It had been life-long dream for yoga teacher and wellness practitioner Kelly Watt to bring together her experience in hospitality and wellness. Last year that dream came to be when she opened wellness centre and restaurant True Food & Yoga with her former husband Nic in the gorgeous historic space on Orakei xx.
Originally trained as a chef, Kelly has been a maitre’ d at fine hotels, Zuma and Matches in London,and spent eight years managing events at Nobu, London before returning to Huka Lodge, Whites in the Hilton and launching Masu at SkyCity with Nic. Trained in reflexology at London’s Harley Street and a yoga devotee since her teens, Kelly returned to her passion, completing training as a yoga teacher, as well as yoga medicine, barre, and Chinese medicine with Power Living in Australia, Garuda Barre and LA-based Tiffany Cruikshank. At True Yoga, she has assembled a school of some of Auckland’s best loved teachers in yoga, mat pilates and barre.
“True was the lifelong dream of mine, my concept, we poured our own life into this concept,” says Kelly. “It is what we love to do with our own lives, based on our true story. With yoga, you are your authentic, true self, getting back to that child that you are.”
Kelly knows that part of the magic of True are the studios overlooking the Waitemata and city through the curved windows: a view that can’t be matched, anywhere. The industrial space has a fit-out of bleached oak, brass and plenty of greenery and now includes glamorous spa-like dressing rooms, a shop of the teachers’ favourite yoga and wellness accessories. Sky-lit rooms host holistic beauty treatments from Charlotte Harrison of the Beauty Bar, physio and massage with Gabrielle Sharpe and chiropractic practice from Dr Iain Wood.
And, of course, there is the enticement of gorgeous post-mat restaurant and bar at True Food, with healthy, nutrient-dense dishes and kombucha on tap. The sunny terrace is a favourite stop-off for local walkers and bikers, tucked against the iconic pohutukawa trees — the handy mid-point between the city and the classic beaches to the east.