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Star Treatments at Gaia, AustraliaOctober 22, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox Travel Agent
Gaia Resort & Spa was created and is co-owned by Olivia Newton-John.
Sure, she’s starred in the most popular movie musical ever (Grease) and recorded some of the biggest pop hits of the 1970s and 80s, but for the past five years Olivia Newton-John has been away from the spotlight and promoting Gaia Retreat & Spa, the eco-friendly resort she co-owns in New South Wales, Australia.
Several years back, Newton-John was with her close friend Gregg Cave at her home in Australia. “We were just looking around for a place for him because he was talking about moving out to that area, and we went across this property…and it was kind of a rundown resort.” The next morning, Cave mentioned that he had dreamed they had purchased the resort. “And I said, ‘You know it’s really weird, I dreamt about it, too.’ And I said, ‘I dreamt that we bought it and turned it into kind of a retreat all our friends could come to.’ We both had the same dream!” After several months of ups and downs in the purchasing process, the property was theirs, and they began turning it into a kind of place they would want to visit.
The result—Gaia Retreat & Spa—is a mixture of beauty and comfort. “I call it ‘barefoot Armani,’” Newton-John quips. “It is situated on the highest hill in the area with views over a valley that evokes Tuscany.” She and Cave both wanted nature to be the focus of the retreat, with plenty of outdoor seating and activities. “We got a huge deck [so] we can sit out for meals…We have bikes that you can take out. There are places to hike.” (The beach, and shopping in nearby towns, are only about 15 minutes away, she notes.) “In Australia this is a very special area,” she says. “The north coast is known for its beauty.”
And what, specifically, does the resort have to offer guests? Newton-John gladly begins listing the qualities. “We have organic food. We have our own garden. We have 20 cabins—a couple of suites, and the rest, cozy little free-standing cabins. We have a most amazing spa with the best healers in the area…an on-staff naturopath who gives everyone an assessment, a fantastic gym and trainers that can do any kind of training you want to do.”
The Day Spa at Gaia offers unique treatments that combine topical and muscular therapies to revitalize visitors. Li’tya, a range of skin and body care products that blend potent native Australian botanicals, clays and sea fruits with modern skin technology, is the product brand of choice at Gaia.
The Mother Earth treatment, for example, begins with a Jiga Jina foot soak, Wulima Yulu sensory journey and O’yarrarng smudging ritual. Guests then get to enjoy a Kodo body massage, full body salt exfoliation, earth mud body wrap and Quandong scalp treatment before relaxing with a rejuvenating soak, facial, and hand and foot therapy.
The guys will appreciate the Gaia Man treatment, which begins with a body polish in the steam room. Men are then wrapped in muslin with a purifying clay masque to stimulate and detox their system before relaxing with a warm oil scalp indulgence followed by a firm full body massage to release tightness and tension. A specially designed facial for men is offered to deep-cleanse and nourish the skin, and hands and feet are tended to as well.
The Day Spa at Gaia is known for its unique treatments based in nature and on indigenous products of Australia. Co-owner Olivia Newton-John receives an all-over body treatment.
Beyond the spa and fitness center, Newton-John says,“We have beautiful gardens [that] we developed over the last five years; beautiful walks through the property that we have created. We built the gym, we have done everything. And we bought the property next door, which is now the yoga room…We have pottery and sculpting, too, for people who want to do something a little bit different…And it’s a very homey, comfortable place where you really are nurtured and pampered.” In short? “It’s very attractive,” she says, then adds emphatically, “Very attractive!”
Still, there’s nothing like personal touches to help guests truly relax, and this is where Newton-John feels Gaia is at its strongest. “I think the care you receive from the staff makes it unique. Everyone knows your name, and the food is exceptional, too—I mean, I go there! My favorite breakfast in the world is at Gaia.”
The food, much of which is produced at the retreat, is also a star feature at Gaia. “They just have everything!” Newton-John says. “A lot of [it is] gluten-free, for people who are on that kind of diet; lots of fresh fruits, amazing cereals and natural grains…fresh beautiful organic juices and they make great breads. My mouth is watering thinking about it now!”
So what’s next for Gaia? “We would like to get a piece to build a dam which we are hoping to do at some point,” Newton-John muses. “But at the moment we are very happy with the property.” She says most of the rooms have been redone due to the retreat’s increased popularity. “We are getting so many more people coming and wanting to come back, so we have [had] to expand our rooms. We remodeled some, and we are going to build—I think—four suites as well.”
Agents should contact Gregg Cave or Leanne Schoen at 011-61-2-6687 1216.
The Mother Earth process begins with a Jiga Jina foot soak.