Mindfulness Journeys was set up by the lively yet laid back couple Brian Hilliard, a Tibetan Buddhist originally from Vermont, US and Shannon van Staden, a former stylist from South Africa.
In Short: Mindfulness Journeys was set up by American Tibetan Buddhist Brian Hilliard and his partner Shannon van Staden, a former stylist from South Africa. Aimed at anyone interested in meditation from any walk of life, their holidays seek to make meditation and mindfulness more accessible by removing the jargon and approaching it in a lighthearted way. The date-specific group journeys run twelve times a year at locations chosen for their tranquility, style and comfort: on the magical Silver Island in Greece, at an agriturismo in Umbria, Italy and at two boutique locations in Morocco. You can expect morning and early evening sessions dedicated to meditation, with afternoons generally free for swimming, sunbathing, reading, exercising or perhaps a cheeky nap. You don’t have to forego good food and wine – there is plenty of both. Evenings tend to be sociable, with founders Shannon and Brian’s relaxed approach setting the tone. From €800-€2220 per person depending on the location.
Book the Mindfulness Journeys meditation retreat on Silver Island this October and you’ll get €100 discount if you pay in full by 31 August.
In Short: HighLives Travel specialises in organised and tailor-made trips to the South American countries of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, with a strong emphasis on the Andes. Their Wellness Holidays are travel adventures with a wellbeing slant – such as spa, yoga, fitness and detox – and they mostly take place at relatively high altitudes, such as heights of 5,000m (16,400ft) in the Bolivian altiplano. The clue’s in the name. Whatever kind of trip you take, HighLives Travel advocates the benefits of being at altitude as a wellness activity in its own right, citing weight loss and increased athleticism as examples of the potential pluses of being up high.
HighLives Travel specialises in organised and tailor-made trips to the South American countries of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, with a strong emphasis on the Andes. Their Wellness Holidays are travel adventures with a wellbeing slant – such as spas, yoga, fitness and detox .
In Short: The Pause is an invitation to stop and take a look at your life – at what’s working and what really isn’t. Danielle Marchant is a beguiling leader – a refreshing mix of pragmatic and soulful – and she facilitates with a light hand and an engaged heart, creating a space where people can bring their ‘stuff’ and leave lighter, whether it’s an hour’s coaching by Skype, a one-day ‘Instant Pause’ in London or a three or five-day residential ‘Deep Pause’ in rural Berkshire or Cornwall. We loved its integrity, its soulfulness and its pure magic. It runs in the UK, but there are plans to take it to the Far East in 2015. From £129 pp for The Instant Pause.
The Pause is an invitation to stop and take a look at your life – at what’s working and what really isn’t. Danielle Marchant is a beguiling leader – a refreshing mix of pragmatic and soulful – and she facilitates with a light hand and an engaged heart, creating a space where people can bring their ‘stuff’ and leave lighter, whether it’s an hour’s coaching by Skype, a one-day ‘Instant Pause’ in London or a three or five-day residential ‘Deep Pause’ in rural locations.
In Short: Mentor and guide Jessica McGregor Johnson is a highly qualified coach who has helped all sorts of people find the right way forward in their personal and professional lives over the last 10 years. Based in Spain, she’s grounded, light of heart and easy to be with, and particularly good at helping you access a truer path in any given situation if you feel you’ve chosen something that you think you should do rather than what suits you better. You might need help deciding something small, such as what to say at a business talk, or something big, such as whether to leave your job or relationship – or you might just want to check you’re on the right path. Have sessions with her by skype or attend a private one-to-one mentoring and coaching retreat with her at Casa Ana, a glorious, boutique guesthouse in the white washed village of Ferreirola in the Alpujarras in Spain. Jessica can also run group retreats here when there are a minimum of six people. Private retreats cost £1964 pp for 3 nights, group retreats cost £1475 pp for 6 nights.
In Short: A grand Victorian mansion surrounded by acres of beautiful woodland in Forres, North-East Scotland, Newbold House is a workshop and retreat centre run by a small community whose focus is sustainable living. It offers personalised, private wellbeing retreats and a range of other relaxing and rejuvenating breaks, courses and events which support wellbeing and living sustainably. Families are welcome. Bespoke wellbeing breaks costs £285 per person for two nights, £475 for four nights and £730 for seven nights.
In short: This is a rare treat. A comfortable, 400-year old house in the Lincolnshire countryside where two expert ayurvedic practitioners offer bespoke retreats lasting 3, 5 or 7 days. Andy and Laura Shakeshaft are genuine, kind 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.
Sarah looks after our relationships with all the retreats featured on Queen of Retreats, making sure all the information alongside our independent reviews is accurate and interesting. Her role also includes creating our weekly newsletters, managing our social media and other site maintenance. After graduating in English Literature, Sarah worked for 9 years in communications and relationship
Read More …
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 now run detox retreats at Moinhos Velhos in Portugal, though we haven’t reviewed them yet.
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