Just about everyone I know is making themselves a promise to be healthier this year. Just like they did last year, and the year before that.
For me, it’s not something I can ignore. It’s necessary to make lifestyle changes now to help manage my CFS and Fibro, but I’m trying not to look at it as a hardship…more as a positive life choice. I mean, if eating better, trying different therapies and cleansing my body and mind help me feel better and live longer, I can’t see the negative…can you?
I’ve been doing a lot of research into alternative therapies and the benefits of a natural food diet and will be writing a few posts about what I’ve learned, and how you too can implement the changes into your everyday life without feeling any hardship at all. But, if little changes aren’t enough for you right now, and you feel like you need a real kick up the bum to motivate you to give up the junk food, cut down (a little) on the booze and perhaps throw away the ciggies, a retreat may be for you.
Here is my list of the top 5 retreats I would love to visit…and why.
Grand Park Hotel, Austria
The Grand Park hotel is a gorgeous resort in the southern region of Salzburger in Austria. The hotel focuses on health and has a variety of packages available, tailored to you and your needs; along with some “out of the box” options that are designed to give you a real lift. Personally, I’d opt for the Grand Park Health Revival, which combines daily spa treatments with healthy food and your choice of activities. The more able could choose hiking, skiing or cycling, while those looking for a more gentle break can choose yoga, pilates or Tai Chi. A 4-night stay costs from £1060 which includes flights, accommodation, transfers, treatments and full board. (The Healing Caves break also looks fantastic. From £1690)
Ananda in the Himalyas
Ananda is perfect for those looking for a spiritual break that will enhance both body and mind. Once the residence of Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, this beautiful resort is located in the swirling mists of the Himalayas. Entirely holistic, Ananda aims to help us all understand the balance of nature, the ways of the Universe and how the elements affected not just our physical health, but our mental well-being. The list of packages is extensive but if I were to travel this far, I’d like to recharge with my partner, so would choose the 5 night Couples Connect package. It’s definitely not cheap at £600 per night, which includes full board, all treatments and transfers. The Stress Management course also looks fantastic, at £220 for 7 nights)
Penninghame House, Scotland
A little closer to home, Penninghame House offers a variety of programmes to both help you feel better, and to help you help others feel better too. The options here are great, with courses to improve self esteem, leave your past behind and live a macrobiotic lifestyle. Personally, I’d choose the Ultimate Health Experience, which is a one week residential retreat in the regal 19th century manor house. The day starts with morning exercise (Chi Ball or Yoga), followed by a full healthy breakfast. The afternoon session sees lectures from guest speakers, followed by cooking classes that will inspire you to change your diet for good. The evenings include screenings, Q&A sessions and the options for personal counselling sessions or alternative activities. They claim to be able to help with many long term health issues, including diabetes and chronid fatigue syndrome. What I love about this programme is the variety and flexibility; I imagine you’d leave feeling fresh, motivated, cleansed and with a new set of skills for living a cleaner and more nutritious lifestyle. Prices for the Ultimate Health Experience start at £995.
SHA Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain
SHA is a world leading medical hotel/wellness clinic, set in a beautiful area of Spain, focused on improving and notably lengthening people’s health and well-being. The staff includes a number of medical Doctors with varying specialities, who aim to improve health as a whole, not just treat a specific illness. The architecturally designed, award winning hotel is the height of luxury and sits in the hillside, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at Albir Beach. They have three main packages, Essence, Discovery and Feeling, plus many other tailored options. I think here I’d opt for a gorgeous 2 night stay on the SHA Feeling programme, which helps you quickly evaluate diet, de-stress and relax with the beautiful facilities and treatments. The cost is 500euros for 2 nights- not bad for some relaxation and luxury.
Aguas de Ibiza Lifestyle & Spa, Ibiza
Most people know of my love of Ibiza. It’s not about the clubbing and craziness for me; it’s about the spirituality and beauty of the island in it’s natural form. Of course, you can have a great time in the super-clubs, but there is so much more to the White Isle than that. The 38° North courses are primarily focused about fitness, but I would personally book the Detox Retreat (£1580 for 6 night accommodation, flights, transfers, treatments and activities). The course includes 2 wellness and 2 nutritional consultations (start and end), a variety of treatments and daily activity classes. All this is great, but you also get to stay in the amazing Aguas de Ibiza Hotel in Santa Eularia – one of my favourite places on the island.
F*&K It Retreats
Unfortunately, I never got to experience The Hill that Breathes, a completely radical retreat in the hills of Italy. However, I spread the word to anyone who would listen, as it looked incredible. The Hill that Breathes won “Europes Best Retreat” in 2011, but John & Gaia decided to close the doors for a while and have now taken their infamous “F**k It” programme mobile. Take a look at the calendar of events here; I have all the F**k It books and love the philosophy. You probably will too.
Yeotown opened it’s doors in 2010 and has already been voted “Best Spa Retreat UK” by Conde Naste Traveller readers. This gorgeous farmhouse offers inspiring programmes for health and fitness, in what they call a “stylishly comfortable, rustic haven of health“. This would be the ideal break for those of you looking to lose weight, get fitter and cleanse at the same time.
The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
I’ve been looking into visiting the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall for a long time now, and it’s creeping higher up my to do list by the day. This Boutique Eco-Spa-Hotel offers a range of spa break options that are tailored to your individual needs, set in the beautiful surroundings of the Cornish coast.
Have you visited any of these retreats? Please do let us know your thoughts if you have…or of course, recommend any others you may have been to in the comment box below x