If you are looking to reflect and reset but struggle to find the time, then the Rest and Restore retreat at Huntsham Court is perfect.
Set in the rolling Devonshire countryside and easily accessible by rail or car, Huntsham Court is the retreat for busy people who are feeling a bit jaded, want to realign their energy and in need of some me time. House of Coco was invited along to experience this one-night mind break.
I arrived at Huntsham Court to be greeted by Anoushka Emson and her team. While this large, 19th Century gothic mansion is spacious and grand there is something cosy and welcoming that instantly hits you as you walk through the entrance. Many country piles give off that ‘look, don’t touch’ air however Huntsham has more of a ‘chill and make yourself at home’ vibe.
The ground floor is made up of a series of reception rooms, a dining room and a bar come social space. The house has been lovingly renovated by owners Christopher Badham and Damian Llambias. Each unique room has been designed by Llambias who has embraced the existing interior while adding a splash of personality by mixing up luxe fabrics (some which he personally wrestled out of the hands of Joan Collins and now adorn the main bedroom), with vintage wallpapers.
After a warm drink and a chance to take a breather we are given a tour of the house and it does not disappoint. High ceilings, dramatic sweeping staircases, big comfy sofas and roaring open fires are peppered around the house.
The bedrooms are all grand and luxurious, each one has its very own bespoke theme. I’m staying in The Baron, a spacious room with a big four poster bed and views across the grounds and sprawling countryside. All of the eclectic bedrooms mix traditional with a modern twist. There are 27 rooms in the main house and across the adjoining buildings there are 40 rooms in total.
Emson and her team have designed a 24 hour programme that combines restorative yoga, life coaching workshops as well as informative talks on nutrition and essential oils. While the retreat only runs across one day, Emson has successfully achieved the right balance between a full schedule and downtime, allowing you to get the most out of your stay as well as an opportunity to rest.
The group session with the life coach is a chance to reflect and process things. Paula Fenegan brings her reflexology practise to the retreat, I’m offered an in-room treatment that instantly reduces any tension I’m feeling and leaves me a little sleepy. The yoga sessions were delivered to suit any level, with lots of focus on breath technique and switching off a busy mind. I especially loved the Yoga Nidra which if you haven’t tried it, is a meditation and conscious relaxation practice that induces total physical and mental relaxation. Emson delivered the session at the end of the day which left me floating all the way up the grand staircase to my plush bed.
There’s no clock watching here, it’s all very laid back and if people are enjoying a glass of wine over dinner then there’s no pressure or rush to get to the next workshop. Because of the intimate group size, people get to know each other quickly and this supports a friendly atmosphere.
The retreat nutrition expert, Miranda Lewis, has teamed up with Sam the chef of 20ate to create a balanced vegetarian menu that’s jam-packed with taste and flavour. Sam has an open kitchen door policy and you can drift in and out throughout your stay helping yourself to healthy snacks and drinks or ask him any culinary questions.
In just 24 hours I left Huntsham Court feeling all zen and ready to take on the rest of 2020. Anoushka Emson is running the Rest and Restore retreat at Huntsham Court on 15-16th March 2020 and 11th–12th October 2020. The cost for a two-person shared room: £650 p/p, a two-person luxury shared room: £750 p/p and sole occupancy luxury room: £850. Prices include accommodation in one of Huntsham Court’s individually designed bedrooms, three nutritious meals a day as well as snacks and drinks, all expert workshop sessions, as well as take home nutrition and yoga e-guides so guests can continue their learning.