The Glasshouse Retreat

by Sophie Ross

Is the hustle and bustle of city life taking its toll? Do you want to escape the rush hour and sea of miserable faces? 

If the answer is yes to any of the above then, believe me, I can relate. Sometimes we need a little detox, re-set and re-charge of our batteries to enable us to feel well – physically and mentally. My stay at The Glasshouse Retreat was exactly what I needed and I encourage you to read on.

Set in the village of Bulphan, Essex, lies a modern and alluring new retreat. Just an hour away from London this detox and weight loss centre promises it’s guests a relaxing and revitalising weekend to cleanse the mind and body of life’s daily toxins.

Upon arrival, we were stunned at the architecture of the place. Tall sides, lots of white and grey tones and never-ending glass panes. It was even more beautiful inside. As we entered we were welcomed with smoothies and smiles.

The main entrance

Aside from the modern suites, the centre boasts a tranquil spa, fully functioning gym and expert trainers to assist. There is a state of the art cryotherapy tank as well as contemporary communal spaces for you to relax. All this set on a gorgeous 7 acres of peaceful countryside.

The rooms here are simply stunning. The beds are comparable to sleeping on clouds and we had a smart tv and raindrop shower. Spacious and light, we were definitely in for a great weekend of rest.

The food at Glasshouse is all raw plant-based vegan. Not something I am used to. Nevertheless, I was about to approach it with open arms. Madeira raised chef Miguel Gouveia creates expertly put together dishes to encapsulate the taste buds but with nutritional value and calorie control in mind.

There are 3 diet plans available to choose from for your stay. 

  1. Equilibrium – a healthy, detoxifying plan but weightless is not a priority. Three plant-based meals a day
  2. Weight loss – a healthy and effective plan designed to help you lose weight with three plant-based meals a day
  3. Pure Juicing – an intensive weightless plan with juices for breakfast and lunch followed by a plant-based meal for dinner  
Avocado wrapped dish

Mealtimes are set at Glasshouse, meaning you and other guests all sit together and eat in the communal kitchen which creates a great family-like atmosphere. Our arrival meal (dinner) was a tomato and basil soup and we were presented with our menus to choose food for the following day as well as our itinerary – I was raring to go! 

Each day starts with an hour morning walk at 7:45 followed by breakfast at 9am. Ryan and I both went for the same – a fruit smoothie and granola with almond milk. They were both delicious and I felt surprisingly full! 


After our meal, it was time for my first treatment. I had the Thousand Flower Detox wrap which I undeniably loved. Your limbs are scrubbed with a body brush and sweet oils are massaged in. You are then painted and wrapped in a nourishing thick balm which smells divine and left my skin baby soft! 

The day continued with a swim, gym session, a stint in the pink Himalayan salt sauna. We then had a tasty vegetable and quinoa lunch followed by two fitness classes. First up was yoga. As a newbie, I was sceptical about this but it really did impress me and I have since been looking for classes in Essex. I then tried out boxfit – this was energetic and so much fun. Perfect for releasing stress. 

Dinner is served at 7pm so we got a bit of time to chill between. For tonight’s meal, I had chosen carrot and coriander soup followed by a vegetable tart and raw slaw.

In the evenings at 8pm, there are talks in the lounge from various people. Tonight’s was on fitness and we all got to know each other a little better and partook in a quiz. By then I was itching to get back into bed and relax those tired muscles.

Day 2 we again got up for the walk, followed by a stretch class and then breakfast. I was in pure zen mode by then and surprisingly not hungry. The amount of fibre found in a plant-based diet really does help you feel satisfied and my cravings were at bay. One thing I was struggling with was no coffee so I was consuming copious amounts of green and herbal teas.

Quinoa and vegetable dish

Next up it was time to try out the Ice Cube. Glasshouse has one of the best cryotherapy chambers on the market and I was actually pretty nervous to step inside. For those wondering, cryotherapy is a new treatment which helps soothe muscles and aid weight loss. You step inside the air-tight tank and endure 4 minutes of temperatures down to -130 degrees – freezing! They even turn on the fan whilst you are inside which makes you feel like you are standing butt naked in a blizzard. I managed to tolerate the time and I left feeling buzzed and euphoric – it works!


After lunch, it was time for my second treatment of my stay – a Dynamic Resurfacing Precision Peel. This treatment targets dull and tired skin to tone, brighten and reverse signs of ageing. I was truly glowing afterwards. 

As our stay drew to a close we could not believe how relaxed we felt. It was such a great experience to have been able to detox in such a unique way. I felt healthier from head to toe and could see noticeable differences in the mirror. I felt toned, rested and so calm.

Carrot and coriander soup

If anyone is looking for a way to kick-start a diet or wishes for a break from the norm I cannot recommend this place enough. The staff are wonderful. Super welcoming and kind, you leave feeling like part of their family. I got chatting to the owner of the place during dinner time one night and she was right in the mix of things. Clearing plates and chatting to all the guests. She mentioned it had been a dream of hers to open a place like this and you can tell her heart and soul has gone into making it so wonderful.

In total I lost 3lbs during my stay and it has done wonders for my mental health. I have since kept up the no coffee somehow so I have taken away a new healthy trait- let’s see if I can keep it up.

Thank you, Glasshouse Retreat, for our wonderful stay and we hope to visit you again soon!

Follow them on Instagram: @glasshouseretreat

Love Sophie

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