Are You A “Digital Nomad” Planning A “Staycation” or a “Work Wellnesscation?”

STORY BY Patrick 11th February 2021

Here at LoveTheMountains we’re bombarded each day by media information (including enticing pictures and video) from gorgeous accommodation providers all over the world, trying to entice us to write about them so that you might think about booking a holiday with them.

Even in normal times seeing some magnificent wilderness retreat or pristine beach and not being able to go there straight away can be frustrating, in these ‘lockdown’ times its borderline cruel.

But to be fair, most are merely, innocently, pointing out what’s waiting when lockdown ends. Some hint that it might be worth booking now, in anticipation, because it might all be already booked up when lockdown does end – there is a lot of pent-up demand after all.

What we have noticed is two big themes emerging in all the material we’re sent.  A lot are talking about “staycations” – holidaying closer to home what with the difficulties in international travel caused by Brexit and the virus.  The other is “digital nomads” – going somewhere else to settle down to work somewhere different to the same four walls we’ve been mostly stick inside for the past year now.

But it is not as simple as that – your “staycation” could actually be a “wellnesscation” if you want to add extra health and fitness activities, or even a “Work Wellnesscation” if you’re a digital nomad, on a staycation, doing some extra fitness activity.

Recent booking data from the villa holiday specialist Oliver’s Travels demonstrates staycations will continue to be the preferred holiday of choice in 2021, along with destinations reachable by car, but people are still dreaming of a return to international travel and starting to plan ahead.

In any case travel experts believe the digital nomad and ‘Work Wellnesscation’ phenomena are likely to have a long lasting impact and that with a higher number of remote workers, demand for conventional office space will be smaller in the future, post-pandemic.

Dubai, Croatia, Estonia and Barbados have even begun offering ‘digital nomad visas’ to try to attract such people. These new visas allow people to spend up to a year at a holiday destination while working remotely.

Within these countries, resorts which offer villas are the most popular as this style of accommodation is ideal for those looking to work remotely and maintain their social distance from others. But Work Wellnesscations are not exclusively to these destinations as they can be taken anywhere visa and restriction permitting with strong Wi-fi and a good phone signal.

“Work Wellnesscations may be a much-needed revitalisation of the wellness travel industry with a post-lockdown boom in the length of average stay and a rise in the number of guests. All of this is indicative of a radical change in the UK’s work and holiday culture. As more people leave the office and begin remote work, there will be a substantially large group looking abroad, a season at a time, for new healthier lifestyles,” said a spokesperson for Health and Fitness Travel, a global luxury wellness travel company.

Here are some of the ones which look the most appealing to us.  Obviously at the present time travel to most is difficult/impossible bit hopefully before too long some normality will return.

Digital Nomad Village, Madeira

Madeira was referred to as the most enviable island on earth by Coleridge in the 19th Century – ‘it ensures every European comfort with almost every tropical luxury’ – and this perception is still widely held today.

On the same latitude as Casablanca, the Portuguese outpost is home to some of the most striking and lush landscapes in Europe. The scenery is rugged, varied, more tropical than anywhere else in the continent and the warm sea is always close by.

The island’s new ‘Digital Nomad Village’ opened its doors as recently as 1st February, 2021, in response to  increased demand for remote working in Madeira. The pilot programme in Gonçalo Hall, hosting up to 100 nomads at any one time, runs until 30th June and offers travellers a free working space, equipment, technology, free internet use and access to a local community.

The Digital Nomads Village is situated in tranquil Ponta do Sol on the south coast, with views out to the Atlantic and a short drive from the charming capital, Funchal. It is an entire village dedicated to welcome a growing community of workers who no longer need to be located in their home country.

Madeira is attracting a younger audience, with a rise in boutique hotels, independent boutiques and craft businesses – recently referenced as ‘The Style Isle’ by The Times.  When working hours are over, nomads can spend time exploring the 3000km of levadas (ancient irrigation channels) which make for perfect walking tracks, sampling exotic delicacies, swimming in natural lava pools, off-roading on near vertical tracks or spotting dolphins and whales, which swim close to the shore. For the more adventurous, there is surfing, mountain biking, canyoning and trail running. And for sun worshippers, there is 9km of unspoilt sandy beach on the nearby island of Porto Santo, referred to as ‘Little Paradise’.

Chateau Quatre Saisons, Normandy, France

Nestled within 60 acres of private woodlands, this property is within easy reach of the UK, just under an hour from the nearest ferry port. Ideal for families looking to keep fit whilst on holiday, it features its own gym, tennis courts and bikes for exploring the area on two wheels. Sleeping 10 guests, the chateau has a range of rooms to suit all ages including a twin room for the youngest guests.

Only a 50-minute drive from the Caen ferry port in Ouistreham, connected to Portsmouth, this could be a great choice once international travel resumes.

Euphoria Retreat, Greece

Euphoria Retreat is considered one of the best wellness retreats in the world and accordingly would make a dream work wellnesscation for any fitness or spa enthusiast. The mountainous region where Euphoria is based in a secluded haven and their Immunity Reset holiday would also add extra protection to the immune system of visiting guests, making a work wellnesscation here a  healthy way of working remotely.

Grantley Hall, United Kingdom

Grantley Hall demonstrates that a work wellnesscation does not have to be overseas but can be a domestic country spa break. Grantley sports top-tier fitness and wellness facilities that are ideal for remote workers who are eager to dramatically improve their health in a salubrious retreat. After completing intensive personal training sessions, guests can retire to one of the stately rooms of this country house to begin work. Strong Wi-fi is guaranteed for a work environment that is effective and stylish.

“Our data shows that Britons’ booking habits for 2021 are still very much driven by the ongoing pandemic and that for many this means staying in the UK or venturing to nearby European countries such as France that are accessible by car,” said Oliver Bell, Co-Founder at Oliver’s Travels

Christiana Penthouse, Zermatt, Switzerland

Car-free Zermatt in Switzerland is a dream destination for any digital nomad. The authentic village boasts the spectacular backdrop of the Matterhorn and can even offer a vast array of enticing cafes and the possibility of year-round skiing up on the glacier when you fancy a break from the screens.

Completed in 2017, this stunning Christiana Penthouse apartment is one Zermatt’s most enviable properties. Set over two floors, there are seven bedrooms in total. As part of Bramble Ski’s classic portfolio, all the bedrooms have been designed with maximum comfort in mind and all have desks, for working or remote learning. Most of the bedrooms have either a private or a shared terrace and some have comfy seating areas. The penthouse apartment also has a cinema room and a private sauna which is perfect for loosening aching muscles after a long day on the mountain or unwinding after a day hunched over your laptop.

BodyHoliday, St Lucia

BodyHoliday allows remote workers to achieve any health goals given the huge variety of onsite facilities: 3 swimming pools, golf course and yoga studios. Devoting time to specific fitness targets is made possible by resident personal trainers and easy access to the facilities. A work wellnesscation is particularly advantageous here because of its location on the island of St Lucia which has a very low COVID-19 risk warning. BodyHoliday provides the variety that remote workers want in their down time.



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