Amidst the flora and fauna of Brooklet in New South Wales, is the undeniably tranquil Gaia Retreat. Opened in 2005, this property has won the hearts of spa seekers near and far, all seeking refuge from their busy lives, as well as the chance to meet one of the properties owners: Olivia Newton-John.
Four private owners developed this unique property to satisfy the need to relax, which is taken with as much indulgence and guidance as you prefer. Gregg Cave, one of the part owners and General Manager is on property to greet and oversee your experience from sunrise to sunset. And, with a trained staff addressing each guest by name, you will immediately feel as though the property has been your own personal retreat for years.
Driving to Brooklet from Byron Bay is a quick 25 minutes. Through winding roads, you’ll encounter multiple photo opportunities of this fertile landscape. Farmland gives way to a private treelined drive. The sweeping view from the main parking area is evidence alone that this property is miles away from ordinary.
An iron entry way leads guests down a cement path to the Kurura House, the resort’s central meeting area for dining, orientations, and activities. Exposed wooden beams, deep orange and blush pink drapery decorate the ceiling, which was restored after a major hail storm in 2017. Far East influences can be seen through metal lanterns and bedazzled pillows. You won’t find a reception desk in sight, as each guest is personally welcomed in the lounge area by a team member with chilled Iced Tea and fresh local fruit.
What makes this property unique to other spa’s is that the guest packages are set before arrival and then can be adjusted once they have a Spa Consultation with a highly trained therapist. A treatment at the Gaia Spa, which is facing the heavenly salt water pool, can be as simple as a wonderful essential oil body massage, or as intricate as a 3 hour fully body rejuvenating signature Byron Bay Dream which features local Macadamia nut oil. Decadent, yet completely holistic, the Gaia Spa’s approach takes cues from therapies and medical practices from all over the world. Therapies to try also include Australian Flower Essence Consultation, Esoteric Healing, and Sound Meditations for alternative practices.
Daily yoga starting at 7am is not to be missed. A separate studio just a 5 minute walk from the Kurura house features a private on-site instructor and another expansive hinterland view. A small gym is available onsite, offering a decent view, but with the expansive daily holistic talks and mediations, I would recommend taking your morning jog around the 2k walking path, which provides even more insanely gorgeous views. Sunrise mediation from the mediation platform also boasts an incredibly tranquil setting. You might not be into mediation, but you will definitely get behind the utter bliss these sunrise views offer.
Apart from the decadent spa menu, the restaurant also aims to pamper and please the palates of even the most health conscious of guests. Breakfast is a buffet of locally sourced ingredients, pressed juices, teas, and one hot dish formulated based on guests preference. Allergies and dietary restrictions are carefully managed; no guest will be left un-satiated nor disappointed in the quality and care. European influences and local surroundings give the expertly trained chefs daily inspiration offering lunch and dinner set menus, and an organic wine list to boot. Spas generally have only the healthiest of options, that lack flavour, but that is not the case at the Gaia Retreat. The quality of ingredients utilised from the area made for some of the best fruit, nut, and fish dishes I’ve ever tasted. Health conscious, sure, but balanced flavour all the same.
Rooms at the Gaia Retreat vary yet all feature garden views and east Asian decor. Balinese statues, sheer window shades, pillowed verandas and ethereal touches makeup the decor. Air conditioning, Tea and Coffee making facilities, Bose CD and DVD Facilities, Flat Screen TV, Robes, Glass Showers, Irons, Safes, Fresh Wholes Fruit, King or twin configurations for the standard Laguna room types.
Room types become more and more decadent as the category climbs offering double vanities, built in spa whirlpools and private verandas, or heated plunge pools with infinity edges like the 3 Komala villas. One bedroom and split level, these private spaces lack for nothing. An outdoor shaded daybed, fresh florals and gift hampers featuring Gaia Spa products are just he tip of the luxe iceberg. Modern Asian inspired artworks, stained local woods, modern kitchenettes and seating areas, champagne, North-west sweeping valley views, and a separate reclined soaking tub area are what makes the Gaia living experience what it is. Complimentary priority room service means that despite the limited hours in-room dining is offered, the restaurant takes special care to ensure these rooms are well looked after.
The property is compact in nature, yet so incredibly well planned. No activity is more than a 5-6 minute walk away. Rooms all line the cement pathways which are labeled with directives so even the newest guests will find their way. Modern sculptures commissioned by Suvira McDonald randomly fill out the expertly manicured lawns, while wispy curtained daybeds make the ultimate place for sunset naps.
Spa’s are typically not the place for everyone, and rightfully so, I mean how many clay masks can one have over the course of a week? But, then again, the richness and easiness of the Gaia Retreat makes one feel as though they are at the most luxurious adult sleep away camp. Activities abound for personal relaxation and education. Traditional luxury in the sense that a guest will want for nothing, yet unconventionally luxury in the sense that it’s an elevated effortless. Wear your Spa robe from breakfast to dinner – no one will bat an eye, nor should you!