Unique, Bizarre & Spectacular Places To Sleep is a series covering a range of accommodations around the world – from luxury villas, to pest-infested slums. Read stories, reviews, tips, and occasional warnings …
And now for one of the most indulgent experiences:
The Gaia Retreat, Australia.
There’s a luxurious retreat near Byron Bay, Australia, where you can go to recharge your batteries, balance your soul, discover your inner-Buddha, and empty your bank account in one fell swoop.
At $800 per night, the Gaia Retreat is a place that celebrities, CEOs and Bridezillas get helicoptered to when they want to light fire to large mounds of spare cash … in serious style.
Co-owned by Olivia Newton-John, the sumptuous retreat is set on twenty-five acres of rolling subtropical valleys, and overlooks the hinterlands on one side, and the ocean on the other. As well as luxury accommodation, the price includes fresh organic cuisine and a range of activities, like fitness, meditation, yoga, art, detox, a day spa, walks around the vast property, and tennis.
I know what you’re thinking: why the heck are you tempting me on an outrageously expensive accommodation? Forking over this fee for a bed and a meal isn’t what non-celebrities would call ‘rejuvenating.’ So I’m here to give you the secret to indulging at the Gaia Retreat on a slim budget, otherwise known as:
The Tight-Arse Guide to the Gaia.
It’s possible to simply book a treatment at the spa and get access to the property and facilities for the day. You won’t have a room, but you’ll get to relax on a pool-side lounge, take a dip in the spa, and dry your tight-arse on the lush towels and robes supplied to you when you book a treatment. Once you’re in with the rich crowd, you can lay on the day beds, wander the property, and meditate alongside the Buddha sculptures for your next Facebook profile picture (if being a pompous douche is your gig).
A 60 minute Swedish massage costs $130, while the heavenly Byron Bay Dream for Lovers — a 2.5 hour spa package — will put you out $310 per lover. But I can guarantee you it’ll be an out of body experience that’ll be etched in your pleasure senses forever more. Or, it’s possible that you’ll be so relaxed from the scrubbing, massaging, and bird-song soundtrack that you’ll fall asleep and wake yourself with a particularly loud snore to find yourself dribbling very unglamorously on your pillow. (Not that this happened to me or anything … I’m just saying … it could happen.)
If you get hungry, you can enjoy an organic vegetarian lunch for a reasonable $25 at the restaurant, or for $65 you’ll get a three course set menu dinner on a deck that overlooks the stunning area.
So if you’re up for some luxury on the cheap(ish), dress up in your finest threads, adorn your rip-off Prada sunglasses and Yves Saint Laurent handbag as you wander around the grassy hills of the Gaia Retreat, breathe in the fresh air of NSW’s stunning hinterlands, and pretend you’re a Hollywood star for the day (BYO tiny dog and diva attitude). Then, once you’re done lapping up luxury, you can drive 22 minutes to Byron Bay and pitch your tent near the beach. Perfect!
Do you have any favorite places you like to go on the cheap?
If you liked this post, you may like A Secret Hideaway in New Zealand.
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.