Family vacations and couple’s trips are great, but the industry has seen a massive uptick in female-only travel in recent years. A Google trends report for the search term “solo female travel” indicates a strong and steady rise, Pinterest has observed a 350 percent increase in female-related travel pins since 2014, and a recent report has also shown a staggering 230 percent jump in the number of travel companies solely for women, including trendy women’s retreats.
Not only are female getaways trending, but science has also confirmed that enjoying a vacation with your girlfriends is good for your health, too. In 2016, researchers noted that hanging with friends leads to a boost of oxytocin, the happiness hormone that helps make us kinder, more giving, and more trusting. Contrarily, those who don’t have strong friendships, or who don’t nurture existing friendships, are more prone to feelings of depression and cognitive decline.
“Some people get their relationships in big families, others get their relationships at work, but others have social networks that help them get through the bumps of life, so when you have women going on trips and enjoying themselves, that’s part of this,” says Dr. Tim Vega of OSF HealthCare. “No matter what it is, that connectivity to other people is a part of the fabric of our well-being.”
Really, what better excuse to go on a road trip or jet set with the girls? Whether you’re aiming for adventure or craving some R&R, these five women’s retreats and resorts put female bonding at the top of the priority list. Bring your bestie, group of girlfriends, or pack your bags with the intention of making new friends.
Guests who enjoy surfing and yoga — or who want to dabble in the art of either — should check out Panama’s Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort. This holistic beach front property, located where the tangled jungle hits the sparkling sea in Los Santos, is technically open to both males and females, but has found that 80 percent of its guests are women. As such, the resort has really leaned into the female demographic by putting together travel packages throughout the year for women who want to chill with other women.
For example, there’s the year-round Warrior Goddess Package, which includes a six-night stay at the resort, daily group yoga sessions, a two or five lesson surf package, meals, massage, and transport to and from the airport for about $3200. The resort offers lots of other female-focused retreats throughout the year, as well, ranging from The Overstressed Executive Women’s Surf & Wellness to The Dancer Restore & Explore.
If you’re looking to splurge on a women’s retreat, a week-long stay at California’s historic and tranquil Golden Door is a bucket list must. Almost every single week of the year is carved out for ladies only, and while it’s certainly a splurge at $9650 for seven days, it’s arguably a super investment in your spiritual health. Upon arrival, you’re literally ushered through a set of opulent golden doors and into a 600-acre, Japanese-inspired oasis. While there, you can forget all about the notion of “planning” and instead let the staff take care of everything else for you, including gourmet portioned meals and a bespoke schedule of fitness, meditation, and relaxation.
Every day you also get pampered with an in-room massage, along with facials and body wraps. Guests have access to the pool and spa facilities, and there’s also plenty of bonding opportunities with other women. Think hiking, tennis, cooking lessons, poetry lessons, twilight dinners, and more. Sounds dreamy, right?
The joys of an adult-only resort are boundless, but the travel industry has officially ushered in a new category: female-only hotels. Hotel Som Dona, located on the western coast of Mallorca, Spain, is one of the world’s first female-only hotels and they’re set to take reservations starting this year. (Luthan Hotel and Spa’s “The Sanctuary,” located in the Middle East, is another female-only hotel. There are also a handful of hotels, including Vancouver’s Georgean Court Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia’s Ellis Hotel, and Singapore’s Naumi Hotel, that have designated female-only floors.)
The Mallorca resort calls themselves “a new space for women who are looking to disconnect from the stress of daily life,” and specializes in services that are specifically tailored to females. These range from spa treatments to cuisine and cocktails to excursions and on-site programs. President Joan Enric Capella says that the move is less about making a political statement and more about catering to the solo female travel trend and an increasing demand for women-only spaces.
At Hotel Som Dona, you’ll have access to beautiful beaches, the Caves of Drach, a lounge-worthy pool, lush gardens, and more. All of the services, excursions, and events (like themed parties and sensorial dinners) have been designed specifically for the feminine audience.
With a name like SuperShe Island, you know you’re in for a good time. This ladies-only destination is a bit different from the others on this list in the sense that it’s pretty exclusive. That’s partly because the destination itself — an 8-acre island in the Baltic Sea, right off the Finland coast — is small and only accommodates 10 women at any given time. You also have to apply for an Exclusive Membership and be accepted before you can make the trip to this women’s retreat. Should you end up on the “in list,” though, it’d undoubtedly be the vacation of a lifetime.
“Women need to spend time with other women,” writes Kristina Roth, the woman who founded the resort, on the site. “Being on vacation with men can cause women to become sidetracked, whether it’s to put on a swipe of lipstick or grab for a cover-up. We want SuperShe Island to be rejuvenating and a safe space where women can reinvent themselves and their desires. A place where you can recalibrate without distractions.”
Honestly, once you visit, you will never won’t leave. Here, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views, good conversations, outdoor yoga and meditation, farm-to-table dining, and so much more. Oh, and did we mention they encourage skinny dipping? Rates are roughly $5000 for a week-long visit.
You don’t have to be a yogi to enjoy a girl’s getaway at one of Montana’s Big Sky Luxury “Bootique” Retreats. While you can certainly perfect your downward dog, the overall focus is more about taking much-needed time for yourself and reconnecting with your spirit – all while surrounded by scenic views and fresh air.
“As women, we’re natural caregivers and instinctively put others’ needs first. But, only by stepping back to focus on your own physical and mental health can you truly be at your best for your loved one,” the site reads. “Every one of our ‘Bootique’ retreats feature small groups, inspiring community, outdoor experiences, and safe spaces where you can be your authentic self — whether you’re on a yoga mat, horse, or hiking trail.”
Women’s retreats are scheduled throughout the year and range from Luxe Cowgirl Yoga to Yoga and Advanced Hiking. They also plan and host ladies-only excursions in other locales, including the French Alps and California’s vineyards. Prices start around $2000.