Shh review | healing retreats for women, Dorset & Ibiza
Reconnect with your sensual self in a luxury setting
The Quick Read: Shh (which stands for Sensual Healing Harmony) was set up by former media mogul Vikki van Someren and international swimmer Lucy Arrowsmith to help women reconnect with themselves, connect better with their partners (or find the right one) and generally be happier in life. These two personable, impressive women run seriously luxurious and holistic, healing health retreats for women – choose from an indulgent Georgian pile in the Dorset countryside, and at a swanky serene villa in Ibiza, all staffed by a large group of hand-picked talented female therapists at the top of their game. Enjoy holistic, healing therapies, supportive group workshops, organic, healthy food, and an awesomely good atmosphere – plus an impressive 3 month aftercare package to ensure you stay on track.
More on the Shh retreats: The retreats take no more than 8 guests, and set out to answer the question – we could all have a lovely relaxing life, but why don’t we? You can expect a carefully thought out, supportive programme of workshops tailored to your group’s needs and led by a Shh psychotherapist and a Shh clinical sexologist, alongside lots of one-to-one, private holistic therapies by a talented group of female therapists, all designed to ‘bring us back into our bodies’ and help us understand and change what can keep us in a lonely place, disconnected from ourselves and others. Read a word from the queen on her retreat.
There’s also optional morning Qi Gong, and at both venues in Dorset and Ibiza there’s a pool and spa facilities you can use while you digest your experiences. We loved the little notes left on our pillow at night, gently indicating what was to come the next day – you are deliberately not given a timetable, so that there is nothing to fret or get stressed about. Each person is assigned a guide, who you can go to for information and support, and there’s an aftercare package of three therapies with lots of additional information such as recipes and therapy advice – here is a retreat that cares how you feel on return and wants you to integrate the changes you make so that they last.
More on the therapies: Your therapy choice and schedule is sorted by the Shh team following a detailed consultation before you arrive – you fill in a form and then you have an informal chat on the phone with your assigned ‘guide’. Shh has collected an amazingly talented team of women together to offer you lots of healing holistic therapies including acupuncture, hypnotherapy, Somatic bodywork, deep tissue massage, Transformational Breathing (an awesome experience for us on this retreat), reflexology and Emotional Freedom Technique. There’s a focus on bringing you back into your body, and relaxing out of your mind.
More on the workshops: These start with a mindfulness meditation, to get you all grounded together and help you ‘get back into your body’, and move on to sharing sessions and discussions on various aspects of emotion, sensuality, sexuality and intimacy and how we connect with others. Everything is taken at a steady pace, and related back to you and your individual situation. There’s a good balance struck between privacy and sharing, and you’ll pick up a fascination array of tips and facts along the way too. As well as sitting and sharing, there are other activities designed to take you back into your body – on our retreat, for example, we had an Osho Kundalini Meditation, which combined shaking, dancing, sitting and listening to sounds and finally lying quietly – the whole process having taken us into the ‘theta’ state, or dream part of our brains.
More on the Shh founders: Shh was set up by former media mogul and motorbike enthusiast Vikki van Someren, and DJ and international swimmer Lucy Arrowsmith – both inspiring, easy to talk to women who take a totally hands-on approach on the retreats, ensuring that the therapists, coaches and cooks can get on with what they do best. Vikki’s and Lucy’s personal experiences in life led to the creation of Shh, so you really feel you are getting an authentic service – Vikki was abused as a child, which in turn affected how she related to men, whilst Lucy’s addiction to exercise led to her getting ME and being unable to work. On their retreats they use the therapists and counsellors who helped them put them back on track – everyone you meet is packed with integrity and inspired by these two women.
More on the Ibiza location: Shh’s choice of villa on the White Isle is a secluded and private house 200 metres above sea level in the quieter north of the island – it sits on a hill stop, and has unspoilt views out to mountains and the ocean. There are eight large and lush ensuite bedrooms – everyone obviously gets one to themselves – sprawling over three stories. Enjoy an outdoor pool, alfresco dining area, ponds and plenty of hide away places for time alone including ‘quiet beds’ for private sunbathing moments.
More on the Dorset location: The Dorset country venue is a gorgeous, rather opulent 18th Century manor house with two further, converted houses surrounded by 100 acres of private land. The are 17 contemporary, colourful, rather snazzy bedrooms in all – most guests will stay in the main house, in a gorgeous ensuite, wallpapered room with state of the art bathroom and country views. Enjoy a spacious dining and kitchen area, a stone-floored, elegant sitting room for workshops, an outdoor terrace, an indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam, private therapy rooms and an outdoor hot tub.
Food and drink: At both locations food served is tasty, healthy fare, all dairy, gluten and sugar free, cooked by a female holistic chef and served by a female waitress. Breakfast might be a fresh pineapple and lime juice followed by spiced apple granola and eggs on rye bred with spinach and roasted tomatoes. Lunch a pea, basil and mint soup followed by red lentil dahl, mixed leaf and spring vegetable salad and quinoa tabbouleh with pine nuts and herb chicken; supper a soy salmon with seasonal vegetables and polenta chips followed by a pudding of almond honey cake or Chocolate tart. YUM! Usually you eat breakfast and lunch with the group – supper can be taken in your room or together, as you wish. There are home made sugar-free cookies and energy balls left for you on your pillow too, morning, noon and night. It’s all about health, but the emphasis is on feeling nurtured and nourished rather than deprived – appropriately, during the closing circle at the end of our retreat, we were each offered a luscious fig to eat.
Fellow guests: Shh healing retreats are aimed at women of any age and from any walk of life who wants to rest, recoup, understand themselves better, heal from a trauma or get their sexual mojo back. They’re aimed every type of woman, from single professionals with careers who can’t find a fulfilling relationship to knackered mums who may have become disinterested in sex and their partners.
What’s queenly: Delicious treats and surprises throughout the retreat help support you and reconnect you to what is beautiful in life – these ladies sure know what women like. Jo Loves candles, Elemental Herbology products, Mariage Freres tea, Amelia Rope chocolate, alpaca fur slipper boots by Samantha Holmes – it’s almost worth going on the retreat to experience these things alone!
What’s lowly: This is deliberately a woman-only retreat, but for women who have an ‘aha!’ experience they want to share with their partner, it would be great if Shh start running retreats for couples too – though you can bring your partner to one of the aftercare sessions you get included in your retreat.
Costs: From £2900 per person for a 3 night retreat and £5600 per person for a 6 night retreat in Dorset; £7900 per person for a week in Ibiza, including all meals, treatments, activities and a 3-month aftercare package.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
© Queen of Retreats
Yoga, wellbeing & creative retreats in Sussex