3/30 Researching a future retreat location in Bordeaux


My brain is always going with event ideas. Always. 

Reading. Researching. Dreaming.

My friend once said, “Joya, you’re always hatching something up.” 

While I traditionally host strategy days for women working on their thought leadership in cities, I’m increasingly craving the quiet of the countryside. I already live in a hectic city (New York) and my 50 year old self is seeking more calm. 

A big piece of of the 3-day, 2-night itinerary is the cultural immersion piece. I love the inspiration that comes from ejecting women out of their day to day routines and changing contexts. I love the whitespace that’s created for new ideas to bubble up. 

So the experiences that accompany the strategy days have to match the level of inspiration I’m looking to stoke in the client.

While I’m in Paris, I’m taking a 2 hour+ train ride to Bordeaux St. Jean to scope out a new retreat location for a future strategy day. I first read about the Caudalie spa in the vineyards of Bordeaux in this article in Vogue. Then I met Meghan Donovan at Dumbo House and read about it on her Instagram.


Les Sources des Caudalie is about 2 hours from Paris by high speed train
The Vinotherapy spa uses natural ingredients from the vines and grapes of the Bordeaux region
With your treatment, you have acceess to the hot springs bath, which sources water from 1700 feet underground

Cities are easier to navigate for my American clients. But transporting folks to the countryside comes with added challenges. I always scope out the location ahead of time to understand what the challenges are. Here are the steps I took to visit Les Source de Caudelie.

  • Step 1 I looked at my lodging options and booked my stay at the spa 
  • Step 2 I booked my transport.  I hosted a women’s leadership event in the Loire Valley before and took the high speed train (TGV.)  I”ll get there plenty of time to make sure I board the right train. I booked my train on Rail Europe 
  • Step 3 I booked my private transfer train station to hotel. There is no Uber where I am going. I had to connect with the hotel concierge to arrange this.
  • Step 4 I booked my meals. There are several restaurants on site, including LA GRAND’VIGNE but that feels like a lot of food with a 5-course menu, so I am booked for an 8pm dinner at “La Table du Lavoir “ (translation: THE LAUNDRY TABLE). Breakfast too.
  • Step 5 I booked a half day treatment at the Vinotherapy® spa, which uses natural ingredients from the vine and grape for treatments. It also means I get access to the hammam and the water bath, fueled by hot springs from 1700 feet underground.
  • Step 6 I’ve loved biking since I was a kid.  I booked “Castles by Bike” under the activities section.  Julien will be taking me on a one and a half hour bike ride through the estates of Châteaux Smith Haut Lafitte, Carbonnieux, La Louvière, Larrivet Haut Brion, Haut-Bailly and Rochemorin. This is on offer everyday.  
If you would like to work on your personal brand, thought leadership or TedxTalk and would like to work one on one with me in Istanbul (early August ) or Barcelona (early December) or New York (August 30th – November 30th),  click on the link below

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