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The LifeCo review
Smart juice detoxing in Turkey

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Retreat

The Quick Read: The LifeCo near Bodrum in Turkey is a smart detox retreat, professionally run by qualified medical staff. It’s small and ever so slightly clinical, but you feel like you are in safe hands. You’ll drink nothing but fruit and vegetable juice, washed down with a hefty dose of supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be offered a dazzling array of treatments. The LifeCo make detoxing almost pain-free with their range of activities and treatments, and the pleasant setting in a lush garden will calm and relax you. It’s just a five minute walk from the stunning beaches of the Bodrum peninsula, so you never feel too cut off. They also have a small detox and anti-aging day spa in the city of Istanbul.

££-£££

The LifeCo lecture

The LifeCo programme director Miray Yuhay giving a lecture.

More on the detox: The LifeCo recommends a minimum seven night package, although shorter options are available. They believe it takes this amount of time to really start to dislodge old toxins and start to cleanse and purify your internal organs. They do this with a well thought out and rigorous daily routine which comprises five ‘shakes’ of fruit, vegetable and wheatgrass juice, bentonite clay and psyllium husks, and five supplement ‘cocktails’ of beneficial vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes to support your colon and organs throughout the detox. On arrival, programme director Miray Yuhay will discuss your needs and hopes, from which she draws up an individualized daily schedule. You will also receive a short consultation with both a Western and an Ayurvedic doctor to discuss any pressing concerns. Most days are supposed to consist of an early morning walk, two yoga and meditation classes, colonic irrigation, but the yoga and the walks seemed to be at the whim of slightly vague staff – read a word from the queen on her stay.

Colonics are self-administered via the Angel of Life system (you lie back on what feels like a large bath-armchair hybrid) – it feels strange but it’s not uncomfortable and is all very private and discrete. You are also encouraged to make daily use of the steam room, infra red sauna, rebounder, and the turbosonic machine to help the detox process. However if you prefer to just lie by the pool or by the beach, then that’s your choice. Although there is a strong emphasis on education here, helping you make lasting life changes in your diet when you return home, it’s not forced down your throat.

The LifeCo Hammam

Treatments at The LifeCo are worth the extra cost

More on the treatments: You can choose where to have your treatments – outside by the pool, upstairs on an airy, semi open terrace, or downstairs in the womb-like, candle lit darkness. There is a huge variety of massages and treatments available, ranging from the obvious aromatherapy and hammam scrubs – read a word from the king on his experience – to more obscure treatments such as intravenous drips of vitamin C and glutathione, or suppositories of ozone or wheat grass. You can also have beauty treatments – standard facials, yes but also micro-current and anti cellulite sessions for a high-tech fix. Treatments are not included in the programme and cost extra, but many really are sublime. The Balinese from therapist Made is a mixture of deep tissue and pressure point and is heavenly, as is Mia’s aromatherapy.

More on the yoga: There are two yoga and meditation classes a day, both 90 minutes, though our experience was that yoga feels a little like an afterthought here rather than an important part of the programme, so if you have your own practice, you may be better off just asking for a mat in your room. It does help the detox process though, and beginners are welcome. One side of the yoga space is open to the garden, nice and airy, with a Buddha statue and a circular wooden floor, though on our visit, the trampolines and turbosonic vibrating machines around the edge detracted a little from the serenity. Mats and some belts are provided.

The LifeCo Yoga

Yoga class at The LifeCo can be hit and miss

More on the inside and outside: The site consists of one large central building which houses all the treatment rooms, the yoga space, juice bar and some accommodation; plus two smaller, two storey accommodation blocks. The main space is softened  with candles, fresh flowers and Buddha paintings. The juice bar is open to the swimming pool on one side and feels like a casual café where people can hang out and get to know each other. There is also another large semi-open space with seats for lounging, where they also show DVDs in the evening.

The gym is small but well formed with good quality machines. It’s in the basement, so is functional rather than somewhere to linger. The spa area consists of a simple hammam, sauna and steam room – the hammam is in traditional style, all shiny marble. The small surrounding gardens are beautifully landscaped with large palms, giant grasses and flowers. The pool is large with plenty of loungers and shade, and one outdoor treatment space draped in muslin.

More on the bedrooms: Standard rooms are minimalist, small yet attractive with wooden shelving and white walls.  Bathrooms are spacious and some rooms have  small balconies on which to sit and read. There is free wifi in all rooms, also TV and DVD. Suites are bigger and a bit more luxurious – they’re worth splashing out on if you will be staying for any length of time. The rooms in the main building are the smallest, and some open straight onto the yoga space.

The LifeCo Gulturkbuku bay

Nearby Gulturkbuku bay is worth exploring

More on the surroundings: The beach is a huge long, sandy bay with plenty of space for everyone. It only gets busy at weekends when the locals descend, but even then it is never overwhelming. There are some easily accessible areas with space for laying out your towel, but much of the seafront is covered with sun loungers owned by the adjacent cafes. They are happy for you to sit there as long as you buy the odd drink (water or herbal tea obviously!) Some are a bit grubby but there are also some beautiful ones with trendy decor, smart loungers and cool chillout music. Herbal tea at those cost considerably more, but is worth it for the fleeting feeling of being part of the jet set.

Food and drink: Most people choose the ‘master’ detox in which juices and supplements replace all meals, but there is also the option of a couple of days pre and/or post detox where you can take the softer ‘green’ detox option where salads are also offered. Ten times a day you will be fed the daily ‘diet’ of fruit/vegetable juices and supplements, including important bulking and detoxifying psyllium husks and bentonite clay. You are also given supplements to support the detox such as digestive enzymes, kelp, seaweed, probiotics, and so on. It feels very well thought out and the staff keep a very good track of who is due what and when, all of which inspires confidence.

Fellow guests: The celeb factor is high here. Kate Moss, John Galliano and Naomi Campbell are purportedly regular visitors, and Kelly Brook was a guest when we stayed. Despite this, everyone is friendly and chatty – there’s something about a detox that encourages the swapping of stories and the comparing of experiences. Guests are a pretty international set, although many are from either Turkey or the UK. Most are women, but there are a few men. Only a few are noticeably overweight: most people come for a bit of an internal spring clean as opposed to serious weight loss.

Queen of Retreats crownWhat’s queenly: The detox is safe, effective, and inspires confidence, while the regular drip feeding of shakes and supplements means you never really feel hungry. There are doctors on site and the treatments are delicious.

What’s lowly: Lack of English can mean that information can be hard to come by – fellow guests often provide more advice than the staff. The lacklustre yoga is disappointing.

Costs: Detox retreats cost €350 (£300) a night for two people in a standard double room or €195 (£167) per person in a standard single room. A suite room costs €550 (£473) for two in a double, or €285 (£245) for a single. 4 or 7 night packages work out slightly cheaper. A seven night detox costs €1365 (£1140) for a single standard room (including accommodation, all juices and supplements, daily colonics and use of spa facilities). Treatments are not included in the programme. Most cost between €54 – €72 (£45 – £60). Generally people opt for a ten session package costing €383/£320) (working out at roughly €38/£32 per session).

Getting there: The LifeCo is about 45 minutes by car from Bodrum airport. Transfers cost around £50 each way.

Reviewed by Sasha Bates

© Queen of Retreats

www.thelifeco.com Other detox retreats

The LifeCo Massage

At The LifeCo you can have treatments by the pool, on an airy, semi open terrace or in candle lit darkness