Time Well Spent at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape | spa hotel, London
The quick read: Time Well Spent is a collection of bijou women-only wellbeing events at the marvellous COMO Shambhala Urban Escape at The Metropolitan hotel on Park Lane. Running on an ad hoc basis, they offer a whistle-stop intro to what might be possible if you took your health and lifestyle firmly in hand.
We tried a five hour Time Well Spent retreat with nutritionist Karen Cummings-Palmer, founder of Tri-Dosha and meditation teacher Sunita Passi and Spa Director of COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Corinna Yap – it runs every three months and is aimed at busy professional women of all ages. Expect speaker sessions, a guided meditation practice, delicious lunch, nutritional consultation and a fantastic half-hour massage, all within the gentile, supportive serenity of a Park Lane hotel spa.
How was it for us: Growing old gracefully was the theme of the day, or perhaps, more specifically, why boosting our emotional and physical wellbeing is the best natural anti-aging therapy around. After a small glass of green ‘wellness juice’, the talks began at a pace, the first with guest speaker Chrysa Koropouli, the smiley Canadian life coach behind The Relationship Bridge, who flew through the importance of self-love as the secret to wellbeing, both in and out of relationships. Nutritionist Karen Cummings-Palmer followed, delivering a quick hit of tips for staying youthful, from treating life as a gym by staying active to getting stuck into krill oil. Tri-Dosha founder Sunita Passi came after what, to share meditation’s role in ‘reversing time in this body of mine’ – an engaging and factual overview.
By lunchtime, I felt I’d been thoroughly scattered with sound advice, and our meal (a feast of beetroot soup, spiced salmon and chickpea-filled mushrooms and exotic fruit) was a welcome taste break and chance to socialise. After that, the pace slowed down so we could go a little deeper.
We divided up into three groups for three half-hour sessions: a guided meditation with Sunita, a more personalized discussion about nutrition with Karen and what turned out to be the highlight of the day – a massage in the spa. Ilie, a former physio nurse, exuded experience and it felt like the most expert, knowledgeable massage I’ve ever had. His fellow therapists got similar rave reviews. It rounded the experience off perfectly and I left feeling that I’d been engaged, soothed and inspired, if slightly windswept by the whirlwind of information.
What’s queenly: The group is small – a maximum of 15 – so there are opportunities to get the answers and advice you need and get to know others in the group. By the end of the day, we felt like quite a close-knit tribe. The 11am start also felt particularly civilized for a Saturday morning and the goodie bag was great!
What’s lowly: The sessions before lunch were short – 15 minutes each – and it would have been good to have the time to explore the topics more deeply. Future retreats will be offering longer, 45-minute seminars with Karen and Sunita in that morning slot.
Insider tip: Definitely bring a notebook to catch all the tips flying around over the course of the day.
Sister retreats: As well as gorgeous holistic and pampering treatments you can book an excellent range of international therapists at the Como Shambhala Urban Escape, including intuitive Susan King and energy healer Paul Lennard. Be sure to book way ahead.
Book it: £199 per person, see www.comohotels.com.
Reviewed by Olivia Mackinder
© Queen of Retreats