I realise that I say this following every Connections event, but I truly believe that this was one of our best yet.
Last week, we travelled to beautiful Slovenia to host our third edition of Connections Wellbeing. Perhaps unknown to many, this green, healthy and active country is pursuing an ambition: to become one of the leading destinations in the world for wellness.
Slovenia is often, and perhaps unfairly, overlooked as a wellness destination. Between the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Karst (with its 10,000 caves), it is a country rich in natural resources. With over 60% of its land covered in protected forests, Slovenia is one of the greenest countries in the world. It’s also one of the richest countries in terms of water, with many rivers, lakes, waterfalls and springs of healing thermal and mineral waters. Even legend tells of the mythological winged horse Pegasus discovering the health-giving powers of Slovenia.
It is for these reasons we chose to travel to Slovenia to host Connections Wellbeing 2019. I was thrilled to once again be working with Karmen, Mladen and Anya from the Slovenian Tourist Board to bring this event to life. Their unreserved dedication, their expertise and passion has made this event one to remember.
Alongside Mattej and Matej from the elite Luxury Slovenia DMC, our official ground handler and Terme Olimia, our incredible host hotel, the team went above and beyond in offering the very best wellness experiences and service to our brilliant delegation.
Just two weeks ago, Terme Olimia’s Wellness Orhidelia won the prize for being the best wellness centre in Slovenia – for the tenth time running. This just served to further reinforce we really were in the right place to promote all things wellness.
For over 50 years, it has been a place for relaxation, treatment and support for finding balance, and despite our busy schedule, I know that many of our delegates found this during our time at Terme Olimia. From sound healing and Nordic Walking to healing mandalas and creating our own body scrub, it was a wonderful way to meet and connect with new business partners. To Vasja, Maja, Nataša and Matteja, thank you!
As part of the educational programme, we explored the power of nature on health and wellbeing with ConnecTalks carefully curated by our Wellbeing Partner, Stella Photi, founder of Wellbeing Escapes. Once again, her knowledge and expertise in this field has been invaluable.
We also had the pleasure of being joined by two remarkable guest speakers: Diana Stobo, owner and creator of The Retreat Costa Rica who shared her inspiring story and path to wellness, and Paloma Ruiz of Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, a former WTA Tour tennis player-turned-nutritionist who offered us insight into gut health and life balance.
I also thoroughly enjoyed our ConnecTalk with Lorna Hennelly from Euromonitor International which connected the health of the individual with the health of the planet. Launching into roundtable discussions, we identified many different sustainable tourism methods and what we, as leaders in the industry, can do better. More to come on this later.
Authentic, local experiences – this is the Connections Way of doing business. Our time at the family-owned Jelenov Greben and the historical Olimje Castle was simply magical. Whether it was deer feeding, tea tasting or eating one too many organic chocolates during praline making, there were many memorable moments. I will also never forget the apple juice served at Jelenov Greben – I can’t tell you how delicious it was!
Our evening only got better. The hospitality and service of Jelenov Greben was second to none. We were honoured that Peter Misja, Mayor of Podčetrtek attended our dinner, and were delightfully surprised with performances by a group of amazing local musicians and dancers. Five of our delegates participated in the ‘hat dance’ which was thoroughly entertaining to watch – well done again to Diana and Marah for being the last standing!
During our final day in Rogaška Slatina, we enjoyed a Kinesiotherapy taster, detoxed with fresh juices, relaxed with hand massages and sampled the curative powers of Donat Mg magnesium water. Drinking magnesium every day has made me feel incredible and reminded me of when I was a child – it was the same sweet taste as the bottled water my mother used to give me!
And our Closing Dinner at the Grand Hotel Rogaška was just spectacular. Set in the Crystal Ballroom, we enjoyed an evening complete with a tasting menu, wine flight and exquisite opera singing. It was an outstanding way to end Connections Wellbeing.
Thank you once again to our incredible sponsors, without whom our event would not have been possible: Terme Olimia Resort, Slovenian Tourist Board, Luxury Slovenia DMC, Wellbeing Escapes, Euromonitor International, Jelenov Greben, Visit Podčetrtek, Atlantida Hotel, Grand Hotel Rogaška & Grand Hotel Sava, Rogaška Tourist Board, Medical Centre Rogaška, and Slovenian Spa Association.
Last year at Connections Wellbeing 2018, I made a commitment to give up red meat. Since leaving Slovenia this year, my family and I have chosen to make three commitments:
- To recite this quote, shared by Diana Stobo during her ConnecTalk: “I am spirit, pure and innocent, all is forgiven, all is released.”
- To make the most of our green surroundings and walk in Richmond Park as often as possible
- To share three things that we are grateful for every week
Here’s to living life well.