Somewhere far beyond popping multivitamins for breakfast, washed down with a kale and spirulina smoothie, select individuals are supercharging their immune systems for tens of thousands of pounds a week. The health-conscious super-rich have been much affected by the existential crisis posed by Covid - where once they thought themselves untouchable, they are now faced with a viral threat.
So, while the global travel industry struggles to survive, the niche market for immune-boosting holidays is booming. Exclusive medical retreats are filling up with those willing to foot the bill in exchange for the promise of vitality. A flurry of medical examinations along with treatments such as IV drips and cryotherapy are mainstays at the most popular resorts - but the overriding trend is the fusing of modern medicine with traditional healing.
At this very moment, immaculately clad health-seekers are descending from private jets to undertake intense programmes in dazzling locations. This is where the super-rich are boosting their immune systems now.
Clinique La Prairie, Switzerland
Eons ahead of the immune-boosting trend of 2021, Clinique La Prairie has been legendary among health seekers since its beginning 1931. Indeed, it was this medical retreat, just a few hundred yards from Lake Geneva, that Pope Pius XII credited for his revival from near death in 1953. Are we not all in need of Pope-standard treatment after this heinous year?
The clinic, which is near Montreux, remains open, with door-to-door private jet travel options and rigorous in-house hygiene measures to calm even the most Covid-cautious. The programme of the moment is the new five-day Immunity Boost package, which aims to restore vitality and strengthen the body, boosting the immune system. This includes a targeted health check-up, as well as immune-focused sessions to strengthen the body and mind.
After initial immunity consultations, medical check ups and advanced blood analysis, you’ll be treated with immunotherapy and fortifying IV drips, alongside pioneering wellbeing technologies such as infratherapy, cryotherapy and a new massage ritual using Swiss plants, exclusively created for the clinic. Before leaving, you’ll be treated to a private masterclass on antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients so that you can continue immune boosting at home.
You can relax in the knowledge that you’re in serious medical hands here. If nothing else, the sprawling spa and fresh lakeside air will help reinvigorate your spirits.
Prices start from £7,222 (8,900 CHF) for one person or £11,766 (14,500 CHF) for two people for the full-board, five-day Immunity Boost programme; laprairie.com
Sha Wellness Clinic, Spain
Only just launching, the new gut health programme at Sha Wellness Clinic is the ultimate immune-boosting trip for any wellness fanatic. Look past the mountain view infinity pool for a second (not easy) and turn your attention to this 360-degree method, which is scientifically developed to tackle the root cause of ill health and build a bulletproof immune system.
According to the medical retreat, more than a third of the world's population have symptoms involving poor digestive health - and this offering is aimed at those suffering from digestive disorders or resultant problems such as chronic diseases, autoimmune diseases, allergies and mood disorders.
Headed up by Dr. Amina Alani Olgea, you’ll undergo intestinal dysbiosis tests, Diamine oxidase activity tests (DAO), Ellipse-inflammation tests and basic nutrigenetics profiles, before being prescribed a kaleidoscope of tailored medical treatments (such as intestinal ozone therapy), natural therapies and a nutrition plan to improve the immune, neuroendocrine and emotional systems.
It sounds like an intense experience, but if all goes to plan, you’ll leave with restored balance and increased health - along with the educational tools to keep your gut in check from home. Plus, when you’ve got a front-row view of the sunset from that pool, you won’t have a care in the world.
The seven-night Gut Health & Detox programme starts from €5,600 / £4,973 per person, with an option to extend the programme to 14 or 21 days; shawellnessclinic.com
Palazzo Fiuggi, Italy
From spring, the new medical retreat Palazzo Fiuggi promises to open a gilded door to a healthier life. The verdant estate has undergone its own extensive restoration and emerged as a medical marvel with its historic grandeur firmly intact - expect MRIs, chandeliers and fine dining.
Overlooking the Italian town of Fiuggi, one of Italy’s richest areas and just under an hour from Rome, the Palazzo aspires to be the world’s leading medical retreat, offering guests the chance to restore, renew and regenerate. It’s off to a good start - the area itself is already an iconic wellness destination, most famous for its natural mineral water which is said to have unique healing properties. Altitude, surrounding forests and clean air add an instant sense of vitality.
Palazzo Fiuggi’s Medical Concept bills itself as a ‘radical new approach to health, wellbeing and longevity’, seeking to fuse holistic healing traditions with advanced Western medicine. In place to execute the vision are leading scientists and medics, specialising in such topics as ophthalmology, radiology, psychiatry, thalassotherapy and metabolism, all led by head doctor, Professor Dr. David Della Morte Canosci of the University of Miami.
The Immuno Boost programme is set to be especially popular, offering medical, bioenergetic and toxaemia scans, prescribed treatments to help increase vital energy, strengthen immunity and achieve optimum long-term health. All the while being catered for by three-Michelin-star chef, Heinz Beck, and with the hotel spa and gardens to roam. The outdoor pool, surrounded by mountains, looks enviably appealing right now.
King’s Mansion, Goa
The very thought of water lapping on Goan shores feels intoxicating from London lockdown, but a retreat opening later this year is said to be taking immuno-luxury to the next level. The 17-suite King’s Mansion is a temple to budget-less wellness, led by an evidence-based, scientific collaboration of ancient heritage, Ayurvedic medicine and innovative holistic wellbeing.
The first programmes to be launched when it opens in November will target detox and rejuvenation, motivated by the pandemic. Both of these focus on Ayurgenomics - a combination of genomics, a highly personalised genetics analysis, and Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of predictive and preventative medicine. While programmes last from seven to 21 days, they aim to create sustainable lifestyle changes that you can work into your life back at home.
Rasayana, a seven-night programme focusing on rejuvenation, will include pre-arrival genomic testing, daily consultations and treatments and daily LED infusion therapy, to promote cell regeneration and anti-inflammation using a patented compound created specifically for King’s Mansion guests. Private meditation sessions with an expert local instructor are also available.
Prices will start from around £8,000 for one week; kingsmansiongoa.com
This holistic wellness and medical retreat opened in December 2020 in the ‘Green Lung’ (Bang Krachao) of Bangkok, a 16 sq km protected city jungle filled with mangrove trees. The MO here is to boost immunity, strengthen defences and prioritise health goals through a combination of advanced medical treatments, holistic therapies and anti-inflammatory food.
In response to the pandemic, RAKxa is offering three new programmes - the Immunity Booster Programme, the Detox Programme and the Gut Health Programme - all geared to help the body protect itself against disease.
The Immunity Booster stay lasts a minimum of three nights and begins with wellness, medical and dietetic consultations and a blood assessment. Restorative therapies that may be prescribed include blood ozone therapy, cryotherapy, immune-boosting IV infusions, colon hydrotherapy and probiotic replacement therapy, all of which take place in the VitalLife Scientific Wellness Clinic at the RAKxa resort. And then there’s the relaxing part: massages (from signature to traditional Thai Prakob and Zen Na Tai), mindfulness meditation, gym and spa time.
Accommodation comes in the form of villas and residences with verdant gardens and private pools. Each is designed to allow deep rest and restored balance, with blackout curtains, neutral decor and yoga spaces. The highest category residences also feature treatment rooms so that the health and wellness advisors can come to you - you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Nightly rates at RAKxa start from $2,000 / £1,443 per person for the Immunity Booster Package, with a minimum three-night stay; rakxawellness.com
Lanserhof and Lanserhof at The Arts Club
Lanserhof is offering immune boosting programmes at all of its resorts, including its outpost at The Arts Club in Mayfair which, as a medical centre, remains open. Well-to-do Londoners are booking in and scooting across for days of boosting which include a medical consultation, antibody test, cryotherapy sessions and your choice of IV infusion: high-dose Vitamin C to reboot your immune system or ‘immune plus’ support, which includes Vitamin C, amino acids and zinc, to help bust stress or cold and flu symptoms.
Across its five other resorts, including the flagship Resort Lans in Tyrol, Austria, where the company began in 1984, Lanserhof is still welcoming guests. Its new post Covid-19 programme comprises a comprehensive diagnosis as well as individual therapy concepts addressing the status of the internal organs including lungs, heart and liver, how well the immune system has recovered, physical fitness, and how the mind, soul and spirit are coping.
Treatments are bespoke to each client, but may include nutritional therapeutic measures, a bowel cleansing, infusion therapy, respiratory therapy, mitochondrial therapy, cryotherapy, lymph treatments, and healing and connective tissue massages.
£POA for this bespoke programme; lanserhof.com
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
This sprawling Swiss hotel has many feathers to its cap - it’s the only hotel in the country to hold four Michelin Stars; you can spot three different countries from its party ready penthouse suite; and the vast spa is filled with water from the nearby Tamina Gorge, which is said to be healing. But perhaps most impressive is its very glossy, very private in-house medical facility.
Super-rich clients touch down here for extended medical stays throughout the year, but a new programme, My Microbiome, is catching the attention of immune boosters. Gut microbiomes are the countless microorganisms contained in our gut flora, and this programme is designed to restore its natural balance.
The four or eight-day stay starts with a scientific gut analysis to help you get to know your own microbiome, before the resort’s crack team of doctors and nutritionists intervene with a tailored plan to restore bacterial balance, which can protect against infections and produce important vitamins.
You’ll undergo lab analysis, sleep monitoring and medical and nutritional consultations, and be fed a bespoke Microbiome menu of food, drinks, teas and probiotics, all with the aim to leave feeling in better health than ever.
The top tip? Gut health is great, but you really won’t regret booking that penthouse suite and toasting to your good health in the terrace hot tub, overlooking the Alps.
My Microbiome package starts from CHF 5,999 / £4,854 for three nights or CHF 8,999 / £7,281 for four nights; resortragaz.ch
Villa Stéphanie, Germany
Located at the heart of the Black Forest in the legendary spa town of Baden Baden, Villa Stéphanie offers a ‘couture’ medical spa service. With only 12 rooms and three suites, the lucky few who get the chance to stay are offered next-level attention from a disproportionately large number of experts.
The Immune Boost and Immune Care programmes were both introduced last year, geared towards those seeking post-Covid rejuvenation. The latter, seven-night programme is the top service, designed to produce lasting protection against viruses and infection.
Achieving this requires a cocktail of food supplements, stress reducing treatments and long-term lifestyle changes to make a lasting difference to the physical and psychological immune system. Expect medical consultations, blood and lab tests, three IV infusions containing Vitamin C, zinc and other homeopathic remedies, multiple Ozone therapy sessions to stimulate the immune system, oxygen inhalation sessions to improve liver metabolism, personal training sessions, hikes and massages.
The hotel is currently closed, but if you’re pondering going, try following the facility’s top practitioner, Dr König’s immune boosting tips for a head start:
Take a high dose Vitamin D (min 5,000 IU), Vitamin C (2,000mg) supplement and a multivitamin containing at least 100g of selenium daily
Take a daily probiotic as well as echinacea to ward off cold symptoms
Take a daily contrast shower, alternating between cold and hot water
Optimise your diet by consuming fresh organic products, and reduce your intake of processed sugars and carbohydrates
Ensure you are practising daily exercise, taking in fresh air, getting good quality sleep and keeping a positive state of mind
The three-night Immune Boost programme starts from €1,850 / £1,625) per person in a Villa Stéphanie Classic Double Room with all inclusions. The seven-night Immune Care programme starts from €3,850 / £3,383 per person in a Villa Stéphanie Classic Double Room with all inclusions; oetkercollection.com
Sign up for the Telegraph Luxury newsletter for your weekly dose of exquisite taste and expert opinion.