The experience at Eden is made as special and unique as it is largely due to the incredible and passionate team working behind the scenes. One member of this team who leads the way is Shona Philps, General Manager at Eden Health Retreat.
We reached out to chat to Shona about her experience and journey to the incredible role she leads now, what exciting things the future holds for Eden, and how she has seen the wellness of her guests – and herself – transform through the Eden experience.
Q: Can you share a bit about your background, how long you’ve been involved with Eden, and how that’s prepared you for your role now?
With 15 years of luxury boutique-retreat management behind me, the last 12 months at Eden have been the highlight of my career. Though filled with plenty of operational challenges, from flooding, landslides, Public Health mandates and managing the increased demand for our transformational experience; I can’t imagine being more passionate about a property, our team and the incredible guests I am blessed to meet each week.
Eden’s owner, philanthropist Robert Christie, has a strong vision for the future of Eden and I am so grateful to be able to take the lead on delivering it.
Q: What are some of the things you want to maintain, and how do you want to evolve the Eden experience?
Our CARE philosophy is something the team and I are so passionate about. Weaving it through our guests’ journeys and sharing the tools, tips and tricks we all utilise to stay healthy and well will always be an integral part of the Eden experience.
There are always new modalities entering the wellness and health spaces. Investigating these and integrating them into our (soon-to-be brand-new) program, will keep Eden at the forefront of health and wellness.
I look forward to personalising the guest journey, and along with my Retreat Manager, Zachery Graham and our leadership team, ensuring we always deliver a transformative experience beyond expectations.
Q: What are you most passionate about providing guests who come through the gates of Eden?
I am so passionate about our digital detox. Taking away the noise, distraction and negativity of relentless digital connectivity will transform your stay at Eden. This allows the space to feel and experience your own authentic self, free from others’ opinions.
Having enjoyed the transformational effect a digital detox can have from my own experience as a guest, I hope to share that passion and opportunity with everyone who comes through our gates.
Q: Can you give us some hints of some happenings at Eden to look forward to in the future?
I am delighted to say there are quite a few in the works! Our upcoming Men’s Week, a new collaboration with Posisocks and coming very soon, a brand new program with inclusions such as intuitive dance, an emphasis on Connection to Country and the return of the beloved Valley Swing.
Q: Can you give us some insight into the transformations you see from guests who visit Eden?
It’s been a challenging year for everyone. The afternoon of arrivals can bring an intense energy with the stresses, anxieties and distractions that sometimes follow our guests through the gate. Watching their shoulders drop over the week, seeing everyone learn to breathe deeply into their bellies, find joy in playing games or sometimes shed a kilo or two are just a few of the ways Eden delivers transformational experiences.
There have been some big moments too. Lives changed through the process of taking the time to stop, reset and reflect on what’s really going on emotionally or physically. The team and I are so incredibly fortunate to be part of those moments and it lights us up to share in those journeys.
Q: How has being a member of the team at Eden affected your own approach to self-care and wellness?
Both physically & mentally life-changing.
This year has been a challenging one for me too. I separated from a long marriage, healed a broken heart, and took on the most incredible role of my life right in the middle of it all! Throughout these life lessons, I was able to maintain my mental health and even come out more resilient, all because of the tools Eden and its incredible team of therapists and facilitators have given me.
Through ritualising daily exercise, eating clean, nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory meals at work (I did mention the best role of my life) and incorporating new healing modalities into my self-care routines, I feel a level of gratitude for my life, our guests, and our team that words can’t adequately express.
I look forward to welcoming many new and familiar faces to Eden Health Retreat in the near future!
If you are open to experiencing Eden for yourself, click here to reserve your stay and embark on a journey towards the most cleansed, grounded, healthy and happy version of you.