Expert fitness & detox holidays in Europe & Morocco
The Quick Read: in:spa run regular week-long posh wellbeing holidays that combine hikes, yoga, cleansing meals, nutritional advice and personal training led by a hand-picked expert team. They choose beautiful, remote locations in France, Spain and Morocco, and add a touch of class to the healthy holiday experience. Come to detox, tone up, lose weight, get fitter and de-stress. The Intense versions of their holidays are the ones to opt for if you like exercise or want more dramatic change to your weight or fitness levels, and the company can arrange bespoke retreats for groups too.
More on the locations: In the South of France stay at the fairytale Chateau Robernier or Puyssentut, a Medieval Chateau. The Spanish venues are Hotel Monasterio de San Martin, a converted 18th century monastery and Cal Reit in rural Mallorca. Their Moroccan bases are Dar Liqama, a luxury villa located in the Palmerie district just outside the walls of Marrakech and Le Palais Paysan, a boutique hotel located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. Whichever location you choose, you can be sure in:spa have gone out of their way to find a location that’s rejuvenating as well as practical. They’re currently not running any healthy breaks in the UK, preferring to stick to places where you’ll have the most chance of sunshine. Read a word from the queen on her retreat in Morocco.
More on the healthy holidays: You’ll be warmly hosted by a retreat manager, who ensures everything runs smoothly. Though there’s a full programme of events you’re encouraged to listen to your body – if you need to sleep, sleep, if you want to take yourself off one afternoon away from the group, do it. In addition to the group activities of hikes, regular yoga, cross training sessions, there may be a cycle ride, a one-to-one session with the nutritionist and personal trainer, 45-minute massages (given by local therapists). These personal sessions will help you use the week to great effect, whether you want to work on your posture, your fitness, your stress levels or your diet.
More on in:spa intense weeks: For those who want to push themselves more, you’ll find the pace a lot more challenging on an Intense week. The hikes and circuit classes are longer and tougher, you’ll have two personal training sessions, and there are a lot more optional ideas, such as morning fun runs and additional circuit training sessions. They’re for those who are already into fitness, but not for the super fit or those used to Iron Man challenges. The week is simply more intense than usual.
Food & drink: You’re encouraged to reduce or cut out caffeine, alcohol, bread and snack foods a week before you arrive on an in:spa holiday. You’re then served healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners which somehow manage to taste staggeringly good yet contain no sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol or red meat. Dairy is on the side – so you can help yourself to goat’s cheese and yoghurt if you desire. The meals on offer depend on the expertise of the private chef on your particular holiday, and often nod to the region in which you are in. On our in:spa week in Morocco, for example, chef Alan Wichert created inspired fusion dishes – think Vietnamese rice paper rolls with marinated chicken, guava, papaya & mango, or smoked trout from the Atlas Mountains with fresh garden roccolla.
Fellow guests: in:spa usually attracts intelligent, high-earning professionals from the UK and the rest of Europe, usually in their 30s and 40s looking to de-stress in luxurious surroundings. Most are travelling alone, some are in couples. The price bracket also attracts a fair number of upbeat and reasonably fit ‘empty nesters’ and retirees. Though the team make every effort to ensure no-one is underchallenged or left behind, you will inevitably be part of a group of varying abilities – if you’re pretty fit and healthy already, an Intense week is probably the one to go for.
What’s lowly: If you particularly like a teacher, nutritionist or trainer, you may have to wait a while before being able to experience their expertise again, as the experts change with each trip.
Costs: A 7-night holiday in France costs from £1,895 per person sharing or £2, 595 for a person staying alone in a standard room, including all meals, classes and activities, 2 massages and airport transfers to and from flights recommended by in:spa.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
© Queen of Retreats