What about the kind of holiday that works your body and mind? Chances are, you can’t wait to go somewhere sunny to do sun salutations by the sea, or maybe your dream getaway involves hiring a bike and scaling a mountain. Fitness tourism was a thriving industry prior to the pandemic, with global figures showing that the wellness travel sector was set to be worth £708 billion by 2022, but are active breaks still on the agenda? ‘Embarking on a fitness holiday in 2021 is definitely feasible,’ says Paul Joseph, founder of Health and Fitness Travel (healthandfitnesstravel.com).
‘Subject to any future lockdowns or travel restrictions, there are a number of destinations, such as St Lucia and Turks & Caicos, which have had relatively low Covid-19 cases and provide idyllic surroundings for a healthy holiday.’ It could be far more fuss-free than you might expect – at the time of writing, destinations such as Madeira, St Lucia, the Maldives and the Canary Islands are offering breaks without the need to quarantine when you return to the UK. ‘For those looking to get fit closer to home, there are also a number of fitness retreats in the UK, offering bespoke exercise and diet programmes in luxurious surroundings,’ adds Joseph. ‘But if you’d like to travel overseas this year, we recommend booking your break sooner rather than later.’ Need help making a speedy decision? Here’s our pick of the top active escapes…
IMPORTANT: Please check with resorts and airlines before attempting to make any bookings and be sure to only travel when permitted to do so. All information was correct at the time of going to press but may be subject to change.
Bliss of Being
Burn off some pounds at this high-intensity fitness retreat. The programme is packed full of exercise classes as well as guided walks, yoga classes and hour-long personal training sessions that will cater to your individual needs. Nestled in the Malaga province of southern Spain, the Shanti-Som estate boasts a secluded location that allows you to really tune into what you want. You can indulge your mind in meditation classes (free when you book a three-night stay), learn how to fuel your body at a nutritional consultation, or unwind with a body wrap and massage. And after a day of working hard in the gym, you can relax in the resort’s steam bath, swimming pool or sauna. The main aim of this package is to “get you back on track”, which is something so many of us need after a tough 2020. Healing Holidays can arrange a five-night Bliss of Being programme from £1,799 per person sharing. This includes British Airways flights, transfers, full board accommodation and the Bliss of Being programme.
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CLUB LA SANTA (CLUB LASANTA. CO.UK)
Location: Tinajo, Lanzarote
The go-to resort for fitness fanatics, Club La Santa is the place to head if you want to enjoy back-to-back workouts. Great for club competitors and everyday exercisers, there’s a horde of activities to choose from, including sessions on the new CrossFit area; training on the running track, which now boasts a 450m lane for normal road shoes and four 400m lanes for elite running; competitions on the paddle and tennis courts; and even upside-down time in the aerial yoga studio. Exercise as hard or as little as you like, thanks to the handy Club La Santa app that enables you to book into sessions, but you’ll need to be speedy as places fill up. The Club is a good choice for active families, too – there’s no time difference to send your kids’ body clocks out of whack and only a short-haul flight to bear. There are also sessions for the little ’uns, whether that’s kids’ club, football and dancing. For the times when you’ve sweated enough, there are poolside loungers, restaurants and spa treatments to choose from. Indeed, there’s a reason why it’s called the “Disneyland for sports lovers”. For a break at Club La Santa, you can expect to pay from £700 for seven nights, staying in a comfortable one-bedroom apartment on a self-catering basis.
No.1 Bootcamp’s military-style breaks. Already a hit among celebrities, the luxury activity holidays are for those who want to get in shape, whether that means losing weight or improving fitness levels. You can choose from the local norfolk resort, or go further afield to sunnier climes at a Portugal, marrakesh or Ibiza camp, but the training is the same – high-energy workouts such as HIIT training, boxing, weightlifting and running, with some hiking and yoga thrown in for good measure. If the thought of so much exercise makes your muscles hurt, you’ll be pleased to know that there are also masseuses on hand to reboot your body each evening. Food is portion-controlled but freshly prepared (think grilled salmon, quinoa, barbecued chicken, protein balls) and is both vegetarian and vegan friendly. The Norfolk camp costs from £1250 per person per week. Enter the code WF15 for a 15 percent discount at the online checkout. For prices at Ibiza, Marrakesh and Portugal camps, see the website.
MARBELLA CLUB (HEALING HOLIDAYS.COM)
Location: Marbella, Spain
Set in a location that’s been best known for its glitz and glamour, the Marbella Club is a luxury hideaway that’s formerly hosted Hollywood stars but has recently established itself as a wellness resort. Boasting a beachside setting, the club started life as an old farmhouse, but is now a hotel with rooms that ooze healthiness (there are even yoga mats in the wardrobes!). The Beach Ready package is the option for those who want to prep their body for the warmer weather, as it combines sculpting workouts with nutritional therapy, topped off with head-to-toe treatments to get you looking and feeling fantastic. There’s a clear focus on good nutrition here – expect a Purifying Healthy Menu, which uses plant-based, probiotic and nutrient-rich recipes to fuel the body, as well as a juice of the day. Prices begin at £1339 per person for two nights in a double occupancy room during the low season (NovemberApril), which includes transfers, accommodation and full board.
FRİTTON LAKE (FRİTTON LAKE.CO.UK)
Location: Norfolk, United Kingdom
The perfect location for your next staycation, Fritton Lake is a family-run, private holiday club that sits on the Norfolk/Suffolk border as part of the Somerleyton Estate. Home to a two-mile long lake, you can expect woodland wildlife and cabin retreats as part of your package holiday, or you could opt to stay in one of the farm cottages or at The Clubhouse. This trip is all about outdoor adventure – choose from canoeing, paddle boarding, water skiing, wild swimming, trail running, yoga and more.
For racquet sport lovers, there are also new tennis courts installed in 2020, including a lawn and clay court. Do you swim, bike, run? Triathlon training could be on the agenda, with open water swimming in the lake, cycling around the grounds and trail running courses available. Plus, there’s yummy local food on sale at The Clubhouse, which boasts a games room in which you can catch up on the latest sport on TV. A great British escape for active folk, which costs from £180 per night for a double room in The Clubhouse; from £1328 for a week in one of the Farm Cottages; and from £1556 for a week in one of the Cabins.
Location: Castries, St Lucia With a body-fixing history that harks back 30 years, this Caribbean resort has long been a favourite among frazzled celebrities – and perhaps that has something to do with its seaside location, infinity pool and endless sunshine. Located on the northern tip of the St Lucian island, the Bodyholiday resort offers a wealth of health programmes that will help you to unwind. Log on to healthandfitnesstravel.com to find your fix, whether you want to try the Fusion Fitness break that promises to get you fit with Shiatsu, kettlebell training and more; or the De-stress package that provides T’ai Chi, yoga and Indian head massage.
Other options include the Weight Loss break, SwimFit getaway, and even an Optimal Wellness vacation. When you’re not working out, you can enjoy the spa treatments, 18-hole championship golf course, PADI diving, tennis, or some healthy food in one of the open-air restaurants. There’s an array of rooms to choose from – some overlooking the gardens; others overlooking the sea – or choose a villa for ultimate luxury. Health and Fitness Travel offers seven nights from £5895pp, or £6045 for single occupancy* . Bliss!
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