Women's luxury retreat

IF YOU feel your life has become too busy or stressful for you to function at an optimal level it can be hard knowing how to get more "me" time.

What you probably need is complete rest or a fresh perspective on how you prioritise your work, family and needs.

That's where one of Byron's newest retreats comes in.

Former corporate marketing guru Janine Hall is the driving force behind Escape Haven, a luxury retreat at Broken Head that offers yoga, surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons, spa treatments, mouthwatering wholefood cuisine and luxury accommodation for women.

Wholefood chef Mell Thompson sources foods from local providores and there's no shortage of delicious things to eat - this isn't a deprivation spa retreat.

There's also a pool and sub-tropical gardens for rest and relaxation.

She says from all over the world, retreat guests have two things in common: they lead demanding lives and invest a lot in things they believe will help their wellbeing.

"It's a modern challenge (to stay focused and energised)," she says.

"We're all so busy that we look for shortcuts to feel good. So many of us have spent a good deal of time and money in the pursuit of feeling 'better,' when what we really need is to reconnect with ourselves."

Before retreats, Janine worked for fashion brands and retailers in marketing management.

But she wanted to create retreats for women because she was so passionate about the need to unwind and reconnect.

Janine's first purpose-built retreat, Surf Haven Bali has received Trip Advisor's Travellers Choice Award for Best Service in Indonesia and is ranked first for specialty lodgings in Seminyak and in the top five in Indonesia.

She's hoping the Byron property will attract similar recognition. On the beachfront and in rainforest, the Balinese-inspired property is a series of pavilions with a choice of private room and twin or triple share.

"I moved (to Byron) not knowing a soul. The Broken Head property was already developed. We just adapted it for the retreat."

Escape Haven's spa retreats can be as active or inactive as guests choose, from lying down (spa treatments) to sitting (meditation, yoga, pilates) to surfing, walking, biking, paddleboarding and more.

"Food is such a key part but so too are the yin activities like yoga and meditation and spa treatments. Combine that with something that challenges these women like surfing and you have the perfect blend.

"What we talk a lot about at our retreats is mindfulness, the art of being able to unplug from yesterday or tomorrow and focus on the here and now."



  • Escape Haven is in rainforest at Broken Head, near the beach
  • Retreats are seven days and are limited to 8-10 women
  • Activities offered include yoga, surfing, paddleboarding, swimming and walking. Spa treatments are also on offer.
  • Stays cost around $2400 a week.

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