By Kathryn Brierley

I’d love to share with you what we offer on our wellness retreat. It will show you how much we really care so deeply about each of our guests’ experience with us, which is why we are so lucky to have so many people return to us as their favourite wellness retreat so frequently… and why we are told by our wellness seeking guests that we are the best retreat – for them, at least! These reasons below aren’t made up by us, we have summarised all the comments that have come from our guests, so you can hear it from them, not just us! 

  1. We deliver amazing RESULTS!! Of course it is the health retreat itself, the people, the locations, the care, the food that are the magical ingredients that we put together..I’ll detail more about all of them below, however it is how you feel and the results that are visible that are really outstanding. Guests leave brighter, leaner, energised, refreshed, relaxed, more toned and feeling more positive. And no matter how enjoyable the experience, if guests didn’t feel amazing at the end of the health retreats too, we wouldn’t have such a high repeat booking rate!   

Now been back for 2 weeks and I’m still feeling fantastic! It was the most transforming, uplifting and enlivening few days in an incredibly gorgeous setting.

Thank you for the best holiday ever. Truly was a life changing experience.”

  1. The quality of our team: I personally select the very best people (a team of 6 on each retreat) to represent the in:spa brand abroad and host the wellness retreat. That means they have to fit the criteria of having experience, excellence and empathy. I look for professionals who have at least 5 years of practising in their areas and are superb at what they do. However, that is only part of the requirement. The most important factors are that they are wonderful, kind, engaging and lovely people at heart. If I’m assured of this I know that they will also take great care of our guests and put them first on the retreat. They will also look out for the rest of the team. I’m not looking for the bendiest yoga teacher or the most pumped muscles for the personal trainers! I’m looking for really wonderful high-quality individuals – (no room for any egos) – who can put the guests before themselves and who really want to share their knowledge during the week and gently coach our guests through a transformative experience. We also only hire team with good ‘life experience’ behind them, which really adds credibility to what they are delivering. They also all happen to be fun to chat to and spend time with at any time on the retreat. 

A truly transformational week. A wonderful group of people led by the most incredible team of PTs, nutritionist, massage therapist, yoga instructor and chef.

The in:spa staff are amazing. So friendly, professional and compassionate. I wanted a full mind and body detox and I over achieved my goal thanks to in:spa.

  1. The constant access to and time you have with the team: On some wellness retreats at hotels or spas for example, you may have a nutrition consultation but then not see the nutritionist for the rest of your retreat. The same for any personal training or classes. They are simply appointments that you show up to as part of your holiday. There are destination spas and wellness hotels that have superb staff and these appointments form part of exceptional wellness programmes, however where we differ is that you really can benefit enormously from having constant access to our team of experts throughout the whole day and evening. You’ll have one-to-one time with them and enjoy talks and demos as part of your retreat schedule, however, in addition, they’ll join in classes with you, sit next to you at all of the meals, walk with you on the hikes and will take time to chat with you at any time you have anything you want to discuss. The amount of knowledge you can tap into throughout the week at any time from all the experts is incredible, and we encourage our guests to really make the most of their constant presence outside the time you are scheduled to spend with them anyway. 
  1. The high team : guest ratio: Some wellness retreats will be led by 1 person, 2 people, 3 people perhaps including a chef, however we invest so much in the quality of what is being offered that we fly out 6 people to run each health retreat. That means our team to guest ratio is the highest we have ever heard of and the team is with you constantly. For each retreat we might have 12-18 guests for example so that is a team : guest ratio of 1:2 or 1:3. Why do we do this? a) we know that it means that we can offer more variety in terms of the inclusions in your schedule b) we know that it means that each individual has the opportunity to spend more time with experts during the week and c) we know that the team members themselves therefore feel well supported and not overly stretched, and that means happy guests! d) it means that we can then attract the very best professionals to be part of our team as the conditions are really attractive for them too. It is a significant investment on our part, however we feel it is the only way to attract the very best professionals who consistently want to be part of the team and it is the very best way for guests to feel completely supported – especially in the first couple of days of the retreat when the environment is new, and even more especially if travelling on their own on a wellness retreat with us for the first time. 

We also have a ‘host’ on each retreat, who is the key leader and co-ordinator, who makes sure that everything is running smoothly for everyone each day and is looking out to make sure everyone is happy and settled.  The ratio of team to guest means that everyone can feel very much looked after as you are never far from a supportive, smiling team member to chat to! Our team are all great friends with each other too, and having that camaraderie and positivity run through the group immediately puts everyone at ease on the retreat. 

The in:spa team are a very special team of talented, professional, caring, committed and delightful individuals.” 

  1. You have a lot of one to one time and a fully personalised schedule: in:spa is not a bootcamp or a one sized fits all fitness retreat, it is a fully personalised health retreat experience. We ask you to complete a form before your retreat where you tell us what you want to get out of your week – ie any aims or goals and what you really want from the experience. We then put together your fully personalised schedule to make sure you have the best experience possible, tailored to you. This is also the time when you can tell us about any injuries, allergies or dietary requirements or medical conditions. This means our team has all the important information before the start of the retreat to fully prepare for your personalised stay. Our office team then puts together your individual schedule taking your answers into account and sends any dietary requirements across to our chef for pre-retreat menu planning. We schedule in for you a lot of personalised time with the team and this really sets us apart from others: You can enjoy a one to one personal training session, a nutrition consultation and two massages as part of our all-inclusive wellness retreat. For your nutrition consultation we ask you to fill in a form before you meet your nutritionist and based on responses about any health issues you are facing and your conversation with the nutritionist will help you uncover what may be causing these issues and provide you with a personalised plan going forward. You can also add in any further one to one sessions you would like with any other team member and many guests add in private yoga, more PTs and more massages. 
  1. There is a carefully crafted overall schedule: The formula has been carefully designed to ensure that you have exactly the right balance and the right combination of fitness and yoga, rest and relaxation. You have a great balance between group activities and private sessions with the team. We encourage early nights and lots of rest between sessions. The fitness component is balanced between walking (optional jogging), hiking, cardio, strength and stretching sessions. The yoga sessions are balanced between dynamic movement, strengthening and stretching the body as well as restorative, recuperation sessions and quiet mindful breathing and meditation sessions to calm the mind. The massages are timed to relieve you after exercise or help deepen relaxation. The food and nutrition component is a balance of exploring your own personal health issues and learning from the nutritionist and chef how to replicate the inspiring delicious food at home. You have time to chat with other guests, time to be still and contemplate, time to listen and engage with the experts, time to absorb the information and think about putting it all into practice. And of course, we ensure there is time to switch off from everything chill by the pool too!

in:spa are a fantastic organisation. The fitness detox and wellbeing holiday is planned carefully to nurture mind body and soul.” 

  1. We offer total flexibility within your schedule: As a follow on from the structure of the week, it is very much your own retreat. You have total flexibility to do as much or as little as you want from the schedule that is offered. No bootcamp! No obligatory participation! Nothing is compulsory! You can opt out of as much as you like. It’s your holiday! Some people arrive exhausted and come for the food/massage and some yoga and some walking. Others come and want as much fitness as possible, and add in more. All that we encourage is that you take from the time exactly what you need at that moment. No one’s run up to the retreat has been the same and every guest comes to the wellness retreat looking for something slightly different for themselves. They all want to feel great at the end of the week – and they do, however they know their body well and we encourage them to choose to get there in whatever way suits them best! 

A really flexible schedule that you can choose to do as much as little as you want – fabulous fitness classes, yoga, walks, morning runs, massage and nutritional advice.”

  1. Exceptionally delicious food: We have excellent feedback constantly about the quality of the food we provide on our wellness retreat. We work exclusively with the most exceptional private chefs to deliver delicious, colourful, beautifully presented menus. We cut out ingredients and substances that can make us feel sluggish (sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol, red meat) and pack the meals full of nutrient dense seasonal fruits and vegetables, poultry and fish. We have a lot of plant-based dishes, and some meals, however we do not insist on a plant-based diet for the week and recognise that many of our guests enjoy the protein in good quality meat and fish. However we cater always too for any vegans and vegetarians as well as for any other specific dietary requirements. 

 “And the food … oh the food … fantastic flavours and variety (& all healthy).”

  1. The quality of our venues: We do a lot of venue research! We love looking for properties that will be beautiful, high quality, comfortable homes for our wellness retreat. They are all stylish boutique properties – an exceptional villa in Marrakech, a private estate in Tuscany, a privately owned chateau in France and a boutique hotel in Majorca. They are stunning venues in beautiful locations. They all have ensuite bedrooms (no one ideally wants to share a bathroom on retreat as your own personal space is so important), stylish interiors, beautiful gardens and stunning swimming pools for your relaxation with lots of space for activities and consultations dotted around the properties. Most importantly they all have a lot of space to spread out, rest, relax.  

“It is a pretty special place… the location is peaceful and gorgeous.”

  1. The setting of our venues. All our properties are set in beautiful rural settings, in deepest countryside, close to foothills of mountains or with stunning views. It’s really important for us that our wellness retreats take place in remote, beautiful settings, so you can wake up to a peaceful environment and heavenly views in order to enjoy a real sense of escape and detachment while the transformation takes place. 

“Their beautiful chateau is magic, couldn’t be a more relaxing and charming environment.”

  1. A range of venues to choose from: We love to offer our wellness retreats across different destinations. Our teams are made up from the same pool of fabulous health professionals, but we know that our repeat guests enjoy trying out new places rather than just going back to the same location. That means that you can soak up the in:spa magic from a range of stunning properties and at any time of year as we make sure we follow the sunshine with Europe across the summer and Morocco in our winter months, with stunning retreat venues to choose from in Tuscany, Southern France and Marrakech. 
  1. The quality of our care before and after your retreat: From your very first point of contact you’ll be looked after by either Debbie or me. We’ll answer any questions you have (we love chatting over the phone and helping people with queries) and if you decide to go ahead, we help you by recommending flights. As our venues are remote, we recommend that everyone gathers at the airport at a certain time or from a certain flight(s) and we then arrange for everyone to be met at the airport and taken to our venue with our transfers. Private transfers can be expensive to remote locations, which is why we heavily subsidise our group transfers for you to bring the cost for you down as much as possible. We’ll liaise with you about your flights, discuss any other questions that you have and we send you a packing list so you can fully prepare in advance at home. We are in touch with our guests a lot in the run up to each holiday and want to make sure that every question and concern is dealt with so that you can feel relaxed in the run up to your health retreat. We’re also very happy to chat outside office hours and at any time that suits you. We really put you first from the very first contact and want to make sure you feel looked after and supported the whole way through your experience with us. 
  1. We attract the loveliest guests! Right from the very first retreat in 2003 we have attracted absolutely lovely guests onto our retreats! And since those guests come back and recommend our retreats to their friends and families the positivity rolls forward. Our guests are likeminded, bright, lovely people who are all just looking for a little ‘me time’ and time-out to get back on track. Many of our guests come on their own and joining a wellness retreat means that they are all happy with the prospect of spending time getting to know others. However, we have a wonderful mix also of some couples, friends, mothers and daughters. Having a large team means that everyone can immediately relax a little deeper knowing they are being well looked after, and that helps of course with people feeling at ease too. As everything is so well prepared before hand, the backdrop is serene and everyone can just get on with having a wonderful time together. The fact that we have so many repeat guests on a retreat immediately puts other new guests at ease (it must be okay then!) and the repeat guests re-bond with team who they met on previous retreats.. There is a lot of friendship and camaraderie… it’s like a large family. Several of our guests have been on over 16 retreats with us over the years! 

“The week was made even better by spending it with an incredible group of people – can’t wait to go again!!

  1. The small size of our groups: Our properties are all between 10 and 14 rooms which means it is unlikely that our groups are ever larger than 14-18. This really is the optimum size for a number of people to have a lot of personal attention from our team, and be able to easily get to know each other throughout the week.  
  1. Every level and ability is catered for: We really cater for every age and every fitness level on our wellness retreats. Many of the calls I have from prospective guests are that they are concerned that they will be the slowest or the least fit, and I always reassure them that every level is catered for. We have several hiking guides on the hikes so that the group can spread out and different paces are catered for across different routes. We have two personal trainers so that different classes can be offered and different options will be offered within each class. We have different classes for different levels of yoga. And if you feel you have worked hard enough in the morning and want the afternoon to rest, then that is encouraged too. Equally if you want to add in more training sessions, then that can also be arranged. 
  1. Our experience: We have been running retreats now for 20 years. We have lots of practice, lots of learning and have embraced and incorporated a lots of feedback over that time, which has helped us to tweak elements of the weeks to ensure we continue to hit the highest quality scores across every area. Some of our current team have been running these retreats with us across over 15 years of this time, and so there is every so much experience all round! It may look easy to hire a venue and ‘put on’ a retreat, but believe us, there is ever so much to consider behind the scenes and to get right to ensure that everything is flawless for our guests! 

Everything worked like clockwork, which is a testament to how well they run things.

  1. Your money is safer with us: Your holiday payment to us goes directly into a trust account managed by PTS (Protected Trust Services). It is a legal travel industry obligation to protect customers money in advance of their holiday, which is called the ‘financial protection’ of what you have paid. Do please always remember to check whether any retreat organiser financially protects your deposit and balance payment before your holiday. Many organisers do not do this, and it is a legal requirement.
  1. We offer amazing value: We will never be the ‘cheapest’ wellness retreat as it would be impossible to pack as much quality into the holiday and be ‘cheap’, however we know that compared to other programmes and retreats we offer really exceptional value. If you added together the accommodation cost together with the time the team charges professionally to see them at their clinics, gyms, spas and studios or online as well as the cost of individual group classes and guided hikes and added on restaurant prices for the food, you would come out with an overall cost at least 50%-100% higher. We really try pack in as much incredible high quality content and keep prices affordable as we want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy our very special retreats.  
  1. We listen to every guest: We love all feedback and thankfully we are used to having the most exceptional high quality feedback on our wellness retreats. However, we never become complacent since every month we are carefully crafting and putting together the retreats for the future months – we are constantly organising the next events and are always very keen to hear about individuals’ experiences so we can continue to stay at the very top of our game. 
  1. We really really care deeply: I founded in:spa 20 years ago, it is my first ‘baby’ and I’m still completely hands-on today. I hope it really comes across that we really care deeply about our guests and the incredible retreat product that we offer. I’m incredibly proud of what we have built and the feedback that we consistently get from our clients. I’m thrilled that we have been told we have transformed so many lives, improved so many lifestyles, been the catalyst for so many positive changes and of course been the start of so many life-long friendships. I couldn’t have done it without the most exceptional team and the loveliest guests!