Start the year by setting new goals for an epic fitness year while ticking off your travel bucket list. Imagine doing yoga on a luxury cruise, meditating on the mountains in Japan or skiing the Austrian Alps James Bond style. Plan to motivate your mind, body and soul with new surroundings and culture while burning off those holiday calories.
1. Yoga & Training with an Olympian – Luxury Cruising
Imagine waking up to a rejuvenating yoga session as you watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean. Luxury cruising is no longer for oldies feasting on seafood buffets and watching their waistlines go to waste! The world’s greatest luxury cruise ship, Hapag Lloyd EUROPA 2, offers golf-themed cruises, private one-on-one high intensity impact training (HIIT) classes with former Olympic ski champions like Maria Höfl-Riesch and countless active shore excursions featuring snorkeling, cycling and rafting.
Awarded five stars by the coveted 2019 Berlitz cruise guide, this 500-passenger ship focuses exclusively on wellness with spa and sauna packages available. There are even group sessions like burn-out prevention classes, nutritional and restorative courses to help you stay on track. Champagne and caviar is a perfect combination and reward for all your hard work.
2. Skiing, 007-Style – Austrian Alps
Canada has some of the world’s greatest slopes but if you are looking for something different, head straight to Austria for a luxury ski vacation.
A gathering place for skiiers like Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, the alps offer fantastic ski terrain, amazing scenery and a world-class fitness experience. The buzzing village of Sölden is one of the best in the Ötztal Valley with two glaciers and excellent tracks on offer. James Bond fans will recognize this as the place where Spectre was filmed in 2014-15.
The five-star hotel, Das Central, located in Sölden, is known throughout Europe and could be your base for a luxury ski-retreat. The hotel has an excellent wellness centre with plenty of saunas and spas, as well as an in-house fitness concierge for all your fitness needs. Up the slopes at the top of the Gaislachkogl mountain peak is the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, ice Q, which was featured in Spectre. Adjacent to the restaurant is Elements, a 007 cinematic experience based on the movie and featuring local footage.
A few hours from the Ötztal Valley is Stubai Valley and much like Söden, it offers some excellent skiing. Considered nature’s playground, it’s one of the ‘best family-friendly ski region in the alps.’
Here you’ll have an extra-long ski season thanks to the Stubai Glacier, as well as excellent panoramas of the whole valley. This is the largest glacier-skiing area in Austria with skiable terrain reaching an altitude of 3,200 m. New ski lifts connect several mountains so die-hard skiers can jump from one to another. During the summer, this region boasts spectacular hikes, including the Wild Water Trail or Wildewasserweg, which is designed in three segments. The first is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible but the second and third sections get progressively more difficult and gain more altitude.
The only five-star luxury resort in the region, Hotel Jagdhof is a family-run hotel equipped with a serenity room,old-school saunas and spa centre to unwind.
3. Triathlon & Running – Thailand, Mauritius or England
Training for a triathlon but running low on motivation? Seek warm weather for winter triathlon training in Phuket, Thailand. The Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort caters specifically to athletes and sport enthusiasts. The triathlon program includes swimming, cycling, running and massages to help you on your way with scenic views to really get you motivated.
In Mauritius, reignite your passion for running by competing in up to four running events under the Ultra Trail Raidlight Beachcomber event circuit. The easiest is the 10 km while the 100 km course takes you to the island’s highest peak including waterfalls, clifftops and other adrenalin-boosting tracks. Stay at the Shandrani Beachcomber Resort where you can also enjoy tennis, aerobics or windsurfing sessions.
For a taste of Merry Olde England, why not run the 140 km Ridgeway National Trail, which dates to prehistoric times. Your route will take you past Avebury, a neolithic henge and stone circle, and link up with Ivinghoe Beacon, a prominent hill and landmark in the Chiltern Hills. That should help get your mojo back!. Lutton Hoo Hotel, a luxury five-star resort is nearby and features a spa and championship 18-hole golf course.
4. Hiking & Detoxes – Black Forest & Bavaria, Germany
In the 19th century a local fitness enthusiast, Philipp Bussemer began publishing hiking maps and guides to share his knowledge of the region and introduce hiking to the world. The passion lives on in and around the Black Forest Highlands in Germany with travelers from around the world seeking popular routes offering excellent panoramas of mountains and valleys. Long distance hiking trails are popular here with canyons, lakes and forests waiting to be discovered.
Themed trails offer wine and schnapps stops and are understandably popular while pilgrim trails will take you on longer treks. A 12th-century luxury hotel and wellness retreat, Park Hotel Adler in Hinterzarten, is the perfect retreat to relax after a long day hiking the Black Forest Parks.
Closer to Munich is Tannerhof Nature Hotel a certified eco hotel and haven for health enthusiasts. The hotel offers detox and cleansing programs in private high-end luxury huts with breathtaking views of mountains and valleys. The former medical clinic is still run by the same family of doctors and continues to be a hot spot even for travelers not looking for a cleanse. Their restaurant also offers the finest organic and regional cuisine.
5. Meditation – Japan
If you feel slightly stressed and unable to tear yourself away from the office, a retreat to a temple in Asia might help with mental detox.
Buddhist monks have recently come into the spotlight with their healthy eating regimes involving fermented vegetables sourced directly from the mountains where they live. If mindful eating is something you have always wanted to perfect, Koyasan, in the Wakyama prefecture is possibly the ultimate Buddhist experience. One of the most popular temples is Eko-in, where you can meditate, eat a traditional Buddhist meal and chant at a fire ceremony to dispel anxiety and stress. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the surrounding area offers hiking tracks used by pilgrims for centuries.
In Kyoto, a newly-built guest house at the Shunko-in Temple can help you achieve your zen moment. Here you can enjoy meditation zen classes, learn Japanese calligraphy or find out more about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. If you are looking for a different experience, definitely consider Omuro Kaikain, a lodge belonging to the huge Ninna-ji Temple in Kyoto. Here you can experience exceptional Japanese cuisine to help you ease into Buddhist life.