If you’re an 80/20 kinda girl with an appetite for gyms and quinoa but welcome a sneaky Lauren-Perrier or two to let off steam, then strict health retreat may lack lustre. A new retreat movement is catering to this ‘everything in moderation’ crowd with Active Escapes leading the charge.
My home for 6 nights is a sumptuous villa nestled in Canguu. Soaring bamboo ceilings, net swathed four-poster bed and jaw-dropping outdoor bathroom where you soak under stars satisfies my inner island princess.
I’m one of 13 women ranging in age from 19 to 50 all with diverse health goals. At 7am daily in the villa grounds we we’re led by trainer to Sydney’s elite and exercise scientist Damien Kelly, of body+soul fame. His unique brand of whole body training encompassing all our fitness differences has a few women asking whether he can open a studio in Melbourne (or Perth) soon. Some mornings Damien runs us past rice paddies to a grassed area dotted with palms and belted by ocean to sweat it up. At breakfast personal villa staff whip up whatever you fancy – think poached eggs or banana pancakes. By 10am we opt to laze by our own pool, surf at Echo Beach or shop Seminyak determinedly. By 4pm we front up for core training or whatever Kelly’s cooked up. A day spent learning to surf in the gentle waves of Jimbaran Bay, running beachside stairs then soaking tired muscles in the Ayana Resort and Spa salt pools is unforgettable. As was sipping a crisp Bintang at the cliff-hugging Rock Bar.
Before you say, training on holiday? Let me say this. If holidays are about banishing routine and comfort zones – this is it. I didn’t do laundry or cook. I was challenged daily with intelligent fitness. Sweating it up with inspirational people left me buoyant with health ready to launch back into life.
DO IT: Damien Kelly is hosting Active Escapes Bali over Easter 2015.