There’s a first time for everything, and often, it’s that first step that is the most important: whether it’s beginning a journey or trying something new, everybody has to start somewhere. It’s hard to imagine now, but at some point, everyone on the Compare Retreats team was also a wellness retreat-novice. We’ve quizzed our team of editors, wellness experts and consultants on their first wellness retreat experiences to find out what got them started on their wellness journeys.
Dervla Louli Musgrave
Compare Retreats Founder
My first proper detox wellness retreat experience was the Comprehensive Detox at Kamalaya, my first fitness and adventure one was at Chōsen Experiences in Bali and my first plant-based holistic healing retreat was at Fivelements in Bali. The one common thread that these special retreats share is that I learned something new at each of them that helps to lead a healthier life every day. I think education is one of the most important aspects of a retreat.
Wellness Expert & Yogi
My first wellness retreat was at The Farm at San Benito in the Philippines, and it was a mix of work and leisure which I think changes how you experience a wellness retreat. One of my favourite things was the peacocks walking around on the property: it gave the place a feeling of being close to nature and such a zen ambience.
Compare Retreats Editor & CCO
I booked my first wellness retreat on a whim. I was backpacking from Beijing to Xi’an for two weeks and thought I’d start with a little relaxation, so I found this budget yoga retreat in the Fragrant Hills, in the outskirts of Beijing. It was not what I’d expected. The retreat building itself was under construction, my booking had gotten lost somewhere on the internet, and the bed was one of the hardest I’ve ever slept on. There was little to do, and I hadn’t done a lot of yoga before this so I was really struggling. But a few days of digital detox, home-cooked vegetarian food and fresh air did me wonders, and it might not have been the ‘reset’ I was looking for, but definitely the rest I needed.
Creative Director & Yoga Instructor
My first wellness retreat was the Ayurvedic retreat at COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud Bali. I was having lots of belly issues and wanted to do the full detox to get to the bottom of it. What’s not to love about this place? The property is gorgeous and the spa is top-notch. They also have an Ayurvedic doctor on staff so I got lots of attention. Then, of course, there is the COMO Shambhala cuisine where even though I was on a detox diet, everything was organic, fresh and incredibly delicious. Eve Persak, the dietitian for all COMO properties has also created a stellar menu of smoothies and juices that I looked forward to every day.
Wellness Expert & Yogi
Not a retreat per se, but my first brush with ‘wellness’. I was backpacking it up on Bangkok’s Khao San Road in Thailand at the tender age of 28 (going on 18) and decided to see what Thai massage was all about. ‘Self-care’ in my family pretty much ran to brushing your teeth, so it felt ridiculously indulgent. About 50-minutes of teeth-gritting and ouch-bleating later, I was totally perplexed as to what all the massage fuss was about. A few years later when I started working with AsiaSpa, all was revealed, and now Thai massage is one of my favourite healing modalities.
Compare Retreats Digital Consultant
My first proper wellness retreat experience was at Thanyapura Sports Hotel and Fitness Resort in Thailand—it was actually with Dervla and her husband Alister! We went for a weekend of triathlon training before our Iron Man competition in Marbella this year. It was special as a first wellness retreat experience, at an incredible resort and with great company.