Baldwin Ho shows us how go on a digital detox in serious style.
With the prevalence of social media these days, the need for a digital detox is almost as important as your alcohol detox. One of the best ways to switch off from the hectic urban lifestyle is to escape to the Suffolk countryside. Retreat East, near Ipswich, is a private-members escape with a difference, which successfully straddles the gap in the market between a holiday home and a hotel stay.
With the furore over second home usage, Retreat East offers a great deal in a one-off £20,000 barn debenture or £10,000 studio debenture. You are guaranteed ten nights of overnight stays annually, forever with a choice of one, two and three-bedroom barns. You can add extra nights if the ten is not enough and there is great flexibility for family members to come and use your allocation as well as bringing along friends.
Retreat East is situated on thirty-five acres of formerly-neglected land, which has been lovingly converted to state-of-the-art farm chic as well as organic meadowland where you can get your hands dirty by collecting the eggs that will be used for your breakfast or working on apple and pear orchards used to make your cider.
The impressive Great Barn is the main reception and relaxation area outside of your temporary abode. The double-height structure has a stunning traditional oak frame, gorgeous-looking ceiling beams that demand your attention and a giant brick-built open fireplace to keep you warm, even on wintry nights. You can enjoy meals at all times here from brunches to evening spreads as well as musical recitals. There is a well-stocked bar area as well as a billiards room and even a private screening room.
There is also an extensive spa area which includes a full-sized Turkish Hammam, a solid cedar-lined Finnish sauna, a gym and a treatment area where you can enjoy all forms of treatments from a facial to a massage to a wrap. Best of all, you can enjoy a glass of champagne in their outdoor, oversized hot tub whilst gazing at the clear Suffolk skyline.
The barns themselves are exceptionally well-designed. The cow barn we stayed in wouldn't be out of place in a Conran shop showroom with Smeg fridge, state-of-the-art kitchen equipment, sumptuous sofa seating with a handcrafted fireplace. This is the kind of experience that brings people together in the real world rather than the virtual one.
What makes Retreat East a dream staycation is that you have fresh linen, a fully-stocked fridge and all of your home comforts, but with no need to worry about the maintenance or repair works. Sustainable property entrepreneur, Dominic Richards has created an eco-friendly retreat which supports the local economy and ensures the space is in regular use throughout the year. For more information on Retreat East, do check out their website.