First in Service News

Mother’s Day Spa Getaway

I spent much of the past year on planes between our New York, Madrid and Bogota offices. Like so many of us, I was feeling out of balance and needed to disconnect from my day-to-day schedule. I was also looking for medical experts who could advise on how to maintain a healthier lifestyle for the long run. I turned to SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain. This five-star retreat in the beautiful Costa Blanca happens to be a world-class medical spa, with pioneering treatments and therapies. It is all-inclusive, as well (some therapies are optional). Just what I needed. And just the perfect experience to share with my mother Olga, who could also use some down time in her busy life.

  • Olga and Erika with SHA founder Alfredo Bataller
    Olga and Erika with SHA founder Alfredo Bataller

Before arriving, we each were asked to select a program based on our goals. Most guests choose either detox, diet or stress management. I opted for the detox/weight loss plan; Olga chose the detox. From there, a schedule is then customized based on our health exams and initial consultations upon arrival.

SHA is in the Alicante region, an hour’s flight from Madrid. The location alone – on a peaceful mountainside overlooking the blue coast – will destress the most frazzled of guests. The suites are spacious and nothing short of luxurious. It’s also great for solo travelers as you are kept busy with a vast number of treatments and appointments.

SHA’s focus is definitely on the individual in a holistic sense. From the moment we arrived, we each had a team of experts working together to treat us. Experts included a GP, nutritionist, trainer, esthetician, even an acupuncturist. On our 7-day regime, we had full schedules of consultations and cutting- edge treatments, with time to catch up over meals and afternoon tea.

While I was put on a strict 700-calorie-a-day macrobiotic regime, I never felt hungry. On the contrary, I loved it. Meals were filling and so tasty. Breakfast was a hearty porridge of millet or quinoa with fresh juice, and lunch and dinners included fresh salads, vegetables and fish. We were encourage to drink a lot of antioxidant-rich tea, as well.

In the end, the experience made me more aware of my nutrition and how important it is to give your mind a break. We need to be balanced to perform well in every area of our lives. SHA reminded me that it’s all about prolonging our quality of life. I’ll be back.

Erika Reategui co-founded F1S in 1991, has traveled to more than 100 countries, and still dreams of her next adventure. For information on SHA Wellness Clinic, contact our wellness travel experts at

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