Wellness Retreats and Resorts are popular. But which ones offer safe spaces for black women?

Wellness Retreats and Resorts are popular.  But which ones offer safe spaces for black women?

A recent study by Statista found that the global wellness economy will be worth $4.4 trillion by 2020, with the wellness tourism market generating a whopping $436 billion. So the good news is that many of us are investing in wellness and self-care. However, the wellness industry is overwhelmingly white.

For example, recent research compiled by McKinsey & Company confirms what many black wellness seekers know anecdotally, though the study found that 60% of black consumers preferred wellness in 2022 over previous years. However, their survey found that unmet needs in the wellness world are even more pronounced among Black consumers, citing 47 to 55 percent of Black consumers who feel that health services and products leave much unmet.

Fortunately, health cohorts like Black Girl In Om and OMNoire offer thoughtfully planned retreats that provide Black women with a safe and acceptable entry into the health field. But what happens when you can’t join a pre-planned wellness retreat? For planning advice, we chatted with Samora Suber, somatic life coach and founder of Motivational Yoga, which hosts an annual Worthy Retreat, to find accommodations that will make you feel at home.

“I like to plan retreats in places where people of color already live,” Suber tells ESSENCE. “Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Bali are places I’ve hosted previous retreats.” Like us, she focuses on the safety of women of color and shares her travel experiences. “I want my ladies to feel like they can completely relax and be themselves, so traveling to places with similar cultures helps them in that process.”

Here are a few things to look out for when planning a wellness-focused vacation for a solo female tourist or girlfriend.

Range of reviews.

Most of us probably already use reviews to our advantage for everything from shopping on Amazon to where to make dinner reservations. But Suber says more thorough research is essential for residents. “I pay a lot of attention to reviews,” he tells us. “Usually people are very honest when reviewing a resort or experience, so I look for comments from past guests about their stay, bedding, food, staff, etc. to help me make the best decision for planning my retreat.” Also, sites like Tripadvisor and Booking.com allow you to search keywords in reviews, so it’s a great tool.

Include nature in your list of bookings for health.

Nature is proven to help calm the nervous system, and Suber makes nature an integral part of her planning. “I always seek out places in nature,” she confides. “Sunlight, trees, the ocean or large bodies of water have healing properties that most people can’t take advantage of in their daily lives. A wellness trip should encourage you to slow down, get fresh air and be in nature longer, which helps ground you. ”

Consider the amenities.

Hotel amenities may not be at the top of your wish list when exploring a new city. But when it comes to wellness vacations, Suber says it’s a good idea to think about beds, spas, pools and on-site dining options. “If you’re in the mood for activities, think about things that will help you get to know yourself and the culture you’re visiting better,” he explains. “For example, in Tulum, I like to take my participants to cenotes, ancient bodies of water where they can learn more about the sacred land and rejuvenate while swimming.”

Be guided by the resorts’ websites and social media.

As we know, representation is important and Suber says we can use the resort’s website, social media and word of mouth to verify before booking. “Pay attention to how you heard about the hotel,” he advises. “If it’s a recommendation from someone you know and trust, it will make it easier to feel comfortable booking. However, if [you’ve] seen it advertised on IG but it doesn’t have any variety on its website, you might want to investigate whether it’s a welcoming environment.”

Another way to do due diligence that may seem a little old-fashioned: pick up the phone. “Another way to check out hotels is to call them,” shares Suber. “You can usually get a sense of the company culture by looking at the customer service and asking specific questions about their staff, guest relations and values.”

Here are a few spa resorts to consider when planning.

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