Hannah Ebelthite Heads to The Stunning Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bodrum

Ifyou’d asked me 20 years ago whatmy perfect holiday would be, myanswer would have been a fly-and-flop package trip. Sunbathing by day,cocktails and clubbing by night – all night.These days, if I took a break like that, I’dcome home feeling worse than when I left.Rare as they are, I need my holidays nowto be restorative and revitalising.And it’s not just me. According to theGlobal Wellnesss Institute, ‘wellbeingtourism’ is the fastest-growing travelsector, having increased by 14 per centover the past two years.

As peoplebecome more aware of the importance ofstaying fit and healthy, their holidays reflectthis need, with a big increase in bookingsfor wellness retreats and spa holidays,’says Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health &Fitness Travel, whose researchfound 82 per cent of people wantto stay active on holiday. ‘Afitness-focused break can bea great way to reset the body,learn a new approach anddevelop good habits to bringhome,’ he adds. And that wasexactly what I had in mind asI boarded the flight for Bodrum,Turkey. Having nursed a running injury forthe past six months, I was feeling unfit,unmotivated and in a definite fitness rut.Time for some sun, scenery and thechance to remind my desk-bound andincreasingly round body how good itfeels to get active on a daily basis.

Hannah Ebelthite Heads to The Stunning Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bodrum Photo Gallery


Now, many hotels have gyms, pools, spasand even classes. But what they don’thave – and Bodrum does – is RubenTabares. Ruben is a former pro athlete andnow strength and conditioning coach andnutritionist to the stars (you might knowhim as trainer toboxer David Hayes andrapper Tinie Tempah). He’s the residenthealth guru at London’s Mandarin Orientalat Hyde Park. And this year, he’s taken hisphilosophy and expertise over to Turkey,launching Ruben Tabares Wellness at theutterly exquisite five-star Mandarin Orientalresort in Bodrum (also known as MoBod).The resort itself surpasses all myexpectations. It sits in the perfectlynamed Paradise Bay on the north coastof Bodrum. All the 129 guestrooms,apartments, suites and villas have theirown outside space, most with panoramicviews of the deep blue Aegean sea andmountain range opposite. The hotel sitsamong olive groves, pine trees andbeautifully planted gardens and, despiteits size, most of the time you feel like youhave the place to yourself.


On the first morning, I wake naturally withthe light and watch the sun rise over themountains from my terrace, my tensionsdissolving by the second. I go for anearly morning stroll around the extensivegrounds, where every corner revealsa secluded bed or lounger for quietrelaxation. I find a cabana on one of theprivate, white-sand beaches and sit andread my novel for half an hour, withoutseeing another soul. Heaven.From there it’s on to the fitness studiofor Ruben’s Box Pro class, a high-intensitysweat-fest that sets the energy levels forthe day. I wouldn’t normally do a boxingclass, preferring to get my cardio in byrunning, so this is exactly the sort of bodyshock I need to get me out of my rut. Myarms ache (in a nice way) for the rest ofthe trip. And there’s no shortage of fitnessoptions on offer. High-energy classesinclude HIIT circuits, Celebrity Bootcamp,Booty and the Beast and Abs Blast. Thenthere’s a decent range of yoga and Pilatesclasses, all styles and levels, mat-based orequipment. Most of these take place in thestylish studio and gym, some are in thebeautiful fitness garden with views out tothe sea, and in the case of the stand-uppaddleboard (SUP) yoga, they’re on thebeach and in the sea. Sign up for oneof various Wellness Packages and you’llreceive a personalised consultation,state-of-the-art body analysis and atailored short and long-term programme,with one-to-one sessions. Ruben has alsodevised a series of wellness lectures, soif you can drag yourself away from your sunlounger in your downtime, you can keep upthe fitspo with talks on brain regeneration,digital detox, juicing and more.You can do as much or as little, fitness-wise, as.

You like here, although with thecalibre of trainers and facilities, it wouldbe a shame not to cram in as much as youcan.

There’s an indoor pool as well asthe awesome infinity pool outside and,of course, the refreshing sea. I’ve beenworking on my swimming technique, soI take the opportunity to swim at least acouple of times a day. There’s a joggingtrack around the resort, but at 30oC plusoutside, I decline to try that out. The gymis small but very well equippedand air-conditioned. We takeadvantage of two classes aday with Ruben or his othertrainers (Cindi is a CrossFitqueen and takes us throughan amazing functionalfitness workout).There’s plenty of downtime, too, to enjoy MoBod’seight restaurants andbars (my favourite wasthe waterside Italian,Assaggio). A trip to thespa is a must. There’sthe traditional hammamexperience, and the Oriental Essencemassage was, hands down, the best, mostrelaxing treatment I’ve ever had. Afterwardsyou can sit in the tranquil spa gardenswith a herbal tea – and resolve to take thisnew feeling of bliss home.

Hannah Ebelthite Heads to The Stunning Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bodrum Photo Gallery


One evening we took a wonderful (slightlychoppy) sunset cruise on a Turkish guletand saw some more of the beautifulBodrum coast, confirming that this is anarea I’d definitely love to revisit. It’s onthe western side of Turkey and the flightis under four hours (we flew EasyJet fromGatwick), making it doable for a longweekend if you can’t stay for longer.Make no mistake, it’s an expensive hotel– but it’s also the epitome of style andluxury, and you will want for nothing if youdecide to treat yourself (if I could have myhoneymoon over again, it would be here).My four-night stay reignited my passion forfitness and wellbeing and Ruben’s holisticand innovative outlook has givenme loads of ideas for training back home.If the goal of a holiday is to leave yourefreshed and renewed, a fitness retreatis the way to do it – and MoBod does itbrilliantly. I’m a convert. And I’m off tothe gym…


The season for the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, runs from April to October and costs from €625 per room per night B&B inc classes. Ruben Tabares Wellness Packages start from €550. To book, visit mandarinoriental. com/bodrum.

Try Ruben Tabares’ Celebrity Bootcamp Workout at healthandfitnessonline.co.uk.

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