In my younger corporate days I used to watch older associates heading off to health farms once or twice a year. Back then I thought ‘what a waste of a good holiday’. I got all the rest and relaxation I needed flopping beside a pool, where exercise meant swimming up to the in-pool bar and sustenance came from a rainbow of colourful cocktails.
But a recent bout of prolonged fatigue (and let’s admit it, age) has had me longing for the benefits of a dedicated health resort, now called ‘wellness retreats’. A room of my own with undisturbed sleep, being able to slumber for as long as I need – including an afternoon nap if desired, a choice of exercise and meditation options and healthy food lovingly prepared. Oh, and rewarding massages and spa treatments. What’s not to like? (Well, despite the price tag.)
Things have changed enormously in the past 30 years. Retreats now attract a younger clientele and include wellness consultations and nutrition sessions, where after confessing to your culinary sins and lack of an exercise regime you are given a health overhaul and nurtured towards a new you.
Australia’s Golden Door Health Retreat celebrates 20 years of business next month, Gaia Retreat & Spa has been around since 2005 and Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat since 2006, testimony to the health of health retreats.
I have experienced the rejuvenating benefits of Absolute Sanctuary though, a Wellness Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand. It was my first health resort and I arrived a bit sceptical. But after only three days I left feeling slimmer, fitter and healthier. You can read my story in Escape Sanctuary for body and soul.
So, while I sit down with a glass of wine and dream of my next retreat, what is your favourite wellness resort?