Britain's chic retreat

Detox and yoga converge in the countryside at Mercedes Ngoh's Yeotown.

When London's elite need to unwind and recharge outside the confines of the city, they head to north Devon, a quaint country, seaside area in the British countryside. It's there that Mercedes Ngoh, a woman who has quickly made a name for herself as one of the UK’s top yogis, holds her highly sought after detox and yoga retreats, Yeotown.

“Yeotown is not a bootcamp,” says Ngoh, “it’s not a fast or a fat farm, weight-loss-obsession thing. But you’ll probably lose weight as a by-product of exercising, eating healthy, sleeping better, yoga stretching and meditation.” She describes Yeotox as a modern approach to detox, a kickstart to whatever it is you are trying to achieve, whether it’s a detox from your urban lifestyle or shedding unwanted baby weight. If you're thinking of booking yourself a place at one of Ngoh’s in-demand Yeotown retreats (Equinox is holding one from June 27th-30th), here’s what you need to know before you pack your bags.

what to know:

Yeotown is not a spa. Even though they were voted the Best Spa in the UK by Conde Nast Traveler, Ngoh says, “It’s a little misleading. People need to know that it is a physical undertaking. You won’t be pushed beyond your limits, but there is a lot of physical activity.” And Yeotown detoxing goes deeper than just the physical aspect; Ngoh stresses the importance of cleansing the mind. “We’re trying to get people to leave a little lighter on all levels. And to learn that you can’t always change a situation but you can change your relationship to a situation.”

what you’ll do:

A typical days starts with gentle yoga stretching followed by a breakfast smoothie or porridge prepared by the in-house chef. Pre-lunch the group takes a long, scenic coastal hike and afternoons are a mix of outdoor fitness training and activities like throwing beanbags and playful circuit training, followed by a tai chi class or a meditation session by the fire. The day’s activities end with restorative yoga and breath work. But every day of every retreat is different so participants could find themselves sea kayaking, cycling or having a cooking class. Each night before dinner guests will receive a different type of healing massage and a relaxing sauna, which Ngoh decribes as a “vital part of the detox”.

what to bring:

The packing lists change by season, but it is Britain after all, so waterproofs are an essential. Yoga wear, hiking boots, sneakers, hoodies, layers, and a camelback are too. And unlike other retreats, at Yeotown they understand the need for creature comforts, so iPods, cameras and even laptops for nighttime check-in sessions are included on the what-to-bring list.