Travel writer Emily Payne shares some healthy getaways to help you survive and thrive over the holiday season and beyond…
It may be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, but thanks to an excess of present buying, social events, food, drink and family get-togethers, the festive season can feel stressful, tiring and unhealthy. To help you press pause on all that pre-festive mayhem (or to recover after the main event), we’ve rounded up some of the best mini breaks for recharging, resetting and relaxing.
Best for digital detoxing and mental wellbeing
Where: The Clover Mill, Malvern, Worcestershire
Why: Constant scrolling, liking and staring at a screen does nothing for your wellbeing. So, why not ditch the tech and head to the Clover Mill. It’s a soothing Ayurvedic spa retreat set in the tranquil Malvern Hills. With five-star eco-accommodation, spa facilities, treatments, yoga classes, workshops and dining founded on the ancient art and science of Ayurveda, it’s enough to keep you well away from Facebook for some well-deserved you time in beautiful surroundings.
Vital stats: Ayurveda retreats are available as two, three or five-night stays. From £595 per person.
Best for resetting your nutrition habits
Where: Champneys Bootcamp, Hertfordshire
Why: Yes, the concept of a Bootcamp might fill you with dread, but a Champneys bootcamp is a truly luxurious way to ease yourself into a rebooted foodie regime. Sign up for a 4 or 6-night Bootcamp and you’ll enjoy menus designed by nutritionists; diet and fitness discussions and advice on making healthy foodie habits that stick. Plus, ideas for delicious meals and snacks will help you cut calories without missing out. Sample meals while you are there include prawn and avocado quinoa salad with lime dill dressing and Massaman chicken curry with sweet potato. Delicious. Eligible Vitality members can get up to 75% off Champneys two and three-night spa days and spa stays.
Vital stats: Champneys run four and six-night bootcamps throughout December from £1055 per person.
Best for getting physical
Where: Epic Sana, Portugal
Why: Do you like to move it, move it? Can you handle five hours of intense exercise a day? If your idea of festive heaven is smashing PBs and building your core, head to the sunny Algarve for Epic Sana’s intense mega bootcamp. The seven-day programme is held at a beautiful cliff-top resort and includes a fitness evaluation and the kind of exercise regime that makes you feel like you’re winning at life, from Pilates and cycling to from circuits to beach runs and aqua fit. You’ll also get a balanced meal plan to help boost endurance and maximise your performance. Let’s do this.
Vital stats: Seven-day fitness programmes are available with The Healthy Holiday Company from £2635 per person.
Best for an escape from the norm
Why: Fancy having a festive season with a difference? Then why not swap snow for sun, Christmas trees for olive groves and presents for a personal trainer?
If the thought of another year of Brussels sprouts and charades is enough to make you want run for sunnier climes, why not do exactly that and head to Ibiza for your festive-season healthy fix. Yes, really.
in:spa in Ibiza runs award-winning health retreats where you’ll stay at Can Lluc, a tranquil spot in the centre of the island near Sant Rafael, surrounded by pretty gardens, olive groves and panoramic views. Boasting beautiful weather, gourmet detox cuisine, daily yoga classes, hikes, fitness classes and deep-tissue massages, it will definitely make a change to the Eastenders Christmas special and the cold and the dark of the UK. Just the tonic.
Vital stats: A seven-night health and fitness retreat in Ibiza with in:spa is from £1895 per person.
Best for getting those steps up – festive markets
Where: Vienna Christmas market
Why: If you’re keen to soak up the festive atmosphere while maxing out your step count – why not hit the Christmas markets? The prize for prettiest goes to Vienna’s ‘Viennese Dream’ Christmas Market, where you can tick off your present-buying list while listening to local choirs; enjoy local delicacies and not even notice that you’re averaging 20,000 steps a day.
Stay at the stunning Altstadt Vienna in the cultural heart of the city, where each of the 45 rooms and suites is decorated by prominent fashion designers, artists and architects to reflect the history and style of the neighbourhood. Eligible Vitality members can get up to 25% off Mr & Mrs Smith luxury boutique hotels.
Vital stats: The Vienna Christmas market runs from November 16 to December 24. A night at Altstadt Vienna is from £146 per person.
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