Sunday, 8 September 2019

Luxury Spiritual Retreats - The Emperor's New Clothes?



Dear Readers,


Today it is the turn of luxury.  We pick up from our last Blog post and today we look at the very highest of the high end of luxury.  But the question we have to ask ourselves is do we lose the essence of a “retreat”?  Is it more like a pampered yoga class?  Or do you still get the original experience?


By the way, have you worshipped any Goddesses yet?  Definitely keen to do the Goddess worshipping tantric trip in Greece we found in the last post if anyone fancies coming with me?  Anyway, back in the room:  luxury retreats:  emperor’s new clothes or the most authentic experience money can buy?


It’s hard to know where to start to be completely honest with you, dear Readers, and as we have said in previous Blog posts, this is such a huge topic in terms of the types of retreats one can go on, that you have to kind of take them all together…In our research we have found that literally the sky is the limit with these things, so here follows some interesting examples:

Image result for barai thailand


Firstly, dear Readers, we’re going far flung:  the Barai, Thailand.  This will cost you £3,538 or £5,373 for single occupancy (do you really want to share a room with someone you don’t know?!  Joking!) for 7 nights.  Having won 100s of awards, this is a temple of sanctuary, a deeply healing environment offering a holistic approach focussed on your whole being:  mind, body and spirit.  Set in 4 ½ acres of Hua Hin beachfront, here you can expect to find spa accommodation, traditional massages, yoga, fitness and healthy eating programmes.  The architecture is a big part of this place and it is designed along with the art and wellbeing principles, all working as one.  The Presidential Pool Villa at 434 square meters affords you a beachfront locations with a private pool, 2 queen beds and butler service.  In terms of actual retreat activates, excluding accommodation (presumably you would stay in the Villa?) from £185 per person per night for 3, 5, or 7 nights, you can have yoga, Tai Chi, Thai Boxing, Stretching, Garland making classes (say whaaaaat?), cooking, visits to floating markets, temples, fishing, night markets and a pineapple farm (yes, you heard it here first).  Or you can have tailor-made weight loss, fitness, cleanse, yoga and unwind programmes.  This includes all meals and that famous butler service.  You eat at McFarland House which also caters for functions, guests staying at the neighbouring Hyatt and weddings.  Authentic?  Hummm.

Image result for the santani sri lanka


This next one really caught our eye, dear Readers, and after all our research, I think could be one of the best.  It certainly is according to all its awards.  Have a look at The Santani in Sri Lanka.  Billed as minimalist luxury in the jungle, this is a different kettle of fish and certainly more authentic in our eyes.  Santani means “in harmony with” and they provide “wellness programmes” in Ayurveda, detox and cleansing, yoga and relaxation.  This is combined with pampering, rejuvenation and “enlightened learning” for a healthy life (sounds bliss, right?!).  This is something which stood out:  there is personalised cuisine so you can ensure you’re getting the full experience (my worry is, dear Readers, you book on and go on one of these super-expensive retreats where you do all this detoxing and cleansing, then are left to your own devices in the evening where you end up eating burger and chips and undoing all your good work in the day) be it juicing, vegetarian, vegan…plus there is a biodynamic wine and juice bar!  Bonus!  Sold!  The idea is you don’t have a menu, as it’s all done according to a personalised diet plan.  Using the most up to date scientific research, the plans are based upon your specific health goals and physical condition:  Ketogenic, Ayurvedic Vegetarian and Detox.  There are various retreats and programmes you can opt for in a very authentic environment.  The dwellings are based on Buddhist meditation caves and the idea is that they help you to “reset” with no modern distractions such as TVs, but wifi as available on demand.  You’re looking at about £2140 each without any special packages built in, depending on time of year, but dear Readers, please have a look at this place, it looks out of this world!

 Image result for xuclar beach house ibiza

A really good website for all sorts of retreats is  Here we found inspiration for retreats closer to home, such as Soul Adventures in Ibiza.  This is where your emotional and mental health will be recalibrated through ancient healing arts.  Kundalini yoga and shamanic healing arts are used at Xuclar Beach House in the hills near Portinax.  Group retreats are available or you can have one bespoked for you.  Slightly more than the previous at £1,469 per person per day single occupancy all-inclusive or £1,848 per person per day for the private exclusive suite, you’d hope to feel recharged…

Image result for strategic space retreat france


Fancy a retreat in a chateau?  Look no further than the Strategic Space retreat, France.  This is a 4-night personal strategy retreat for people who want a personal, career or business-lead reboot and kick-start or indeed a complete life transformation (whatever that means).  You find yourself in a private chateau in Chateau de Mailly, Burgundy, with a specific programme, one-to-one sessions, chef-cooked meals and wine!  Thank goodness.  No detox-cleanse here then, clearly.  This will set you back £2,265 each for 4 nights all-inclusive.

Image result for radical sabbatical kent


Or, dear Readers, what about this:  a Radical Sabbatical with Advivum Journeys in Kent, UK?  Billed as a powerful, luxurious, life-coaching retreat in an elegant manor house, why not?  The idea is, that for 5 days, already successful people reconnect with what they want to get out of life, using group tutorials, workshops and solo activities…and good food (not coming back thinner here then) for £3,500 for 5 days…

Image result for being at the cottage


Or lastly, as there are so many, how about a solo rural retreat at Being at the Cottage, Abergavenny, Wales?  An inspirational and mind-changing solo retreat with private coaching alongside time alone.  Aimed at business leaders and entrepreneurs at the top of their game to revitalise the way they think and make changes within their organisations.  Pricing is not clear but you’re looking at £900 upwards for a weekend…


Hummm….what do you think, dear Readers?  Your Hopeless Blogger has to be a bit honest with you:  I am a bit non-plussed.  I mean, you can clearly spend thousands and thousands of pounds, but really, is fundamentally what you’re getting any better than the budgets retreats we’ve already looked at?  Is it more authentic?  Will you achieve your goals faster and easier?  I think, the answer is “no”.  Personally, and this is just my opinion, from what we have researched, the most authentic experiences are the budget ones.  You see, one verges, with the luxe ones, on a sort of posh spa and really that’s not what we’re looking at.  An immersive experience without pretence I suppose would sum up what we’re looking for.  And do we find it in the luxe category?  I’m not so sure…I was really inspired with our budget ones, finding what sounded like amazing experiences for little money, just with really dedicated and enlightened people, was exciting…This seems a bit, well, sanitised…


Lastly, for our series on retreats, and we certainly hope you’re enjoying it, we’re going to look at really, really serious ones…so keep your eyes peeled!


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