Heston Blumenthal at Como Shambhala Estate, Bali THE GOAL I hadn’t been on a two-week holiday for
regime” was seriously brave for me. However, I did
three years, and I needed to get away and relax. I’m
stop short of colonics; my stiff upper lip kicked in.
also about to have a hip operation, so I wanted to
Normally, I do about 10 hours of exercise a week and
strengthen my core and get as ﬁt as possible.
I’ve been interested in nutrition since I was a teenager.
THE TREATMENT Como Shambhala specialises in
But I don’t always practise what I know is good for me.
“wellness programmes” lasting three, ﬁve or seven
I eat lots of fruit, for instance, and it’s full of sugar, and
nights. I chose the stress management option, with the
I drink coffee, which stimulates the brain to produce
aim of slowing down, detoxing (usually, I’ll have two or
cortisol: not good, because it stops you burning fat. Meditation, I knew, would really help me unwind,
intake (some days I’ll taste about 70 dishes, which
so I did it every day. When I tried it once before, I lasted
doesn’t help the waistline).
about ﬁve minutes. This time, Mark got me to
After a visit to the doctor and the nutritionist,
concentrate on my breathing (in through the nose, out
a three-day programme was created, with daily
through the mouth) and helped me to focus my mind:
sessions of meditation (to help clear my mind), yoga
to concentrate on one thing, like the sounds of the
(for stretching and strengthening muscles), the
forest, or an object such as a raisin, say, for ﬁve or 10
Chinese movement therapy qigong (incredibly
minutes. By the end of three days, he had to bring me
relaxing) and aerobic sessions at the gym (my choice).
out of my “mindful” state after an hour, I was so
Detoxing was aided by a daily massage and a diet of
absorbed. The juices were delicious – the “Liven Up
juices made from vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs.
Your Liver” one, for instance, was apple, spinach,
THE PLACE The scenery was like something from The
cauliﬂower, garlic, ginger, turmeric – and oddly, I never
Lord of the Rings, with steep, mossy, grass-covered
felt hungry, although I did miss my wine. The
hills, tropical rainforests buzzing with insect and bird
acupuncture was really effective; David put something
life, and really pretty waterfalls. The rooms, arranged
hot at the end of the needles, and I came out feeling
around swimming pools and made from dark wood,
very energised. The yoga, the qigong and massages
were airy and spacious, with high ceilings and four-
helped me to empty my mind, stretch and relax.
posters swathed in mosquito nets. The public areas
I learnt that, although we are called “human beings”,
were all open-sided, which I loved because I’m
we don’t spend enough time being, and far too much
a fresh-air freak and always get hot (I get through
time doing. So, what I’m trying to do is change that.
about four chef’s whites a night when I’m cooking).
That floating feeling The spa at Como Shambhala Estate (above), surrounded by pools. Left: Heston Blumenthal, learning to meditate. Below: one of the treatment rooms. All public areas on the estate are open-sided and surrounded by forest
The result is that I lost six pounds in three days,
THE THERAPISTS A great mix of real pros: David
learnt to live without wine and am aiming to have only
Melladew, an American doctor and acupuncturist, who
vegetable juice two days a week – not easy when
trained in martial arts and spent time in a monastery
you’re a chef, but that’s how good it made me feel.
learning about Buddhism; Mark Chaves, a former
THE DETAILS Healing Holidays (020 7843 3597,
IT specialist and athlete from California who gave it up
healingholidays.co.uk) is offering a seven-night
to teach meditation and yoga; Eve Persak, a triathlete
Oriental Wellness Programme at Como Shambhala
and nutritionist; and chefs Heidi Flanagan and Amanda
from £3,150 per person. The price includes a return
Gale, who worked for Neil Perry in Australia.
ﬂight, transfers, full-board accommodation, one
HOW IT WENT I am a real British male when it comes
wellness evaluation, three 60-minute acupuncture
to spas. To me, male grooming means toothpaste,
treatments, two 60-minute massages, two
toothbrush and shower gel, and on the beach I still
private qigong sessions and access to daily
cover up with a towel. So signing up to a “wellness
scheduled activities, from walks to yoga classes.
three glasses of wine a night) and reducing my calorie
‘I DID STOP SHORT OF HAVING COLONICS; MY BRITISH STIFF UPPER LIP KICKED IN’