It was fate that attracted world famous singer songwriter Olivia Newton-John and good friend Gregg Cave to an abandoned property in the Byron Bay hinterland more than a decade ago.
In 2003, the property that now embraces award-winning Gaia Retreat & Spa was a mere shadow of the decadent wellness haven it is today. From total relaxation, to time to refocus or simply rebalancing wellbeing, retreat visitors surrender to the beauty and healing cultures of the setting in the rolling green hinterland by the seaside. Named Best Hotel of the Year at the 2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards, Olivia and Gregg are immensely proud of their creation.
Cave attributes a passion for people for his 13-year commitment to the health, wellbeing and hospitality industries. “To me, making others happy is a great way to remain happy,” he said. “When I left school and before entering the world according to hospitality, I had a long successful show business career as an actor and singer here in Australia.”
His love affair with show business receded after 10 years, segueing into an infatuation with fine art, leading to consulting on corporate and hotel collections. “To be honest I am not sure whether I chose hospitality or hospitality chose me. I was looking to take a break from the art business that I had built up over 14 years when my direction changed. Out of that, a dream began to breathe, a concept became a reach and my passion for becoming a hotelier began to rise.”
Cave was spurred to open Gaia in 2003 when visiting the Northern Rivers region with close friend Olivia Newton-John. The breathtaking hills of the hinterland were familiar to Gregg, who had spent time at Olivia’s property in the region since 1982, and truly got to know and love the lush peaks. “We were driving around this stunning area in search of a holiday house for myself, when we stumbled upon this old derelict resort called The Sanctuary, originally built as one of Australia’s first health farms back in the late 70s, known as the Bangalow Palms Health Farm,” Cave reminisced.
The pair felt an overwhelming sense of spirit in the land, so much so it captivated them to return the next day for a second look. “That night we both dreamt that we bought the property. Olivia dreamt we called it Gaia Resort and I dreamt we called it Bella Vista Retreat – guess who won!”
Gaia sets itself apart with a team wholeheartedly invested in each service they provide. “Unquestionably, our unique team of some of Australia’s best therapists, healers and wellness experts play a huge role in the success of Gaia Retreat & Spa. They come to work each day with heart and solid commitment. Their drive and passion inspire me.”
A chance start to a shared dream of creating a wellness haven for friends and family to enjoy has culminated in a retreat from the daily hustle and bustle, a place to rest, relax and nourish the body and soul. With the accolades that have followed, Gaia obviously has a world winning formula.
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