Golden Door – Creating space to health & happiness

I caught up with my old friend Heike, who I hadn’t seen for awhile. As we slowly sipped our coffee I began discussing how insanely busy our world is today, and the imminent need for healthy holiday breaks.   I was exhausting myself explaining my life with three children and their schedules, a busy hubby and all my health, fitness and travel career tangents.  I told her I need to retreat from the world – at a retreat of course- to reset my body and mind and start life again totally replenished. Oh and write about it afterwards. Heike had quite the life changing experience at Golden Door many years ago; so I interviewed her. Lucky girl, she really did want to share.

Please note, Golden Door on the Gold Coast has now closed its doors as a retreat, Golden Door Day Spa on Main Beach is still very much open for business.  The sale of Golden Door has allowed the parent company to consolidate its operations and focus on its other retreats such as Golden Door & Spa Elysia in the Hunter Valley, NSW.  This retreat offers magnificent views of vineyards and the Brokenback mountain range and the opportunity to breathe fresh country air each day. Featuring 74 stylish villas with one, two or three bedrooms, this exceptional property is the only purpose built Destination Health Retreat in Australia.

So, why did you choose this kind of escape?

I had a major change in my life with the breakdown of my marriage and embarking on single parenthood. I felt I needed to de-stress and get my life in order to face the challenges ahead.

Do you believe you left equipped with the skills to create your new life and pursue both body and mind wellness for you and your child?

Absolutely and without doubt. You take away what you are prepared to put in. I went in with the philosophy that I was going to try as many different things as I could and suck every last opportunity out of this stay, and the result was absolutely amazing. I lost weight, was fitter, calmer, and happier then I had been for a long time

What was your first impression?

Perhaps not as luxurious as what I had expected and a little more basic, however in hindsight I now understand the value of that as part of the overall program. How stripping back all non essentials is integral in de-stressing your life. The walk to my cabin was long and up hill which was a struggle at first, but the constant incidental exercise contributed greatly to my overall health improvement over the 10 days. Not knowing what the schedule for the whole 10 days was really confronted me and I found this very frustrating, however at the end of this I understood the importance of focusing on the day in front of you and not too far in advance

What did a typical day look like?

Morning wake up and Tai Chi ( very early), bush walk followed by breakfast, a choice of exercise classes or spa treatments, lunch followed by more exercise options or spa treatments, dinner and educational health classes in the evening. I was usually exhausted by 8.00pm and happy for an early night.

Can you describe the food and what you loved about it?

At first I did not love it at all, I like healthy food but I was so hungry and found it very bland. However by Day 3 I was loving the simple tastes and was surprised at how nourished I felt. I was smart enough to give up coffee 2 weeks before my stay which prevented me from having withdrawal symptons like most others.

 What room type did you stay in and how would you rate it?

I stayed in a single Chalet it was very basic but functional.

 How would you sum up the whole Golden Door experience?

I absolutely loved it. It literally changed my life and I still after all of these years remember what I learnt and go back to those basics

Heike is an executive with a major travel retailer, she has been in the travel industry for over 25 years.