Before you book a wellness retreat, it’s crucial to understand what your goals are. For example—while a luxurious resort with a free-for-all vegan buffet bar might feel decadent, it probably won’t help you meet your weight-loss goals. That’s why I often find simplicity is key when it comes to sticking to the (often strict) programmes wellness retreats set out for participants.
One of the most effective and budget-friendly weight-loss retreat programmes in the world is the ‘You’ve Changed My Life’ eight-night package at The Spa Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. Don’t believe the rumours: CompareRetreats.com gave it a go and our review isn’t as scary as you’d think.
Koh Samui is located in Thailand, and Samui airport is small and easy to navigate. People fly in from all around the world to get to The Spa and usually spend a week or two before or after their detox in the surrounding area. Late December to April is the best time to visit, although our visit in December was an even split of sunshine and downpour so the weather can be hit or miss. There’s not much to do at The Spa regarding tourist activities, but on Sunday evenings the nearby beach town Lamai has a walking street market.
The Spa Retreat has two locations: the beach and the village. Our retreat took place at the beach. The village is located on a steep hill, and it’s very much like you’re living in the jungle: it’s more beautiful to do yoga up there, and definitely more serene, but the beach has more buzz. There’s a shuttle that goes back and forth between the beach and the village frequently so you can get the best of both worlds. At each resort, there is the signature Radiance Restaurant, on-hand massage therapists, colema rooms, yoga and meditation areas plus pools are at both resorts.
There are different options for every budget at The Spa in both The Village and The Beach. We checked into an A-Frame Bungalow, which was comfortable but small and inhabited with lots of mosquitos and a few bugs. At The Village, you might have lizards, slugs and mosquitos as roommates for the week. If you are a stickler about hygiene, make sure to let the receptionist know you’d like your sheets changed and towels swapped out every day. We asked them to check our room daily at 8.45am during yoga practice, which they did: the staff are friendly and helpful, which is a big plus.
It’s not luxurious though, so if you prefer plush accommodation, book yourself into The Meridian hotel a few doors down and just come to The Spa do your enemas and get your detox drinks to go.
The Detox Programme
There are a variety of detoxes at The Spa from candida cleanses to weekend semi-fasts. The most intense detox, which has made The Spa famous, is the ‘You’ve Changed My Life’ programme. The eight-nights programme is drastic, hard and exceptionally effective at cleaning you out from head to toe.
It involves fasting from solid food and doing double enemas every day for the course of the cleanse. Fibrous drinks keep you feeling satiated, and nourishing hot broth full of vitamins and minerals give you the nutrients you need to carry on as normal. Here’s what a typical day of detox looked like:
- 7.00 am – Detox Drink
- 7.30 am – Meditation or Chi Gung
- 8.30 am – Six Supplements (Three chompers and three multivitamins)
- 8.45 am – Yoga (optional)
- 10.00 am – Detox Drink
- 10.30 am – Morning Coffee Enema
- 11.30 am – Six Supplements
- 12.00 pm – Spa Broth
- 1.00 pm – Detox Drink
- 2.30 pm – 6 Supplements
- 4.00 pm – Detox Drink
- 5.00 pm – Afternoon Coffee Enema
- 7.00 pm – Detox Drink
- 8.00 pm – Six Supplements
- Bedtime – Flora Tablet
In addition to the above drinks and broths mentioned, the daily programme included one coconut water, one carrot juice, one liver flush drink, one Aki (pre-enema) massage and one complimentary steam room session. We also added in a green drink called a wheat grass pina colada (a mix of wheatgrass, coconut and pineapple juice allowed on the fast), ginger tea and copious amounts of water throughout the detox. If you do yoga in the morning, have your detox drink and do the enema after the class.
See also: What You Need To Know About Enemas
Wellness experts from The Spa tend to be around the detox drink area during the allocated times above and are a great resource if you have any questions.
Breaking the fast is easy: simply tell the staff in the morning at the detox drink counter that you’re breaking your fast that day, and they prepare two flora drinks (one to drink in the evening and one to drink the next morning). Drink the flora drink at night before you go to sleep, do a warm-water enema in the morning followed by a flora-syringe enema that you hold in for five-ten minutes or the whole day if you can and then eat raw food for three days following the cleanse. I started with a papaya smoothie followed by raw vegetables and felt great.
In addition to the detox programme, there are a variety of extra activities at The Spa which rounds out the experience. The daily guided meditation and yoga classes are optional, and while massages at The Spa are good, there are also a lot of inexpensive massage and beauty centres near the resort (we recommend SMILE). A twice-weekly tea ceremony at the resort is a must: not only do you meet all of the other people who are going through detoxes and cleanses too but you meet returning guests who know exactly what to do and more importantly what not to do.
Expect to feel… a lot lighter, physically and emotionally. I lost 3kg, two inches from my bust, two inches from my waist and one inch from my hips. I didn’t feel hungry, and was doing yoga daily and never felt faint. Without carbs, sugar and alcohol make our bodies bloat, everything from my face to my feet lost water retention, my skin was glowing, and my eyes were clear. When you’re being so kind to your body it’s only natural that your mind will go to good places and I ended up feeling really satisfied that I was able to carry out the programme and my body felt happy too. My mind and body both felt fantastic which I credit to the meditation, yoga and the detox programme of course.