Get your mojo back at a peaceful detox retreat hidden away in West Sussex’s idyllic countryside
Prior to my checking into this unique West Sussex country house, which doubles up as one of the UK’s leading detox retreats, the offer of a liquid lunch meant only one thing (and it didn’t involve vegetables of any kind). Being Italian, a weekend away ordinarily brings the promise of good food not the absence of it and so on checking in to the five-day ‘juice cleanse’ programme, I was wondering why I had thought this was such a good idea.
Run by renowned detox expert and healer Vivien Kay, the programme is juice-only (yes, that’s right, no solid food is served here) aimed at the stressed, overweight and world-weary. Tick, tick, tick. It is the place to banish the bloat.
Having run a successful centre in California, Vivien returned to the UK in 2000 to launch Simply Healing – the first of its kind in the country – and hasn’t looked back since, winning many awards and accolades over the years. In short, Viv’s number is the one that A-listers and beauty editors (wanting to shed a few pounds) have on speed dial.
Her hands-on approach is what appeals – while everyone (celebs, stressed out executives and time-poor entrepreneurs alike) are unified by sharing the same juices taken at a dining table interspersed throughout the day, she nonetheless offers a bespoke take on detoxing.
“Everyone is here for their own reasons,” she says. “So one rule does not work for all. It’s often not the weight loss that’s the problem but some underlying cause. My job is to get to the root of that.” Consequently after check-in you have a one-on-one consultation appointment with Vivien or Kate, an expert in meditation, during which any so-called underlying problems – be it physical or emotional – are gently unravelled.
Your stay is then tailored to your needs with bespoke treatments, such as colon massage, reflexology, REN facials and aroma algae wraps, breaking up the day. While it’s not for the faint-hearted – expect headaches, brace yourself for colonic hydrotherapy (‘an essential part of any detox”), and don’t be surprised to be hallucinating about fish and chips – it is surprisingly do-able and best of all utterly relaxing.
Open fires tempt you to lounge by them with a good book and ‘me-time’ is actively encouraged here. Viv and her team are also experts at checking in with guests with words of encouragement when they most need it. Best of all, though, are the serene surroundings. The creaking 18th century manor house oozes charm and character (ask for the blue room which is uber stylish) and the beautiful South Downs countryside makes for a dreamy setting. Make sure you join the early morning and twilight guided walks – the blast of fresh air is a real tonic and gives a focus to each day.
For those used to being on the go, this is a place to come to unwind, rest and re-energise. Evening mediation sessions and nutrition talks are a great way to interact with others – although not compulsory – and the evening hearty soup by candlelight is a welcome end to the day. I returned home six pounds lighter and with a spring in my step (although that could have been to help me get to the fridge a bit quicker!)
A country house retreat that gives you back the time to listen to your body again. You’ll return home bursting with energy.
The Simply Healing Essential Juice Detox Plan costs from £1,300 for five days.
Simply Healing, Alliblaster House, Hill House Lane, Rudgwick, West Sussex RH12 3BD. Tel. (01403 822117; simplyhealingcentre.com).