Gaia Retreat & Spa

Brooklet, Byron Bay, Australia Book from

A stylish and holistic health retreat with fantastic countryside views and fabulous food
Gaia Retreat is a 15-minute drive inland from the popular seaside resort of Byron Bay. Stylish and luxurious without being pretentious, it’s co-owned by Olivia Newton-John and her long-time friend Gregg Cave, now the manager, who bought and converted the property in 2005. And it’s one of the most relaxing retreats we’ve ever been to, with just 18 wooden cabins centred around a Samoan longhouse.

There’s plenty of outdoor space in which to wander, and the property is strewn with jacaranda trees, hammocks, meditation benches and hand-carved Tibetan stone urns. You’ll feel comfortable here alone, or with a friend or partner, whether you want a couple of nights R&R or a more intensive package. Complementary activities range from tai chi classes to sound meditation, and the spa offers a huge range of holistic and pampering treatments from some of the best therapists in the area. What's more, the food is fantastic - inventive, delicious and full of goodness.

Highs

  • The inspirational views of green hills and valleys, with strategically positioned daybeds so you can enjoy them
  • Exceptional gourmet health cuisine from head chef Dan Trewartha
  • If you're bored of the usual treatments here's your chance to try iridology or a craniosacral massage
  • Spa-shy partners can go for hearty bush walks or head to Byron Bay for a surf

Lows

  • Rest and renewal comes at a serious price
  • Strict 2-night minimum stay
  • The activities are almost always pitched at beginners - if you’re already into a practice such as yoga or tai chi, you’ll need to book private sessions if you want to progress

Best time to go

Open most of the year (except a week over Christmas) - be cosy in winter, or barefoot and free in summer.

Great for...

Eco
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Spa Hotel
  • 19
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • Over 16s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Acala Suite

Rooms

The wooden cabins are strewn across the property and each is split into a twin share room (except the Acala Suites). The interiors are comfortable but beautifully simple, with walls and fabrics in muted browns and greens, and everything is designed to help you rest your mind. Organza curtains ensure you get lots of light as well as privacy.

Small touches make the difference - tea lights placed on the rims of mirrors, a burner with your own supply of lemon myrtle oil, home-made organic toiletries, organic fairtrade teas with jade ceramic tea cups from Japan, a daily supply of lemons with a sharp knife and cutting board for you to prepare your own early morning cleansing drink.

The Layana Rooms are the least expensive, with their own small deck, a bedroom, dressing area and simple shower room. It’s worth paying extra for one of the Sura Terrace Rooms - each has a private courtyard and daybed, as well as a bath. There are also 2 timber-floored Acala Suites , a 1-bedroom and a 2-bedroom, each with its own lounge, larger bathroom and a kitchenette.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

You eat all your meals at Kukura House, an attractive Samoan longhouse at the centre of the property, which has a large terrace for outdoor dining on sunny days. The food is utterly delicious spa cuisine and special diets are catered for. Organic wines are available from 4pm onwards and with dinner.

The head chef Dan Trewartha prepares tasty inventive dishes using organic and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible - there’s an organic vegetable garden on site. Breakfast is buffet-style with (unusually) plenty of options for vegan and wheat-free diets, and a daily changing hot option. Portions aren’t huge, but they are always enough, so this is one place where you won’t leave feeling fat and heavy.

Typical dishes for lunch and dinner include roast sweet potato and rocket salad with honey mustard vinaigrette; smoked chicken, pear and rocket salad, and tamarind glazed salmon on sweet potato and daikon (a kind of radish).

Features include:

  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The Gaia Day Spa offers a wide range of treatments - holistic massages such as thai, shiatsu, kahuna, aromatherapy and craniosacral; alternative therapies such as naturopathy, iridology, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and astrology; pampering treatments such as body polishes, masques and baths, and a huge range of facials. Signature treatments include a 2-hour reflexology session, and a 3-hour Hinterland Adventure, which incorporates a body polish in the steam room.

  • Shape up with early morning yoga and an afternoon class which changes daily - tai chi, pilates, sculpture, meditation, fitness and stretching are all on offer

  • Have a game of tennis or borrow a bike and explore the area

  • There are some great bush and nature walks in the area; ask reception to point you in the right direction. If the weather's especially good, take a hot-air balloon ride and explore the area from above

  • Take a trip into Bangalow, a lovely town nearby which has small boutiques and eateries

  • Head to Byron Bay for some beachside R&R - go early morning or at dusk to avoid the crowds. During the day it's buzzing with surfers and kayakers and you can go whale watching in season (May-Oct)

  • Book in for a speciality retreat: women’s health, men’s health, art and sculpture, gourmet health cuisine and ayurveda - enquire when booking

  • Or upgrade yourself to a ‘Focus’ programme. These 5 day courses are tailored to you, by experts, with a focus on either detox, weight loss, fitness or yoga. The aim being to restore your body to a relaxed state, helping you to feel energised and self-confident

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Whalewatching
  • Yoga

Kids

This is a grown-up hotel; only children over 16 are allowed.

Kid Friendly:

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