Lilly Pilly’s Country Cottages Day Spa and Wellness retreat in Maleny.
Lilly Pilly’s Country Cottages Day Spa and Wellness retreat in Maleny.

Body and spirit find peace at Maleny spa

I CALL it the love bubble.

The feeling that engulfs you and your loved one once you are away from the stresses of life.

A divine alternate universe that has no deadlines, no bills, no naughty children or dogs and no chores that are beckoning to be done.

Driving up the winding Blackall Range with the sun breaking through the misty mountains, the love bubble begins to take hold.

By the time my husband and I reach Lilly Pilly's Country Cottages Day Spa and Wellness retreat in Maleny we are ready to step inside for the next 24 hours to relax and unwind.

There are five charming cottages onsite, all with rustic handmade furniture inside.

Each has a romantic double spa, a log fire near a cosy lounge, air conditioning, TV, DVD player, stereo and small kitchenette.

Ours overlooks the magnificent Lake Baroon and is surrounded by tranquil rainforest.

Hosts Adele and Josef Gruber built the cottages and opened them in March 1996.

When the children grew up and left home they decided to utilise the empty wing of their onsite house by converting it into a day spa now known as Afterglow Sanctuary.

Now in its 18th year of operation, Lilly Pilly's has earned quite a reputation for its commitment to personalised pampering, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Adele has a wall covered with qualifications in remedial massage, reflexology, zen shiatsu, beauty therapy, psychology, counselling, clinical hypnosis and psychotherapy.

A life-changing experience with the ancient practice of Ayurveda in India where she underwent a detoxification led her to learn the art of Ayurveda and panchakarma therapy and integrative yoga therapy.

Through her studies, Adele has come to believe that the mind can't be separated from the body.

"Mental stress has a physiological effect on our body, which can in turn cause health issues that may have been created from the mind being out of balance," she said.

"My interest is in providing a rounded approach to health and well being, rather than to focus on one area.

"I see the mind and body as intrinsically linked, so that if one area is functioning poorly, then the other will be affected, and vice versa."

Adele explains this is why the programs at Afterglow Sanctuary are so personalised.

"We talk to the client about what their focus is, what the desired outcomes are, and how best to achieve those outcomes within the timeframe that we have," she said.

"We then incorporate the different therapies into the treatment program as required.

"I see the Ayurveda therapies as fundamental in balancing and cleansing the body.

"I see yoga as the spiritual connection between the mind and body, and the mind therapies as important in working with the emotions."

After a short consultation I opt for the Abhyanga treatment, which involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm oil. Two practitioners work in unison.

This is followed by 10-15 minutes in a steam box, ending with a rejuvenating face masque.

One of the promised benefits is a better, deeper sleep at night. As I nanna nap the afternoon away, I can definitely agree.

The candlelit dinner delivered to the cottages is superb. We have had meals in five-star restaurants that don't live up to this mouth-watering standard, so it is no surprise to discover Josef has 40 years experience in hospitality and was the executive chef at the Sebel Townhouse before moving to Maleny.

After a scrumptious breakfast and a short stroll around the hillside, checkout time rolls around way too fast.

Following our slow descent from the hilltops, we meet traffic on the highway and while the mountains disappear behind us, our love bubble remains.

At least for now.

The writer was a guest of Lilly Pilly's Cottages.

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