09:27 13 June 2022
09:35 14 June 2022
Hannah Gildart finds out why Glass House Retreat in Upminster is the country’s go-to wellness resort and the perfect place to rest and reset
It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind. Stress has almost become a way of life in our society. Sometimes snapping yourself out of the craziness for a few days is just what you and your body need. At the end of March, as the days began to lengthen and the signs of spring were everywhere, I was invited to Glass House Wellness Retreat in Upminster for a weekend of relaxation and realignment.
The Retreat is a bespoke wellness getaway, with fitness facilities and classes, spa treatments and nutrition led by a team of experts, all in one place. As an exercise phobic, I was a little apprehensive about being pushed into sweaty workouts with personal trainers barking orders – but it couldn’t have been more different. You can go at your own pace with gentle swims, yoga classes and morning walks in the countryside. Definitely more zen than sweaty. Stay longer and you’ll experience a transformative program of classes and diet plans to bring you back into the world with energy and zest for life.
I chatted with the owner Joy Jarvis over a delicious afternoon tea, with delicious treats of coronation tofu sandwiches, warm scones, Portuguese cream pies and chocolate cake with lemon. orange (chef and raw food pioneer Miguel Gouveia must be something of a magician as the retreat is entirely vegan, caffeine and alcohol free). Joy, who comes from a property development background, tells me she’s been to every wellness retreat, but none had the perfect balance of what she was looking for. “So I built one myself!” ” she smiles.
And what a place Joy built. As soon as you enter, you are bathed in warm light through the bay windows, the uncluttered decor soothes the mind… and the smell! I need it in candle form. There are only 21 rooms here, so after the hubbub of check-in, the place feels serene. Just like the pastoral beauty that surrounds it.
Once you’re unpacked and wrapped in your fluffy bathrobe and slippers, you’re free to explore the indoor pool, Himalayan salt sauna, steam room and Outdoor Wellness Dome, which hosts a number of workshops including yoga, sleep and meditation. For the more daring, there is an unheated natural swimming pool in the park and even a space-like cryotherapy chamber. Popular with athletes and celebrities, it exposes your body to intense cold, which has a plethora of benefits ranging from soothing muscles and aiding weight loss to cell regeneration and absorption. increased oxygen. It’s for me? Absolutely not.
Recently, my skin decided to be 15 again, with a delicious mix of clogged pores and breakouts. So it was the perfect excuse to book a facial. The retreat recently teamed up with clinical and clean skincare brand Image Skincare (imageskincare.co.uk). Her facials begin with a skin scan, which involves a machine taking detailed images of your skin to assess your needs. I was quite shocked to find that my skin age was only a year older than I actually am. However, it turned out that those years of cooking in the sun had taken their toll, so I left with a large bottle of Image Skincare SPF and faithfully promised my therapist that I would wear it every day.
After the skin scan, I went for my custom facial. I had a peel that fizzes and crackles on your skin like popping candy and leaves your complexion glowing and clean.
In the evening, as the sun sets and casts a hazy glow throughout the building, it’s time to settle in and indulge in a meditative sound bath. You lie in the dark while a practitioner “baths” you in sound waves from singing bowls and other instruments. We are told at the beginning that it can be a real emotional experience for people, releasing stuck energy. Someone snoring in front of me made me chuckle slightly so the euphoria wasn’t achieved this time around – however, in the end I was in a zen state so went to bed before 9pm hours. Something I haven’t done in years.
In the morning we were up for a walk in the countryside, where we even saw an egret perched above a babbling stream. After a delicious breakfast of pancakes (how are they healthy when they taste so good?), it was down to earth with a thud. Although I certainly approached my Monday with an unusual spring in my step. Hannah Gildart was hosted by Glass House Retreat.