A relaxing weekend detox just a stone’s throw from home
I’m the first to confess, I am a total tech addict. My morning routine involves checking my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds before I even wipe the sleep from my eyes, so when I signed up for the Sommer Life Beach Retreat, I was pretty terrified. Not only was I going to be by myself for the whole retreat, I had also vowed to stay away from technology as much as possible to truly reap the rewards of the stay – definitely a challenge for someone as glued to their phone as I am.
The aim of the Sommer Life Beach Retreat is to rejuvenate and relax your mind and body without ever leaving Hong Kong – a quick and easy getaway that’s definitely needed in a city like ours. I went into the retreat wanting to take the time to really unwind and enjoy some quiet “me” time, as well as taking advantage of the opportunity to eat clean, organic vegetarian food and give my body a break from my hectic every day life. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to find it, but I like to try pretty much every experience I can get my hands on! With a positive attitude I packed my overnight bag and hopped on the ferry to Mui Wo one Friday night after work.
The retreat is located at the very end of Silvermine Beach in Mui Wo, a place I didn’t know my way around particularly well. Thankfully Nathalie, the owner and genius behind the Sommer Life Beach Retreat, had very helpfully emailed me instructions on how to get to the property after getting off the ferry in Mui Wo. I used the 20-minute stroll along the beach to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for the next 24 hours (if this sounds dramatic, it’s because it really was in my head – I really don’t do solo retreats often…).
However, once I arrived it was clear I was in great hands with Nathalie, Mel and Nathalie’s adorable dog Jolie. I was greeted with warm smiles, a delicious smoothie (packed with great ingredients like coconut milk, spinach, chia seeds, dates, mango and bananas!) and arguably the most delicious cacao truffle I’ve ever had in my life – made from raw cacao, dates, cashews and chia seeds, this treat was exactly what I needed to kick start my quiet time. I quickly settled into my private room (which was beautiful in it’s simplicity!) with a good book and lost myself for a solid hour and a half before dinner.
Right before our dinner was served, I took the time to head down to the private beach attached to the house, and this was where I spent a lot of my down time in between meals – during low tide, I’d walk down onto the beach and (very stereotypically) dig my toes into the sand and just hang out by myself. During high tide I got a bit more adventurous on the rocks and just watched the waves break on my feet. It was mesmerising and totally relaxing. Retreat goals: accomplished.
The part of the retreat I was most looking forward to was definitely the Balinese healing massage, which I had right before I went to bed. I can testify that Mel has magic hands, because as soon as she started the massage, I fell fast asleep and opened my eyes only when she gently woke me (after which I climbed right under the comforter and passed out like a log). If the sound of the waves breaking on the beach doesn’t lull you into hardcore relaxation, this massage absolutely will! Needless to say, I slept better than I had in a long time.
I’m a hardcore non-vegetarian, so I wasn’t sure how I would get along with the vegetarian (and sometimes raw vegan) three-course meals that Nathalie and Melissa put together. That being said, I left the retreat quite the convert – who knew that soaked cashews ground together with herbs could create a great substitute for cheese in a raw zucchini ravioli?! Take note, ladies!
Amongst the standout dishes were also a decadent raw cacao tart we had for dessert after dinner and the incredible quinoa lettuce wraps I had for lunch the next day, which I plan to recreate at home for myself.
All of these amazing dishes were presented to perfection, which made my Instagrammer heart go pitty-pat (I promise I didn’t upload any until after the retreat was over!). It was a massive change from the way I normally eat, and I did not mind it at all!
Overall, the retreat was not as scary as I’d made it out to be in my head. Yes, I was alone for 24 hours with only my thoughts and a great book to keep me company, but I found myself enjoying the alone time more than I thought I would. Honestly, I was quite afraid of how lonely a solo retreat would feel, but Nathalie and Mel have a comforting presence on the property which assured me that while I was happily by myself for most of my time there, a friendly chat was not too far away if I wanted it. I’d kept my phone away except to take some photos of the food (for a good cause!) and send a WhatsApp or two to my family to make them jealous, and the next day I felt truly relaxed for the first time in months.
It’s so hard in a city like Hong Kong to truly take a break and get away from it all without booking a flight, but the Sommer Life Beach Retreat really does a great job of whisking you away! You really don’t even feel like you’re in the city. If you’re looking for a weekend of solitude and just want to give yourself and your body a break, I would book this retreat as soon as possible – between the delicious food Nathalie comes up with and the peace and quiet the location affords you, you’ll never want to leave!
You can find more information about the Sommer Life Beach Retreat on their website here. We recommend also checking out their Instagram and their location tag to see some incredible photos of the retreat!