A couple of weekends ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Cotswolds with a bunch of my girlfriends to test drive a new wellness retreat offered by Lakes By Yoo. Lakes By Yoo, situated in the Cotswolds on 850 acres of stunning private land, boasts over 150 properties, all built with luxury, relaxation and wellness in mind. You can choose from five categories of accommodation, from ‘special’ to ‘one of a kind’, whichever you choose you’re in for a treat with all of them boasting plush interiors designed by Kate Moss, Elle MacPherson, Jade Jagger, Kelly Hoppen, Phillipe Starck & the Yoo Studio.
We were in The Barnhouse, possibly one of the most incredible houses I have ever stayed in, the interior created by Kate Moss just screamed opulence and I could quite happily set up camp there for the foreseeable!
As mentioned above, we were there to try out a new wellness retreat offered to guests of Lakes By Yoo. We were greeted at the Barnhouse door by the lovely Katie Brighton-Jones who was our wellness coach and retreat host. She is an absolute force and lovely human, to boot! This wellness retreat really differs from most out there, in that it’s completely tailored to you and the rest of your groups needs. Take us for example, we all wanted to train but thanks to the insane heat wave, we didn’t want to go as crazy with the exercise as we might have done normally. Katie took this all in her stride and was super flexible in creating the perfect workouts for is, at that moment in time. We settled on a short sharp HIIT workout to get us started before she rustled us up THE most delicious healthy, nutritious lunch of goats cheese, beats, lentils and mixed salad (It’s making me hungry just typing that up…). For our next workout we decided on yoga on the deck, we each highlighted the areas we wanted to work on, or ones that felt problematic and again, Katie tailored the 60 minute flow to suit us. From this fairly reluctant yogi, it was a lush flow… We held each pose long enough to really settle into our breath, it felt like a refreshing change of pace for me. Dinner again was freshly prepared and cooked by Katie in the super chic and totally #HouseGoals kitchen. We were all pretty shattered and so after chilling out on the couches and chatting life, love and biz for a few hours, we all hit the hay.
The next morning it was up (relatively) bright and early… Again, it’s worth mentioning here that you can chose what time the schedule starts. Something that’s usually so rare on retreats with things normally kicking off at the arse crack of dawn, whether you like it or not! We took it to the grass for an oldie but a goodie… Insanity! This was Insanity with a twist though, 45 minutes as opposed to the usual 20 / 25 and it was lung-bustingly good and just what I needed.
After an insane breakfast of freshly cooked buckwheat pancakes, eggs, avocado, fresh fruit – the works! It was time to meander slowly down to the Orchard Spa – a private spa purely for the enjoyment of guests of Lakes By Yoo. This places was another little oasis and more to come on the facilities later but oh my days, the treatments. Being someone who would usually just book deep tissue massages as a matter of recovery, I decided to treat myself to some less painful pampering and booked the Bamford Body signature treatment. 85 minutes of bliss that started with a cleansing foot bath and then incorporated Shiatsu, Meridian and Swedish massage, as well as reflexology. It was literally head to toe, full body pampering and the girl that carried out my treatment, Dani – is absolutely magic! I would highly, highly recommend her and this treatment in particular.
For our final morning of the wellness retreat I really wanted to take advantage of a fully stocked, air conditioned and most importantly, empty gym so that’s exactly what I did. 60 minutes of playing around, working hard, getting sweaty as all hell and creating this workout and it really rounded off the weekend for me. We left all feeling like we wanted more time there but nevertheless in a great frame of mind for getting back to the grind and tackling our respective empires head on and with renewed enthusiasm.
My only slight criticism of the facilities would be a lack of wifi however as Katie gently reminded our slightly horrified faces, ‘this is the Cotswolds’, it definitely forced us to relax and unplug somewhat, which is rare for us all and therefore probably a good thing. If you’re looking to reset in Luxury and surrounded by nature then I would highly recommend you visit Lakes By Yoo and try their tailor made wellness package.
Have you ever been on a wellness retreat? How was it and what would you have changed to make it an even better experience?
*We were gifted this experience but all thoughts and opinions are very much my own.