Monday, Jul 23, 2018

SuperShe Island: Women-only luxury retreat

SuperShe Island: Women-only luxury retreat
08 Mar
2018

Did you watch hit movie "Wonder Woman" and daydream about escaping to her home, the female-only island of Themyscira?

That dream could soon become a reality: entrepreneur Kristina Roth has created SuperShe Island, a private retreat off the coast of Finland where no men are allowed.

Roth says her aim is for women to vacation at a destination away from society's pressures and embrace an all-female energy.

"We're the average of the five people we surround ourselves with," Roth tells CNN Travel. "And my philosophy is if you surround yourself with amazing women -- and if you can bring together amazing women globally -- then you're going to be the average of that group."

The island sleeps 10 people in four luxurious cabins, offering wellness activities and opportunities for bonding.

Roth is the founder of SuperShe, a lifestyle blog and networking group that encourages women to connect with, befriend and encourage other women.

A former consultancy business CEO, she took inspiration from her own life for the resort:

"I really lived in, worked, lived, breathed in a men-dominated world," explains Roth, the former CEO of a consultancy business.

"When I really started to travel more the last couple of years [...] I just met a lot of amazing women around the world."

Roth bought the island -- somewhat ironically -- after her boyfriend introduced her to the beauty of Finland's landscape.

"I fell in love with this area of the Finnish archipelago and I fell in love with a Finnish man, so there's definitely a love story there," she says. "He introduced me to the archipelago and after I'd bought the island [...] we started renovating it."

Before anyone gets too excited, it's worth knowing that it's not possible to automatically book a place on a SuperShe retreat.

Roth picks the visitors herself. Those interested should be prepared for a vetting process via the organization's website.

So what does Roth look for in a visitor?

"The number one, number one thing that's important for me is that you have an amazing personality -- like upbeat, cool personality -- because you're on [an] island," Roth says. "That's what's going to make it fun and exciting for everyone."

Not everyone is on board with Roth's plans, with some women branding the idea elitist on social media -- a claim Roth rejects.

"The retreat being a female-only space doesn't make it inherently feminist," critic Ruth Pearson, 24, tells CNN Travel. "It is a space created by a rich, white woman for other women like her."

Pearson is concerned by the vetting process and the price tag, which remains TBC, but is likely to be pricey.

"These factors will disproportionately affect people of color, people with disabilities, trans women and those who are gender non-conforming, meaning this island is only for one very narrow type of woman," says Pearson.

Roth disagrees. She says SuperShe welcomes all women, including women from the LGBT community.

According to Roth, the main requirement is the island is "a zone without sexual tension, meaning you just come and you just want to chill."

She adds: "It's very inclusive too, if you identify yourself as a woman then that's great," she says. "So we're not exclusive."

Roth plans to invite VIP members of the SuperShe community to visit the island in June to test out the facilities. Come July, SuperShe island will be officially open for business.

The Finnish archipelago is known for its evergreen trees and their healing properties, rocky coast, warm sea water in the summer and beautiful sunrises.

Roth hopes the new retreat will spotlight Finland's beauty.

"I love the Caribbean and I love Hawaii, but I was personally very surprised by how at home I felt here and how beautiful it was," she says.

"I think even if I had my mind set on Caribbean blue waters for the first retreats, I really am very happy that I changed the paradigm and I started with this island first."

Roth also owns property in Turks and Caicos. If this first resort is a success she'll plan to renovate that island too.

"Seeing how much positive feedback I received through the island, and it's not even open yet, I'm very excited to take this global," she says. "I know that I'm on the right track, that I really am craving something that's needed and wanted.

"It's very interesting to see the whole spectrum of women who are signing up and really reassuring me that this place is needed," she adds.

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