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Be inspired every day with Living North
group of people in the sea
March 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

Embark on your perfect wellness holiday this year

There was a time when putting effort into your wellbeing was a pursuit best hidden. While bonding over shared vices is something we will always do, it's hard not to notice that more and more of us are deciding to go sober, announce we're running half marathons, or at the least have a mindfulness app on our phones. Perhaps as a consequence, holiday trends are changing too, and ever increasing numbers are choosing to let off steam with a workout in the sun rather than a night on the strip.

Wellness encompasses the entirety of our wellbeing: physical, emotional and spiritual. Consequently, while activities like yoga might be a recurring theme, wellness holidays and retreats do vary a lot. If you're tempted to use your next holiday as an opportunity to invest in your wellbeing, here are a few of our favourites to get you thinking.
Best for Family-Friendly Wellness

Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, Santorini

The wellness offering at Andronis’ Santorini resort might be their USP but, as it is primarily offered through the onsite Kallos Spa, it is more of an opt-in situation than a retreat. The hotel is a 10 minute walk from the picturesque village of Imerovigli, where you can spend time enjoying the iconic white and blue architecture, dramatic coastline and volcanic landscape that make Santorini such a desirable holiday destination.This makes Andronis Concept ideal for families with diverging ideas of relaxation, or those who enjoy a yoga session or two but also want to make the most of local cuisine.

There are 28 luxury suites to choose from, each with a private terrace and plunge pool. The on-site restaurant has two menus: a standard a la carte and a ‘wellness menu’, with the latter being entirely vegan. Those in search of wellness will primarily be concerned with the spa. There are three pools, including the longest infinity pool in Santorini, and an infinitely Instagrammable cave pool with its own waterfall. There is a modern gym and a yoga studio offering Vinyasa Flow, Hatha Yoga and Balance yoga with views of the sea. They also lead one-and two-hour hikes from the hotel up to views of the Caldera, and have personal trainers available to book if you would rather a private session. 

There are a huge variety of treatments to choose from, ranging form the more expected massages, scrubs and facials to chakra healing, red light therapy and a specialised ‘mother to be’ massage. For those wanting to begin a longer-term journey into wellness, the resort offers lifestyle and nutrition consultations, but if you’re really serious about understanding your health, you may want to sign up for an epigenetics consultation. In these consultations, they use ‘Cell Wellbeing’ technology to analyse the external factors that are affecting your health and build a programme of advice from there. 

Importantly, it’s not just adults that benefit from the spa’s amenities. Andronis caters for children of all ages and younger guests can look forward to children’s yoga classes, parent/child spa treatments for those over the age of six and pool floats. It’s important to teach them good habits young, but it helps that the mini bathrobes on offer are also very, very cute.

Best for Fitness

The Body Camp Mallorca

If labelling this camp ‘fitness’ strikes fear into your heart, bear with us. RickI Parcell, who designed the programme, might have started out as a trainer for the navy but he is also a mindfulness expert and The Body Camp’s ethos is firmly rooted in building the confidence of all their guests rather than leaving them feeling broken. 

Having said that, the ‘full immersion programme’ at The Body Camp is a commitment in every sense. Wake up is at 6.30am, morning activities are compulsory, you will be fed five times a day – three meals, two snacks, and they have a zero tolerance alcohol policy. The personal development element of the camp is equally as integral (think affirmations, group mindfulness, a shamanic healer) so it would be fair to say that this is not one for the cynical; if you want to make the most out of the camp and bond with your fellow campmates then you need to be all in. It’s a very specific experience on offer but, if that’s what you’re looking for, then this is absolutely the place to do it. 

The Body Camp also have retreats in Somerset and Marrakesh which follow a very similar formula, but it’s their week-long Mallorca experience that most appeals to us (especially with direct flights to be had from Newcastle, Teesside and Leeds Bradford). Base camp is a rustic villa on a private, 25-acre estate in Sencelles. The villa is well-equipped with a pool, tennis courts, gym, yoga studio and running track. This may describe itself as a camp, but there is no roughing it; the rooms are all white walls, tiled floors and lots of nice features like beams and exposed brick. A lot of gusts attend alone, and there is an option to stay in shared rooms or, at the other end of the scale, in garden studios with private entrances and terraces. 

The main fitness element of the camp happens in the morning, with 80s soundtracks accompanying a varied programme including classic workout activities like boxing, circuits and TRX (those handles you might have seen people strap to trees), alongside more whimsical activities such as treasure hunts and pool games. The afternoons are slightly more free-form, but there will always be activities on offer like yoga classes, cookery demonstrations, various treatments (think massages and reflexology), hiking and evening quizzes.

The aim of this camp is to kickstart habits that will accompany you back to drizzlier climes, and so there is a serious focus on investigating the mental barriers that might be holding you back. Their long-term approach also means that crash diets or over-training are a big no no, as are measurements and weighing scales. 

Having said all this, working toward weight loss is an option. The food is all uber-healthy, plant-based and prepared by the resident chef, but you can choose between three portion sizes for the week depending on whether you’d like to lose weight, eat at a maintenance level, or increase muscle mass.  

The Body Camp Mallorca retreats run weekly from Friday 5th April 2024.

Best for Women’s Health

Amanda Hamilton Retreats

Amanda Hamilton is a former BBC TV presenter and nutritionist who specialises in menopausal and perimenopausal health. She runs a number of retreats in Scotland, but we like the sound of her Complete Retreat at the Beach in North Berwick.

The retreat is hosted by Marine, a five-star hotel with endless sea views and traditional charm; think dark wood, leather and velvet interiors. Ordinarily, this would be the sort of place that makes you think of drinking scotch by the fire, but not so for Amanda’s clients.

Instead, over the course of four days and three nights, they are treated to what she calls ‘detox-style’ food designed to boost your metabolism and improve gut health. In other words, losing weight and burning fat are part of the objective here. Aiding this is an exercise programme which includes lots of pilates, beach walks and a daily workout challenge. The retreat does not market itself as a quick fix, but rather an educational experience that will equip you with the knowledge and skills to integrate the programme’s principles into everyday life. 

Guests also get to enjoy daily use of the hotel’s extensive spa complex. Their facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, an indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool, multiple variations on steam rooms, an ice room, a sensation shower and a gym. 

Of course, when you’re putting this much effort into self-improvement, it seems only fair that your hard work is accompanied by some pampering. Thankfully, the spa also offers a good range of treatments, from massages to eyebrow tinting, so that you can emerge looking, as well as feeling, your very best. 

The next Complete Retreat at the Beach will run from Thursday 10th October to Sunday 13th October 2024 (spaces are limited so it’s worth booking well ahead).

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