WESTIN WELLNESS ESCAPE
with the beautiful Rachael Finch
205 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000, Australia
If you missed my earlier Q&A with Rachael on her top health tips, click here.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably already been bombarded with the details of this past weekend at the Westin Wellness Escape. I mean, when you’re experiencing something so wonderful that has been crafted with so much attention to detail (and to Instagrammability) how can you not share it in real time!? The Westin has recently introduced an amazing Well-Being Movement around six core pillars: Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well. This was their very first Weekend Wellness Escape to showcase their global initiative dedicated to inspiring guests to discover new approaches to well-being at Westin and beyond. It was only a one-night stay right in the centre of the city, but somehow felt like a much longer visit to somewhere so far removed from the daily grind. And with a host as gorgeous as Westin Well-being Advocate, Rachael Finch, and her lovely partner Michael – how could you go wrong?
I checked in nice and early at 2pm to settle into my beautiful big room and make the most of my time (see below as to why I had to duck out for a few hours). Just quietly, it’s so nice to waltz into a beautiful high-ceilinged super polished hotel lobby knowing you’re on the way to check in as a guest, rather than as a more fleeting visitor. We were spoilt right from the very beginning being greeted with a GORGEOUS platter of fruit, nuts and the creamiest house-made dark chocolate along with a goodie bag with a towel, mini toiletries, a New Balance top and water bottle ready for our fitness activities. I had seen the platter on Margaret Zhang’s Instagram before, but totally thought it was an MZ-only type situation. Turns out, they think we’re all pretty special too! Saaaa fancy!
I then had to disappear for a couple of hours for a dear friend’s hen’s night (in Geelong, by the way, so yes I did indeed catch the V-line for an hour each way to make it all work – totally worth it). Never let it be said that I can’t Tetris ALL the things into my schedule. While I was away, the lovely Rachael greeted the group of around 40 before they split into two for the first fitness activity. The first group was treated to 90 minutes of salsa and cha-cha led by Rachael’s husband, Michael (who knew that both of them were pro dancers!) The second group was led through one of Melbourne’s most sought after yoga classes – yep, the beautiful Masha from Happy Melon Studios came in to instil her special kind of zen into the retreat. Next came an indulgent 3-course dinner in The Wine Room, which I was DEVASTATED to miss as the foodie in my died inside eating my pre-packed salad on the V-line back home. BUT I made it just in time for dessert – the one time I’ve been grateful for a more stretched out serving of courses at dinner!
In a beautiful intimate room, two long candle lit tables were filled with excited chatter as people shared their wellness stories with both old and newly made friends. Dessert was impeccably presented, health conscious, and simply delicious and we all devoured one of everything whilst furiously Instagramming and snap-chatting each item from every angle. As a food/wellness/lifestyle blogger, I’m no stranger to an elegant spread for a special feasting occasion but this was simply spectacular (without venturing too far into fine dining, so that everyone still felt relaxed and comfortable). We all stayed well beyond the end of our meals to chat and mingle (Rachael and Michael being super generous with their time and playing musical chairs among the groups) before we all retired for some shut-eye to prepare for an early morning start.
Again, the personal touches blew me away as I re-entered my room and found a sleep package perched near my pillows with a CUSTOM MONOGRAMMED PILLOW (!!!!), some lavender to help calm the body, some chamomile tea and a sleep guide. I positively pounced into the huge new Heavenly Bed and felt I had jumped head first into a cloud. After spending more than an appropriate amount of time Instagramming everything from dessert, I drifted off into the most beautiful sleep – I can safely say I haven’t slept that well in years. Waking at 6:30am without feeling the weight of the universe holding me down was a strange sensation – it wasn’t a long sleep but it was such a deep sleep. In fact, excited as I was for the morning’s activities I could have easily stayed all day in the cloud bed!
The first 90 minutes of the day were spent learning cha-cha and salsa under Michael and Rachael’s attentive instruction – surprising how much you can work up a sweat! We were all quite surprised how much of a sweat you can work up when ballroom dancing and definitely felt we had earned our beautiful breakfast buffet when 9am came around. Seated on two long tables again, but this time in the Library, the breakfast full of SuperFoodsRX dishes was equally if not more impressive than dinner had been both in presentation and substance. Quinoa porridge, buckwheat pancakes, sauteed kale and mushies, egg white frittatas, a smoothie and juice bar, and endless pots of layered brekky parfaits all laid out in the most beautiful formation interspersed with decorative greenery – again, the phones were out in an instant before we all tucked in to the feast.
The whole thing ended almost as quickly as it began, but felt like days or weeks had passed. People had made new friends, experienced serious revelations for their health and lifestyle, and all were absolutely desperate to confirm that a reunion would be on the cards. We enjoyed a couple of hours free time before check out where I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the WestinWORKOUT fitness studio and a bit of a sweat session in the sauna – beautiful and well-equipped facilities. In such a short time, The Westin left such a strong impression on me – I’m a finicky, annoying, menu-changing, photo-taking health foodie and yet I couldn’t fault a single part of our experience. We felt so well looked after by Rachael and the staff, particularly the wonderful Caroline (Marketing and Comms Manager) who had clearly not let a single detail go past her in the planning of the escape.
Leading an increasingly jam-packed and stressful life, I am more and more appreciative of the things that help me unwind and nurture myself. I’d come back for a staycation here in an instant! Very highly recommended!!