A visit to Resolution Retreats — Australasia’s largest women’s only wellness retreat.
After several months of major change and — as we all have — enduring Covid-19, I’m looking forward to a stay at Resolution Retreats, a five-star, 35-hectare resort 10 minutes south of Cambridge where women undergo three- to 21-day weight loss, health and wellness programmes.
My timetable arrives a few days prior and includes fitness and cooking classes, yoga, meditation, facial and massage treatments, health and happiness workshops, meal times and ‘bliss’ time.
It’s an easy drive to the retreat from Auckland and I arrive at the same time as Jane from Pauanui. We meet Emma, a nutritionist, and Carly, a yoga teacher/ health coach – our retreat facilitators.
Carly shows us to our chalets and I relax in the knowledge I’ve temporarily left my ‘duties’ behind. The chalet has a lounge, kitchenette and a large bedroom with desk, TV and king-sized bed. The piece de resistance for me is the spa bath — a soak here is my idea of heaven.
It’s time to meet the others. The 16 of us are all ages and sizes and as Carly takes us on a tour we’re looking forward to healthy living and recharging.
There are no rules on retreat but ‘liver loaders’ like coffee and wine are off the menu. I’m delighted unprocessed ‘real food’ is on offer and our first snack is a divine chia pudding served in a wine glass and garnished with fresh flowers. From here on we look forward to mealtimes not because we don’t have enough — three meals and two snacks is plenty — but somehow we’re always ready for more.
The first workshop with Emma focuses on the Wheel of Wellness (nutrition, movement, sleep, happiness) followed by a fitness session before healthy pizzas are served for lunch.
Next on my personal agenda is a facial. My therapist is superb and after a long break between facials, I’ve decided they should be mandatory! I float through the rest of the afternoon with options of ‘bliss’ time, two choices of yoga/meditation classes and a light pad thai dinner. During ‘bliss’, a few of us gravitated to the heated plunge pool. I enjoy chatting to the others here then leave for a sauna before dinner.
The next morning begins with a fitness class and I’m frustrated that my injured knee negates it but Carly puts on yoga nidra meditation for Gaye – another injured soul – and I. We then breakfast on healthy eggs benedict before a mental health workshop with Carly and cooking class with Emma demonstrating bliss balls.
My second treatment is a 60-minute body massage and my masseuse has magic hands. Seriously. In terms of getting through life, these should be (at least) a monthly must-do! I compliment it with yoga nidra again before a dinner of almond and olive crumbed tempeh and watched That Sugar Film with some of the others.
Till We Meet Again
There’s a lot to like about a stay at Resolution Retreats and it’s not difficult to see how longer stays would facilitate weight loss and encourage new healthy habits. The mix of activities and free time is perfect. A retreat should de-stress but a full-on timetable would make that impossible. At Resolution bliss time is plentiful and there’s no pressure to ‘do’. During ‘bliss’ we hung out in the sauna, the pool or read in the lounge in groups or on our own and some of the ladies left the retreat to explore nearby walks or drive into Cambridge or Tirau for shopping.
It’s sad to say goodbye to this lovely group of women. It’s been levelling and liberating donning an unembellished ‘uniform’ of activewear, swimsuits and bathrobes. My tummy feels flatter but most of all it’s been a time to stop, gather my thoughts and get reacquainted with some healthy habits that went awry during lockdown.
Resolution Retreats was founded by former Chartered Accountant Joelene Ranby – who eventually left the corporate world to pursue helping others. “I was very proud of my career but I wanted to share what I had learned during my own health journey to help other women”.
Joelene has since studied anatomy, physiology and nutrition and is a trained fitness instructor, but she’s not shy in saying she was once very unhealthy. “I’ve come a long way. I was stressed out, I couldn’t cook, I used to have cereal with condensed milk on top for dinner! Since then, I‘ve developed healthier habits and have learned to take better care of myself. I’m definitely not perfect and I think that’s something our guests can relate to!” she laughs. “And that’s what we try to teach women. It’s about progress not perfection. Treat health as a doing word and do some health every day”
“About half our guests come with weight loss as one of their health goals. The other half for many other different reasons – a break from their kids, to be more inspired in the kitchen, while othersfeel like they’ve lost themselves and need a reset. One guest had a lightbulb moment when she discovered she buried herself in constant work because she felt that was the only thing she was good at. Many of our guests are so refreshed by our take on wellness that they leave with much more than they came for.”