On The Road
Seven Hotels That Will Get You Fit In 2019
The vacation spots promising you a beach body when you leave – even if you didn’t have one when you checked in
The Sanchaya hotel on Bintan Island, Singapore. Photograph courtesy of The Sanchaya
Just look down. What do you see? A trim, toned body you are perfectly happy with, or a collection of disheartening bulges, the suggestion of a paunch perhaps? And how’ve you been feeling recently? A little harried? Not totally tiptop? Stressed, exhausted, hungover and in dire need of a total overhaul of the whole shebang?
We do our best, of course, in these times when self-care, me-time and #goals obsession have become the norm. But rarely do we feel satisfied with the amount of effort and commitment, or the number of hours we manage to put in. And that’s where an intensive retreat comes in: to kick-start a new regimen, or to ramp up your current training.
That doesn’t mean booking into some dreary health farm. Boutique hotels are getting in on the action, hiring world-class personal trainers and athletes, running activities ranging from Muay Thai to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and engaging the latest bio-tech for guests.
So, why not check out, and maybe check into these hot hotels that promise to get you fit and make you happy.
Lanserhof Lans, Innsbruck, Austria
Photograph courtesy of Lanserhof Lans
Terms such as “gastrointestinal diagnostics”, “psychoneuroimmunology” and “chronomedicine” are bandied about at the Lanserhof Lans as often as “smoothie” and “sun salutation” are at Champneys. Surrounded by Tyrolean mountain scenery and featuring Scandi-smart interior design, this is one of those serious sorts of spas, where doctors and sports scientists replace manicurists and aromatherapists.
Guests follow the time-honoured Lans Med Concept programme, influenced by wellness guru Dr Franz Xaver Mayr who, in the 1900s, began to develop a method for diagnosing and treating chronic illness through treatments and lifestyle change. Do the advised two weeks if you can (there’s a shortened week-long alternative). The results speak for themselves.
What’s more, following an increase in male guests over the last five years (men now make up 45 per cent of visitors), the resort has developed a chap-specific programme, with specialist lectures on male andrology, ageing and hormones, analysis of mental and physical performance, and ultrasounds of the thyroid, neck and prostate. Converts will be pleased to know a small Lanserhof medical gym is about to open at London’s Dover Street Arts Club, if you want further encouragement when you get home.
What to pack
The Sanchaya, Bintan Island, Indonesia
Photograph courtesy of The Sanchaya
With an A-list clientele and appearances on the covers of magazines including Men’s Fitness, performance and fitness coach Mr Artur Zolkiewicz is in high demand at home in London. But he also hosts camps at The Sanchaya, an indulgent seafront estate on Bintan Island, an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore – the next one runs from 22 March until 1 April. There are free daily classes for all residents during his stint, majoring on stretching and cardio sessions, but he will also create bespoke personal training programmes for individuals. The resort offers an immaculately designed collection of 29 villas and suites, with Aesop toiletries, private wine cabinets and stunning views of the South China Sea. As well as Mr Zolkiewicz’s sessions, days can be filled with SUP, yoga, swimming in the Olympic-sized pool, hiking, biking, golf, fishing, spa treatments (with lots of coconut) and strolling up and down palm-fringed white sands.
What to pack
Lime Wood House, Hampshire, UK
Photograph by Ms Amy Murrell, courtesy of Lime Wood House
Arboreal charms, tea shops and wild ponies it may have, but the New Forest has never been considered especially glamorous. Yet that’s exactly where one of the UK’s leading personal trainers, Mr Matt Roberts – he of a thousand Saturday supplement exercise pull-outs – is headed this spring.
At Lime Wood, Mr Roberts will coach guests through a tough schedule of circuits, kettlebells, running, cycling, boxing, agility sets, Pilates and yoga. Exercise will add up to 14 hours of training over a long weekend. The hard bit is complemented by two 60-minute massages and time in the hotel spa. The coach doesn’t even get a break for dinner, dining instead with guests in the restaurant each evening.
What to pack
Adler-Thermae, Tuscany, Italy
Photograph courtesy of Adler-Thermae
Longings for all those wonderful Tuscan truffle pastas, bistecca alla fiorentina, chestnut puddings and Brunello wines that make Italy’s most varied gastronomic region so delightful will have to be swallowed and forgotten when you book onto the Adler-Thermae’s “weight-loss for men” week. Instead, fat-burning exercise, six fat-reducing body treatments, Hiit, personal coaching, detox massages and several medical and biological check-ups will be dished up.
At least there’s the 50°C thermal waters of nearby town Bagno Vignoni to savour, imbued with minerals, bicarbonate and sulphur compounds, and directed up into the resort’s 1,000sq m spa, with steaming indoor and outdoor pools, Dead Sea salt grotto, saunas and a steam cave. Skip the wine tours and opt for hikes into the Val d’Orcia, following trails downloaded onto the Hotel Adler app. Then comes cycling, golf, horse riding and triathlon training. Fail to check out a few pounds lighter, with a slimmer belly and hips, feeling motivated and full of energy, and you obviously cheated.
What to pack
Revivo, Bali, Indonesia
Photograph by What The Fox Studio, courtesy of Revivo Resorts
At the Revivo organic weight-loss retreat in Bali, you’ll be too busy experimenting with qigong (Chinese yoga), TRX, tai chi, aerial yoga and more to notice you’ve been moving all day, and that those trousers are feeling looser. Bodies are only the half of it. Revivo’s approach says that to feel better, it’s crucial to work on the mind and spirit, too, rather than simply hunkering down and cutting out the crisps. So there’s Tibetan meditation, twice-daily mindfulness sessions, and a certain amount of introspection and training of the mind. Days intersperse spa treatments (try the “facial for him”) with workouts and healthy meals on a range of set three-day programmes, including the “detox organic weight loss” option which is popular with men. Throw in the tropical backdrop of Nusa Dua in south Bali and you’ll definitely want to tag on a few days to just waft around in a sarong and relax.
What to pack
The Siam, Bangkok, Thailand
Photograph courtesy of The Siam
Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River has been an important trading artery for centuries, enabling a small 15th-century settlement to swell into the glittering metropolis it is today. Teak and rice barges and floating markets still drift along its waters, but you’re as likely to see sophisticates pacing the banks in their designer athleisure wear as fruit sellers pedalling overloaded bikes.
It’s here that the hotel industry’s new favourite son, Mr Bill Bensley, designed the drop-dead gorgeous riverfront boutique hotel, The Siam. A gleaming example of Art Deco glamour, chock-full of divine antiques, silks and proper art, and with a long, sleek pool looking out across the river, it’s the ideal place to make yourself look as good as your surroundings.
Set to in the hotel’s own Thai boxing ring, where hard-core trainers have been engaged to kick guests into shape. Personalised training programmes range from a beginner’s taster class to a week or more’s intensive course for advanced fighters. The hotel’s other “signature experiences” include getting inked with sacred magical-religious Buddhist designs at the consecrated space of the Sak Yant Tattoo Studio (the hotel’s tattoo master, Mr Ajarn Boo recently did one for Mr Sam Smith). You might prefer the pain-free sunset voyage on the Siam’s luxuriously refurbished teak barge, The Golden Naga, to view the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Chinatown illuminated beneath the stars.
What to pack
Photograph courtesy of Finolhu
Fire shows. A swim-up DJ booth. Dancing on a sandbar until 2.00am. A retro tuck shop. Full-moon barbecues. This is not a health retreat as you know it. It’s not even the Maldives as you know it. Finolhu, on Kanifushi Island in Baa Atoll, has turned the archipelago’s traditional honeymoon-friendly resort model on its head, offering a fun and funky hideaway that suits groups of friends and families as much as couples. Guests tend to be people with gym routines to maintain and figures to show off in the season’s swimwear, so along with jet-ski tours, reef snorkelling and manta ray diving, they’ll put in time at the beachfront spa and gym and tackle the rock-climbing wall. Even more full-throttle are the new UFC gym sessions, a fitness concept conceived by Ultimate Fighting Championship, the American mixed-martial-arts promoter. UFC trainer Ms Geneviève Soszynski is based at the island’s Cove Club to put guests through boxing, kick-boxing and jiujitsu combined with gym workouts. Maybe that visit to the tuck shop is well deserved after all.