For a luxurious break that won’t punish your waistline, this boot camp retreat in beautiful Kefalonia could be the perfect escape
Taking a break is good for the soul, but the drop in activity, coupled with gastronomic treats, can take its toll on your physique. Looking to get away and get trim, I discovered Hellenic Healthy Holidays – an all-inclusive weight-loss, fitness and detox company hosting four retreats a year on Greek island, Kefalonia.
Their action-packed programme is available for up to two weeks and suitable for all, from beginners to seasoned boot campers. A typical experience, though, lasts seven days and is run by a small team of experts leading a party of up to 20 guests.
The pictures looked nice – but the breathtaking beauty of the Emelisse Art Hotel was something else altogether. Situated on a hilly shoreline of the Ionian, the five-star retreat overlooks crystal-clear waters and other islands, with outdoor restaurants and the seclusion of Emblissi beach. But enough of the view – we were there to get fit, and were delighted to see that, as well as the more adventurous outdoor pursuits, it offered three swimming pools, a fitness centre, tennis and squash courts and an Elemis spa.
We were greeted with cold lemongrass-scented towels and smoothies before being shown our clean, crisp rooms, which were spacious and comfortable, most with their own pool in front.
Executive chef Alan Wichert provided three delicious meals a day. The health kick meant no alcohol, coffee or red meat – breakfast included goji berry, cinnamon and almond milk smoothie or quinoa flake porridge with fresh berries and rice milk. Lunch was usually a salad, while dinner was a two-course meal, often fresh fish followed by fruit.
Days began at 7am with herbal teas and fruit, followed by outdoor activity – cycling, running, swimming, kayaking – with the trainers sensitive to the varying fitness levels, slowing down to personally jog with any slower runners. It may be a boot camp, but it’s not the army, after all. There are also one-to-one personal training sessions and a massage every second or third day.
I soon felt the benefit, losing four kilos in 10 days and, more importantly, being inspired to live a healthier lifestyle back home. Hellenic Healthy Holidays lets you relax and detach from everything – apart from your health and wellbeing.
EasyJet flies up to five times a week from Gatwick to Kefalonia and Hellenic Healthy Holidays arranges transfers to and from the airport, taking approximately an hour. The next retreat will take place from 27 September to 4 October 2014.
A seven-night, all-inclusive stay starts from £1,795 for a twin or double room at Emelisse Art Hotel based on two sharing. Single occupancy rates are available. Flights are not included.