How one holistic company is radically transforming health and wellness travelers

Tammy Petersen had been doing publicity and marketing for luxury boutique hotels for 15 years when something clicked. “Typically when you’re over 35 and a woman, you’ve been through some sort of life adjustment. Your job has kind of taken over your life. Your health might be suffering. You might be struggling with marital issues, children issues, weight gain, exhaustion,” says Petersen, who runs Retreats Unlimited, an international health and wellness retreat company. “All those things led [me] to start to think ‘why can’t we talk to that person, that woman?”


And so that’s exactly what she did. Petersen pivoted from promoting hotels to promoting good health. The Chicago-based mother and entrepreneur created concierge retreats for people looking to renew and recharge. Think hyper focus on health and wellness in a luxurious setting. Petersen recalls, “I’ve seen young mothers taking care of children with special needs stressed out. I’ve seen physicians have heart attacks. I’ve seen entrepreneurs be in bed for three months. I’ve watched women gain weight and put their health in danger. People that are going through these things can’t connect to people in their own inner circles. So the retreats are really serving as a vehicle for that.”

She’s not alone in understanding how and why more and more people are becoming wellness travelers. The wellness industry has brought in over $800 billion dollars and grows by 12 percent every year. And just a few years ago, more than 690 million wellness-focused international trips were taken, according to the Global Wellness Institute in a recent Fast Company article. On average, wellness travelers spend 130 percent more than the average traveler.


As the wellness industry expands and evolves, so too does the number of companies offering retreats. But Retreats Unlimited is different. For one thing, its holistic activities are held all over North America and Mexico at renowned luxury resorts. From fitness retreats at Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California and CIVANA Carefree Resort in Arizona, to wellness retreats in Casa Coco by Coco B Isla in Mexico, to meditation retreats at the Don Ce-Sar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Petersen understands how location can play a role in mental transformations.

Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA
Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California
Photo Credit: Retreats Unlimited

Another reason Retreats Unlimited stands out is its ambassadors. The company has some of the best in the business. Master Sports Nutritionist and Fitness Trainer Natalie Jill, Fitness and Lifestyle Expert Christine Bullock, and celebrity Brooke Burke are just a few of their experts. Burke is an actress, TV host, author, creator of the Brooke Burke Body Fitness App, CEO of and overall fitness demigoddess. At her fitness retreats, she gets up close and personal with the groups as they follow her Brooke Burke Body transformation program. Burke even teaches free classes in Malibu for women looking to tighten and tone up.

Brooke Burke with Health and Wellness travelers at Retreats Unlimited
Brooke Burke walking with retreat attendees
Photo Credit: Retreats Unlimited

“She’s become an amazing part of our company,” said Petersen. “Her style and her connection to human beings is really pretty outstanding. And that’s another good point to all of this.” Burke, who is also a mother of four, isn’t just a famous face touting a wellness brand. She really resonates with participants. “We can’t have just any trainer. We have to have people who really want to feel connected to others and really want to help change things,” says Petersen.

Holistic Havens

Although attendees work out daily, they also learn to do one of the most important and most difficult things – quiet the mind. “It’s really not about just coming here and working out and leaving,” says Petersen. “Creating a space for mindfulness is our goal. I think it’s so important for everyone to have that.”

Fitness Expert Brooke Burke at Retreats Unlimited
Brooke Burke working out at a Retreats Unlimited Retreat
Photo Credit: Retreats Unlimited

The fitness, wellness, and meaningful retreats last anywhere from three to four nights. Days begin with morning meditations. Then comes the morning hikes and/or workouts. From there, the group eats breakfast together before breaking away for a health-related session. After the discussions, a nutritious lunch is served and then another talk. In the evening, everyone can enjoy the spa. And, then the day ends with one more workout and a nice, long group dinner. Depending on the retreat, prices can run anywhere from $2,700 to $3,500 U.S. dollars. That includes lodging and all meals. However, it does not include travel to and from destinations.

Exterior of Civana Carefree Resort
CIVANA Carefree Resort in Arizona
Photo Credit: Retreats Unlimited


One of the retreats takes place at the sustainable wellness resort, CIVANA Carefree, in Arizona from October 11-14, 2018. Burke leads health and wellness devotees as they learn new exercise techniques and incorporate mindfulness practices. A number of other retreats happen in October, November and January through March.

If you attend one of the retreats, expect a small group. “We’re not interested in running retreats with 700 people. Our retreats are small,” says Petersen. “If you’re going to spend time with an influencer, with an author, with a fitness trainer, we want you in the same space as that trainer.”

CIVANA Carefree in Carefree, Arizona
Photo Credit: Retreats Unlimited


Although running multiple international retreats takes time and planning, Petersen wants to work with more femalepreneurs. “We’re getting ready to launch some entrepreneurial retreats or business retreats for women who want to learn from other women and be supported,” says Petersen. “Being an entrepreneur…it’s lonely a lot of the time.” No one understands that better than Petersen. So she hopes these future entrepreneurial retreats will help women manage stress while embracing success.

To see a list of all retreats, locations and prices, click here