In today’s fast-paced world filled with distraction and debilitating stress, it’s becoming an increasing necessity to seek out quiet moments, weekends or getaways to help calm the nerves, reboot and reconnect with ourselves and with nature.

According to the Global Wellness Institute’s research, the wellness industry has been growing nearly twice as much as the global economy in general – in 2017 with a $4,2 trillion turnaround worldwide. Over the last decade, we have witnessed Spas and Wellness Resorts sprout up like mushrooms everywhere, even in the most unlikely corners of the world, offering a host of beauty treatments, massages, Spa circuits, nutrition and exercise. However, some may feel like the wellness industry is a part of the big touristic machine, too frantic to allow quietening of the mind and realigning equilibrium, and they look beyond the fancy spas and body wraps for a more personalised, holistic and spiritual approach to retreat to.

From the Big Orange to a Tangerine

This is exactly what happened to a young couple, Jessica and Edward, who spent a large part of 2018 trying to book themselves into a suitable health retreat. “We were searching for a good retreat for some time and couldn’t quite find what we were looking for, so we decided to create our own”, says Jess, who studied Podiatry, is a qualified reflexologist, and a 200 hours Hatha Vinyasa yoga teacher. Having been brought up in Spain by English parents, she could capitalise on her local knowledge to begin sourcing the most fitting venues and reputable practitioners creating the fully holistic itinerary of what is now called the Tangerine Retreats.

Ed, originally a marine biologist and a sports enthusiast, provided the perfect partner for the venture, bringing a dynamic fitness element to it, designing and guiding all the out-door activities involved. Tangerine Retreats became a boutique health and wellness escape offering small group breaks, all-inclusive with accommodation, food and activities. The venues are hand-selected private villas, currently in Tarifa and Jimena de La Frontera, and this portfolio keeps growing with the plans for future locations including other countries such as Morocco.

The Holistic Approach

When I first set foot in the stunning eco-villa in Tarifa, I instantly felt transported to a different universe. Jess and Ed emailed me all information before: how to get there, the full daily programme and the additional treatments of visiting practitioners available to book. My retreat was centered around yoga and meditation, complemented by hiking and a remarkably informative plant-based cooking workshop. Our highly knowledgeable and talented private chef, Benjamin, prepared multiple organic vegan meals, snacks and drinks each day, which left even the group’s most enthusiastic meat lovers well impressed.

The optional treatments included sports and holistic massage, Thai massage, Reiki and reflexology, and of course there was lots of free time to enjoy the sun, the stunning infinity pool and the garden eco-sauna as well. “We take pride in being different”, explains Edward as we trek in the forest, searching out the best suited spot for our next meditation session. “We don’t just want to provide a short term fix, our aim is of course for you to revitalise and realign your mind, body and soul but we genuinely want to help people over the long-term.

We want you take home something permanent, even if it is just a small detail that you will change in your everyday life, going forward. That is what will make us truly happy!” And indeed, Ed and Jess make wonderful hosts, they sit and socialise with us at meals, encourage conversations, they radiate a respectful and calming aura spiced with a great sense of humour. They work in total harmony behind the scenes and organise the smallest details for comfort, scents and sounds, to create the perfect vibe everywhere the activities take place.

The Three Pillars of the Tangerine Balance

Something for the Earthly Senses

“The venue selection is key and they can be very different”, says Jess as she wonders about the charming rustic country house she uses as another location, while we are sitting by the modern fireplace in the contemporary eco-villa. “It is another vibe and we make it work in a different way”, she explains. “Wherever we choose to hold our retreat has to be super special and to a certain standard. We are both perfectionists and want our guests to have as unique an experience as possible.”

Something for the Mind and Soul

“Mental health and mental wellbeing form a big part of our retreats and we try to slow the pace down for our guests so they can have a break from the stress and strains of modern living.” I experience what Jess means by this when we practice yoga up on the deck or immerse into deep meditation by the pool guided by Fenton, the resident Reiki master of this trip. Each retreat they design may include different types of activities depending on the theme, location and the cultural context, but they always provide an opportunity to balance the mind and soul.

Something for the Body

Hiking, surfing, horse riding, stand-up paddle, and Acroyoga are just some of the fun activities they choose from when creating the programmes. Although these offer a revitalising experience for your body, you can always opt out if you wish to. I was very anxious when lovely Gabriella, our Acroyoga teacher turned up, knowing acrobatics weren’t going to be my forte. But her momentous positive energy and clear instructions soon had us all performing positions we never thought possible and suddenly the afternoon became super fun!

They say that your body is what you put into it and Ed and Jess take this very seriously. The plant-based dishes I was presented with were colourful, artistic, organic, and plentiful, using fresh local produce and incredibly varied ingredients. Watching out for Mother Earth and our health, they contained no animal products yet every meal left us craving for more. I spent four days with another five wonderful ladies as guests, with different personalities and different goals and motives for attending this trip.

We shared intimate moments of mindfulness, joy and letting go as well as social ones recounting funny anecdotes and those we could all learn from. We forget tolerance in today’s hurried world and there is something therapeutic about connecting with previously unknown people, learning to respect our differences, and understanding that everyone has a past that formed who they are today. However, if this is not your thing, there is always an option to retire to your own personal space and turn inwards for solitude, peace and quiet.

One important point we discovered is that when it comes to balance, what works for each individual varies and for this reason freedom and flexibility are of the upmost importance at a retreat. I personally loved this escape and I am feeling deeply routed changes in my mood ever since. So Tangerine Retreats must be spot on there, because I for one, have taken away something lasting for sure.


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