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Willow Urban Retreat is an inner-city holistic wellness sanctuary offering an opportunity to escape the chaos of everyday life. Think of it as an oasis to breathe, revitalise, and renew. Promoting four main values - Soul, Wholeness, Body & Mind - Willow aims to inspire and educate the community in the art of living well. We spoke to Owner Sharon Bassat and Head Chef Nick Cree about their inspirations and desire to redefine the wellness industry.

 Chontelle is wearing the One Sleeve Bodysuit in Black.

Where did the inspiration for Willow come from?
The concept of Willow Urban Retreat started about five years ago when I visited health retreats overseas and decided I wanted to invest in my own health. There were so many wonderful therapies and healing modalities that I experienced and I wanted to bring it back to one space - hence the concept: Willow Urban Retreat.

 Chontelle is wearing the Pilates Overalls in Black and the Reversible Cut Out Crop in Variation Stripe & White.

What is the offering at Willow?
At Willow we offer an integrated approach to well-being, so we have a whole foods cafe which has some beautifully healthy options. We have a movements space that looks at both yin and yang activities. Our major point of difference is our Rebounding classes on the mini trampolines and we have a beautiful spa that has nice body and facial treatments as well as massage - all using organic and natural skin care. Also, we run some Ayurvedic treatments, which are ancient Indian healing techniques, along with different types of massages as well.

Chontelle is wearing the Rocker Crop in White and the Pilates 7/8 Pant in Oatmeal Marle.

The design of Willow is incredible. How did that come about?
The thought process behind the design was very considered. We use a lot of curves and subtle lightning which creates a feeling of creativity and softness, which is what we hope to also achieve in our lives.

There is such an amazing vibe that hits you when you walk into this space. How did you create that atmosphere?
I try to look beyond the aesthetic. I mean yes, we wanted it to be aesthetically beautiful, but thought has gone into the construction materials, what we used to build and how we built. An example is our furniture, it is creative, soft and curvy. There is no beginning and no end, it’s just about life.

Chontelle is wearing the Reversible Cut Out Crop in Blurred Check & Black and the Pilates 7/8 Pant in Blurred Check.

What is the philosophy of Willow Urban Retreat?
The philosophy of Willow is a balance of mind, body, and spirit.

 Chontelle is wearing the One Sleeve Bodysuit in Black.

What is the most popular class you offer?
Our most popular class would be our Rebounding classes on the mini trampolines. We have Rebounding which is pure cardio, as well as Rebounding Fusion which is a mixture of different modalities; a bit of pilates, cardio, yoga, a lot of fun. You must be very centred and balanced, so it is a great workout for your core and pelvis.

Chontelle is wearing the Rocker Crop in White and the Pilates 7/8 Pant in White.

What are the major influences of your offerings?
In my own personal journey, I was very influenced by Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system. So in some of the treatments we practice Shirodhara, oil on the third eye, which is very relaxing for the nervous system. A lot of the ingredients that we use in our dishes in the cafe have Ayurvedic herbs and spices as well. It’s a learning curve for all of us, we’re learning all the time. Our chef, Nick Cree, is very passionate about food and keen to keep learning. He has done an amazing job with our menu.

 Chontelle is wearing the Cut Out Leotard in Pink.

So, Nick - as Head Chef at Willow what has been your inspiration for building the menu?
The main principle is using locally sourced produce, which is organic and sustainable for the environment. The other inspiration for the menu is the principle that ‘food is medicine’. Ayurveda was very prominent in our menu earlier on but like most menus we’ve evolved over time. Everything at Willow is integrated and we want to see our menu reflect that. We want what happens in the spa and during treatments to be reflected on the menu since it’s all connected - mind + body.

Chontelle is wearing the Rocker Crop in White and the Multi Cutout Pant in Black.

How different is being the Head Chef at Willow compared to other cafes and restaurants?
It’s been very different for me. Like any chef, we thrive on learning and trying new things. It has been an amazing journey because I have learned so much about food that I had no idea about a year ago. I am really looking forward to continuing this journey and creating amazing food for our diners here at Willow.

Chontelle is wearing the Wrap Sweat in Pink and the Rocker Short in Black.

Follow @willowurbanretreat for inspiration & more information on their holistic offerings!