Tegernsee (Waakirchen, Germany)

Probably the closest competitor to SHA’s “Best in Europe” crown, the team at German medical spa Lanserhof Tegernsee still had plenty to be pleased about.

With eight awards, including “Best in Germany” (unsurprisingly), as well as “Best for Medical Services” and “Best New Spa & Wellness Property”, Lanserhof has continued its run of hoovering up acclaim across the continent.

Luxury Spa Days in London

Canyon Ranch in Tucson (Arizona, USA) / Mii amo (Arizona, USA)

As far as North America goes, Arizona reigns supreme. Canyon Ranch in Tucson took the accolade for “Best in North America”, along with a further 10 Category Awards; giving the all-inclusive desert paradise justification to continue referring to themselves as “the world’s premier health resort”.

However, a more-than-honourable mention must go to Mii amo, who also swept up 10 Category Awards; the same number achieved by Asia’s best, COMO Shambhala Estate.

TRULY Partners in the Awards

At TRULY, we partner with some of the world’s leading wellness destinations, to help people create unforgettable memories. And so it’s with delight that a number of our partners ran out with accolades.

As well as the wins for COMO and ESPA Life at Corinthia, we must give a big mention to TRULY partner Ananda at the Himalayas, who walked away from the evening with three awards. In spite of missing out on the regional awards in a hugely competitive Asian market, Ananda took Category Awards such as “Best for Mind & Spirit” and “Best for Yoga”, proving that the Conde Nast’s Best Spa in the World 2012 is still one of the planet’s leading spiritual escapes.

blue lagoon

Winning both a “Best for Couples” award and the “Best in Nordic Countries” award, the Blue Lagoon took four awards in total. One of Iceland’s most popular attractions – and likely the world’s most famous spa of its kind – the Blue Lagoon harnesses the natural healing elements of the geothermal waters upon which it sits. Recognised as one of the wonders of the world by National Geographic Magazine, we were delighted to see them pick up a few more notches on the belt tonight.

Meanwhile, La Mamounia in Marrakech was awarded with the “Best in Morocco” award. This represents the second accolade in 8 weeks for La Mamounia, having only just in September been named the “Best Travel Experience in The World” by Condé Nast Traveller (where it beat out every other hotel, destination spa, travel agent and cruise liner on the planet; as well as being ranked ahead of visiting the Maldives, Italy, London, or New York).

We pass our heartfelt congratulations to all the properties, TRULY partners and otherwise, honoured tonight for providing such exceptional wellness experiences!

Awards Overview

Crystal Awards: for the best in each continent

  • Best in Africa: Thalaspa Henri Chenot at Lion in the Sun, Kenya
  • Best in Asia: COMO Shambhala Estate, Indonesia
  • Best in Australia / New Zealand: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia
  • Best in Europe: SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain
  • Best in North America: Canyon Ranch in Tucson, USA
  • Best in South and Central America: Kurotel Longevity Medical Center and Spa, Brazil

Country Awards: for the best in each country/region

  • Best in Australia: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Queensland
  • Best in Canada: Spa Eastman, Eastman
  • Best in the Caribbean: The BodyHoliday, St Lucia
  • Best in France: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
  • Best in Germany: Lanserhof Tegernsee, Waakirchen
  • Best in India: Vana Malsi Estate, Dehradun
  • Best in Ireland: Park Hotel Kenmare, County Kerry
  • Best in Italy: Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda, Lake Garda
  • Best in Japan: Gora Kadan, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Best in the Middle East: Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Best in Morocco: La Mamounia, Marrakech
  • Best in the Nordic Countries: Blue Lagoon, Iceland
  • Best in Spain: SHA Wellness Clinic, Alicante
  • Best in the United States: Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona
  • Best in the United Kingdom: ESPA Life at Corinthia, London
  • All 43 regional winners can be seen at the Wellness Travel Awards website.

Category Awards: 200 awards given across 20 distinct categories

  • 10 awards: Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, USA
  • 10 awards: COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia
  • 10 awards: Mii amo, Arizona, USA
  • 8 awards: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Queensland, Australia
  • 8 awards: Kurotel Longevity Medical Center and Spa, Gramado, Brazil
  • 8 awards: SHA Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain
  • 7 awards: Lanserhof Tegernsee, Waakirchen, Germany
  • 7 awards: Spa Eastman, Eastman, Canada
  • You can view the full list of winners from all 20 categories at the Wellness Travel Awards website

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