This is a rare treat – a comfortable, 400-year old house in the Lincolnshire countryside where two expert ayurvedic practioners offer bespoke retreats lasting 3, 5 or 7 days.
In short: This is a rare treat. A comfortable, 400-year old house in the Lincolnshire countryside where two expert ayurvedic practioners offer bespoke retreats lasting 3, 5 or 7 days. Andy and Laura Shakeshaft are genuine, normal and full of integrity, and have created a real haven of calm. Cleanse body and mind with daily oil massages and steam therapy, one to one yoga and qigong sessions, optional cranio-sacral sessions, personalised dietary advice, ayurvedic counselling, cooking demos, simple meals – and total peace. It costs from £825 per person for a 3 day retreat, which is fully inclusive of everything including lots of one to one attention, beautifully cooked ayurvedic food and bona fide ayurvedic treatments, so it’s pretty good value.
In Short: The Island Experience is a week-long healthy holiday set amidst the stunning rainforest and pristine beaches of Ilha Grande off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. You stay in a stylish, rustic lodge overlooking a lagoon and have on offer twice-daily yoga, daily hikes or kayaks, three massages during the week and healthy meals in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The holiday runs on specific weeks from March till the end of November, and only takes a maximum of 12 guests at a time. Each healthy week starts on a Sunday evening, and you are welcome to do two weeks back-to-back when they are running. From $2300 (about £1370) per person in a shared room for 6 nights, including all activites, food and transfers.
Upcoming dates in 2014:
The Island Experience is a week-long healthy holiday set amidst the stunning rainforest and pristine beaches of Ilha Grande off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. You stay in a stylish, rustic lodge overlooking a lagoon and have on offer twice-daily yoga, daily hikes or kayaks, three massages during the week and healthy meals in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
In Short: Created by Melita and Rory Hunter, personable Australian owners packed with integrity, Song Saa (Khmer for ‘sweethearts’) is a serene, eco-friendly private island in the Koh Rong Archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand that offers 5 and 7 day wellbeing retreats to its guests as well as a regular holiday space to relax. Come here to kick back and indulge in holistic rituals devised by British organic skincare brand Ila in an expansive villa or a wonderfully rustic outdoor shala surrounded by the endless sea. There are Buddhist blessings with the local monks, kayak trips through the mangroves, trips to beaches and delicious fusion food. Start your stay with the Bio-Rhythm Spa Ritual to get over the jet lag then sink into a stress-free rhythm. Children are welcome. Voted Most Soulful Spa of the Year at the 2014 Condé Nast Traveller Spa Awards. From £2,448 per person for 5 nights or £3,428 for 7 nights – see full details below.
Check out www.songsaa.com
In Short: Platinum Healing is owned by talented clinical hypnotherapist, yoga teacher, NLP practitioner and life coach Kate Tyler, who hand picks naturopaths, nutritionists and medical herbalists to run a range of retreats throughout the year. In Sussex your main base is three converted barns in the countryside near the old castle town of Arundel and a short drive from the beach. Platinum Healing also be run detox retreats at Moinhos Velhos in Portugal – we’ll be reviewing them soon.
Each retreat features a juice detox, and there are additional therapies and workshops according to the focus. As well as the standard juice detox and yoga retreat other retreats include a weight loss and fitness retreat, an Inner Child Healing Retreat, a fertility detox retreat, a STOP smoking retreat and an alternative hen break for brides to be and their friends. Retreats are date-specific, so check ahead. From £599 per person for 4 nights sharing a room or £799 per person for 4 nights in a room alone in Sussex.
In Short: Fairfield House is a quiet understated little gem owned by mindfulness teacher and healthy chef Shruti Whittington, who has created a serene retreat firmly rooted in her mindfulness practice. It’s a small place that’s packed with heart and integrity: the perfect place to go if you’re feeling a little out of sorts, a tad in need of gentle TLC or, indeed, if you just fancy a nurturing break near beautiful countryside with great vegetarian food. You can dip your toe into meditation here, learn how to cook healthily and mindfully, or try a very gentle detox in tune with the seasons. It’s also remarkably good value for money. From £59 per night bed and breakfast; from £195 for an all-inclusive weekend retreat. See below for full costs.
Check out www.fairfieldretreats.co.uk
In Short: Absolute Sanctuary on Koh Samui in Thailand specialises in yoga, relaxation and detox holidays. It’s well established, fun, down to earth and makes unwinding very easy. There are just 38 rooms and a good choice of well-thought-through programmes to follow – whether you prefer yoga, hard or soft-core detox options, relaxation, fitness, or more. The laid back yet professional staff make it easy to pick a version that works for your needs, so mix and matching is easy. The yoga is plentiful, varied and good quality, the food is healthy and tasty, and the massages are swoon-inducing. From £1,370 per person for a 7 day harmonizing package. Scroll down for full costs.
Read a word from the queen on Absolute Sanctuary
Read a word from the king on Absolute Sanctuary
Check out www.absolutesanctuary.com
In Short: Little sister of The Sanctuary detox/retox resort in Thailand, The Sanctuary Somerset is a stylish yet super-soulful retreat that really hits the spot. Home is Sparkford Hall, a Georgian mini-pile with a baby-Babington vibe – a little Boho, a bit rock-chick, a tad spiritual gypsy. Groups are small and easy-going and the in-house support is warm and nourishing. They run five or seven day fasts using classic detox techniques. Results are great and side effects are few thanks to a well-planned programme of grounding yoga, qi gong and meditation. There’s plenty to do but you also get time to muse by the open fire, wander in the grounds or simply snooze in the quirky yet mega comfortable bedrooms. From £600 for a five-day detox. Scroll down for full costs.
Upcoming retreats: August 11 – 15, September 8 -12, October (fully booked), November 17 – 21, December 5 – 12
Read about our experience at The Sanctuary
Check out www.thesanctuarysomerset.co.uk
In Short: Owned and run by the Rodriguez Castan family, this arty rural hotel near Santa Agnes in the north west of Ibiza is a wonderfully open place to relax. Looking over the Corona valley with its rustic almond groves, it has plenty of outdoor nooks and crannies to enjoy the peace and offers massage, facials and holistic treatments in a rustic spa. You can do private yoga, Pilates or meditation, go hiking on local routes or just hang out in the hot tub and by the serenely curved pool. There are three day ayurvedic rituals on offer throughout the season, while yoga retreats take place each April and October led by German hatha yoga teacher Annette Lengersdorf, to which English speakers are welcome. From €200 per person in a double room in low season to €520 per person in the honeymoon suite in high season based on two sharing. The hotel is closed between 1 November and 27 March.
Read about our experience at Es Cucons
Check out www.escucons.com
In Short: People come back each year and stay for months at a time to this family-run, very private 12-roomed hotel, where owner Margaret is a gracious and easy going host. A large shuttered stone house with pretty, flower-filled gardens and terraces near Santa Gertrudis, it has a decent sized pool (plus a smaller one for kids) and a little Moroccan-themed spa, where everything from a facial to a full blown private wellbeing escape can be arranged with spa concierge company Ibiza Balance. In April, May and September, you can also do a 5 night private detox. Come to paint, read, finish your novel, get some head space or relax and do absolutely nothing. From €320 per double room B&B per night, treatments from €80.
Read about our experience at Cas Gasi
Check out www.casgasi.com. * Book direct with the owners using our form and you’ll receive some Cas Gasi organic herb-infused olive oil for eating or spreading all over your body!
In Short: Silver Island in Greece is one of the most authentic, peaceful yoga retreats we’ve been to in a long long time. A 15 minute boat ride from the coast of Evia island, it offers week-long yoga holidays from April to October. There’s no internet connection and no mains power but that makes it even more of a ‘stop the world’ retreat.
The yoga comes courtesy of teachers from all over the world and with a maximum of ten guests, there’s plenty of individual attention. The ambiance is artistic and relaxed and during down time you can catch up on sleep, sunbathe, snorkel, kayak or just amble around the island. From £1100 per person for 6 nights all inclusive.
Read about our experience on Silver Island
In Short: This fitness holiday led four times a year by talented personal trainer Drew Perrott combines exercise, nutrition, treatments and relaxation to help you get fit and de-stress. You’ll be based at the Villa de Geggiano, an elegant, cream-coloured 18th century summer villa in the foothills of Siena with astoundingly preserved interiors – not a bad setting for body and soul rejuvenation. Individually tailored to your fitness level and taking a maximum of 10 guests, the fitness break will encourage rather than force you to do anything, and makes exercising feel infinitely more do-able because of the glorious surroundings. From £1,900 – to £2800 per person per week including all meals, activities and two treatments.
Fitness holiday dates in Tuscany for 2014:
7 – 14 September
26 October – 2 November
Read about our experience with Drew Perrott
Check out www.drewperrott.co.uk
In Short: St Mawes Retreats is a collection of five delectable self-catering properties with drop dead gorgeous sea views in the romantic seaside village of St Mawes in Cornwall. They make wonderful places for Do It Yourself retreats alone or with friends - have treatments, book an art class, enjoy private yoga or fitness sessions, go hiking or SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boarding – practically anything you want can be arranged. Each property has dreamy, easy-to-be-in interiors featuring brightly coloured Designer Guild fabrics, Hypnos beds and decent toiletries. Hunker down off season to watch the weather from large windows with a cup of hot chocolate or enjoy walks and local beaches on glorious sunny days. From £399 for a 3 night weekend stay or 4 night midweek stay at Shellseekers (sleeps 4). Scroll down full costs.
Read about our experience of St Mawes Retreats
Check out www.stmawesretreats.co.uk *Queen of Retreats readers who book via our form at the pink link below get a free bottle of champagne on arrival.
See other self catering retreats we recommend
St Mawes Retreats is a collection of five delectable self-catering properties with drop dead gorgeous sea views in the romantic seaside village of St Mawes in Cornwall. They make wonderful places for Do It Yourself retreats alone or with friends – have treatments, book an art class, enjoy private yoga or fitness sessions, go hiking or SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boarding – practically anything you want can be arranged. Each property has dreamy, easy-to-be-in interiors featuring brightly coloured Designer Guild fabrics, Hypnos beds and decent toiletries. Hunker down off season to watch the weather from large windows with a cup of hot chocolate or enjoy walks and local beaches on glorious sunny days.