Sat 05 November 2022

Sitting on serene grounds with pristine facilities there is no wonder that Resolution Retreats in Karāpiro has been again named New Zealand's Best Wellness Retreat by the World Spa Awards for 2022.

The prestigious spa and wellness annual awards programme recognises excellence and exceptional standards in spa and wellness tourism worldwide.

Resolution Retreats previously won this award in 2020. "Two of the three years that we have been operating out of this facility we have been recognised, which is great," says founder Joelene Ranby.

Resolution Retreats designed their programmes based on research and experience in bringing diet, exercise, treatments, therapies and education together in such a way that gives their guests the best results and the greatest opportunity to improve their lives.

"Some people come and focus on their health, some for weight loss, for stress, a break, to gain inspiration or for loss of motivation," says Joelene.

This is New Zealand's only live-in weight loss, health and wellness retreat exclusively for women, under the original resolution retreats brand.

The site was built in the early 2000s with a health retreat in mind, which Joelene says is why they can accommodate a lot of the facilities in the main building. However, Resolution Retreats, at the end of 2019, were the first group to operate this site commercially, which Joelene jokes was "interesting timing".

Facilities include a saltwater indoor heat lap pool and spa, steam room, infrared sauna, yoga and meditation chalet and tennis courts.

There are also wellness spas where guests can be treated to relaxing massages, facials, calming compression and hair, nails and eye treatments.

A lymphatic compression suite is in use at the retreat, one of a few in the country. Joelene says it "may still be the only permanent one in the Waikato region". The suites are good for stress, sleep, lymphatic drainage and detoxification.

Resolution Retreats have fitted out the chalets on site as they have grown. They have 45 chalets and each chalet can host one or two guests.

"We can potentially host 90 people here at one time, however, we like to run our retreats in smaller group sizes rather than with larger groups."

Spa mascots Arya and Sansa, named after characters from the HBO series Game of Thrones, can be seen greeting guests and exploring the grounds, ready for pats and cuddles. Joelene says that these dogs are very therapeutic and help people feel at ease in their first days.

The women's weight loss, health and wellness retreats are between three days to three weeks.

Men can attend a resilience retreat which is aimed at helping people beat burnout. This is more workshop heavy compared to the women's retreat.

The six workshops involved in the resilience retreat are around energy, sleep, stress management, mental health, communication for difficult conversations and motivation.

This retreat is three days and two nights. This usually caters to those in public services or those in stressful work environments.

"People can come here and rejuvenate themselves and then continue to serve the public. Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes," says Joelene.

Now that the borders have reopened, people from Australia are coming back, as there are not many facilities specifically for women's health with a longer length of stay offered.

The retreat was not badly affected by Covid-19 and was able to operate, only closing for lockdowns.

"One thing we found after lockdowns, is that people have become more aware of their well-being and what needs to be done to prioritise that," says Joelene.

"With all the changes on the horizon for the New Zealand healthcare system, people are also starting to realise that getting help through the system isn't as easy as it has been in the past.

"We focus on helping people get back in the driver's seat when it comes to their health. For two or three generations as a population, we have been leaving our health and the responsibility for our health to the healthcare practitioners. Sadly they do not have the time and resources at the moment - so we are here to help people take back control and it's great to see people getting interested in their health and wellbeing."

For those in the local region who want to see what the retreat has to offer and may not want to invest a whole lot of money, Joelene says that there are day-stay packages that are four days long and then people can travel home at the end of the day. This package cuts down the price by half.

Looking to the future, and due to the size of this property, Resolution Retreats are looking to help more people who might not necessarily be able to afford to attend a retreat like this. Resolution Retreats have started a charitable trust and are seeking funding to help large groups of people who may need a helping hand with their health.

"This is more of an ambulance at the top of hill situation, and asking people what they want to learn about nutrition or stress and other health issues to help in stopping preventable diseases," says Joelene.

"Our team knows their stuff around nutrition, mental health and diabetes and have a large facility here, so we just want to help people."


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