While Upminster may not be known for its luxury wellness, Glass House Retreat is certainly putting it on the map. Here’s what happened when Sam visited for a four-day mind and body detox…
I’m not into that ‘New Year, New Me’ stuff anymore. I looked back on my goals for 2019 and one of them was to ‘get my abs back’. A year on, I laughed out loud when I re-read it and realised how ridiculous it sounded (that’s growth right there).
My approach was very different this year and I decided to take the pressure off January by beginning my year in February. And what better way to kick it off than with a detox retreat.
I’d heard about Glass House Retreat as it’s been doing the rounds on Instagram since it opened in October. It’s located just outside London in Upminster and offers bespoke breaks involving fitness classes, spa treatments and plant-based goodness.
Although I’m not setting myself any unrealistic goals this year, I still want to feel my best and lately, I’ve been suffering from bloating (possibly caused by a bout of travellers sickness in South East Asia… say no more), so this sounded like the perfect place to have a good cleanse.
Arriving at Glass House I instantly felt Zen. It has the look and feel of a top medical spa in Switzerland with its ultra-modern and clean decor. Floor to ceilings windows flood the place with light and it’s surrounded by fields so you can breathe in crisp countryside air.
After having a ‘wellness consultation’ to discuss my goals and a body composition analysis, I was shown to my room. It was spacious and cosy and had beautiful views across the land. It was also kitted out with a ‘digital detox safe’, which you can use to lock your phone away by setting a timer for as long as you wish.
The retreat offers three different plant-based meal plans, which include raw foods (nothing is heated above 118 degrees F) such as fruits, veg, nuts and grains. While I have mixed feelings on a liquid diet, I opted to do a 24-hour juice/soup detox before moving onto nutrient-dense meals and protein shakes.
Day one ended with a dreamy slow and mindful candlelit yoga session and a bedtime herbal tea.
I woke up around 7am to have a cup of hot water and lemon before the one-hour countryside walk, which takes place every morning and really blew away the cobwebs.
The toughest part of day two was the lack of coffee. Naturally, it’s banned and therefore that meant dealing with the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. I had a headache and felt very low on energy, so I spent lots of time lounging in the spa, which has a heated swimming pool and salt sauna.
I did join a few of the fitness classes – there are four 30-minute classes scheduled per day from Pilates to boxing but nothing is compulsory. This is not a bootcamp but should you wish to use the retreat to rev up your fitness game there’s plenty of opportunities.
Glass House also offers lots of beauty treatments including Lipofirm, which I decided to try. Effectively what I had done was a non-surgical butt lift, which all the celebs are going crazy for. It provides instant results after the first treatment (although for a booty like Kim K you’ll need a few more) to reduce cellulite and make the skin appear smoother and perkier. So does it work? Yes, it really does but the procedure isn’t totally painless. Be warned you might not be able to sit down for a while because it tricks your glutes into thinking you’ve done the most hardcore workout imaginable.
I skipped the morning walk in favour of a quick fasted cardio session in the gym, which has some seriously high-spec equipment.
Breakfast was blueberry granola, a smoothie and a cup of herbal tea (I drank gallons throughout my stay). Lunch was also a highlight – a purple cauliflower salad but I did have serious food envy at my friend who had ordered the most delicious-looking courgette lasagna.
The afternoon’s activities included a cryotherapy session which I was both psyched and nervous about. For those who aren’t aware, cryotherapy involves standing in a freezing cold chamber (-108 degrees C to be precise) for three minutes. It has many health benefits including relief from muscle aches and pains. I felt very Goop Lab as I braced myself for the challenge, which was tough but my god did it work (goodbye DOMS!).
That evening we were treated to a sound bath, where I spent an hour covered in a blanket while being bathed in 4.32 hertz vibrations. I slept that night, as you can imagine, like a baby.
On the day of check-out, I had another body scan and I was pleased to find out I had lost a little body fat while maintaining my muscle mass. Interestingly, in three short days, I had also managed to lower by metabolic age by two years. Now youth isn’t so much on my side, this seemed like more of a result to me.
I left feeling lighter in my body and my mind than I have done for ages and only craved nutritious wholefoods for days afterward.
I think we need to remind ourselves more often that it’s okay to take a break – and Glass House is somewhere to do just that without needing to pack your passport. It’s ideal for a spa weekend with your gal pals or for some solo time to press reset.
For further information on day rates and retreat prices visit glasshouseretreat.co.uk
Get your weekly DOSE fix here: SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER