By Chiara Spagnolo Gabardi
Let’s face it–our bodies are on display in summer more than any other season, and not all of us feel quite ready for public displays of flesh. Just before the lazy days of summer, we may need a bit of a kickstart to get (or stay) in shape.
Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful, eco-minded luxury properties around the world with full fitness programs in place to help make your body bikini-beautiful, no matter what time of the year it is.
Here’s our pick of 5 fab fitness escapes to fight the flab in sustainably luxurious surroundings, ranging from Swiss mountaintops to Indian jungles.
Green Farm Fitness retreat in Kent, UK, takes environmentally friendly to a whole new level. Set within a mix of ancient woodlands and farmland, and with accommodation in a lovingly restored 600 year old house, this is one holiday that will allow you to go back to your roots. Everything at this eco hotel is locally sourced wherever possible, from the food to the employees. Rain water is harvested to provide water for the washing machines and loos, and solar panels provide all the energy needed by the property. With lush countryside right on your doorstep, and stunning woods and meadows to cycle and run through, you’ll work up a gorgeous glow and leave feeling fantastic.
Get Fit: cycling, running, hiking, walking, fitness classes, suspension training
Wow Factor: set within the Garden of England, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Fallen trees have been converted to make natural fitness props with logs being used instead of weights and suspension cords are hung from trees, for example.
La Clairière in France makes every effort to ensure that their fitness escape is not only luxurious, but ecologically sound, too. From the organic wool mattress you sleep on at night, right down to the eco friendly cleaning products and biodegradable composting, this place is as green as they get. What’s more, 100% of their electricity supply is from renewable energy sources and their food is prepared using fresh organic ingredients, locally sourced where possible. This is one retreat you can be sure that respects the environment as much as their guests.
As for getting fit, bicycles are available for guests to cycle through the well-marked trails of the surrounding forest, though of course hiking there is also an option. To recover from your workout, a full menu of spa treatments is available, as is the use of a large sauna and heated pool.
Get Fit: personal training, yoga classes, forest walks, Qi Gong classes, aqua gym, Nordic walking (with poles)
Wow Factor: The lush green Alsace forest setting will set your spirits soaring, plus the immune boosting food is to live for.
SwaSwara in India holds environmental care very close to its OM-shaped heart. Fresh water is a scarce resource at this eco hotel, so they harvest the rainwater in order to make them self-sufficient – a practice they’ve also extended out to the local school. Any waste water is recycled and used for their organic vegetable gardens and flower beds. This holistic retreat strongly believes in giving back to the land that they feel they have gained so much from.
Get Fit: nature walks, jogging, but of course, yoga is the focus here.
Wow Factor: a truly restorative oasis of serenity, tranquillity and calm – Ayurvedic treatments so good you’ll be in a constant state of bliss!
This year’s hottest new opening in the eco tourism world, Vana Retreat in India, takes their input towards the environment very seriously. This eco hotel boasts certified organic bed and bath linen and bamboo flooring in all the guest rooms. The bottling plant helps save up to 100,000 plastic bottles each year. The retreat uses 100% post-consumer recycled waste paper for all stationery and biodegradable materials wherever possible. They also harvest rainwater, grow organic herbs and salads, buy only what is seasonal, and are always try to source locally.
But it’s not only the health of the planet the retreat is focused on–it wants to make you healthy, too.
Wow Factor: fresh and fabulous interior design, spacious rooms all surrounded by exotic flora.
Get Fit: the fully equipped, modern gym has a pool alongside, and there is a wonderful view to the gardens and is fully equipped, with personal trainers available. Yoga classes and guided hikes are also options.
When staying at Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern, Switzerland, you couldn’t be surrounded by more luxury, or be closer to nature. Located In the midst of the Swiss mountains, the lush property is nestled within breathtakingly beautiful gardens. This exclusive location, with imposing backdrop of the world-famous Eiger and Lauber-hor mountains, always thrills its guests.
To get your body movie-star fit, Wellbeing Escapes has designed a special wellness package taking the advantage of the natural surroundings: the Alpine Flex Fitness retreat programme includes hiking, jogging and cross-fit workouts in the great outdoors. Special bonus: the high altitude makes your body work all the harder and boosts the results. If you prefer to stay indoors, there is a fully equipped gym in the hotel, and of course there is a relaxing spa, complete with sauna, Jacuzzi and treatment rooms, to help your muscles recover.
Wow Factor: luxurious design and fresh Alpine air
Get Fit: Fully equipped gym, well marked forest trails for running, jogging and walking; cross fit workouts, pool, cross country skiing in winter.
For more information on wellness holidays, please click here.