Holidays with a fitness focus

Holidays with a focus on fitness in photogenic destinations may give travellers the motivation they need to stay healthy

NEW YORK • Many people make resolutions to exercise more and follow a healthy diet at the beginning of a new year, but sticking to those goals is easier said than done.

This year, however, several new fitness-focused retreats in photogenic destinations could help give travellers the motivation they need for lasting success.

Deprivation is not the point of these getaways: Instead of calorie-restricted diets and hours of punishing workouts, these options emphasise balance, a sense of place and, most importantly, pleasure.

In fact, at most, imbibing is not off-limits - it is even encouraged.

ToneEscapes, for example, is a new company offering five small group retreats throughout the year in locations such as Marbella, Spain; Santorini, Greece; and Saint Lucia.

Mr Mantas Zvinas, the company's founder and a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor in New York City, said the trips are meant to be the opposite of a boot camp.

"I want to teach people a sustainable lifestyle where you work out moderately and absolutely enjoy a glass or two of wine and reasonable portions of sweets," he said.

Like all ToneEscapes retreats, the one in Marbella, from March 23 to 29, will have morning workouts that incorporate the surrounding environment, such as bicycle rides along the Andalucia Coast and hikes through the Sierra de las Nieves mountains.

Afternoons will include visits to historic villages and meeting local olive oil and wine producers.

Meals will emphasise the abundance of seafood and produce in the area and local wine will be served during lunch and dinner.

Prices start at US$3,900 (S$5,200) a person. The package includes accommodation, meals, workouts, excursions, activities, local transportation and one spa treatment. Book online at

AKT Retreats, for women only, is another choice. Ms Anna Kaiser, a certified personal trainer and the owner of New York City workout studios AKT, created four trips for next year with the purpose of teaching participants how to develop life-long healthy habits in a fun setting.

One retreat, in Nicaragua from May 6 to 11, for example, will have a schedule of morning workouts that includes interval classes, volcano hikes and kayaking in the Pacific Ocean. Afternoons feature cooking classes on Nicaraguan cuisine and sightseeing tours. Meals will highlight local ingredients. Prices start at US$3,200 a person and the package is inclusive of accommodation, meals, workouts, excursions, local transportation and one spa treatment. Book online at

WearActive will lead week-long fitness retreats in the Austrian Alps all year round. Guests stay in a private home and can design their schedule. Activities include skiing, snowboarding and snowshoe hiking in winter, mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing in summer and yoga during both seasons.

An in-house chef prepares all meals. Prices start at €880 (S$1,400) a person. The package includes accommodation, most meals, activities and transfers. E-mail to book.

38 Degrees North will host three-night active getaways throughout the year in Ibiza and Marbella.

Workouts include beach runs, hikes and sunset yoga classes, while group sessions with a nutritionist are also part of the itinerary.

Prices start at €1,300 a person. The package includes accommodation, most meals, workouts and some activities. Book online at


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'Retreat and stay in shape'. Print Edition | Subscribe