Beat your festive hangover with a feel-good escape - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

Beat your festive hangover with a feel-good escape

The perfect New Year's resolution? Take a holiday that makes you healthier

What's the attraction?

It's that time of year again – the start of January instigates the well-meaning intention to start fitness regimes, get a dose of R&R or shed a few pounds. Wellbeing holidays have entered the mainstream, offering the chance to combine a fabulous location with an activity that will set you on the path to wellness: there's nothing quite like tucking into a well-earned meal following a demanding hike through the countryside. Whether you are after a strict detox to cleanse your system, a massage to sooth your aching muscles, or sunrise yoga gazing out over the ocean, there are plenty of options to choose from.

On top of the world

Toning up in the fresh mountain air is just one of the feel-good factors of a few days on the slopes. And in one of Switzerland's most renowned ski resorts, St Moritz, there is now another reason to visit. The Kulm Hotel (00 41 81 836 8000; www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch), has just unveiled its impressive £8m spa. Spend your days skiing, then retire to the spa with its 12 treatment rooms and pool with a view of Lake St Moritz. Iglu Ski (020-8542 6658; iglu ski.com) is offering a week's half board at the hotel from £1,874 pp, with flights from Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham or Manchester on 16 March, transfers and a lift pass.

Spanish shape-up

Fitscape (020-8968 0501; fitscape.co.uk) runs retreats in some of the most picturesque corners of Europe. During their stay, guests benefit from a team of personal fitness trainers, who can tailor-make a programme to suit all levels and fitness goals. Fitscape's chefs also ensure menus are nutritious, without feeling abstemious. Monasterio is one of its bases in Andalucia, 20 minutes inland from the coast at Sotogrande. The next trip takes place from 28 March and the price of £1,695pp, includes seven nights' full board and various activities, personal training, a fitness consultation, group classes and transfers. Flights extra.

Body beautiful

Saint Lucia is currently benefiting from a clutch of new luxurious hotels. But when it comes to looking and feeling better, one of its more established resorts, The Body Holiday is still ideal for those in search of a bit of feel-good activity combined with some luxury. It has the Caribbean's largest spa as well as innovative programs with themes such as Optimal Wellness. Guests can also book in for a fitness program to stay focused once they return home. Virgin Holidays (0844 557 4321; virginholidays.co.uk) offers seven nights in January from £2,185 pp, all-inclusive with flights from Gatwick and transfers.

Burst of energy

If you can't commit to a week away, The Healthy Holiday Company (020 8968 0501; thehealthyholidaycompany.com) has launched a has launched a series of short "Game Changer" weekends of two to four nights that are designed to kick-start all those good intentions. There's a three-night yoga and surfing break at Paradis Plage on the Moroccan coast near Agadir. Each morning starts with a yoga class, while afternoons are spent mastering the waves then in the spa to soothe aching muscles. The trip costs from £635pp, with flights from Gatwick, transfers and all activities.

Inner calm

Adopting a healthier lifestyle always seems a bit easier in warmer weather. The exotic climes of Sri Lanka offer the chance to do just that. In a spectacular setting two-and-a-half hours north of Kandy, Ulpotha is set on an organic farm. There is no electricity, hot water or alcohol, but what you get instead is peace and tranquillity, meals mainly made from produce from the resort's gardens, yoga classes and Ayurvedic therapies. A week-long break starts at £1,720pp with Fleewinter (020 7112 0019; fleewinter.com) including flights from Heathrow, transfers, full-board, yoga, some treatments and activities.

Austrian overhaul

If you are serious about getting back on track after Christmas, you should consider checking into the Park Hotel Igls (00 43 521 377 305; parkhotel-igls.at) in the Tyrolean Alps. The resort promotes the holistic practices of "Modern Mayr Medicine" devised by Dr Franz Xaver Mayr, which considers digestive health and nutrition, as well as exercise, as central to our wellbeing. The centre's resident medical team devises its guests an individual treatment plan; special programs can also alleviate ailments including back pain and sleep disorders. A seven-day Mayr Classic programme costs from €1,010, full board.

Insider Information

"Try and incorporate some exercise into your holiday, especially if you plan to get back into training. A couple of simple exercise tips: call the hotel in advance and find out what gym equipment they have and plan a workout with your own trainer or local gym instructor before you go. Alternatively go for a run before breakfast, it is a great way to explore." Matt Roberts, personal trainer (mattroberts.co.uk).

Who said that?

"The greatest wealth is health." – Virgil

"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open." – B K S Iyengar

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." – Mark Twain

Home comforts

You don't have to take off for foreign shores to feel the benefits of a healthy holiday. Known for its transformative bush workouts in Kenya, Wild Fitness (020 3286 4886; wildfitness.com) also offers short breaks on the Isle of Wight. A three-night Energiser Weekend based at Northcourt Manor costs from £690 per person.

Obtain some spiritual clarity on a two-night Moonlight Retreat in the company of Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight author, James Attlee. Organised by Alain de Botton's The School of Life (020 7833 1010; theschooloflife.com), the lunar-themed weekend (22-24 Feb) is based at Voewood House and costs £595 full board.

Expend some energy while soaking up the pretty Carmarthenshire countryside on a short break with Mudtrek (01267 202 423; mudtrek.com). It offers ski-style fully catered chalet stays with guided mountain biking along the Brechta Trails from £250pp.

Actress Melanie Walters of Gavin and Stacey fame will lead a three-day Pilates Retreat for intermediates at Champneys Tring (0843 316 222; champneys.com) from 8-10 March for £399.95 per person, full board.

Or explore the wilderness of Dartmoor National Park and work up a sweat on one of the Nordic Fitness Weekends offered at The Prince Hall Hotel (01822 890 403; princehall.co.uk). A guide and personal trainer will accompany you on day's Nordic walking, then there are two nights to recharge in the comfortable surrounding of this pretty country house hotel. From £190 per person, including B&B, one dinner and activities.

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