This island off the coast of Finland in the Baltic Sea is probably one of the most exclusive in the world.
Not because of the price tag for a week’s long stay there, and not even because it’s tucked away in an archipelago. This island is so exclusive because it excludes a good portion of the population: men.
The SuperShe Island debuted on June 23 as an oasis for women to spend a few days taking care of their minds, bodies and souls.
The SuperShe community—which gathers women around the world to help each other live healthy, empowered lives—is the brainchild of Kristina Roth, who was running a multi-million dollar consulting business up until 2 ½ years ago.
She sold the company, Matisia Consultants, to try something completely different.
“I decided I wanted to focus my energy on something fun and something that inspires me and create a network of creation and inspiration,” she says. “That’s how I came up with the idea of SuperShe.”
She formed the community first, connecting professional, worldly women primarily via the Internet. Roth is originally from Stuttgart, Germany, but started her career in New York City and has lived and traveled all over the world. She also owns an island in Turks and Caicos.
After selling her company, she took a vacation in Finland. That's when her life took an unexpected turn.
“I fell in love with a local, and the island was for sale,” she says. “The island was rather a coincidence. Islands don’t come up for sale every day, and islands can’t be fabricated.”
When she bought the island a year ago, there was not much there.
“People think it’s glamorous purchasing an island,” she says. “When I purchased it, it was a rock. I literally spent six months out here on the island with a crew of 16 construction people."
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Eventually, the retreat was completed. It now has four renovated cabins that can accommodate up to 10 women. It also has spa amenities and Finnish saunas.
Daily activities include yoga, meditation, fitness classes, kayaking, and hiking trails. Guests can get facials and massages. They also listen to talks from motivational speakers.
Guests take cooking and nutrition classes. They dine on farm-to-table cuisine, much of it adhering to the Paleo diet which promotes lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and frowns upon processed foods, salt and sugar. Alcohol is not allowed on the island.
When she can, Roth tries to buy all products from female vendors. All island employees are women. “We are creating workplaces for women,” she says.
The price tag for a week-long stay at the SuperShe Island is 4,000 euros, about $4,680. That includes a stay at the St. George hotel in Helsinki and transportation to the island by shuttle. It also includes all meals, spa treatments and activities.
SuperShe is now trying to make the island more accessible by offering three-night stays for 2,000 euros, about $2,340.
Not everyone can automatically score a stay at the island. Prospective guests have to apply to get a spot. The application involves explaining why they want to visit the island, how they think it will benefit them and why they think they will be a success.
“The stories that impress me are authentic, come from the heart,” Roth says. “They’re honest. They’re putting their cards on the table.”
Why have an application process at all? “There’s a lot of energy on the island. It’s not like a hotel. You can’t just swipe a credit card,” she says. “It’s my home as well. We get to know each other. You enter my home for a week. It came from that place and not form being elitist.”
So far, many of the guests have become friends, Roth says. Recently, she had an Israeli activist and an Iranian software team leader staying at the same time.
“I don’t know anywhere else in the world where Iran and Israel would not only co-habitate but become best friends,” Roth says. “There’s so many layers to this cake.”
As for the man who helped keep her in Finland, the two are now engaged to be married. It’s not the first time Roth has considered marriage. She has gotten proposals in the past.
This time, though, she was the one making the proposal.
“I found it very empowering,” she says. “Women usually just sit and wait for men to ask them the question, get them the diamond … You can ask ‘Are you going to marry me?’ and if the answer is no, then move on. Four letter word--next.”