Santhosh Dance Retreat, Ibiza
Energising luxury dance retreats on the White Isle
Best for: Those feeling stuck in mind, body and soul, in need of a good old belly laugh and a secret longing to unleash their inner ‘Strictly’ dancer.
Not for: Those looking for a regimented, diet focused retreat.
Santhosh runs marvellous four night luxury dance retreats twice a year on Ibiza at the magical home of the company’s owner, Sri Lankan born Samiya. Tucked away from the rest of the world, La Vista Villa is a finca perched on a hilltop, hugged by Ibiza’s sparkling northern coastline near Portinax between the two sparkling bays of Cala Xucla and Cala Xarraca. Architect Rolf Blakstadt has lovingly blended the old finca charms with modern, elegant Arabic designs. Dance the day and night away to fantastic music with three incredibly talented young men with unique styles and teaching methods, who share a brotherly-like love and passion for their craft. Dance here is beyond tradition. The styles range from American Smooth; a sultry take on Waltz, Zouk; the sensual, intuitive Latin move and ‘party’ dance Kizomba to the more recognised Tango, Salsa and Cabaret. You can also have your very own bespoke dance retreat here if you can make a group of 12.
This is an injection of pure sunshine energy that shines light onto worries, doubts and fears through the great alchemy of music and dance.
The jam-packed schedule may leave little time for sightseeing. Add a few days either side to soak up the island.
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Dance like no one is watching, feast in royal settings and laugh until you cry. Daily schedule includes three meals, morning yoga, one group dance class followed by one private session or a massage, and evening social dancing.
Dance here is beyond tradition. American Smooth; the sultry Waltz, Zouk; sensual, intuitive Caribbean movement and ‘party’ dance Kizomba are weaved amongst the Tango, Salsa and Cabaret. It is pure exploration. With one hour long group classes each day and informal, elating social dancing every evening post dinner. Two forty-five minute private classes are included in the package in order for to gather techniques and gain a deeper understanding of how sound and movement can be essential to happiness. The three London based teachers Edgars, Nuno and Gigo are all trained instructors, teaching full time and even competing at international levels. All three have been dancing since childhood and this unique quality means they are each able to share their own styles and strengths.
=”s1″>Iyenger trained James has been teaching internationally for many years. He is now based in Sweden but flies to Ibiza to teach for Santhosh. He delivers kind, calm, gentle and considered yoga essentials every morning after breakfast from 9.15am. Alignment based classes are 90 minutes, accessible and mindful. The space is open to beginners as he guides from a place of experience and knowledge. Mats and props are provided and location may vary depending on weather, but most sessions take place under the canopy-covered terrace, overlooking the crystal sea.
There’s a twenty-minute pre dinner amble on arrival to see the coastline and sunset. Followed by one sunset or moonrise three-hour hike mid-week led by informative resident guide Toby Clarke and Cosmo his dog unveils magnificent views, history and secrets of the Island. In just ten minutes through the private woodlands, enjoy a late afternoon solo walk directly from bedroom door to the Mediterranean Sea. Pack trainers for comfort and a camera for the essential ‘selfie’ moments.
Post sweaty dance, 60 minutes of outdoor massage bliss is the perfect way to drift off under the carob tree, whilst highly trained therapists tend to your muscular and spiritual needs. Monika’s approach is more intuitive, Elizabeth offers deep tissue and stress relief. One treatment is included in the package, and you can book extras.
Bespoke retreats are on offer for up to 12 people throughout the year. Ideal for friends with a passion for dance, food and the good life. Opt for February to witness the Almond blossoms in bloom or April, June or October for warm days and evenings.
All six air-conditioned rooms are located in the main or adjoining house and offer privacy, but are only a sashay away from the main communal spaces. Each room is decorated with simplicity in mind. Beds have handmade blankets and Arabic rugs covered the exposed stone/wooden floors. Some rooms are lighter than others, with a balcony terrace, whilst others are located in the lower grounds of the property. Bathrooms are all clean and bright.
The bridal suite’s jaw dropping views takes the prize for the best room and is therefore the most expensive. The four-poster bed with ensuite bathroom leaves plenty of space to be spun around the sea view terrace during a private tango lesson.
The old converted horse’s barn is the cutest bolthole to nestle away in, located away from the rest of the rooms. It has a stone washed white wall exterior, draped with pink and purple bougainvillea hanging over a bench by the front door. There are two single beds, a handmade clothes rail and a low wooden slatted ceiling with a small, box sky light. The small bathroom has a shower and natural toiletries are provided.
Other spaces to be
There are plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy alone time across the grounds. Time can be spent in the gardens by the poolside overlooking the sea or in one of the multiple, sun-lit courtyards.
Pack comfortable clothes to dance in. Trainers are essential for the hike. Stay an extra few nights and visit Es Vedra rock, recognized as the third most magnetic place on Earth.
When to Go
Group retreats run in June and September, both optimal times to visit the island and enjoy the warm weather, whilst avoiding the mid summer heat. February is a wonderful month for a bespoke retreat as the almond blossoms are in bloom, but April, June and October are equally popular for enjoying the natural surroundings and warmer weather.
Nothing is off the table here and food is made with love, so expect salt, sugar, gluten and dairy. The food ethos is relaxed and informal amongst guests and staff, but the décor and food presentations are of five star standard. There’s an elegant buffet lunch at 12.15pm on the privately owned rocky cliffs by the sea on one day and a more intimate canopy covered courtyard luncheon between the two adjoining houses the next. Tables are always magnificently dressed with white table cloths covered in freshly picked flowers.
Carolina, who has been with the family for 16 years, serves a buffet breakfast from 7.45am on the outdoor communal table facing the carefully manicured maze garden. The invisible fairy godmother can occasionally be seen roasting coffee and whisking up freshly scrambled eggs. Expect a rainbow of fruits, yoghurts, bread and cheese.
La Grande Bouffe provide finger-licking lunch and dinner feasts including fish, meat or vegetarian delights. Dietary requirements can be catered for but spreads are so delicious, even fussier eaters can be converted. Having worked for some of London’s best, chef James is a culinary artist. Expect lavish three course meals, with healthy fresh juices with lunches and fine wines at dinner. Bold colours and tastes of freshly caught sea bass from Formentera or high quality sushi.
The evenings are for romance. Candlelit dinners at 8.30pm begin with Mojito’s or Gin & Tonic’s by the pool or on the terrace. The settings for the evening meals are incredibly special and dressing up is encouraged. Dining on the second night takes place by the pool, with sweet touches of paper lanterns that spell out the words ‘All will be well’ and trees are adorned with lights. The last night’s experiential, indulgent chocolate dessert show is not to be missed.
Guests are encouraged to bring water bottles and drink the spring water that comes from the land. Plastic free living is embraced here. Local staff are used for upkeep of property including the housekeeper and garden company. All foods are fresh, seasonal and locally sourced. Santhosh believe in cutting down on waste, both in terms of electricity usage and plastic bottles. Guests are encouraged to bring water bottles and drink the tap water that comes from the land.
Portinax, North Ibiza.