Friends react oddly when you explain that your much-anticipated getaway entails four days in an activity and fitness resort on an island. The island part sounds great, the activity and fitness part, however, is met with horrified looks.
The reality is, however, that fitness and activity-centric holidays are becoming more and more popular. Some find their spike in serotonin levels on a sun lounger, but more find the highs of learning a new skill and raising adrenaline levels the hallmark of a brilliant escape.
I fall into the latter category. Running, gymming, swimming and generally moving and being in my body is what brings me joy, so the opportunity to go abroad and get moving for a few days sounds like bliss.
So I book into Club La Santa, Lanzarote, the world's foremost resort for everyone from professional athletes and their coaches, triathletes and iron men and women in training, to families, couples and singles who simply want to learn a new skill or socialise in a yoga class rather than at the bar.
The running track is at the centre of the resort, surrounded by an outdoor gym, Olympic-sized swimming pool, outdoor plaza where classes such as yoga and pilates take place daily in the sunshine, tennis and squash courts, trampolines and pole vaults, scuba diving lessons, surfing in the private bay and a lot more.
The village of La Santa lies 30 minutes northwest of the airport, through its volcanic terrain. The club, its activity centres and accommodation are outside the village, surrounded by rocky running trails which, on our approach, are dotted with joggers and Lycra-wearing cyclists.
The most common accommodation here is the basic but modern apartments, each with its own living space and kitchen (many guests prefer to cook for themselves) and a balcony. There’s no TV, so those travelling with little ones might be wise to pack a tablet or laptop. There are also small houses onsite available to rent, perfect for anyone who wants to bring their own bike or sports gear – as well as families who need a little extra space.
On check-in you’re invited to download the app on which you can check the activity schedule for the week and book into over 15 classes daily, all of which are included in the price of the stay. There may be small rental charges for big equipment, but for the most part it’s as simple as clicking on a class you want to attend. Families will appreciate the excellent kids’ clubs and babysitter services also available.
The atmosphere is relaxed and quiet; the ethos is to enable easy stay, freeing up guests’ time as much as possible to do what they love, whether that be lounging poolside or sweating through a mid-afternoon Body Pump class. This extends to providing an onsite grocery store, masseuses, laundry service and two sports shops.
As for fuel, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the restaurant Atlantico and the menu changes daily. Pig out on pizza and ice cream or keep it lean with the best local fish dishes, paella and raw veggies.
The main pool bar offers excellent coffee and casual lunch fare, while Restaurant Le Lago on the far end of the resort is a more fine-dining affair.
However, you can easily stroll to the nearby village and eat at one of the many small local eateries. Enjoy local fish at Verde Mar Restaurant and excellent cocktails at Restaurante Amêndoa.
Rent a car and drive to the nearby cactus garden in the village of Guatiza, with over 1,000 species homed in a terraced former quarry. The café and restored windmill here make it a worthwhile trip, especially first thing in the morning before the temperatures get too much. Meanwhile, just south of La Santa is Museo Lagomar, a restaurant, bar and art gallery which incorporates the natural lava caves it is built amongst.
The best way to explore the north of Lanzarote is by bike, which you can borrow from the club. Pack a picnic and some sun cream and let the meandering roads dotted with small villages charm you.
I fell into a pleasant routine here from the get-go; fresh fruit and a coffee for breakfast, then a morning yoga class in the sunshine and a quick dip in the bay before lunch.
The afternoons varied from people watching at the race track, where during my stay a Swedish running team were training intensely, reading my book by the pool, a jog to La Santa or an indoor gym workout, then a paddle boarding lesson or some aerobics before a late dinner watching the sunset.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly direct from Dublin to Lanzarote all year round. Stay at Club La Santa from €727 in a Comfort one-bedroom apartment for seven nights, which sleeps up to three adults and a child under 15 years.
For more information and booking visit clublasanta.ie