Healthy holidays are the way forward. What better way to get your R&R than with some expertly-instructed yoga thrown in or deliciously healthy food to accompany it. We speak to Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, and an expert in healthy holidays. As well as a love of all things travel, Paul’s other love is exercise, cycling and yoga. He is the perfect man to tell us exactly what we should be booking for our summer holiday right now!
Where would you recommend for the ultimate chill out?
If you’re looking for somewhere spectacular to de-stress, completely unwind and reconnect with nature, I recommend Zighy Bay in Oman, set in its own secluded bay. The contrast of the spectacular mountains and sparkling beaches makes it the perfect location to recharge your batteries and there are a number of activities, holistic classes and spa treatments to choose from. Enjoy a real sense of relaxation for total renewal.
Where would you suggest for a hard-core work-out week?
Our 38° North Fusion Fitness holiday at Aguas de Ibiza is the perfect place to shape up whilst enjoying some renowned Ibiza sunsets. From kickboxing to rooftop yoga classes, hiking to mountain biking, there is a full schedule of group exercise and personalised training for maximum results. If you are someone who is looking for a hard core workout week, then this fitness holiday is for you as it can be tailor-made to suit your preferences. You can also unwind with spa treatments, meditation and enjoy healthy meals.
Where is the best place to lose weight?
Longevity Wellness Resort nestled in the green mountains of Monchique has a structured weight management programme that is designed to guide you towards achieving and maintaining your ideal weight. They are also a pioneer in preventative anti-ageing medicine with an extensive timetable of wellness workshops and group activities from yoga and boxing, to nature hiking. The Longevity team will give you the tools and help to aid weight loss, helping you to manage your weight with a healthy diet.
Where should yoga bunnies go?
If you’re a fan of yoga, sunshine, delicious healthy food, fresh fruit smoothies and incredible juices then try Absolute Sanctuary, in Koh Samui, Thailand. This stunning Moroccan-inspired boutique resort offers five yoga classes a day including pranayama, meditation, Yoga flow, hatha, Ashtanga, yin, detox and hot yoga. The jungle studio, where all the classes take place has huge windows, so natural light can flood through, allowing you to enjoy a beautiful view. As well as the unlimited yoga offered in their yoga holiday programme, you also get the luxury of a daily aroma or Thai stretch massage at the spa.
Where has a fantastic spa?
My favourite spa holiday is The BodyHoliday in St Lucia, the all-inclusive wellness resort at the northern end of this beautiful island has an impressive amount of holistic, fitness and sports activities with one daily spa treatment included. Having been voted Best Destination Spa in the world by Conde Nast Traveller readers, they offer a vast menu of spa treatments from Ayurvedic to reiki and extensive body and facial treatments with a specialised skin clinic. You will end your holiday feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and recharged.
Where have you been that has exceeded all your expectations?
Ananda in the Himalayas, 3,000 feet above sea-level and surrounded by vibrant green flora and valleys, brisk mountain air, and stunning scenery promotes a holistic approach to healing the mind, body, and spirit through its philosophy of combining Ayurveda and yoga. Bordered by the River Ganges, this chic destination spa nurtures a serene atmosphere and is a beautiful property with friendly staff, great rooms and fabulous food. Spa treatments, yoga, and meditation sessions stimulate spiritual well-being with adventure activities to invigorate physical health.
Is there anywhere new you would suggest people go?
The Chateau Spa and Organic Wellness Resort is a new destination spa in Malaysia offering a daily schedule of activities including tennis, golf, yoga, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking and jungle trekking to archery, exercise and dance classes, meditation and organic farming.
Paradis Plage in Morocco offers a good mix of yoga, surfing, spa and hiking. It’s not luxurious but offers good value and a relaxed atmosphere with spacious accommodation. The yoga studio on the beach is a perfect space to enjoy classes every day and the spa has two hammams.
Buccament Bay, located on the stunning Caribbean island of St Vincent surrounded by lush green mountains, and a beautiful white sand beach offers sporty holidays with a tennis, football and cricket academy to hone your skills or enjoy healthy lifestyle retreats to enhance your well-being.
How/why did you start up Health and Fitness Travel?
I’ve always loved to travel and had an interest in the health and fitness industry. I was never one for fly and flop holidays and always wanted an active and healthy break whilst away. When I used to search on the internet for these types of breaks I’d always find hippy-style yoga retreats and fitness holidays run from someone’s villa which didn’t appeal to me. I’d also find lots of spa holiday websites which would list many general spa resorts. I created Health and Fitness Travel for someone like myself who wants a bit of luxury and the right type of healthy holiday with a bespoke tailor-made experience. I always wanted to create a travel company which would appeal to both women and men, as men don’t want just a spa holiday.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Kamalaya in Thailand is fantastic for a detox and fitness holiday. Guest teachers and practitioners fly in from all over the world to this spectacular wellness sanctuary in Koh Samui. The spa therapists are world class and the food is so healthy but delicious. On arrival it’s like entering a different world, somewhere truly magical and calming where you end your holiday feeling totally restored in mind and body.
What do you never travel without?
Probiotics, my music and good reading material, along with lose fitting clothes for exercise, yoga and hiking. I always carry copies of my passport and holiday insurance, and leave the originals in my hotel safe as trying to get a passport replacement is not fun.
What’s your top tip for long haul flights?
Keep hydrated as the air inside a plane cabin is very dry, so make sure to drink plenty of water. The one bottle of water supplied by the flight attendants won’t be enough for a long haul flight, so to avoid the hassle of constantly having to ask for water, bring along your own filtered water bottle and refill it with tap water on the plane. Although it might be tempting to indulge in a glass of wine or cocktail to relax your nerves, try to avoid alcoholic or carbonated drinks, as they will only add to dehydration.
If money was no object what would you do for the rest of your life?
I would look to have a more spiritual lifestyle and train to be a yoga teacher. I’d build my own home overlooking the sea in a warm destination and practice yoga daily. I’d grow all my own healthy food, spend more time with my family, friends and give back to other people.
Paul Joseph is co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, experts in tailor-made healthy holidays worldwide. For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0845 5441936.