The Ultimate Thai Retreat for the Mind, Body and Soul

Elle Macpherson takes us on her week-long wellness escape

No-one pulls off multiple hats as well as Australia’s OG supermodel-turned-super-boss. Elle Macpherson, 55, is a mother and stepmother, businesswoman and speaker. When she’s not travelling the world, you’ll find her in product development meetings for her cult wellness brand WelleCo. Fresh after breaking into the US market (yet again), and just before a speaking tour of Australia with online community Business Chicks, Macpherson checked into luxury wellness retreat Kamalaya, Thailand, for a little stillness. Here, she gives us the inside scoop.

Why Kamalaya? Friends and wellbeing colleagues have suggested Kamalaya to me as a place that transcends the usual spa experience, and I was keen to experience it for myself. I liked the combination of East- and West-healing therapies, the idyllic and quiet location in the southern part of Koh Samui, and being immersed in nature.

Your goals for the trip? I wanted to recharge and restore balance and try some new therapies while being in nature. I chose the seven-night Comprehensive Detox Program, the most in-depth of Kamalaya’s three detox programs. I chose this because I knew if I could eliminate some accumulated toxic load from travel and stress, I would feel more alive, free and creative.


Kamalaya retreat

Kamalaya’s private outdoor pool is the perfect place to unwind.

Any transformative moments?
I realised, when the body is well nourished on a cellular level and not stressed with cortisol, it functions wonderfully and detoxes itself without any harsh detox protocols, so shedding toxic weight and inflammation was easy. Along with a copious and delicious menu, we were given a fibre drink and a light plant protein shake midmorning and midafternoon, while eating vegan meals (there’s also fish and meat on the menu if you want). I wasn’t on a restricted food diet and I wasn’t aiming to lose weight, but the food was so clean and I was so relaxed that I ended up losing quite a bit of weight. I looked fresh and my skin was glowing.

How hardcore were you in your approach? Because the focus of my program was on emotional and physical detoxification, I didn’t consume alcohol or coffee, and ate from Kamalaya’s expansive detox menu. My program also included herbal supplements and a series of holistic therapies, including far-infrared saunas to stimulate circulation, lymphatic drainage massages, colon hydrotherapy, acupuncture and Chi Nei Tsang, a traditional Taoist massage that releases physical and emotional stress.

I did yoga every morning with wonderful instructors in the peaceful breeze in the yoga pavilion high on a hill overlooking the sea. This is what I miss most about Kamalaya.

My program was super busy (no lying around the pool), but I felt relaxed and peaceful all day, going from appointment to appointment drinking lemongrass tea or coconut water in between meals. As I didn’t use my phone, I also had plenty of time to reflect and be present in exactly what I was doing, with no multitasking involved.

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson at wellness retreat Kamalaya, in Koh Samui, Thailand.

What did you get out of the trip? I felt truly amazing afterwards, with so much energy and vitality. I’m longing to go back. Next time I’d like to stay for three weeks.Packing essentials?

Loose clothing. I love kaftans from Pippa Holt, which are unique and handcrafted. I also love my slip dresses from Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott, and Hermès Oran sandals. I wear bikinis from Melissa Odabash because she knows my body so well and I love her simple, sexy style. I always take WelleCo Super Elixir and WelleCo [Nourishing] Protein Chocolate powder when I’m on the road, because I need the systemic support, and our sleep tea, which is great for jet lag. Reading is also a big part of holiday travel for me and I often have a few books on the go, usually nonfiction, which inspire or educate.

Retail Therapy

Elle Macpherson’s capsule suitcase for a week-long wellness escape.

resort wear

Little Joe Woman dress, $375, Melissa Odabash bikini top, and briefs, $161 each, at Pippa Holt kaftan, $667, at Hermès sandals, $980,

Kamalaya’s seven-night wellness programs starts from $5500 per person, twin share, This article originally appeared in the March issue of marie claire.

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