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“A mixed bag - go with the flow and you'll be okay” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

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Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
192 Syndicate Road, Tallebudgera, Queensland 4228, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Tallebudgera
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Richmond, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“A mixed bag - go with the flow and you'll be okay”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

Overall enjoyable, but service not up to par in many areas and questionable value for a high end experience.

For a $3000 weekend it did not start well. My husband and I arrived onsite at 5.04pm on a Friday to find the reception closed. We went to what we thought was the shop (general store written on the window) we had been instructed to find, in the event of reception being closed. We were asked to select preferences for spa treatments. This is difficult to do when you have not yet seen a list of what is on offer. After asking for a spa menu and deciding, our first preference was not available.....sit down and decide again.

We wondered outside thinking that is a very unusual checkin system when a work experience girl found us looking lost and took us to the shop (a different building) where we were left standing with two clipboards to fill in. We then had to carry our own luggage to our room where we were given a very scant, though pleasant introduction to our room. We were told that we had use of an iPod with the room, but we were never issued, or offered, one.

Walking into the clubhouse for our orientation we felt it a little like an Amway convention. I found the orientation session a little too long for the amount of information delivered and it lacked some key information, such as a map of the property (which also was not in our room). There was an introduction to a guest speaker (nutritionist) who, by all reports, delivered some great practical advise in sessions to those who attended.

Dinner initiated us to the communal experience. There is no opportunity for a couple to sit alone as all tables seat eight and for the first night we were told where to sit. So I felt more like I was at boarding school rather than a $1500/night getaway.

I enjoy cooking and have studied post graduate nutrition at university, so put a high priority on food. The food we ate throughout the weekend was healthy, fresh and enjoyable. It was of the quality I produce at home, with a few pleasant new experiences thrown it (notably the hot fresh macaroons). The introduction of some flexibility around meal times would make for an improved guest experience and perhaps allow the staff to be a little less frantic during the set meal times. Because, for example, everybody (approx 60 people) is expected to eat lunch within a one hour time slot, plates were not cleared between courses and there is a bit of get it out and get it over with feel about the experience. Even if they allowed people to have lunch over a two hour period this might create a nicer atmosphere.

We enjoyed all the activities we took part in - stretching, weights, boxing, bush walking, qigong, free dance and spent some nice, relaxed time alone in the pool whilst most other people were attending a workshop.

The star of the show for us was John the botanist - he is just great! A couple of hours with him walking around the property learning about herbs was fabulous.

Much of our contact with 'staff' over the weekend was with work experience personnel rather than paid employees, leaving us a bit perplexed in regard to the cost of the weekend versus the outlay borne by the business in regard to staff. I could go any number of places and spend $3000 on accommodation, food, massages and some activities over a couple of days and be provided with service that is much more professional. I suppose that doesn't go along with the spirit of this retreat though, so to enjoy my time there I just had to go with the flow.

We found it more than a little ironic that there are high tension power lines running through a health retreat (considering their established carcinogenic associations), but beyond that the property feels nice to be in - lots of birds, wallabies, organic gardens and native vegetation.

The condition of the various buildings dotted around does vary quite a bit, but the spa is beautifully planned. It is clearly a cash cow and a great deal of money would have been invested to ensure its presentation. The treatments we received were all very well delivered and the logistics of what happened when was all discretely arranges with little fuss - thankfully.

We had to carry our own luggage out of the room again to a buggy about 100m away.

A few days after we departed the spa menu was emailed to us in an email telling us how much our impending arrival at Gwinganna was welcome...clearly there are a few logistics that this resort could improve on.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Gold Coast
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2012

The men's retreat well and truly exceeded my expectations. I expected 'rabbit food' but was treated to amazing tastes every meal. Gwingana taught me that healthy eating does not have to be bland. The staff were also fantastic. They all seemed to really enjoy their work - no surpirse there! What a beautiful place. To be honest I was not looking forward to exercise - I felt like a total relax. Although no one is pushing you, exercise is very much a part of the program and what amazed me is how good it does make you feel. I havn't slept that well for a long time. I really enjoyed the talks too. What made them so good was that the speakers kept it simple, you came away with tools to continue the healthy lifestyle after you leave. That did impress me. Many of the guys on the retreat were return guests, some return every year or even more often. They were back because they love the place.
Thank you to all the staff who made it such a great experience. Anyone who does not give Gwingana a 5 star review needs some really serious therapy!!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2011

What an amazing week - I had never done anything like this and was a ittle nervous at first. The whole place and the staff though make you feel better just by being there. I have had a tough year like so many others and this has really helped me see my way forward. Can't thank them enough. Do it, you will have a wonderful experience. The food is so good and the spa treatments, sublime. These are special people in a special place - great holiday! Thanks

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Byron Bay, Australia
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2011

I stayed for a 3 day stay. I was a little worried when my confirmation of my booking never arrived before my arrival and I had to call them to confirm. When I arrived at Gwinganna Reception, they advised they would have someone from their "Work Experience Team" (traveller) to show me to my room. Waiting for what seemed like some time I had to ask again for someone to show me to my room. Finally I was shown my room and it was so small and pokey I called and asked to be moved. I was also a little concerned that I was advised to arrive for an orientation at 6.00 pm where I could place my "name tag" on me for the duration of my stay. I had booked in 2 weeks prior for the "equine therapy" but at 9.00 pm the night before it was to happen I was advised that it would have to happen at 7.30 am the next day and I would have to miss out on breakfast and all the other exercises I was going to partake in. I must say that experience was fantastic and would highly recommend it. In fact I would recommend all the experiences, Kay and Adam who took the various classes were fantastic. What let it down was the use of a lot of "work experience staff". There were often more of them then paid staff or that is what it appeared. The food was quite good but I did feel it was quite minimal. I admit it was my first time at a health retreat and I am quite lean but I thought it would be a little bit more generous. The Spa has 33 rooms and while offering many services, it did feel like "next please" and I had 2 treatments and did not enjoy them for their sloppiness! I do agree with many people who have written you have a lightness when leaving, a lot to do with no phone, no tv, no papers and simply being in a beautiful location. Congratulations to Kay and Adam as they live and breathe what they do. Reception leaves them down. I think what really upset me was when I had a flat battery and they said they would tend to it and then forgot to do so I had to call RACQ to come out, then a "work experience" person arrived to ask if she he knew someone who could do a dodgy pink slip for her car and was quite rude to me.

Room Tip: Get a large room with north facing
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2011

I spent 2 weeks recently made up of 2 day spa weekend a 7 day detox and a 5 day well being period. I had my last cigarette at the airport before arriving and have not touched one since and I lost approx 8 kgs during this time.The food was great most of the time the only problem was blandness but that could have been my tastebuds.The staff were fantastic...friendly accommodating and above all compassionate and caring. I had a lot of fun during this time but that is in my nature to not take things too seriously and enjoy life.However I did come to realise that there are alot of reasons people have to spend time at such a resort.I would recommend Gwinganna to anyone who has a weight issue or a stress issue or simply wants to re focus on life.Thanks ans see you same time next year.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

When I drove up the long driveway to the main gate I knew that I had come home again. This was confirmed by the reception given to me by the friendly staff," Welcome Back Greg, it is great to see you again".

The spa,the food & the activities are great but it is the staff that make the difference,They are amazing.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2011

This was my fourth visit to Gwinganna in four years. I have visited solo, with a friend and with my sister and this time with my husband. Each experience was slightly different but all shared one common feature - I left with an extraordinary lightness of being. It is such a pleasure and privilege to be around the Gwinganna staff, in a beautiful natural environment, eating stunning food which makes you feel so vital and pampering yourself with treatments and massages during dreamtime while learning cutting edge information about health and nutrition. You can ease into the experience ith a short program like the weekender or the women's retreat or throw yourself into a longer detox program if you are looking for a more radical shift.

Room Tip: If you are solo, try the Heritage rooms which are charming and quaint but note the showers are often...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

Address: 192 Syndicate Road, Tallebudgera, Queensland 4228, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Gold Coast > Tallebudgera
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Tallebudgera
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In a world of busy, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat stands apart as the destination to help you rest and revive and inspires you to live a healthier life. Whether you stay for a spa weekend over two nights or the popular detox program over seven days, you will connect with supportive professionals who will teach you resilience in the modern world.Australia's award winning lifestyle retreat is surrounded by ocean and valley views in the Gold Coast hinterland, with exceptional facilities including the stunning Spa Sanctuary, one of the largest spas in the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy delicious organic cuisine, an extensive range of activities and stylish accommodation including luxury villas. Gwinganna.....for the rest of your life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat Hotel Tallebudgera
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat Australia/Gold Coast, Queensland

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