Kathryn Brierley, a director of The Healthy Holiday Company, experiences a restorative 4 night break at SHA Wellness Clinic on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
I’m just back from my first SHA experience. SHA is more beautiful than even the gorgeous press shots convey. The vast terrace with pool, white double day beds and wafting white linen has an incredible panoramic view of Albir beach and harbour and the National Park. The bedrooms are sleek and chic – predominantly white with tasteful taupes and greys – each with generous sun-trap balconies and fabulous views. You feel you’re in a serene white cocoon, away from temptation and in the hands of wonderfully caring, smiley staff who love the job of looking after you. I was booked in for a 4 night ‘SHA Discovery programme’ – a short-stay taster of what the clinic offers.
SHA’s activity schedule is a blend of fitness and relaxation activities with talks and cooking demonstrations – usually 4 activities every day. We enjoyed some steep uphill Nordic walking (pictured), jogging by the beach and a meditation lecture. Other sessions included options such as pilates, acqua fitness, yoga and tai chi. Regio, one of the trainers delivered a great mix of cardio, TRX and resistance training in my personal training session and fitter guests might want to add more PT into their stay. The gym is really well equipped with the latest cardio and strength equipment and the gym team is on hand to offer support and encouragement.
Food follows the macrobiotic principle – i.e. steer clear of meat and other extreme ‘yang’ foods as well as alcohol and caffeine (too ‘yin’) – it’s the swing from extreme to extreme, they say, that destroys good health. The food served (choice of 3 menus depending on the purpose of your stay) was beautifully presented and very tasty and the staff impressively informed about each guest. Portions were small but perfectly formed and correctly balanced energetically for optimal health according to macrobiotic rules. And we didn’t go hungry. We had some delicious soups, loved the ‘asparagus tempura’, ‘tuna tataki’ with a highlight being the ‘chocolate fondant,ice cream and truffles’. Yes macrobiotic principles allow the odd dessert, though don’t expect chocolate on your menu if you’re on a strict weight loss programme.
The spa experience was pure bliss. My SHA massage by Nicole with ylang ylang and orange essential oil was gentle and relaxing – I drifted off. The deep tissue massage by Arelis was excellent. I’m a lover of firm massages and it was as strong as I could take. Shiatsu with Jorge was powerful and I’m now a convert. The indoor pool and hydrotherapy circuit visit is a treatment in itself . You can be pummelled by warm jets while horizontal on your marble bed, indulge in the sauna or herbal steam, and even cover your body in slush puppy white ice.
Overall I was extremely impressed with the quality of the hotel, the staff and the treatments. What comes across is that they all genuinely care about your health. A guest I met was back at SHA for her 4th visit – it’s her haven and escape and her opportunity through the intensive detox programme to readdress bad habits that have crept in, with the added bonus of an impressive 10kg weight loss each time she comes. Even after my short visit now I’m back at my desk, a more balanced and more chilled version of myself – with diary out, planning my next restorative visit.
The Healthy Holiday Company offers a wide variety of wellness programmes at SHA. Please see all SHA programmes for further info.