The founder of Compare Retreats shares her techspertise, and her style and wellness tips
Dervla Louli is the Hong Kong-based founder of wellness travel portal Compare Retreats. Formerly digital editor of Hong Kong Tater and managing editor of Sassy Media Group, she made a name for herself as one of her adopted city's digital gurus before launching her own business in 2017. Today, she combines her passions for wellness and all things digital at Compare Retreats, a site offering unbiased reviews of luxury spas and retreats, along with the booking mechanism to reserve them.
“The reason I started Compareretreats.com was because I couldn't find a website where booking a high-quality retreat was easy and transparent,” she explains. “I had wasted so much time and money on retreats that didn't offer the results they promised, and I wanted to prevent other people from doing the same.”
It follows that Dervla is an avid traveler with plenty to say about how to keep it chic on-the-run. She also more than puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to keeping fit in her own life. “A good day for me starts off with some form of movement, either CrossFit at Coastal Fitness, a hike up the peak with my rescue dog Clive, a PT session at Ultimate Performance. I used to be a bit obsessive with my training. Now, I’m a lot more moderate, and I stick to things that I really enjoy and that get me the results I want. Exercise should be fun and sociable, which is something I forgot for a few years.” Here, she shares the invaluable life and work lessons she’s learned along the way, as well as her very best style and beauty tips.
that you can spend an infinite amount of money on tech. Turn off the tap on tech when you have a platform your clients and partners are responding positively to and move your money into sales and marketing.
Rosie Assoulin, Roksanda Ilincic, Ellery and Caroline Constas all do fabulous ones that I can dress up and down for any occasion. I buy most of them online at Net-A-Porter, and Matchesfashion.com who both have fast and reliable delivery services.
I write a 'to do' list every morning and every evening, either in a Smythson notebook where I also journal and sometimes write down things I'm grateful for. Nothing satisfies me more than ticking items off my list. Doing some form of exercise every day, eating unprocessed food, and sticking to one cup of coffee a day are a few other habits that also increase my productivity.
Can be found at the Mandarin Oriental (try the digital wellness escape) or for something a little further away and very peaceful, check out Fivelements Sai Kung. I recently ran a yoga class at their retreat and it really does give a wonderful sense of escape. Make sure you ask for the room with the 6 foot stone bath.
Is Blend and Grind by Jonny Rees. It's one of the few coffee shops in Hong Kong that opens before 6am. I've been going there every day for a year, the owners, staff and coffee are fantastic. They also sell perfectly ripe avocados.
Callixto and Casa Capriz - it's lovely to see Irene here on My Finds, too. Both are such good resources of wonderful pieces from all over the world that you really can't find anywhere else. These dressing gowns at Callixto are perfect for lounging around in at home.
Moda Operandi. Their personal shopping service is excellent, and alongside their brilliant fashion assortment they also have some beautiful homewares now. These plates are on my wishlist.
Lululemon leggings for CrossFit or PT, Lululemon shorts for running and hiking, a Nike sports bra, a Zara or Soul Cycle tank top, and Nike free 5.0s. I lay out my clothes the night before and 99% of the time wear black and white, the less decisions I have to make at 6am before my cup of coffee, the better. This is probably TMI but I also usually only wear Lululemon white socks which I buy in bulk! For swimwear, I love Lisa Maria Fernandez bikinis, her ruffle tops are supportive and pretty at the same time.
Squarespace, Wordpress, Shopify, WooCommerce, MailChimp, STRIPE are all pre-built and make anything from building a website to processing payments easier.
My favourite productivity hack is to leave my phone at home when I go to the office. I also wear noise-cancelling Bose headphones and listen to the extended version of Intro by The XX, which is a continuous loop of the same song that plays for two hours and forty-five minutes. I've been using it as background noise when I work for over six years. Now I associate the song with writing or working and it helps me stay in the zone.
The Aman Summer Palace in Beijing. I'm a little bit obsessed with Chinese history so staying there was an incredible experience. Guests have direct access to the Summer Palace via a secret door and the food is excellent. Aman now offer wellness retreat packages at four of their properties which you can check out on Compare Retreats booking portal.
My Clarins rose hip lip balm, Bose noise-cancelling headphones, a small pillow, a Swell water bottle, a phone charger, cash and credit cards, passport, HKID and a black cashmere scarf/ shawl
Aynhoe Park's online store, A Modern Grand Tour. I'm a magpie, especially for vintage homewares and I love their assortment of eccentric curiosities. This ostrich feather lamp is on my shopping list!
my Prada ballerina flats. They're comfortable enough to run in if I'm late to an important meeting and they smarten up any outfit. They tend to release them every season so I stock up at the outlets in Ireland or Switzerland.
Vintage kaftans and kimonos. They're great for throwing over jeans, or wearing over a simple black dress for evenings
Ancient Greek sandals work well for day, and these Aquazurra sandals are on my shopping list for evenings out.
Is definitely Café Gray at the Upper House. I'm a creature of habit and the food, drinks and service are always excellent and we celebrated our engagement, civil wedding and many other celebrations there. They also have one cocktail that's served in a brass pineapple, and I kind of have a thing for pineapples.