If a masterpiece is a man-made work with nothing out of place, a composition pleasing on a number of levels from instant gratification to life-changing thoughts, something you can return to time after time and discover something fresh, new, (which was there all along), then without doubt Split Apple Retreat is a masterpiece.
Lee Nelson has put together a sanctuary overlooking Abel Tasman. There are priceless Japanese and other Asian artifacts, sculptures, paintings. Beautiful rooms, lovely bathrooms and a high-tech supreme audio-visual room with the latest sports feeds.
And the food.....where do I start. Lee's focus is on wellness - taking people and making them feel better. He has applied considerable medical knowledge (from his career as a doctor) to the selection of ingredients which enhance our lives. His wife, Pen, then marries these together in an Asian/Mediterranean blend which will keep the most gourmand of us gourmets guessing, second guessing and confused. When I asked (bearing in mind my own unreconstructed diet) if pasta was healthy, I was told 'no', but there's a squash you can plant and bake which then produces a spaghetti which is very healthy. I walked away with some squash seeds and my mind in a whirl.
An important point - I was only there for 19 hours, but in those 19 hours I toured the house, walked on two beaches, had a soak in a hot pool, drank innumerable cups of excellent exotic tea (this one's from hundred year old plants in the highlands of China....), a beautifully balanced aged Cuban rum, the same with a local pinot noir, meditated for half an hour in the morning, examined the vegetable and herb gardens and ate two lovely meals. And ended up feeling healthier, more relaxed and less bloated than I normally do!
Lee has a client who comes for months at a time saying the place is great for his mind and body so he bases himself here and works. I can understand that. If I was based there, I think I would be much healthier and more focused.
And we haven't even talked about the surroundings - golden sand beaches, and the Abel Tasman accessible with a private yacht.
For anyone with an interest in food and wellbeing or just interested in seeing if the place affects them at all before going back to their bad habits - this is highly highly recommended.