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“"Suspend your dis-belief !" she said ...”

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Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Tallebudgera
Certificate of Excellence
Broulee, Australia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“"Suspend your dis-belief !" she said ...”
Reviewed August 4, 2012

Having read some exuberantly enthustiastic reviews on the Gwinganna website, I was somewhat sceptical about claims of a "life changing experience" attributed to celebrities and mere mortals alike.
Therefore I have to admit to approaching a 5 day stay with some reservations. In the introductory briefing I recall looking around the room and noting there were several very tired & stressed looking people amongst our group.
My wife demanded that I remain open minded and I was delighted to note that by the time our 3rd day [tricky Tuesday] arrived, the withdrawal symptoms from caffeine and alcohol 'deficiency' had affected my 'better half', much more than myself !
As others have noted the facilities, service and optional activities were top class IMHO and we really fault the experience.
I personally learned that after retiring from a very active sporting career, and getting older, I needed to make some serious adjustments to my lifestyle, including reducing portion sizes in meals, chewing my food better, drinking more water [as well as being more selective about the quality & quantity of alcohol] while making an effort to get more exercise and stretching to replace my previous training regime. All in all, a good lesson in how to adapt to and minimise the effects of ageing.
The proof of the pudding was very evident in the final session, our group [which I think I'd described as a 'sorry looking bunch of individuals'] had been transformed into a vastly more energetic, healthy and vital looking group of people, after just 5 days !
I can't say we've been able to religiously stick to every one of the recommendations made to us, but we have certainly changed many aspects of our lifestyle for the better, following our stay at Gwinganna.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank BowerBirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
221 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed August 3, 2012

Gwinganna is an ideal place to reflect and refocus; most people who spend time there say it has a profound impact on their lives. And it's not just because of the stunning natural surroundings or the nourishment of the mind, body and soul. There is so much inspiration from the people who go there. And you will have plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travellers, as guests are seated at different tables for dinner - although you can choose to suit with your new acquaintances if you wish.
Yes, the food is healthy - but not vegetarian. You'll forgo cigarettes, tea, coffee and alcohol; and if you usually imbibe in any of these, you will suffer accordingly. It's wise to take a your own supply of medicine to help with inevitable headaches. Gwinganna does not condone this (and calls non-prescription medicine 'contraband'), but withdrawal headaches can be rather severe and can interfere with participation in the exercise programs. No matter what Gwinganna staff say, dandelion tea does not help!
From 6am each day, guests are encouraged - if not expected - to participate in various activities which cease in the afternoon. Called 'dreamtime', this downtime enables guests to indulge in many spa treatments on offer. Be mindful that for a minimum of a five day stay, these could easily add another $500 to $1000 to your overall bill.
Gwinganna provides a packing list, suggesting the general attire is casual sportswear. It is, but many people do seem to dress up a little more for dinner.
Yes, there will be people who suggest Gwinganna is more expensive than taking a holiday in Bali or even Port Douglas. But the major difference: time at Gwinganna is an investment in your wholistic health. And who can put a price on that?

Room Tip: The newer Orchard suites are more expensive than the older style Heritage buildings, but it is worth...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
5 Thank Sally D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2012

Gwinganna! Wow! What a magical experience especially for a solo traveller. I would encourage anyone interested to ditch their friends and partners! I have always travelled and holidayed with others but this was such a fabulous opportunity to take time and focus deeply on the inner self. The accommodation, activities, dining and day spa were all set up for the novice solo traveller to feel completely comfortable.

The activities were highly worthwhile and professional. I loved the early morning start and I am no early bird; 5.30am for Qi Gong overlooking the hinterland to the Gold Coast. It was so grounding and peaceful and I really missed it when I returned home. It feels as if Gwinganna has attracted some of the most professional specialists from around Australia. You just have to look at the spa menu to realise the variety of health treatments and alternative practises available. It was an overwhelming list and having never stayed before I decided to choose the ordinary massage and facial. Upon arrival, I made a new friend who advised that I try something more exotic and spiritual; I took her advice and met some amazing local therapists, who were very enlightening. While these treatments are expensive on top of the cost of the accommodation, I am glad I made changes from the ordinary and had wonderful experiences.

The timetable is flexible so those who want to sleep-in or chill out can do so. I found that I was not in need as much sleep as I thought but completely energised and found that I wanted to participate in everything. While the day spa is completely out of this world, I was drawn to and moved by the chapel where Jo ran yoga and meditation and in the evening filled the space with candles. Jo mentioned that she found many of us to be a 'soulful group' and it was wonderful to share the space with so many like minded people.

I attended the 4 day Organic weekend with Shelley who runs the most amazing organic vegie and herb garden to support the kitchen. It was a delight to be out with her in the garden and learn hundreds of tips. Shelley is overflowing with biodynamic information and I would kill for an apprenticeship in her garden and kitchen. The food from the kitchen is so wholesome, by no means bland and extremely pretty! I recommend purchasing the cookbook as it contains many of the meals that were served to us.

The accommodation sits beautifully amongst the towering eucalypts. I stayed in the Orchard Suites which were very peaceful but in the end it was wasted on me. I would recommend the suites to couples or friends, but for me next time, I will stay in the more reasonable Heritage cottages and closer to the activity. On one of my days I was out of the suite at 5.30am and did not return until 8pm!

The environment is the Garden of Eden. The soil is so fertile that as Shelly proclaimed you could eat it! It is a place for people who want rest and recreation and for others to tap into a wonderful spirituality that exists, with aboriginal sacred places found on the property. I have been able to take away some of the 'Gwinganna effect' and make some worthwhile changes to my life. If, for example, you were someone who was committed to eating and living a pure vegetarian lifestyle, you may find that you already know about everything that Gwinganna has to offer. You might feel that you already prepare food that is so beautifully and simply executed by the kitchen. This place really is perfect for the burnt out, time poor corporate or parent!

Room Tip: If you want to relax in your room during Dreamtime in the afternoon go for the west facing Orchard S...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
6 Thank 5Farfaraway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2012

Amazing! I thought it was going to be a camp style weekend with 5.30am wake up calls to particpate in activities and food nazis analyzing all the food you ate. Turns out it was the complete opposite! You choose what activities you want to do and can eat as much of the delicious organic produce as you like (everything was cooked very gourmet as well). The spa treatments were beautiful, it felt like I was in Bali! The hot stone massage and organic glow spray tan were the best I ever had...a very reviving weekend to get away from the stress. It was actually nice to not worry about answering any phone calls:) I went with my boyfriend and it was definitely worth it!

Room Tip: If you're going as a couple, I don't recommend the cottages. The walls are quite thin and yo...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Stacey V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2012

I have just recently been to the 7 day detox programme at Gwinganna and can say it was awesome - in fact really transformational. It was my first time and I was nervous about meeting people and also what was ahead of me. But after the first day, I felt so comfortable and it was just so energising - getting up at sunrise and bed at sunset. Bliss for me - a working mum of three kids under six. I stayed in the Orchard Suites and they were great. All the facilities - gym, pools, changing rooms, showers were FIVE STAR. My helpful hints would be - Horse Whispering was AMAZING, Transformational Therapy was brilliant and so practical, Anything in the Spa was amazing, all food is delicious - custard apple for brekkie was grea, don't check your phone - just deconnect for 7 days - it is a luxury and so great to de-stress and look after yourself.

My advice to everyone thinking of going would be to go with an open mind, participate and enjoy all the experiences they provide - they know what they are doing! Sharon the head boss lady is INSPIRATIONAL. Don't miss her talks. Carl the kiwi fitness instructor is awesome as well - learnt a lot from him and he was a super nice guy. Everyone is nice there and everyone wants you to get the best from the experience - so just embrace it.

I say book it! Will be an investment in you!

Room Tip: If you are travelling with a friend - I would go for the Heritage Rooms as they are smaller but good...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
10 Thank Emma W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2012

I enjoyed GwingannaI very much, from the early morning Qi Gong on the grass at sunrise, to retiring to my comfortable room at 8pm.
After Qi Gong we went for a bush walk breathing in the beautiful fresh air and taking in the amazing scenery! A delicious breakfast was awaiting us on our return of fresh fruit, muesli and some days, eggs were also on offer. Then we had a stretch class in an open air pavilion followed by a class of your choice, yoga, gym, etc. An informative lecture is held at 11.30 on lifestyle and nutrition. Also a highlight for me was a walk through the herb garden with Shelley, the organic gardener, she was so informative and inspiring!
Following lunch you have a free afternoon for relaxation by the pool or treatments at the beautiful spa until dinner at 7.
The only downside was having a terrible withdrawal headache for a few days, so I would suggest even for moderate users, eliminating caffeine, alcohol and sugar gradually before you arrive.
I highly recommend a visit to Gwinganna to nurture your body and soul!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
13 Thank amac147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burleigh Heads, Australia
Level Contributor
182 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2012

I have been visiting Gwinganna since it opened, and it has been a life-changing experience. Bit by bit, I have taken on board the wisdom imparted by the knowledgeable, enthusiastic professionals, to help me live a fuller and healthier life. Gwinganna is the perfect combination of relaxation and self-improvement - aptly named a lifestyle retreat.

Room Tip: Every "room" has special features. For romantic and rustic, try Gwinganna House.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank mike g
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

Property: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Address: 192 Syndicate Rd, Tallebudgera, Gold Coast, 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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