Two new luxury retreats are offering wellness seekers the chance to relax and restore in idyllic settings.
No longer are a massage and hot bath enough to constitute a revitalising holiday – outdoor immersion, mindfulness training, raw food and natural healing are all part of today’s spa packages. The aim of a stay at one of the world’s growing number of wellness retreats is to get healthy – or at least be inspired to make a few lifestyle changes. Queenstown’s Aro Hā retreat put New Zealand on the map as a luxury wellness destination. Now, two new retreats in spectacular rural locations have opened, housed in beautifully restored heritage buildings.
Set on a stunning clifftop south of Hastings, Cape South is a base for naturopathy, healing and relaxation. The expansive grounds feature a pool and historical homestead, which was transported to the site by its former owners.
The focus at Cape South is on individual support. Each retreat includes a naturopathy consultation, organic meals, massages and yoga sessions. You can choose to add a range of extra therapies, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, energy healing, transformational breathing and nutritional therapy. The retreat is a member of the Healing Hotels of the World network and offers visitors everything from day packages to week-long stays or longer, by arrangement.
Director, operations manager and lead naturopath Blair Morgan says the global wellness movement is “an important and recognised trend”. “There is indeed a thirst for individuals to learn how to live a more fulfilled, healthful life by making positive changes.”
Morgan runs the retreat with partner Cathy Allen, who specialises in massage and has an interest in medicinal plants. Owners Robert Wells and Susan Wren bring their own expertise in organic farming, nutritional therapy and reiki. “At Cape South we create unique experiences that serve to make a profound difference in the lives of our guests,” says Morgan.
“Holidays are great, but all too often a holiday involves many busy activities, rich food and alcohol. We believe a holiday involving plenty of rest and restorative therapies restores vitality and creates a platform on which to live.”
Co-owned by fashion designer and publisher Annah Stretton, Te Atawhai harnesses the healing power of Te Aroha’s renowned hot springs. The small spa town northeast of Hamilton was one of the country’s early tourist destinations.
Te Atawhai’s motto is nurture, nourish, thrive. The retreat’s “wholeness journey” includes equine-assisted learning, organic wholefood, thermal soaks, cycling, mountain climbing, strength work and nutritional consultations. Each four-day stay caters for 12-15 attendees and the owners aim to equip guests with new wellbeing tools.
The retreat is based in a historical house, nestled under Mt Te Aroha on the town’s domain, where you will also find a museum, natural geysers and those famous mineral pools. Te Atawhai is run by Stretton and co-owners Rebecca Skilton and Sherryll Gordon. The three women joined forces while undertaking their own lifestyle changes. “Te Atawhai is the start of an exciting new journey for the three of us,” explains Stretton. “For various reasons we had made poor choices around exercise, food and stress management.”
Stretton visited a number of other retreats in her search for a healthier lifestyle, including Aro Hā and Queensland’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. She incorporated aspects from both when she opened Te Atawhai. The retreat’s website already boasts testimonials from happy attendees even though it only opened in August.
Te Atawhai, signifying kindness and generosity in Maori, is a mind shift, says Stretton. “It’s not just another diet. This will change the way you view food and movement for the rest of your life.”