Luxury Adventures are conducting a series of interviews with some of our key suppliers looking at the different aspects of their lives and how these influence the experiences they offer. Split Apple is a wellness luxury retreat located in the picturesque Abel Tasman National Park, top of the South Island, New Zealand.
Can you tell us about the philosophy behind Split Apple Retreat? Our philosophy is to provide an exquisite environment both inside and out to provide our guests with the perfect environment for relaxation and rejuvenation. The Retreat is on the border of the famed Abel Tasman National Park and was purpose built by us to the highest standards, then furnished with Asian antiques and works of art dating back to as far as the 3rd Century.
Lee you were a doctor in a past life and Pen a chef, what do you bring from these former lives to Split Apple? For the past 18 years my medical interest has been nutrition and wellness and longevity medicine. My wife Pen is a culinary artist who, during the nearly 20 years we’ve been together has learned how to incorporate and integrate health-promoting ingredients into mouth-watering gourmet recipes. All meals are provided at the Split Apple Retreat and you’ll find that they will dispel the myth that food that’s good for you is a deprivation!
Do you have guests approach you with specific health/diet/fitness needs in mind? We have a range of guests from those seeking a 2-3 night luxury lodge experience to those that practically move in! Our longest staying guests stayed for 62 nights and booked all 3 rooms. We are all about wellness, not sickness. In fact, I think the best medicine is to help teach people how to avoid getting the debilitating diseases that often accompany aging, and how to maintain vibrant, optimal health. We send out a food questionnaire to each arriving guest that will help us to ascertain their food preferences, then Pen will craft delectable creations specifically designed around their taste.
What made you decide on the Abel Tasman region as a location for your retreat? The Abel Tasman is a spectacularly beautiful waterfront National Park. It is ideal for walks, hikes, kayaking, fishing, and swimming with the baby seals (a peak experience). Most of our guests prefer to get their exercise in the Park rather than in our gym, and why not?
We understand Pen has recently published a cook book, can you share a favourite recipe with us? Yes, Pen and I recently released The Split Apple Thoughtful Food Cookbookwhich includes many of the dishes served here at the Retreat. The first 30 pages or so deals with up to date information on food science and the rest is recipes. Each recipe has a wellness key that describes its health benefits. Below is the recipe for a yummy gazpacho soup for a hot summer afternoon:
Ingredients: 7 large ripe tomatoes 1 tbsp tomato paste 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 1 red onion, chopped 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped 4 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper Pinch of cayenne pepper
Garnish: ¼ cup cucumber finely diced ½ avocado finely diced 1 small onion, finely chopped ½ red bell pepper seeded and finely diced 1 tsp coriander leaves finely chopped 1 tsp lemon juice
Method: Bring ½ pot of water to the boil, remove the stem core from the top of the tomatoes and using a sharp knife, score the skin and blanche the tomatoes in boiling water for no longer than 1 minute. Remove from the pot and place into a bowl of iced water. Allow to cool, drain, peel off the skin, segment and remove the seeds. Place the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onion, red bell pepper and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
To make garnish: Combine all the garnish ingredients and gently toss. To serve: Pour the gazpacho in a small soup bowl and gently top with the garnish mix. Serve immediately. Serves 4. WELLNESS CODE: AI, AO, AC, BP, HR, IMM, IS.
Talk us through some of the services you offer to guests to help them relax, the massage and meditation for example. Besides our salt water infinity swimming pool, Japanese spa bath, detoxifying sauna, and wet steam sauna, we offer deep tissue massage, Thai massage, aromatherapy massage, reflexology, and acupuncture. We also have access to a fabulous physical trainer and pilates instructor. We offer a brain-entrainment meditation in our theatre that makes meditation easy and accessible with no prior training. Pure bliss!
What on site facilities are available at Split Apple? (see above). We also have an 8-seat Gold Class type reclining leather seated theatre where guests can watch movies with theatre quality sound.
I see there is a minimum stay period over the peak season of 3 days, how long would you recommend guests stay to reap the benefits? As a destination wellness retreat, a week to 10 days is optimal.
Where is Split Apple located? We’re located on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park between the small beach towns of Marahau and Kaiteriteri.
What off site activities do you recommend, anything that is unique to the retreat? Swimming with the baby seals between mid-March and mid-April is magic! About the size of pug dogs with huge eyes, they are used to people and are extremely playful and delightful. We have private paths to two beaches, each about a 3-minute walk and boats will pick up our guests from the beach.
We notice you have some wellness packages available, generally do guests want a full itinerary planned for them with everything taken care of? Guests differ in their goals and expectations. Some are looking for great food and the best possible accommodation while experiencing the Abel Tasman National Park, wineries, etc, while others come to us for a destination wellness experience. It’s this later group who often book directly rather than through a travel agent who are most interested in the wellness packages. The longer you stay the more you get.
How many guests can the lodge accommodate at any one time? We have 3 guest suites. The Rainbow Suite is a split level suite that can be made up with both a queen and Superking bed, so it can hold up to 3 guests, therefore we max out at 7 or 8 guests. We do not accommodate children under the age of 12 and we are a strictly non-smoking facility.