Witherdens Hall review | holistic hideaway, UK
Coaching, mindfulness & treatments in Kent
The Quick Read: This tranquil retreat in rural East Kent is near miles of sandy beaches yet only 55 minutes by train from St Pancras, London, and it’s run by long time mindfulness practitioner and owner of Mindfulness at Work Louise Cox Chester. Discuss in advance what you need to set you back on track, whether it’s mindfulness training, organic facials, yoga classes, massages or life coaching, then stay in a sweetly converted barn and start to relax.
More on the wellbeing activities: Come to be left completely alone, to go for local walks, detox, relax and pad about in your PJs, or arrange a schedule of treatments with carefully picked local therapists. These include Reiki, thai herbal compress massage, acupuncture, organic facials, yoga, reflexology, indian head massage, deep tissue and hot stones massage. In the garden there’s a small swimming pool with a jetstream you can swim against which is open in warm weather.
More on the coaching: Choose to work with either Suzi Tyler, a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner who helps you work through any blocks, fears or anxieties preventing you from doing what you want, or with Angela Brier-Stephenson, who uses mindfulness and something called Future Life Progression to help you – a powerful interactive technique, it allows you to glimpse possible futures and so make more informed decisions in your life now.
Ben Barnett offers a 3 dimensional massage technique, whilst guests lie face up on cushions of warm water, and experience a personalised guided visualisation simultaneously with physical bodywork, to unlock the past trapped in your body, create a space for the future, and then align you with your chosen outcome.
When she is available, it’s also worth booking a coaching session with owner Louise Cox Chester, a personable, vibrant and friendly former investment banker and long time mindfulness practitioner. Called ‘What’s Your Purpose?’, the session coaches you through a series of questions to help you clarify the over-riding purpose in your life. Additionally, Witherdens Hall offers very effective, life-changing coaching tailored to your personal or work situation – whatever you are stuck with.
More on The Retreat cottage: Set in a beautiful courtyard, the charming cottage has 2 double rooms (one can be made up as a twin room) with Egyptian cotton sheets, bathroom with Jacuzzi bath or steam shower, fluffy robes and Neal’s Yard goodies. There’s a fully-equipped kitchen including a juicer, and a light and airy sitting room with a library of interesting books, magazines and DVDs. Guests often report how refreshed they feel after a night’s sleep on the magnet healing bed.
More on The ChillSpace & The WorkSpace: A short walk from your door you’ll find The ChillSpace, which includes a MiniSpa with treatment room, a soothing FAR infrared sauna and massage chair and a steam cabinet. The WorkSpace was specifically designed to be a multi-functional area and can be divided with folding doors which separate the kitchen and lounge. It has space for 12 people doing yoga or a group meditation, or a theatre-style business conference for up to 30 people. There’s also a sofabed, ipod docking station and large screen TV/DVD.
More on The Suite: The Suite is a deluxe spacious studio which can be twin or king bed, the bathroom has Neals Yard goodies and fluffy robes, with a lounge area with sofa bed and fully-equipped kitchenette.
How was it for us: This is one of the most mellow, charming spaces I’ve found for a private wellbeing break in the UK. Louise Cox Chester is a talented mindfulness teacher and a welcoming hostess – also highly recommended is the serene signature facial with therapist Marilyn, who lives on site and uses organic products and healing techniques in her treatments. I’ve been here a few times now, both alone and with my family, and always felt comfortable and cared for.
Food watch: You can opt to have an organic breakfast ingredients in your cottage waiting for you on arrival – otherwise the Retreat Cottage is well equipped for self-catering, and includes a steamer and juicer to help you eat healthily. You could book a MyDietInaBox (www.mydietinabox.co.uk) for your stay or cook with ingredients from the local organic farm shop. You could also book a consultation with Natural Juice Therapist, Carol Brace, who offers 3, 5 or 7 days juice cleanse during your stay. All juices are sources locally from organic produce and can be frozen for you to take home.
Fellow guests: People come here alone, with a friend or partner, or with their family. You can make it the kind of retreat you want very easily.
What’s lowly: The Retreat Cottage is self-catering, so you do have to think about your meals – though this does mean you can be entirely private.
Insider tip: The nearest station is Adisham, but the retreat is about 20 minutes drive from Sandwich beach so you will need a car if you want to get out and about.
Costs: It’s normally a minimum two night stay, and ranges from £40 – £150 per person per night depending on number of people staying and season. For example, it’s £40 per person per night based on four sharing for a three night weekday stay. A weekend costs £250 for one person staying two nights, or £350 for two people using both bedrooms.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
© Queen of Retreats