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Family Retreat Oasis Review: An Amazing Mum & Baby Retreat in Spain

In my quest to retain some of my old travel self in this new version of me as a mum, I searched for a travel experience Reggie and I could do together. Something where we’d be supported and nurtured, in a relaxed environment with no pressure. We found Family Retreat Oasis and decided a mum and baby retreat would be perfect for us.

FAMIL RETREAT OASIS

I didn’t want anything too stressful out of our trip, and something we’d both benefit from. So, in a search for mother and baby retreats, I found Family Retreat Oasis.

After talking with the founder and organiser, Evija, I was invited to come and check out the mother and child retreat held in two weeks, just an hour from Valencia, in Gandia.

I was honoured and excited to go. This was just what we needed right now, and the perfect way to give my partner Ben a break too!

Getting to the Family Retreat Oasis

First step was to get there – to travel alone through the airports with an (almost) six month old. I could do this.

And I did.

After a relatively straightforward airport and flight experience – given the current state of the airports – we made it to Valencia, from Gatwick.

But, I realised later – in planning the logistics of getting there, and in what to pack, I successfully made the journey, but kind of forgot that I’d then have a week with Reggie by myself, in an unfamiliar environment to deal with.

More on that later.

We hailed a taxi from Valencia Airport to the house, about an hour away. As we drove closer – Reggie happily playing with his teething toy in his car seat next to me – and the Spanish landscape unfolded, I felt myself getting calmer. After a tumultuous six months – well, longer with the pregnancy – I was getting back to what I knew, travelling.

Our retreat organiser and host Evija was ready and waiting at the top of the hill to welcome us in. Unfortunately about five minutes before our arrival Reggie had decided he’d finally had enough, and so arrived in tears. He was ready for a rest, as was I.

Accommodation at Family Retreat Oasis

VILLA YANG

Family Retreat Oasis is spread across two villas in Real de Gandia. The villas were stunning. The views from the front were incredible, and they were decked out with comfy sofas, balconies and fabulously cool rooms for when the heat got too much. The air flowed through and each area had its unique qualities as we’d learn through the week.

There were two swimming pools which became adults only at certain points, to get some peace. Although, we generally favoured the shallower one in the afternoons all together. Floating there for half an hour in one of the kids’ rubber rings was a definite highlight of the week!

My room at Family Retreat Oasis

I had a double room with a private bathroom at Family Retreat Oasis – it was lush. My balcony had a great view out over the Gandia valley too. Having a baby means you’re up at all hours, yet living in terraced housing means I don’t get the benefit of being awake for all the sunrises that I am. Different story here though!

After the first night we slept with the blinds up so we could see the sun coming up over the valley – a beautiful wake up call.

our room villa family retreat oasis

We had two twin beds together, a travel cot and plenty of space to hang and store our stuff. There were also plenty of plugs for our milk machine, the white noise machine, and all my bits and bobs too.

We were very happy with our accommodation, and this huge bathroom too.

Food at Family Retreat Oasis

I can’t write a Family Retreat Oasis Review without mentioning the food. It was a real highlight.

Every day Yanis created amazing dishes for us all. I feel like I would’ve gone crazy with all the different demands from the mums and children, but he took it all in his stride and aimed to please. Here are just a few of the delights he made for us over the week.

We’d arrive in the morning and a specially crafted smoothie was ready for us, made from berries, seeds and secret ingredients Yanis had conjured up. This was to give us the energy for yoga.

The kids would have their breakfasts of fresh fruit and muesli, pancakes and croissants while we enjoyed the specially brewed drip coffee. Reggie just had a milk – he was just coming up to six months, so tried a few veggies over the week, but it was mostly milk for him.

Every day after yoga, at 11 it was our turn for brunch. Each day bought a new menagerie of treats – all vegetarian, sometimes with a bit of fish. I love this way of eating – getting to try so many tasty bites.

In the afternoon if you stayed by the pool long enough, Yanis would deliver plates of fresh fruit and take juice orders too. Reggie became accustomed to the carrot and orange juice, pipetted in his mouth via a straw.

Dinner time was two courses, more salads, fish dishes and plenty of tasty gazpacho. The food was fantastic at the Family Retreat Oasis – I never went hungry, enjoyed the variety, and although I ate everything I’d lost weight by the end (not that I was even there for that).

Childcare at Family Retreat Oasis

It’s the childcare that makes Family Retreat Oasis stand out against all the other retreats out there. The children were looked after from 9 till 1, and then again from 8 till 10 at night. You could also ask for more in the afternoons, if you wanted (at a charge).

This allows you to enjoy the retreat at your own pace, for those few hours anyway. A massage and a facial are included in the price, and so you could enjoy those properly.

I relaxed into the morning childcare very easily, and felt at ease with Agnes, Angie and Marcela looking after Reggie and the other baby, Dan, between them. They were only in the villa next door – if I listened carefully I could hear the older children playing. I’d come out of the yoga session and have videos and photos on Whatsapp of him having a lovely time with the ladies.

I struggled a bit with the evenings though.

On the first evening we were meant to have a women’s circle. I put him to sleep, left the monitor with the lady who was looking after him, and went down to the group. I just couldn’t shake the feeling I shouldn’t have gone though. I was sat in the circle while they were discussing what we were going to do, trying to stifle my crying. Internally I was telling myself to pull myself together “Reggie is fine, she’s had three kids, he’s asleep,” but I couldn’t shake it. We were told to close our eyes, and put our hands over our womb, where we’d carried them, and… I didn’t hear the rest. I just started thinking how I’d spent 8 months of pregnancy avoiding sushi and brie to protect fetus Reggie, another 6 months every second of the day focused on him, and here I was, just leaving him with a stranger in Spain. The conch came round to me to say what was bothering me and I blurted out that I felt bad leaving him, and I couldn’t do it – and ran off upstairs.

He was four flights of stairs away.

As I climbed up, one of the babysitters was coming down to find me, he was awake and crying and they couldn’t settle him. Well, that just added to the feeling I shouldn’t leave him at night. I felt terrible. It was only about 8pm but we stayed in the room all night, me just holding him.

The next night I skipped the restorative yoga, sadly. I just couldn’t do it again. The night after we had a Spanish guitarist so I could bring him down, and then on the fourth night his sleeping was so messed up I felt fine leaving him with Agnes awake with the other children while I went to do the restorative yoga class. It was just the thought of him waking him alone that shook me. We’d never left him with a babysitter at home.

To make the most of the childcare offered at Family Retreat Oasis you need to be more at ease with leaving your baby with others – sounds obvious but I wasn’t quite there yet. I couldn’t relax in the evening without him.

I think it took all of us ladies at the retreat a day or two to get used to this, which I presume is normal. Leaving the most precious thing in the world with a stranger is scary!

Yoga at Family Retreat Oasis

Our yoga teacher at Family Retreat Oasis was wonderful. The intensity of the yoga lessons she delivered every day at 9am was perfect. By nature of this being a ‘retreat’ we were all recovering from something. For me, physically, my whole body hurt. Reggie is a big baby and with all his needs, it’s really taken a toll on me picking him up all the time, bending down, and contorting to whatever positions he wants to play in.

Throughout lockdown I was doing yoga at least twice a week, if not more, but since the mid stages of pregnancy, after doing a pregnancy yoga course, I just stopped. I haven’t got back into it other than a few YouTube yoga videos either.

My body does not do what it used to.

Sybille’s chakra based yoga just hit the spot, every day.

yoga mats

I feel like I hadn’t used my body like that in a long time – really going for it with the stretches and feeling it in every muscle. I did poses I’d never done before and the yoga felt deep. I felt like I was peeling my body back again, stretching out this new version from being hunched forward and curled up, Caesarean scar, a few extra pounds, and all. It was also incredible to have that time to practise and to stay in the zone afterwards, knowing that Reggie was being well looked after.

I think we all felt Sybille’s positive words during meditation deeply, well, I know we did – there were tears. The intensity of the yoga, mixed with her kind and gentle readings and the serenity of our surroundings just moved something in all of us, most days.

Practising yoga for 90 minutes as the sun rose above the villa to bathe us in light from the shade, with this mountain view, barefoot in the Gandia heat was just incredible. Also, sharing the space with the other brilliant women I came to know over the week heightened the experience.

By the end of the week, and the morning sessions I felt like I’d really moved the energy inside me, and felt stronger.

It was an emotional week for me, with some of the conversations we had, the pent up feelings I was able to express, and learning the different reasons for the women being there. Unfortunately Reggie didn’t sleep well so I didn’t either, which made me all more vulnerable and emotional.

Having the morning to really surrender to the yoga, without the usual rushing around looking after Reggie made me feel the strength of the yoga in the mind as well as the body in a way I haven’t before.

Sybille: “Inhale. We rise.”

Family Retreat Oasis beach trip

Not sure if this will happen on every retreat but between our relatively small group we decided the beach would be a great way to escape the July 2022 heat wave, to enjoy that sea breeze.

Turned out to be a great idea.

beach near family retreat oasis

It was lovely and cool down there. Evija had phoned ahead and booked us into one of these cabanas, just a few steps from the shore. It gave the perfect opportunity to relax in the shade for us and the little ones.

Evija really made this trip for is. She bought fresh fruit from the house, water and towels which made it so much easier to cope with being at the beach with a baby.

Unfortunately Reggie wasn’t too keen on the sea and the waves, but he did love a sandy cuddle with his mumma. Plenty of time for the sea when he’s older!

Even though I only managed a few minutes in the sea, while one of the other ladies held Reggie, I was so happy to get my head under. I also just loved being in the cabana, and drinking a bottle or two of wine between us all.

The staff at Family Retreat Oasis

Evija (on the left below) is so, so lovely. She really cares for her ladies and their children, and would pretty much do anything to keep us happy. We were a diverse bunch with different needs, so she had a very busy week!

The staff that she’s bought along to help with the food, the cleaning, the childcare, the treatments and the behind the scenes were also fantastic.

I felt so cared for by the team at the retreat.

family retreat oasis

One particularly gorgeous moment comes to mind.

I’d been with Reggie down at the pool, trying to find shade and a happy medium for us both. I couldn’t work out what he wanted from me but decided to go up and try him in bed. A few seconds later and he’d fallen asleep in my arms as I was going up the stairs. So, I could stop here, at this view, rather than being in my room, again. I laid him down but then I was pinned. I didn’t want to leave him for a second for fear of him falling off.

About 30 minutes later of me staring out to the mountains, my Family Retreat Oasis yogi Sybille went past, and bought me a tea and some pastries. God they were good.

It was the taste of kindness and care that made that tea so special, rather than the actual tea of course.

Difficulties

It wouldn’t be an authentic Family Retreat Oasis Review without a nod to the difficulties Reggie and I found in being on a retreat with other people and their babies and children.

After six months of day to day being all about Reggie at home, we found it quite hard to be on someone else’s schedule. Reggie doesn’t have one yet so it’s hard to define what he’ll do each day but we needed to be ready for the group activities. All the more annoying when others were late, and we’d stretched ourselves to be on time. I know that’s just what happens in groups, but we (I!) definitely found that hard.

Reggie’s day naps were tough too – with little kids running around they woke him up. After a particularly difficult morning he was napping on a balcony when someone dropped something in the sink and startled him. Cue hours of him not quite being sleepy enough to drop back in it again.

Unfortunately Reggie was also poorly while we were there. I blame the plane air conditioning and me having it on too high in the room on the first night. It was his first cold and he was very snotty and congested. This led me to be overly paranoid about him sleeping at night, especially on a new mattress. It was difficult for me to relax enough to sleep, and for Reggie too.

The heat was also a worry of course. Spain in July is always hot, but there was a heatwave while we were there. After no sleep I was finding it particularly difficult to get Reggie comfortable on the last day, and Yanis saw my distress and helped me find a cool, dark place where we could relax. And he bought us a refreshing drink – so kind.

Then there was the evening childcare issues I mentioned before. Also, the villa was quite hard to navigate with such a small baby. Lots of stairs I needed to carry him up and down as the house was on four floors, and it wasn’t easy to get to the swimming pool with all the stuff I needed to take. There were 3, 4 and 5 year olds there and they didn’t have this problem – just something to think about!

I think most of this comes down to Reggie being ill. If we’d been a bit more relaxed I wouldn’t have been so vexed and the other things wouldn’t have mattered. I guess when you travel with children it’s something you always need to think about.

The price

I’ve had a few questions on my Instagram about whether I felt the price was justified. Only you can decide that as it depends on your circumstances and what that money means to you. But, for the price, you get…

  • 6 nights of luxury accommodation
  • 3 meals a day
  • Snacks and juices in the day
  • Two swimming pools
  • Transfers (over £100 each way)
  • 5 x morning yoga
  • 2 x evening restorative yoga
  • Yoga mats and equipment
  • Child yoga session
  • An hour massage
  • An hour facial
  • Cacao closing ceremony
  • Women’s circle opening ceremony
  • 4 hours childcare every morning
  • 2 hours childcare every evening
  • Optional beach trip
  • Helpful baby items, like nappies and creams etc.

And all this is for two. If your child is a little older, then it might feel like more value for money. Currently you can join the October Valencia retreats for €2350. You can find out more here.

Who is Family Retreat Oasis for?

Reggie and I had a wonderful time at the Family Retreat Oasis, with some real standout moments. I’m so glad we went, even though it was hard at night and I was tired in the day.

I feel it’s been a reset on my yoga practice, and it was great to try all the different foods. I also really enjoyed hanging out with the ladies during the day, and feeling that female energy flowing. The other ladies’ children were so lovely and it was heartwarming to see Reggie interact with them. I think if he was just a little older he would’ve loved it.

The house was stunning, despite being difficult to traverse with a two-stone baby, and the location fab. Our beach day was amazing. I’ve got no hesitation in recommending the retreat to any mums who are confident in leaving their babies and children with others, enjoy yoga, are ready to open up to the group and who want to do something a little different with their little ones. I’d absolutely go back.

Just let me know if you have any questions!

I was a guest of Family Retreat Oasis, in return for showing my experience on social media, and this review. All thoughts are my own, of course.


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