Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×
Search
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

5 Wellness Retreats for the Sandwich Generation

Consider these destinations for holistic relief

spinner image a roman bath at the spa at nove lazne in marianske lazne the czech republic
​​Indulge in a Roman bath at the spa at Nové Lázně in Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic.​
Léčebné Lázně / Jan Prerovsky

It’s no picnic for the sandwich generation these days.

For the 36 percent of American adults in their 50s that the Pew Research Center identifies as caught between the demands of aging parents and financially dependent kids, the idea of taking a wellness break may seem like a pipe dream. But even if sandwich heroes have just a few days to sneak away, there are a smorgasbord of options for transformative wellness retreats designed to soothe the mind, body and/or spirit.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine. Find out how much you could save in a year with a membership. Learn more.

Join Now

Sure, you can always book a getaway at a fancy resort and indulge at the on-site spa for a day or two. But those in need of a more comprehensive wellness reboot might be better off choosing an immersive wellness resort. These are places that ooze wellness, from the environment in which they are located (the more nature, the better) to the food they serve, to the activities they offer.

Unlike resorts that just happen to have spas, calm is the backdrop at wellness resorts. Since all guests are seeking their zen, these Xanadus are places where you can unwind among the like-minded.

spinner image people doing wellness activities at les monastere des augustines in quebec city canada
Meditation and other wellness activities are part of a stay at Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City.​
Courtesy Le Monastère des Augustines

A wellness pilgrimage to Quebec City

One doesn’t have to don a habit to stay at Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City. But a visit to the historic Canadian home base of the Augustinian order of nuns may make you change a few of your worst ones. Indeed, this wellness hostelry is the apotheosis of transformational travel.

A typical day at Le Monastère des Augustines begins by putting away cellphones, as they are not allowed in public spaces. That task accomplished, it’s off for a meditative walk through Old Quebec. In search of sustenance, head back to indulge in a silent breakfast at Le Vivoir. In the afternoon, options include a contemplative walk through the gardens, a yoga session or a holistic health consultation. Happy hour entertainment? Listen to an octet of octogenarian nuns (still living on site) singing Vespers in the chapel. After a healthy dinner, tuck into bed. For simplicity, stay in an authentic room, a converted nun’s cell. These are cozy nooks spruced up with antique pine furniture and a single bed covered by hand-sewn quilts. The contemporary rooms have larger beds and en-suite bathrooms. Rooms start at less than $200 a night double occupancy, a small price to pay for a heaven-sent retreat.

spinner image people at civana near scottsdale arizona doing outdoor yoga in the sonoran desert in arizona
​CIVANA near Scottsdale, Arizona, offers regeneration through movement, nourishment, mindfulness and outdoor adventure.
CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa

Just deserts

Located in the Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale, Arizona, CIVANA is a wellness playground offering regeneration through movement, nourishment, mindfulness, outdoor adventure and the creative arts. During a typical day, a CIVANA guest can choose from a range of up to 30 classes, featuring everything from yoga (including options such as face yoga and aerial yoga), meditation and sound healing to more intensive activities such as kayaking, total body barre classes and HIIT with Pilates. All classes, plus wellness lectures, are included in the room price, which ranges from around $300 to $500 a night.

CIVANA’s state-of-the-art spa includes an Aqua Therapy Circuit. It includes a Kneipp hydrotherapy walk, which alternates between hot and cold water, and a cold deluge shower. A wide variety of body treatments are available at the spa as well.

spinner image visitors at mohonk mountain house horseback riding
Visitors at Mohonk Mountain House can experience horseback riding trails.
Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

Wellness in the wild

While Mohonk Mountain House is better known as one of those classic Catskills family resorts, the fact is, the place is the embodiment of a true wellness resort. Its backdrop is the Shawangunk Mountains in New York, designated by the Nature Conservancy as one of Earth’s “last great places.” The resort, family owned since 1869, includes Lake Mohonk, a deep glacial lake perfect for swimming or cold-water plunges.

While Mohonk Mountain House does have a lovely spa, there’s no need to step foot into it to experience wellness. Instead, Margaret Lora, the spa director, has developed Wellness in the Wild programs, full days of curated activities set in nature.

Travel

Holland America Line

Up to $200 onboard credit on select cruises

See more Travel offers >

A Wellness in the Wild experience might start off observing the sunrise from an Adirondack chair. For a more active jump-start, morning yoga, a leisurely amble or a challenging rock scramble are options. Other outdoor offerings include guided forest bathing, birdwatching excursions, archery classes and pickleball. Come nightfall, after watching the sunset, there is a hike with the resort naturalist, followed by an outdoor Yin Yoga session under the stars. Activities change with the season. In winter, guests can take part in polar plunges and mindful snow walks.

The programs are complimentary for overnight guests, but note the nightly rate for two people (double occupancy) hovers around $1,200, which covers all meals, gratuities and most activities.

spinner image organic meals provided at casa alternavida in puerto rico
Three organic meals a day are included in packages at Casa Alternavida in Puerto Rico.
Courtesy of Casa Alternavida

A wellness alternative in Puerto Rico

Just 29 miles from San Juan, but a world away, sits Casa Alternavida, a dedicated wellness retreat located at the doorstep of the El Yunque National Forest. The name comes from melding the Spanish words for alternative and life. That is intentional, as the goal here is creating alternative (as in, healthier) ways to achieve balance in life.

Prior to arrival, guests fill out a comprehensive questionnaire, which digs deep into issues that may need attention. Based on a survey analysis, Casa Alternavida’s staff designs a personalized program. It includes morning movement classes; guided nature experiences in the El Yunque rainforest and at the beach (adapted to an individual’s level of fitness); and three organic meals a day. Casa Alternavida guests also can book private sessions with life coaches, energy works and art instructors.

While accommodations are modest, they are cozy and light filled. Each room has a nature theme, which inspires its furnishings and its hand-painted wall mural. The daily rate for an individualized retreat starts at $525, including room, board and daily programming.

spinner image nove lazne spa hotel in marianske lazne czech republic
Guests at Nové Lázně in Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic, receive a personalized daily course of treatment after meeting with a doctor.
Léčebné Lázně / Ales Vyslouzil

A health Czech-up

While North American spas focus on pampering and relaxation, European medical spas combine human resources and natural sources to design healing programs for guests, particularly for those with chronic medical conditions (including chronic stress). Natural sources include mineral water; mud; natural gas, such as carbon dioxide or radon; and climate. While attending to one’s health is the main mission at these spas, visits allow plenty of free time to enjoy the typical facets of a European vacation, such as culture, gastronomy, history and nature.

The Czech Republic is home to the UNESCO-designated spa towns of Františkovy Lázně, Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně. Each of these Western Bohemian burgs developed centuries ago around natural mineral water springs.

Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně offer a variety of medical spas and accommodations. The selection may depend on one’s budget (daily prices for a four-star hotel with treatments start at less than $130 a day; five-star properties are a bit pricier) or the ailment being treated. Some medical spas, for example, cater to those with osteoarthritis, while others focus on those with skin or respiratory problems.

For example, at the five-star Ensana Nové Lázně Health Spa Hotel in Mariánské Lázně, the Traditional Pain Relief package starts at $1,330 a week with a seven-day minimum stay.  A similar package at the four-star Centrální Lázně Health Spa Hotel, the oldest spa complex in the city (dating from 1812), can start at less than $1,000 for a week.

At both facilities, upon checking in, a guest has an in-depth conversation with an English-speaking doctor. The doctor develops a daily course of treatment, which may include massages, electro-stimulation, applications of therapeutic mud or mud baths and physical therapy.  A guest is also prescribed a specific regimen for drinking the curative mineral waters. At the end of the stay, the guest has a follow-up visit with the doctor and leaves with suggestions for keeping up the regimen.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

AARP Travel Center

Or Call: 1-800-675-4318

Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Flight 2

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 3

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 4

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 5

Enter a valid departing date

+ Add Another Flight

Enter a valid checking in date

Enter a valid checking out date


Occupants of Room 1:



Occupants of Room 2:



Occupants of Room 3:



Occupants of Room 4:



Occupants of Room 5:



Occupants of Room 6:



Occupants of Room 7:



Occupants of Room 8:


Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Occupants of Room 1:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 2:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 3:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 4:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 5:

Age of children:

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid start date

Enter a valid drop off date

Select a valid to location

Select a month

Enter a valid from date

Enter a valid to date