‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ is a mystery drama miniseries set in an exotic retreat that promises to transform its patrons. Run by a mysterious woman named Masha (Nicole Kidman), the highly exclusive venue only opens its door to a select few, and in the span of 10 days, promises to make them lighter, happier, and all-new versions of themselves.
Much of the show’s story hinges on the 9 eccentric characters that begin their respective journeys at the Tranquillum House retreat and their overbearing and strangely insightful host. Highly exclusive wellness retreats for the uber-wealthy do exist, and some have been known to offer relatively “experimental” treatments. Could ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ be based on a real story? And can one actually visit Tranquillum House? Let’s find out.
Is Nine Perfect Strangers Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ is not based on a true story. The miniseries is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, who is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller ‘Big Little Lies,’ which was adapted into a series as well. The miniseries ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ is a close adaptation of its sourcebook, retaining almost all the same characters (including their names) and many of the details of the retreat it is set in.
Interestingly, the idea for the story originated from a joke that Moriarty had adopted in the days following the release of ‘Big Little Lies.’ Perpetually asked what her plans were for her next book, she would reply that she planned on setting it on a “tropical island resort” and that penning the book would require copious amounts of “research” (alluding, obviously and jokingly, to possibly spending time in luxurious tropical surroundings while she worked on her next project). However, what began as a joke slowly evolved into an idea as the author realized that a luxurious tropical venue would make for an entertaining setting. Thus began the journey that would eventually result in ‘Nine Perfect Strangers.’
Instances from the author’s life have also inspired her book, most notably the time she and a friend stayed at a health resort and smuggled in contraband (like champagne, chocolates, and coffee). This is clearly reflected in the show on multiple occasions as the characters try to smuggle in phones, medicines, chocolates, and alcohol. While researching her book, she once again stayed at a health resort and reportedly briefly wondered about the transformative effects it might have had on her. Transformation and reflection, therefore, also remain strong themes in the show based on her book.
The character of Ben, who wins a lottery, is based on what Moriarty heard about real-life lottery winners who are seemingly often worse-off after suddenly receiving copious amounts of money. Interestingly, she has also admitted that the character of Napoleon, a troubled father grappling with the death of his son, might be her favorite.
Is Tranquillium House a Real Wellness Retreat?
The retreat known as Tranquillum House, around which the show is centered, is fictional, as are the processes and treatments shown therein. However, a real yoga, meditation, and wellness retreat named Soma Byron Bay is used to partly depict the fictional Tranquillum House on the show. In a likely tongue-in-cheek move to promote the show, Hulu has set up a Tranquillum House website, making it seem like a real wellness retreat.
Despite the uber-luxurious experimental retreat of ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ not being real, actual wellness and health retreats exist across the world in huge numbers and varieties. According to the Global Wellness Institute, which defines wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being,” the global wellness market in 2019 was valued at a whopping $4.5 trillion. Wellness tourism (which is what such retreats would typically be categorized under) made up about $639 billion of the total.
So developed is the market that even wellness retreats have now been divided into sub-categories based on the activities they focus on. These can range from spiritual and mind-based retreats (yoga, meditation) to ones focusing on physical wellness (outdoor activities, specially curated menus), and even those that offer beauty and aesthetics-focussed treatments. Of course, these categories often overlap, with retreats offering multiple “forms” of wellness or even holistic wellness that can include many different aspects.
Read More: Where is Nine Perfect Strangers Filmed?