Hilton Sydney review: No deprivation at Sydney Hilton

Read our writer's views on this property below

Lynn Hord finds a weekend getting healthy at the Hilton can still feel indulgent.

There was a fruit platter and herbal teas on the table ready to start cleaning out my insides, a running top just waiting for me to sweat into it on the bed, and the mini bar had been cleared out to remove any temptation.

Yes, I was in the world of health retreats, but this was no weekend of deprivation. On the other side of my relaxation suite were signs of my luxury accommodation - a massive jet bath, two wall-mounted flat screen TVs, and a stunning view across the Sydney CBD to the Harbour Bridge.

I was devoting this weekend to my health and wellbeing with plenty of pampering and indulgence thrown in and the people at Sydney Hilton's health retreat were here to help me do it.

They set the tone high from the first meal. The main dish was a delectable lamb backstrap with African millet salad.

It was a recipe devised by our host for the weekend, expert nutritionist and chef, Zoe Bingley-Pullin, and while we ate she introduced us to exactly what we were eating - its nutritional value, alternative ingredients and, best of all, she gave us a recipe card so we could replicate it at home.

With her glowing skin and sparkly eyes, Bingley-Pullin is a perfect advertisement for her skill as a nutritionist and her passion for food is infectious. She shared her knowledge at every meal and I was blown away by how much I learnt about food and all the practical tips I took home.

And that is the essence of the Sydney Hilton health spa package ensuring you leave not only feeling reinvigorated about food and fitness, but armed with plenty of new knowledge and tips to carry on your wellbeing kick start back in real life.

Now to the fitness part. Some may find it odd, but I love exercise, so waking up for a morning session of yoga on the terrace was a delight.

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And the breckie that followed, a single poached egg on a slice of sourdough toast topped with spinach and slathered with yoghurt, washed down with T2 tea and some exotic juice concoction, was surprisingly satisfying.

Next up was something a bit more strenuous - a one-on-one personal training session down in the Living Well health club.

Forty-five minutes of boxing left me sweaty, red-cheeked and with arms like lead weights, but definitely wishing I could come back for more.

Lunch started with a cooking class where Bingley-Pullin showed us how to whip up, among other recipes, a citrus marinated salmon with quinoa salad, and ended with a nutrition seminar where I took away some great pointers on increasing energy levels and banishing those afternoon dips.

Dinner in the Glass brasserie was a four-course healthy degustation menu designed by chef Luke Mangan and matched with some superb wines (our only tipple of the weekend). And to top the evening off, I headed back to that bath I mentioned.

But someone had got there before me. My room was lit by the glow of hundreds of tealight candles and strewn with rose petals. The bath was filled to the brim and the scent of aromatherapy oils was wafting through the room. I floated over to the tub and settled in for the relaxation part of the weekend - it was divine.

Despite being a boot camp novice, I was raring to give the group exercise a go on Sunday morning.

Jerome Boadu, manager at Living Well, ensured every fitness level was catered for as we played some team games in the Domain and finished up with a run down to Farm Cove next to the Opera House.

If only I could start every day this way.

My sore muscles were grateful for the massage that followed in the hotel spa, which I wouldn't say was relaxing but it definitely worked out a few kinks. And my one-on-one nutrition assessment with Bingley-Pullin gave me hope that with a few small, sustained changes to my diet and lifestyle, I too could have glowing skin and sparkly eyes one day.

The food finale before we headed home was spectacular - a sumptuous summer feast of king prawns and exquisite salads on the terrace of the Zeta Bar, in the sun, overlooking the Queen Victoria Building. My wellbeing had definitely reached a new peak.

IF YOU GO:

The Hilton Health Retreat is run four times a year, with the next one on June 12-14. The package costs $1900 per person or $2900 for two people sharing a room. Call: (02) 9266-2000.

The writer was a guest of the Sydney Hilton.

AAP