Holidays that won’t pile on the pounds

Going on holiday needn’t mean breaking those New Year resolutions.

Holidays can take a toll on your health – all that extra food and lazing around – but things don’t have to be that way. Villa rental company The Thinking Traveller and leading wellness brand Bodyism have teamed up to make sure that not a single day of your holiday need go by without your having checked in with a personal trainer, says Nicole Mowbray in The Daily Telegraph. Bodyism is the “wellness expert to the stars”, training everyone from David Beckham to Pippa Middleton, and The Thinking Traveller offers “exceptional, exclusive villas around the Mediterranean”. The collaboration enables clients to book a Bodyism personal trainer to take with them to any of the luxury villas for the duration of their holiday.

The experience is entirely bespoke: guests pick a villa and a trainer who suits their needs. “Days begin with either dawn yoga, circuit training or one of the Bodyism signature classes… In the afternoon, we had stretching sessions or a massage,” says Mowbray. The Thinking Traveller’s properties come with their own local concierge who can help you explore the local area and organise your days out. And although the trainers are on hand every day to offer nutritional advice, “they won’t be policing what you do or don’t eat or drink each day”. So, fill your boots, then burn it off? Sounds like a plan.

A Bodyism trainer costs £2,500 per week. Their flights, food and drink, transfers, plus accommodation costs (unless they stay at your villa) are extra. Most villas are suitable for training, but check first. See

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

Tai Chi in the Surrey countryside

Grayshott took home the award for best wellness retreat in England in 2019 for the third year running. The countryside spa, located in Surrey, is situated in 47 acres of grounds and surrounded by 700 acres of “peaceful National Trust countryside”, says Roshina Jowaheer in Good Housekeeping. Expect therapeutic treatments, healthy spa cuisine and an extensive range of fitness classes. The Spa has a swimming pool, tennis courts, a gym and exercise classes including pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi. Guests are also able to book into nutritional evaluations, personal training sessions and acupuncture. Grayshott is known around the world for its approach to addressing the consequences of modern life through good gut health – an expert team of specialists is always on hand to advise.

“It’s all bathrobes and comfy slippers – until dinner,” says The Daily Telegraph. That’s when you learn that “healthy eating can be full of flavour” and needn’t be bland. The food is largely sourced locally – look out for the free-range chicken breast with roast fennel and the Thai prawn and red mullet curry, which are “divine”.

Two nights from £465. See

Cardio drumming classes in Mexico

La Puerta is “widely acknowledged as one of the best spas in the world”, says Suzannah Ramsdale in the Evening Standard. The weekly schedule is packed from 6am to 8pm every day, but “it’s perfectly acceptable to spend an entire day snoozing” by the pools. There are 325 fitness classes to choose from during a typical week, so it might be a good idea to try as many as possible. They range from yoga and pilates to hip-hop classes to boxing. There are also the more unconventional “lively cardio drumming class” and trampoline sessions. Guided meditation, sound therapy and yoga philosophy are also available most days. Spa treatments, though not included in the package, are worth the investment. “I opted for an 80-minute facial using the ranch’s own skincare line, La Puerta Core Essentials, and I’m still seeing the benefits weeks later,” says Ramsdale. There are over 25-miles of trails around the ranch and sunrise hikes are “life-affirming”. Much of the fresh food is sourced from the ranch’s organic farm.

Fitness Week rates range from £2,890 to £4,560 per person. See

A reset for worn-out serfs

For all their “gratuitous perks”, Silicon Valley employees still haven’t quite figured out a work-life balance. They might want to check into Canyon Ranch Woodside, where overworked techies can put their “gruelling 80-hour-plus weeks” behind them.

A 45-minute drive from San Francisco, Woodside aims to help those who struggle with work-life balance “and feng shui their minds, bodies, and souls”. The resort is sprawled across 16 acres of forest and surrounded by “towering, 50-foot-plus redwood trees” and has 38 guest rooms. There are two signature retreats to choose from: Connect and Recharge. A Recharge retreat lasts three days and includes sunrise meditation and “somewhat unorthodox fitness classes”, including a “Zen boot camp” obstacle course, mountain biking sessions and hikes along the coast. Meals are organic and nutrient dense, and all ingredients are sourced from within a 25 mile radius. No wonder that fatigued tech workers flock to Woodside in droves.

Rooms cost from $899 per night, including all meals. See

Nicole García Mérida

Nic studied for a BA in journalism at Cardiff University, and has an MA in magazine journalism from City University. She joined MoneyWeek in 2019.