“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” — Helen Keller
Every once in a while you visit somewhere that makes you connect with your surroundings and disconnect from your usual grind. I’m not talking about flicking off for your phone whilst you lay around the pool - I mean really disconnect. These places give you ‘holiday brain’ - where a decision as simple as where to eat dinner (which would ordinarily be decided in minutes back home) can seem incredibly overwhelming.
That holiday brain is a nice space to live for a few days. It’s usually filled with the chatter of work meetings, phone calls, family birthdays, grocery shopping, electric bills, feeding pets and all that other operational stuff that consumes our time. Right? Don’t tell me you don’t feel that too. A break from that routine - a real, tangible break, without any decision making - is so good for the soul.
Say hello to my latest holiday brain escape: Amatara Wellness Resort, Phuket.
Words can’t really describe the feeling you get after just a few short days here, so I’ll just stick with the facts and imagery :
Surrounded by turquoise ocean and lush green rocky outcrops in the distance, Amatara sits in the southerly part of Phuket, Thailand.
This retreat is a nice blend of structured program to help you reach a healthier you, and the freedom of a hotel to come and go as you please, choose a schedule and plan that suits your needs - from high-intensity workouts on the Active package, to a word of spa treatments on the Revive package.
The rooms villas themselves are something out of a James Bond Movie. There's a whole wing that houses just the bathroom and shower facilities, with 3 double doors opening out onto the private plunge pool and view of the ocean or surrounding bay.
Need some R+R a little closer to home? Try these retreats less than 2 hours from Sydney.
The spa treatments are plentiful, and included - dependant on the package you choose. Admittedly my personal favourite was the Lavender Relaxation Massage after a 14 hour journey from Sydney. The perfect award for stressed-out travellers, to ease them into the flow of Amatara. The Thai Hammam treatment is also something to behold - and one of their longest rituals. In essence, you sauna, steam, shower, scrub, wash, ice, mask and shower (again) your way to incredible baby-soft skin with the help of some natural mud and an awesome spa therapist over the course of 2.5 hours. It finishes with 15 minutes in their purpose-build Himalayan Salt Room that helps to heal and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. Prepare to leave feeling like you're been hit by a bus, in the most delightful of ways.
The food is deliciously healthy, with calories listed and all dietary restrictions catered for. There are three restaurants on-site, but 'The Retreat' restaurant caters specifically towards their health market. I ate predominantly low-carb, with delicious egg white and salmon omelettes being a personal fave on repeat. The rice paper rolls were also amazing for a snack or to bulk up one of their many delicious salads. Think 'green goddess' with mixed leaves, wheatgrass dressing, toasted walnuts and cherry tomatoes - or their Seaweed salad (pictured below, alongside fresh local fish and chicken broth). I may or may not have single-handedly eaten the resort out of their walnut supply. Sorry not sorry. Every day started with a wheatgrass shot (better than it sounds, I promise) and a turmeric and ginger juice to kick-start my digestion. Everything was pressed fresh to order, the freshly cut coconuts were my favourite pool-side refreshment in the 30 degree heat.
Airport shuttles are complimentary and organised for you by the resort, so all you have to do is pack a bag with your finest swimwear and some SPF.
If my images weren't enough (I can see you already booking flights...) check out the Amatara Instagram page for more beautiful holiday inspiration.
I can HIGHLY recommend you grab a girlfriend for an amazing weekend away, or even a solo trip to unwind from the daily hustle. You deserve it, Fittie.