A women's fitness and wellness retreat has begun operating from a Lake Karāpiro resort property that has never been used, up until now, since it began being constructed nearly 20 years ago.

The resort complex sits on 35ha of land adjacent to Lake Karāpiro, boasts 45 stand-alone suites, an outdoor tennis court, a main facilities building and a stand-alone conference room that is now being used as a yoga studio and education workshop room.

Resolution Retreats, formerly operated from Tauranga, has been running its three-day to three-week retreats from the property since September.

"The move was in the works for about a year. We were quite hamstrung at our Tauranga location because there were only 11 suites," said founder of Resolution Retreats Joelene Ranby.

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Joelene Ranby founded the retreat in 2013 after her own weight loss journey. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
Joelene Ranby founded the retreat in 2013 after her own weight loss journey. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

"We do get a lot of international guests so it will be so great for them to see what the Waikato has to offer. There's so many beautiful things to do here like Hobbiton, the Blue Springs walk or even the Sanctuary Mountain."

Joelene started running the retreats in 2013 because while doing her own weight loss she sought a retreat like this but was unable to find one.

Her retreat programme specialises in women's weight loss but also incorporates women's wellness and health.

A common day at one of the retreats starts with yoga in the morning followed by an optional mediation session and breakfast. After the morning activities there is a guest speaker or a workshop, a group fitness session and then lunch.

Afternoons are left for the guests to decide their own activities and the group then comes back together for a cooking workshop, dinner and on some occasions a movie night.

"Not everyone comes necessarily because they want to lose weight, some come because they need a break, are too stressed, are looking for inspiration, they want to learn about bodily functions or to even improve their fitness," said Joelene.

The stand-alone conference building is used for yoga and education workshops. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
The stand-alone conference building is used for yoga and education workshops. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

Joelene leases the resort from Lakeside New Zealand Limited who acquired ownership of the property about seven years ago and she is the first person to open the resort to the public.

The first owners of the property began constructing it in the early 2000s but it went under before it was completed. A Chinese property developer then bought the property and started from scratch. They completed approximately 85 per cent of the build before the 2008 global financial crisis halted the development.

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It took Lakeside New Zealand Limited four years to get ownership and at first they only acquired half of the property.

"Having got control of the property, we finished the job off and now that it is a finished product it is ready to use for its first exposure to the public," said owner representative Greg Cobb.

The property was always intended to be a health resort or spa so it came fitted with two dry heat saunas and one wet heat sauna, an indoor heated pool, a jacuzzi, a commercial kitchen. Joelene has incorporated a day spa into the facility with numerous clinic rooms for treatments as well as a cardio room and a weights room.

The retreat complex has 45 stand-alone suites that are really the size of a small house. Photo / Supplied
The retreat complex has 45 stand-alone suites that are really the size of a small house. Photo / Supplied

The suites that the guests stay in are the size of a small home and they feature a lounge room, a kitchenette, a dining room, a study, a walk-in wardrobe, a large bedroom and an ensuite with a bathtub and shower.

Joelene and her team of 20 staff run the retreats twice a month and have approximately 10 to 20 women at each one.

Early next year she is also releasing her cookbook, Retreat Yourself, that features all the recipes she and her team have developed. It can be purchased online or at the retreat.

She is also thinking about hosting a wellness festival early next year to welcome the community.

To find out more about the retreat at Lake Karāpiro visit www.resolutionretreats.co.nz