Rest, Restore and Reset at Combe Grove – Review

By Fiona Duncan

10 months ago

Fiona Duncan finds serious solutions for modern health and happiness in the long term at Combe Grove, a new kind of health retreat.

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Combe Grove outdoor pool

Combe Grove, which opened earlier this year, is that rare thing: a new concept that addresses a growing modern crisis in a way that is rooted in nature, natural living and sustainability.

An 18th-century manor with stunning views over both Bath and the Wiltshire countryside, this is Britain’s first health retreat to offer its guests a real chance to ‘rest, restore and reset’ in a way that is both medical and holistic, with follow-up support that lasts for another 48 weeks.

Fundamentally, Combe Grove’s six-night Metabolic Health Retreat programme addresses the epidemic of obesity and consequent ill health that assails our population, egged on by ultra-processed food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies fuelling an overstretched, pill-doling NHS. If you arrive metabolically broken, on the day that you leave Combe Grove, you will be patched up and on the road back to good health. And if you are not broken, but would like to move the dial on how you perceive, experience and seek to heal yourself, or simply need a healthy week out, then the retreat, peppered with treatments and exercise, works just as well.

Combe Grove countryside view

Unsurprisingly, Combe Grove is the creation of visionaries. The first is its owner, successful businesswoman turned philanthropist Helen Aylward Smith, whose dream to establish a ‘health hotel’, part commercial, part charitable, was realised when, before the pandemic, she bought Combe Grove, most recently a boutique hotel set in 70 acres of woodland.

The second visionary is Dr Campbell Murdoch, a natural communicator and leading expert on metabolic health. Their meeting was fortuitous; now you can spend a luxurious week learning how to right yourself medically (lowering blood pressure and blood glucose, losing weight) while eating delicious, healthy food, swimming in the indoor and outdoor pools, doing yoga and meditation, having treatments such as naturopathy, acupuncture and reflexology, and going on long woodland walks.

Regeneration and a desire to return to a more natural environment is at the heart of Helen’s vision. Everything on the estate and in the hotel has been subject to maintaining and improving environmental and sustainable responsibilities. A vast kitchen garden is being created, while throughout the 70 acres, biodiversity is being encouraged through conserving, enhancing and establishing habitats to contain a healthy ecosystem. In the house, too, a raft of measures have been introduced, from switching to a renewable energy supplier to eco-friendly uniforms for the staff. A week at Combe Grove is a week spent, put simply, learning how to live a healthier, more balanced and more natural life.

The seven-day Metabolic Health Retreat includes a three-week lead in and 48 weeks of online support afterwards; three complimentary treatments or consultations; one-year membership of the Club at Combe Grove; exclusive access to return for a minimum three-night stay at a discounted rate. From £2,600,