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Hilton Sydney health retreat

Thursday, July 16, 2009
On a quick visit to Sydney, Catriona Rowntree was invited to attend a health experience at the Hilton Sydney.

Perfect for those who want to tune up their lives and rid themselves of some bad habits without having to travel way out of town, the health retreat is hosted by nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullen, with the assistance of a personal trainer.

The idea is to kick-start your way to a new and healthier lifestyle. Zoe believes every journey to good health includes mind and body work, and the two-day course starts by you winding down with guided meditation and relaxation sessions.

Groups are limited to just 10 people, so there's plenty of scope for one-on-one discussion and you don't have the feeling of being in a boot camp.

After a work-out, you are rewarded with a rejuvenating bath filled with rose petals and aromatherapy oils in your relaxation suite. How wonderful does that sound?

If you are concerned that the well-stocked Hilton mini-bar could be your downfall, don't worry. They're one step ahead. They've cleared out all the things that may not be so good for you and replaced them with fruit juice, yoghurt, health bars, teas and fresh fruit.

Glass Brasserie, the hotel's fine-dining restaurant, is part of the plan. You'll be served a degustation meal, and to keep you on track, Zoe shares some of her favourite recipes with you. Also encouraging is Zoe's belief that you don't have to be a cordon bleu chef to cook healthily. She believes you need just four or five really good and easy recipes which you can play with and adapt by adding to and changing flavours.

Zoe will take you on a walking tour, visiting some healthy food outlets. One of her favourites is Iku Wholefood in the food hall of Sydney's MLC Centre, where guests are treated to a tasting plate. She thoroughly approves of the franchises' food, and will show you how simple it is to choose a healthy meal that includes all three food groups. There are lots of Iku outlets across the city, so check its website for one that's handy for you. See for more information.

Anyone who grew up in Sydney will be familiar with The Nut Shop in the beautiful Strand Arcade. It has been there since 1939, and it's wonderful that it's on Zoe's walking tour. There is a misconception about nuts. They are good for you. High in protein, they fill you up and are a low-GI food. Their fats help lower cholesterol, they are good for hormonal balancing, are anti-inflammatory and a really good snack. Almonds are the most popular sellers, but you probably should go easy on the irresistible Vienna almonds. They are sugar-coated, so maybe just one or two.


Hilton Sydney in the centre of the city.


The Hilton Sydney two- night health retreat includes a fitness assessment, two nights' accommodation in a Relaxation Suite, unlimited access to LivingWell Premier Health Club and all meals, including a Healthy Degustation in Glass Brasserie. There are also educational and personal training sessions on nutrition, sleep patterns and healthy cooking, a yoga session on Zeta Bar terrace, massage therapy in the Sensory Spa and a walking tour, a personal training session and a nutrition and cooking class. It costs $1900 per person or $2900 for two people, twin share.

Virgin Blue has flights to Sydney.

One-way fares from:

  • Canberra $75
  • Brisbane $85
  • Hobart and Melbourne $89
  • Adelaide $129
  • Perth $209
  • Darwin $235

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable.

Prices correct at July 16, 2009, and are subject to change.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

Hilton Sydney
488 George Street
Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9265 6045

Iku Wholefoods
Shop 6, Level 6
MLC Centre
Martin Place
Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9233 8011

The Nut Shop
25 Strand Arcade
Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9231 3038

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