With feeling: Dervla Louli Musgrave

The founder of Compare Retreats on building transparency in the wellness industry and this year’s wellbeing trends

People 19 Feb 2020

Dervia Louli Musgave, the founder of Compare Retreats

Dervia Louli Musgave, the founder of Compare Retreats

I think it’s a misconception that you have to travel to far-flung, isolated places to reap the benefits of a wellness retreat and truly reset and relax. There are amazing urban retreats and spa hotels in big cities including London, New York, Paris and Singapore, with programmes ranging from 12-72 hours that are often overlooked but can be just as effective as travelling somewhere further out of the way.

The next places I’m travelling to in 2020 are Aro Ha in New Zealand for a fitness and cleansing retreat, and Kenya for a female empowerment retreat with ROAR Africa. Vana and Ananda in India and Aman New York are also on my list for 2020 – for long-haul flights I recommend fasting, sleeping and staying hydrated. I fly with Cathay Pacific a lot and use the PURE Yoga stretch and meditation area in the lounge pre-flight and the in-flight Yoga tutorials. I use melatonin to regulate my sleep patterns when I land, book in exercise classes most mornings during my travels and avoid sugar, processed food and alcohol on short trips.

I started Compare Retreats because I wanted to create transparency in the wellness travel industry and empower consumers with information to help them find the best retreats in the world. Connecting the right healthy holiday hunter to a retreat that benefits them physically, emotionally and spiritually is something that brings my team and I immense joy.

The Compare Retreats collection has been built upon a huge amount of research, recommendations and a lot of travel. The retreats in our collection are leaders in their field and at the same time they continue to raise the bar in the industry. The bar to entry on our platform gets higher too. It’s been incredible to watch the industry keep getting better and better and it’s why our collection is dynamic and constantly evolving.

Dervla Louli Musgave
Dervla Louli Musgave

We’ve built the Compare Retreats collection with the help of a team of certified health and fitness professionals around the world who try and test every retreat. The platform is invitation only: the retreats have to be vetted by experts before becoming part of the collection. Studying the properties from the inside out is also essential in matching clients to the perfect retreats for their needs. Many of our experts are wellness travel industry veterans with decades of experience – consumers have access to all of their reviews in our magazine section on the Compare Retreats website.

Sustainability is really important to us and to the retreats we work with. Ninety per cent of properties in the Compare Retreats collection are located by water or in jungles and forests and 89 per cent of our customers request retreats with single-use-plastic-free policies in place. How we live directly impacts how we feel and treading lightly on this earth is a key part of that.

I think even in the most high-pressure jobs it’s manageable to fit in some time for self care. Buy The Five Minute Journal and keep it on your bedside, it helps you focus on things you are grateful for and amazing things that happen daily. Reading a chapter of The Daily Stoic is a regular reminder about the power of non-reactivity, it’s something I’m trying to get better at. Keeping hydrated, getting outdoors for a walk during breaks, lunch or during your commute are a few easy ways to get a quick health hit.

I think it’s important to see your phone as an incredible tool that makes your life easier but don’t use it for distraction. I use the Zero Fasting app every day, for example, and I think femtech is one of the biggest trends for the coming year along with focusing on sleep, intermittent fasting, energy medicine and breath work, but I think it’s vital to try and set time limits for social media and put it away when you’re with family, friends or need to focus on your own wellbeing.