A Transformative Cleanse Retreat At Wildhive Callow Hall Hotel – Review

By Fiona Duncan

4 months ago

A detox fasting retreat in a hotel: can it be done?

Fiona Duncan embarks on a cleanse retreat at Wildhive Callow Hall, a gorgeous country house hotel in the Derbyshire countryside.

Review: The Cleanse Retreat At Wildhive Callow Hall

I have just spent four days in a luxury hotel – and four days without food. No, I wasn’t taken ill; in fact, I feel better, fresher, livelier, healthier than for as long as I can remember. It was entirely my choice to avoid the hotel’s stunning, glass walled restaurant and to light scented candles in the library – ours for the duration – to ward off any delicious scents that might waft by. But if Callow Hall’s tempting food has been off the menu, the rest of the hotel, including the spa, has been at our disposal on our Restorative Juice Cleanse Retreat.

Naturopath Lucy Peel, radiant, make-up free proof of her own healthy lifestyle, has conducted many cleanse retreats in holistic resorts around the world and in private houses in the UK, though never before in a hotel. But now, Ed Burrows, who runs the hotel and is an old friend of Lucy’s, has invited her to use his sybaritic rural retreat in lovely Derbyshire countryside as a regular base. As a fan of Callow Hall and of Lucy’s skills as a naturopath, I signed up.

I’ve never done a juice cleanse before. I found it revelatory, and surprisingly easy but for a bit of brain fog on day two. I haven’t felt hungry once, not so much as a pang, but even so I’m not sure I would want to undertake such a thing anywhere but in this lovely, calm, spoiling and healing environment, brilliantly guided by Lucy.

Wood-panelled bedroom with pale green sheets.

Open the huge front door at Callow Hall and your intake of breath is courtesy of interior designer Isabella Worsley. As your eye travels along the entrance hall to the stunning glass cube extension that houses the restaurant and bar, you may marvel that you are in a quiet (though lovely) corner of Derbyshire, not trendy Somerset or the Cotswolds. The hotel is both restful and exciting, full of eye-catching colours and patterns that enliven but don’t disturb. The bedrooms upstairs are elegant and sophisticated but our group of juicers – six of us – were housed elsewhere, and perfect for our purpose: in six of the 11 delightful wooden ‘hives’ secreted in bluebell woodland above the mansion (there are also two splendid treehouses for families).  Simple, natural and cosy, with mini kitchens, powerful showers and wide terraces, they made nurturing hideaways for each of us to rest and restore as our bodies gently detoxed.

In the privacy of our hives, we drank the first (of three) tasty juices – made by the hotel kitchen to Lucy’s recipes – of the day; we dutifully downed shots of aloe vera each morning and a range of supplements given to us by Lucy with each juice; we brushed our skin; and we applied comforting castor oil packs to our livers topped by hot water bottles; At 6.30 each evening we gathered round a properly laid table in the library for the highlight of the day: ‘potassium broth’ (warm vegetable stock). We might as well have been enjoying a gourmet dinner rather than a bowl of flavoured water, so animated was the conversation.

Sound grim? Honestly, it wasn’t. The time whizzed by and a great deal more than simply cleansing our guts has taken place. Our little group bonded immediately, and the days were a whirl of activity, with yoga and gong bath sessions, walking in the surrounding hills and a Bach Flower Remedy workshop in which we made our own bespoke blends. Some of us had massages and facials in the spa too.

White ceramic bowl of granola and blueberries, with a glass of green juice beside it.

Each evening before an early night (we did feel tired by the end of the day) Lucy took time to explain what was happening to our bodies as we fasted and why it was necessary, plus tips on eating healthily by sticking to a Mediterranean diet and taking daily Magnesium. ‘What we are doing,’ she explained ‘is tackling inflammaging.’ That’s the new buzzword to describe the change that takes place in our immune system as we age. As part of the shift, our bodies find it harder to balance our inflammatory responses, leading to physical and cognitive decline. “We should take what steps we can, including cleanses twice a year if possible, to reduce the effects of inflammation on our bodies.’

But our retreat wasn’t just about food, or the lack of it. ‘Anyone can do a juice cleanse at home,’ says Lucy, ‘but that’s not the point. It’s just as important to take time to step away from the carousel, to rest and revitalize while we pay attention to our organs of elimination My aim is to support you on the retreat holistically, and that includes mentally and emotionally, not just give you juice to drink for a few days.’

Dining room with long wooden table, red chairs and a chandelier.

She did. As a result of my spell at Wildhive, I feel clear-headed, more optimistic and less sluggish, with renewed resolve to look after myself properly in future. And I’m delighted that three days without food turned out to be so doable – more than doable: actual fun.

The taxi driver who took me back to Derby station from Callow Hall put me in my place. He asked me what I’d been up to there and I proudly told him. ‘That’s nothing,’ he said. ‘I’m observing Ramadan.’


The next retreat takes place from 29 September to 3 October 2024 and costs from £1,650 per person, including four night’s accommodation at Wildhive Callow Hall, healthy meals pre and post-cleanse, a three-day juice cleanse, yoga, meditation, breathwork and sound bath classes, Bach Flower Remedy workshop and takeaway support pack of supplements and teas. wildhive.uk