If you were following my Instagram this week, you’ll know I took a little trip to a luxury detox resort in Alicante, Spain. Perfectly timed, might I add, given the week before was a red wine and cheese-filled skiing trip – an undisputed 2kg heavier, off to SHA Wellness Clinic, in Spain I went!
I wasn’t there for fat loss, I know my body well enough not get worried about holiday weight (and I don’t think anyone should) but rather for a detox, cleanse and reset which we all need once in a while. After my short visit to Ti Sana detox in December, I had the itch, and finding SHA Wellness wasn’t exactly hard given it has won almost every award possible since opening, most recently the “Best Destination Spa” in 2017 by Condé Nast Johansens. Plus, Karlie Kloss recently took a visit and she embodies so much of what I admire so thought it was definitely worth a try!
There is much to be praised and said about this stunning destination that I’m going to break it down to help give you a good idea about what you can expect from a trip here. To be completely honest, I was genuinely blown away; everything from the treatments, to the hotel itself to the food (oh wow – the food! <3) and the training/ spa facilities were everything I would have dreamed of from the perfect healthy break. Come dive in with me!
So there are three categories of ‘diets’ if you like, at SHA. They all follow the same fundamentals, with none of them containing any meat, dairy, eggs or refined sugars but there is a calorie difference between the menus.
Kushi: This is the lowest calorie menu totaling 700 calories per day of all healthy and nutritious food. Those who are on this menu are doing it primarily to give the body a break from continuous digesting and allow it to burn off some excess fat stores.
Bio-Light: This is somewhere in the middle (about 1200 calories per day) – one which my sister and I spent a few meals on (I’ll explain our journey later on).
SHA: This is your full 3 course lunch and dinner menu but still with super clean, healthy eating in mind and of course, an extent of calorie restorations too. There is no point eating super healthy if you’re consuming 5000 calories a day doing that because if anything, you’ll put on weight! I came away from my ‘SHA’ menu meals wishing I could hijack the chef to bring home with me – that good!
Breakfasts differ depending which menu you are on but the core is a delicious porridge each day with a healthy pot of fresh hummus (which was honestly the best hummus I have ever tasted) and a natural fruit paste; be it kiwis, berries, dates etc. If you are on SHA, then you’ll also have yogurt, fruit and a bread roll.
Each breakfast also kicks off with a miso soup!
With the typical Kushi lunch menu, you will always have a starter and a main course which specifically slows down the rate at which we eat and therefore digest the food, giving the body more time to absorb all the nutrients and energy intake.
I know I’m a pretty capable cook but I was amazed how they made the broccoli and cabbage taste THIS yummy!
This is your typical Bio-Light lunch, finished off with an added clean-eating dessert…
And then the glorious SHA menu! A starter, two choices of main and dessert.
I have to say, I tried each and every menu and the quality of the food doesn’t differ between the 3 menus – only the quantity and energy intake. You decide what menu you would like to follow after visiting the doctor and stick with that for your stay. The staff know exactly what menu you follow, which is helpful for those on the more restrictive Kushi menu as there’s no getting past them! They are super supportive and incredibly impressive – they know everyone’s names despite having the hotel nearly at full capacity with new guests each week!
We tried all the menus but only so I could experience each of them to give you the best insight into the choices :) When I go back to SHA, my choice would most likely be the SHA menu – I felt full of energy, incredibly clean and healthy, and not as though I was on anything close to representing a tough detox.
Here’s just some of the other incredible dishes you can expect!
If this was booked for you as a surprise by a friend, you could very easily walk into SHA and think you were in for a luxury cocktails-at-sunset type of holiday. They have managed to create a stunning environment with beautiful bedrooms, views, pool, spa and restaurant so that you don’t feel as though you’ve been shipped off to the middle of nowhere to drink cold soup each night!
Raw carob brownies and apple puree when we first arrived as a healthy welcome treat!
The rooms are super bright and spacious with very comfy beds!
The peaceful top terrace is a 360 viewing point over Alicante, which gives you the ultimate view of sunsets full of purples and pinks every night. SHA offers a very relaxed vibe, with people walking around in dressing gowns in and out of treatments all day, up until dinner time when generally a pair of jeans and casual top is just fine.
Despite having some famous and very successful guests, it doesn’t carry with it the aura of pretentiousness which is really lovely.
The trainers are knowledgeable and the equipment is of the best quality – it’s the sort of gym you genuinely want to go and work out in each day! Jordy and I typically started with some HIIT sprints on the treadmill then moved outside for a circuit based workout.
That Spa, though ….
Decked out with the best and brightest sauna I have seen, a lap pool, a main relaxing pool, steam room and steam bath, ice fountain and reclined water bed chairs – take my word for it…it’s hard to leave!
Before each treatment, I would go in to the sauna or steam to open up the pores and relax the muscles for massages, facials and other treatments, read on for more details of them!
In total we stayed for 4 nights and I had 5 treatments booked across the course of the stay. When you first arrive, you’ll sit down with the agenda team who will discuss what you’re looking for, any reshuffling of treatment times and advise on what works best for your goals. For me it was about trying a mix of things, some new and some I know that I love!
The first one I want to talk about is the BDR Facial. I know there can be some stigma around young women wanting to prevent ageing but it my opinion, having treatments that promote natural skin regeneration is better than doing a lot of plumping and more invasive treatments!
The BDR facial is tailored to each person but the concept behind it is using tiny, tiny needles which micro-perforate the upper layers of the skin – active ingredients are then used on the skin which are absorbed deep into lower levels and promote the natural synthesis of collagen (the protein which keeps the skin firm, full and tight). I really noticed a difference on my skin after the facial which I rarely get from classic spa ones and it didn’t hurt at all for anyone wondering if the tiny needles would. I highly recommend giving it a go for preventative or active reasons if this is the type of thing you’re looking for.
When you were young, did your parents ever pay you a few pounds to power-hose the patio but put the fear into you to never point it at anyone!? Well this underwater massage uses a very similar tool!
It uses hydrostatic pressure to relieve muscle tension, stimulate tissue metabolism, break down scar tissue and generally just improve the circulation around the body and the lymphatic system drainage. It looks like you’re about to jump into the biggest bath you’ve ever seen (!) but the pressure always has to be under water otherwise it would tear skin. As someone who gets deep tissue massage quite often for my back, it was a really good alternative and I enjoyed it!
I had never heard of INDIBA before I came to SHA but it was put on my schedule as highly recommended to try and hence share with all of you!
What is INDIBA?
An active cell therapy using a “Proionic® System as the unique system that stimulates intra and extra cellular ion exchange restoring physiological cell electrical activity, which enables the correct functionality of the cells.”.
Quite the mouthful hey!
In my words, it’s effectively a mastermind of a machine that encourages the detoxifying of cells in the body and therefore promotes firming and fat loss. It looks like this! You can do it on any area of the body, and even the face to help reduce black circles under the eyes. Think about it as a targeted treatments for the cells to give them the attention they need to be operating at their best!
As well as a classic deep tissue massage, I had another new experience and treatment called Moxibustion. Personally, Chinese medicine is not something I would choose as the first thing to help me relax or reset but I stand so incredibly corrected on this front! After a consultation with the doctor, she decided Moxibustion would be more beneficial to me than acupuncture and I’m so glad she did!
What is it?
“Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.”
If I had read the above sentence before the treatment, my initial thoughts would have been most likely a thank you but no thank you. However, after having Moxibustion at SHA, I can’t get enough. I walked away from the 30 minute treatment with what felt like a new found line of energy running through my body and in my brain. Not the energy that makes you want to jump and workout – in fact I was pretty sleepy – but it was as if new parts of my brain had opened up and everything was a bit dizzy, like learning to walk for the first time! And even at the very basic level, it was the most relaxed I have felt in years, more so than any massage or similar I’ve ever had.
Try it, for me, please try!
The treatments at SHA are not only super extensive but they’re unique and actually work. I’ve been to many a place that promises you something from a treatment and you don’t feel the results match anywhere close. Yes, they’re pretty dear but it’s a life experience and in my opinion, health should always be our number 1!
Even without a single treatment or visit to the spa, my experience at SHA would still have been a once in a lifetime holiday. As they have put so much work into getting the food to a healthy yet world-class standard and making the hotel itself into something of pure relaxation and luxury, it’s impossible not to enjoy a retreat there.
Then the cherry on top of it all for me, is that this is not somewhere that’s just decided to ‘pop-up’ and call themselves a detox retreat because they have a stunning setting and fabulous chefs – they genuinely know their stuff. They know how to help personally help you, and have put a lot of effort into making sure the treatments available are the best of the best and that there is enough of them to tailor a detox for anyone who walks through the doors.
Bravo, is all I can say!
Please do comment below with any thoughts or questions on detoxing at SHA and I’m happy to help!
You can find their website details below :)
Sha Wellness Clinic: https://shawellnessclinic.com/en/