Nowadays, yoga retreats come in many different shapes and forms, and choosing one isn’t as simple as “do I like the yoga style and teachers”. There are various elements or “building blocks” that can make a huge difference in the overall feel of your yoga holiday. Retreat centres and organisers use these building blocks in different ways, and in this blog post we would like to share with you, why we at Hilltop Wellness Resort have chosen to use the building blocks we are using and how they form holistic guest experiences that combine culture, nature, and wellness.
Sunrise from the Hilltop
Hilltop Wellness Retreat is located at the heart of Phuket Island on a green, lush hilltop with breath-taking views over Phuket and Phang Nga Bay. Our outdoors yoga deck faces this fabulous view and the morning sun rising from the bay. We wanted to offer our guests a chance to experience the beauty of these sunrises, so we added Sunrise Yoga to our weekly retreat schedule. These Sunrise practices are led by our yoga teachers on the outdoor deck, and they’ve been popular among the guests.
In addition to sunrise yoga, our guests can enjoy the spectacular views from their rooms too as all retreat guest rooms are facing towards the sunrise. The rooms have huge floor-to-ceiling windows and some guests have even chosen to sleep with curtains open not to miss the sunrise on any morning.
Cultural experiences through excursions and food
At Hilltop, we love to travel and experience new cultures, and we wanted to share this passion with our guests too. In addition to yoga, we offer our guests a chance to join in daily excursions around Phuket. On these day trips they can see and experience the many faces of this naturally and culturally vibrant island with a professional guide. One day, they might choose to go trekking in the rainforest and kayaking through the mangroves, the next day join in a cultural heritage tour in Phuket Old Town or maybe a street food tour with our local guide.
Food is a huge part of the Thai culture. Our resort restaurant, Plearn, specialises in offering modern versions of some of the most famous Thai dishes. Our guests can find flavours from all four regions of Thailand which allows their taste buds to travel all over the country without leaving the restaurant. However, we do offer a more western Wellness menu as well because not everyone will fall in love with Thai food.
Yoga and Wellness
When it comes to yoga, we believe in a multi-style approach and offering our yoga students a variety of different kinds of classes with several different teachers. This allows our guests to move and strengthen their bodies as well and stretch and release tension. We want our guests to experience the energising effects of yoga but equally teach about the calming and relaxing practices. Yoga is about finding balance in the body, mind, and breath, and different styles of yoga can offer a gateway to this balance in a slightly different way.
For us, it was important to also have a “wellness menu” of other practices to support the yoga side. With our own Cave Spa now finished and in operation, we offer our retreat guests massages at the resort as well as take them to enjoy spa days elsewhere. At the yoga studio we offer, for example, sound baths and breath work classes outside the regular yoga schedule.
Rest and Digest
An important part of a yoga retreat is having time to rest and digest. When crafting our weekly schedule, it was clear that there needs to be some time for not doing anything. That is why we added days off to the retreat programme. During these days our guests can still enjoy yoga and food, but they don’t go on an excursion. Our recent guest shared with us that normally they tend to do something all the time and, on a holiday, they would be constantly going to places. However, joining the retreat made them slow down and rest for a moment which they found to be very beneficial.
Lastly, it was clear from the very beginning that we want our retreat staff to be the best it can be. We have luckily found a fabulous team of professionals who are all passionate about their work and want to put in the extra effort to make our guests enjoy their retreats. This includes yoga teachers, tour guides, fitness instructors, retreat hosts and reception team, chefs, drivers etc. It all comes together through the right people and our Hilltop Wellness Resort team will warmly welcome all guests to enjoy their retreat!