Nourish Holidays review
Feel-good detox and weightloss retreats with nutritionist Amanda Hamilton
The Quick Read: Nourish Holidays are the signature retreats of nutritionist, broadcaster and author Amanda Hamilton, who has a wealth of experience in running detoxes and pours her knowledge into the retreats she hosts in person. All dimply smiles and approachable friendliness, Amanda’s full of vitality and really knows her stuff. Her aim is to support and empower you with the practical knowledge to turn your health (and life) around – and continue the good work back home. We attended a 5-night Nourish Holiday detox at Champneys Tring in England, which run every two months or so. Amanda also hosts Nourish signature retreats at The Life Co in Turkey, and in her home country of Scotland at Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel spa hotel and at Glasgow’s five-star Blythswood Square, as well as consulting to many other retreats around the world.
Who it’s best for: If you’re looking for the reassurance of a well-oiled, professionally run detox experience, a Nourish Holiday detox firmly ticks the box. It’s ideal for newcomers to detoxing, as well as being more than effective enough for those looking for a deep cleanse. Amanda’s mantra is ‘keep it real’, and her healthy retreats are aimed at men and women of all ages, whether you’re trying to kick-start a new, healthy-eating regime, learn more about what good nutrition means or just give your system a break and enjoy some high-quality spa treatments on the side.
What you do: On a detox at Champneys, your day is punctuated with four juices, and a warming broth for supper. There’s a vigorous early morning walk around the grounds at 8am, but if you prefer a slower start to the day, you can do your own walking along trails through the nearby woods or simply around the grounds of England’s oldest spa. There’s an hour-long talk on subjects such as Ayurveda and the benefits of intermittent fasting, and between times, take your pick of activity. Fitness classes range from invigorating and strenuous to relaxing and stretchy, and you can use the thalassotherapy pool, 25-metre swimming pool, sauna, steam room, chilly plunge pool and hot tub.
A 55-minute massage is included in the retreat package, but you can book as many other treatments as you like to fit around your detox schedule. Even when it’s full, there’s enough space at Champneys to find a quiet place to call your own. You can be as busy or reflective and still as you like.
Included in your retreat is one colonic session, though it’s not mandatory, and a one-to-one session with Amanda to address any specific issues about diet, fitness and lifestyle. There’s a final nutrition Q&A to field any issues before you return home, and you’ll have three months’ free access to online dietary advice, recipes and meal planners on Amanda’s website to help you sustain your new-found healthy lifestyle.
Where you stay: Although it’s had mixed reviews in recent years, Champney’s flagship venue in Tring, Hertfordshire still ticks a lot of big boxes for those who get bored on detoxes and want plenty of distractions alongside a more luxurious spin. The health and fitness facilities, café and spa offer lots of different locations to lounge about or get active in. With their restful pastels and feminine florals, the bedrooms give a great first impression, though there are a few idiosyncrasies and imperfections, such as taps turning the opposite way to normal and the occasional damp patch on the ceiling. The young staff can be a little over-enthusiastic, with a tendency to come in when the Do Not Disturb sign is hanging on the door, but they go out of their way to accommodate any requests and solve any problems and other ‘downsides’ are easy to overlook.
How was it for us: Bentonite clay. One of my least favourite aspects of a detox retreat. Together with beetroot-heavy juices and insipid broths. Having been on detoxes that felt like a test of stamina, I was a little apprehensive before the Nourish experience, but Amanda Hamilton is a bit of a superstar. Her retreat is not *one of those* detoxes – her four juices a day actually taste good. The reason: there’s more fruit in the mix than the average greens-heavy concoctions you’ll find on other detox retreats, but they still do their job of cleansing and rejuvenating the system, whilst ensuring the experience is much less of a gustatory ordeal.
I couldn’t have felt more handheld and confident in Amanda’s ability to advise and support on my 5-day detox retreat. I completed a questionnaire prior to arrival, and received a series of preliminary emails giving me advice on how to prepare. Once there, I got a detailed printed retreat guide and a copy of her book Eat, Fast, Slim, plus lots of personal advice.
What we took home: I was amazed at the impact this seemingly lightweight detox had on my body. It revitalised a somewhat sluggish, IBS-inflicted system, but above all, inspired me to take control of my diet in a way I genuinely never have before. Perhaps because Amanda made it feel easy. Her aim isn’t to churn out a tribe of lean, mean juicing machines, but offer practical advice for real people.
Would we go back: As someone who really appreciates a few of life’s luxuries to soften the blow of a food deprivation, I would definitely do another Nourish Holiday detox retreat at Champneys.
People watch: The nutritionist on This Morning and shows such as The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses, Amanda left a six-figure salary working for Microsoft to follow her passion and has over 13 years’ experience in nutrition, a background in sport, yoga training and a keen interest in Ayurveda. Warm, passionate about her work and full of energy, she is an inspiring example of the possibilities of following a health regime.
Food watch: Guests gather for a ‘last supper’ on the first evening together – a healthy salad with houmous and feta cheese and fruit to follow. Once you’re on a detox, there are four juices a day (including a warm berry juice at 8pm) plus a warming vegetable broth for dinner. You also get daily supplements in tablet form from the Inner Me Daily 4 Me range, a product endorsed by Amanda.
What’s queenly: Changing the habits of a lifetime can be a daunting prospect. Nourish Holidays handhold you through the process in comfortable surroundings with plenty of friendly faces to help you along the way.
What’s lowly: When it came to treatments, Champneys wasn’t able to cater for last-minute spontaneity. Make sure you book those treatments well in advance of your stay – don’t trust that you’ll just be able to get a free slot when you turn up.
Insider tip: When the base is Champneys, it’s possible to bring a companion who isn’t on the detox. I brought my boyfriend with me, and I ate vicariously through him in the dining room, hand clasped around a mineral water as we chatted. It was lovely having some quality time to relax together – I can’t imagine being able to do that on a lot of other detoxes.
Price with a companion: From £379 per person based on two sharing a room alone for a weekend Nourish Detox at Champneys.
Price going solo: From £439 per person in a room alone for a weekend Nourish Detox at Champneys.
Value for money: Excellent, given the facilities on offer, the environment, the advice and the guidance before, during and after the detox.
Reviewed by Olivia Mackinder
© Queen of Retreats