Sen Wellness Sanctuary

Meet Natalia Wiechowski: a renaissance woman in Dubai and founder of Think Natalia. The German born beauty is a former competitive athlete and social scientist who decided to chuck in her corporate career as a marketing expert and follow her passion: encouraging people to become the best versions of themselves. These days, you’ll find the award-winning writer and speaker giving talks at key conferences and acting as a mentor in the local startup community. So when this busy bee wants some downtime, where can she find it? The answer: Sen Wellness Sanctuary in Sri Lanka.



This zen hub is part medical luxury spa and part five star hotel located in a pristine national park in Sri Lanka. There’s even a protected turtle beach on the premises. With a busy lifestyle that involves spending a lot of time networking, speaking at conferences, and writing away on a laptop, getting in touch with nature in serene surroundings is very important to help Natalia feel rejuvenated.


Natalia enjoys yoga at sunrise


Natalia says: “Why I loved this resort? Because of the concept itself. When you google “yoga retreat + Sri Lanka”, you will find a lot of yoga places. I have not found another resort that does Ayurveda (and yoga) as well, while being directly in nature. AND on the beach. AND having clean food and highly qualified staff.” It’s actually listed as one of the top 20 yoga resorts in the world.

Sweet Suite

Set amidst a stunning landscape of mangroves, lagoons and the sprawling beach, this resort focuses on the healing energy of nature. Suspended walkways lead to the thatched roof cabanas, so you can actually see wildlife scurrying along beneath you as you walk. The luxury cabanas are simple and designed by a Brazilian-American architect who paid special attention to how the thatched roofs would complement the surrounding nature.


Thatched roofs and suspended walkways


There is no air conditioning needed as the nearby sea breeze keeps the rooms naturally cool. The rooms are designed with wood elements and clean white sheets.



Room with a breezy view


The bathrooms are open to nature so you can gaze at the stars while taking a shower. It’s an out-of-this-world experience.



Beach + Yoga Time

Beautiful and full of calming energy, the draw of this resort is the nature. The beaches are sprawling and are ideal for a dip or a tanning session in between sunrise and sunset yoga.


This resort is known as one of the best yoga retreats in the world for a reason.



Beats the yoga studio back home, doesn’t it?



Natalia poses next to the Buddha statue

Aside from yoga and swimming, walking around the grounds is a great way to stay in shape and explore a landscape very different from the highways and conference rooms back home.




Like a stairway to heaven



The food is all wholesome and drawn from the surroundings: think fresh fish caught that morning, salads made with vegetables from nearby gardens and plantains sweeter than chocolate.



The food was a perfect complement to a relaxed energy in the hotel.

Natalia says: “I experienced the Sen Wellness sanctuary as a place of silence, wellness, detox and relaxation. The world seems to turn a bit slower there.”




Love beautiful Natalia’s breezy style? Here’s some inspiration perfect for a zen yoga retreat!


Sri Lanka Natalia


Johanna Ortiz tie shirt
2,920 AED –

Ripped jean shorts
73 AED –

Sanuk sandals
110 AED –

Mara Hoffman white handbag
280 AED –

BERRICLE spiked necklace
99 AED –

Deluxe Yoga Mat
59 AED –
Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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