“Give your mind the same attention as your body on a Wellbeing Escapes retreat”

-- Vogue UK

Our Story

In 2005, Stella Photi had an idea. Largely to meet her own longing of being able to plan a break that would make her feel better on every level. At the time she was looking for a yoga holiday for herself and came up with over 200 choices on the web. How could she decide which was the best one for her and even which one was any good without spending extensive amounts of time on research? Time that she didn’t have. Stella was and still is a typical working woman, trying to juggle the demands of her work, family and keep up with her own interests and frequently feeling overwhelmed. That’s when the idea of Wellbeing Escapes was born and she created a company that would lead the way in pioneering wellness travel.

Her quest was to make healthy breaks accessible and exciting for everyone. Stella and the team put together a wide range of holidays that were researched extensively and would deliver on expectations.

Today wellbeing Escapes is the UK’s most established and largest wellbeing holiday company, having won awards along the way and partnering with major brands such as American Express, Kuoni and The Telegraph. They offer down to earth and objective advice and the team will always do their best to find a break for you that fits your needs. That’s why their clients return to them year after year for their wellbeing holiday fix!

Fast Facts

  • 2005 Wellbeing Escapes created to offer a wide range of researched healthy breaks
  • 2013 Finalists in British Travel Awards
  • 2012 Wellbeing Escapes offers online booking for convenience
  • 2016 Wins Telegraph Travel Award for best specialist tour operator category
  • 2017 Runner up in Telegraph Travel Awards
  • 2018 Wins Gold Trusted Service Award with Feefo

Meet The Team

Stella Photi, Founder & Managing Director
Stands for: ‘Everyone deserves a little Wellbeing...’

Stella founded Wellbeing Escapes 11 years ago when she saw a growing need in today’s hectic world for people to take time to recuperate from their busy lives. Quite the jet-setter, Stella has visited over 54 different countries and has tried well over 100 different treatments. It’s fair to say that Stella certainly knows a thing or two about wellbeing travel and has lent her expertise to many different media publications as well as being a leading member of the International Health and Wellbeing Alliance.


Favourite Healthy Holiday: Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary 

Favourite Fitness Activity: Walking in nature is a great stress reliever and I make sure that I walk my dog Louis in the park for least 30 minutes daily. I also love dance classes, especially Latin Dance or Zumba. They are really energising and keep the brain working as you have to remember and learn all the new routines.

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Meditation. Even if it is for just 10 minutes. If you lead a busy and stressful life it is a life saver.

Favourite Treatment: Shirodhara

Favourite Place in the World: That's a tough one – Bali or India...

Top Travel Tip: Once you get on the plane do a 10 minute meditation. Concentrate on your breathing - inhale for a count of 5, hold for 1 second and exhale for 5. This will relax and put you in a good state of mind to start your Wellbeing Escape.  


Peter Stearn, Sales Director
Stands for: “Done is better than perfect.”
Peter came to Wellbeing Escapes in 2005, joining his business partners Stella Photi and Robert Keysselitz. Having always been involved in lots of team sports and fitness as well as having travelled extensively, Wellbeing Escapes is a great fit. He grew up in Southern California and came to London on a 3 year job assignment...in 1997. Asked if he has settled into London finally, Peter says: "I don't think London ever lets you settle anything, but it is a great place to live and work."


Favourite Healthy Holiday: Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda, Italy

Favourite Fitness Activity: Hiking, the more challenging the better!

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Stop and breathe, so simple, so good

Favourite Treatment: Watsu, if you have ever done it, you'll know...

Favourite Place in the World: I have been lucky to visit a lot of fantastic places, but I am not sure there is a better area than the California coast south of Monterey

Top Travel Tip: Pack light and take your music


Helen Greenhow, Product Director
Stands for: "It's not aptitude but attitude that gives altitude."

Helen has the tough task of jetting off to source the hottest new Wellbeing secrets. With a giant smile and an eye for detail, there’s no one better to negotiate the exclusive offers that make Wellbeing Escapes the best option. She's is a natural born traveller with the patience of a saint, just ask her about her years as a tour leader! Helen has also completed a naturopathic nutrition course at CNM in London and enjoys sharing her knowledge with our property partners when forming partnerships and creating health-boosting programmes. 


Favourite Healthy Holiday: Phuket Cleanse, Thailand 

Favourite Fitness Activity: Impossible to choose between skiing, Ceroc dancing and running - I've slogged my way through the London Marathon and several half-marathons; it's good to have a goal and always helps to train with friends too! 

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Yoga

Favourite Treatment: Reflexology 

Favourite Destinations: France, Thailand & New Zealand 

Top Health Tip: Hot water and lemon in the morning to flush out toxins - and it's a really good way to take in vitamin C.


Dominika Palicova, Sales & Marketing Executive
Stands for: ‘Be kind and respectful to everything and everyone.'

Dominika joined the Wellbeing Escapes team in Janurary 2017. After working in Thailand as a yoga teacher and travelling solo around Asia for year and half, she came back to London and joined Wellbeing Escapes. Dom has a hotel and event sales industry background and is also a certified Reflexologist and Reiki healer.


Favourite Healthy Holiday: Rancho La Puerta, Mexico  

Favourite Fitness Activity: Baller or barre classes - my thighs burn but I love the gracefulness of it.

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Yoga. Particularly classes where I can chant and have my eyes closed most of the time.

Favourite Treatment: Reiki

Favourite Place in the World: Kuta on Lombok or Lake Toba in Sumatra. Also a little slice of paradise where I lived in Thailand must be on my list.

Top Travel Tip: Always use sunscreen, wear a hat and never drink water from the tap. Learn about the country and its customs before travelling. And travel solo - you meet some incredible people along the way. 


Lisa Cristofoli, Sales & Marketing Executive
Stands for: Do whatever makes YOU happy.

Lisa joined the team in August 2017. She studied Tourism Management and loves travelling the world and exploring. She previously worked for a spa travel company and various other travel jobs. In her spare time, Lisa loves socialising with friends, yoga, dinner parties and soaking up London life. 

 

Favourite Healthy Holiday: SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain

Favourite Fitness Activity: I love yoga and swimming. I particularly enjoy going to my local lido.  

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Pilates as you instantly feel relaxed but also like you've had a good workout.   

Favourite Treatment: A relaxing facial or a head massage is always great too. 

Favourite Place in the World: Anywhere in Italy. I have Italian heritage so I may be a bit biased. I recently travelled to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast which was absolutely divine. 

Top Travel Tip: Always take a good camera so you can capture those wonderful moments to look back on. 


Inna Gasimova, Contracts & Revenue Control Manager
Stands for: It's all about a healthy balance

Inna is our systems whizz kid. With a mind mathematically wired for numbers she diligently ensures all of our contracts are ship-shape, trouble shooting any hiccups and ensuring all of our amazing offers are in place. A talented linguist too, Inna travelled to the UK from Azerbaijan in 2002 and speaks three languages, Russian, English and Azerbaijani.


Favourite Healthy Holiday: Villa Eden, Italy 

Favourite Fitness Activity: Swimming and walking. I love to take long walks along the Thames with my family! 

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Curling up with a good book and reading, especially about history, knowledge keeps the mind sharp and active.  

Favourite Treatment: A deep tissue massage to work out all the knots in my shoulders. 

Favourite Place in the World: Paris, France is just so fun and Azerbaijan for the food, sea and people. 

Top Health Tip: Don't wait until something is wrong before you get a treatment. Prevention is better than cure.


Bas van Griensven, ICT Manager

Bas is our super-talented ICT manager. He loves nature which is why his favourite destinations are Finland and Germany. He also loves walking trails. Bas has a special connection to China, thanks to his wife, Sissy and he is learning Chinese when he isn't watching football! But above all: he makes sure the Wellbeing Escapes website and reservation system are working perfectly, and the ICT in the office is running smoothly.


Louis, Office Dog & Anti-Stress Manager
Louis, aka King Louis, loves flirting with the office ladies and can be found snoozing under desks for most of the day. Apart from raiding bins, or imploring you to play, Louis likes to attend meetings; they help him sleep. Louis’ top skills include sitting, doing paw, and looking adorable. While not as well traveled as the rest of the team, he's partial to a dip in the sea when he gets the chance.

Favourite Healthy Holiday: Barking Bubbles Spa

Favourite Fitness Activity: Raiding Bins - you never know what exciting treasures you might find.

Favourite Wellbeing Activity: Doga (doggie yoga!)

Favourite Treatment: Pet-icure

Favourite Place in the World: The Park: chasing sticks and meeting other dogs - it's heaven!

Top Health Tip: Roll on the floor for as many cuddles as possible

Life Motto: “Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation.”