Would you visit the same hotel twice?
My answer a few months ago would have been a resolute no – I want to experience as much as possible.
On arrival at Club La Santa in Lanzarote I was told that the average guest has been seven times and my jaw dropped to the black sand beneath my feet.
This was not to pass judgement on the sports and active holiday resort – it was gorgeous and the offering was endless – but I just couldn’t fathom liking somewhere so much that you don’t want to explore other hotels or destinations around the world.
It took less than 48 hours to change my mind…
I arrived late on a Friday morning after a leisurely flight with Monarch and a cheeky drink – not the best way to start a healthy holiday but with the generous leg space and relaxed vibe on the flight I couldn’t resist.
On arrival, my first class was Pilates in the scorching sun – when planning a trip, you really need to consider the heat.
The class was incredible. Instructor Emma Gibbins has been working for 15 years, 10 of which have been spent at the club.
Classes are suitable for both beginner and intermediate levels and will focus on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core and improving coordination and balance. I was astounded at her sharp eye, which could spot bad positioning a mile off (with such a large class, that measurement isn’t too far off).
I was astounded by her sharp eye, which could spot bad positioning a mile off and with such a large class, that measurement isn’t too far off.
Immediately after I went for another class – and it was hard! Not because I did them one after another, but if you’ve ever completed a TRX class you will have undoubtedly felt my (very literal) pain before.
TRX uses suspended ropes to train your whole body, covering all things fitness, flexibility, core strength and cardiovascular. You can control the resistance and difficulty level by shifting your body position, making it suitable for gentle rehabilitation, hardcore athletic training and everything in between.
By this point I am exhausted, concerned about whether or not I am sunburnt and very, very sweaty – but I didn’t stop! Instead I went for a quick dip in one of their three pools.
I woke up early for my only full day and, unsurprisingly, my body was tired. Nonetheless I headed out for morning gymnastics. This is a delightfully charming start to the day.
In little pockets of the vast area surrounding the main pool hundreds of people gather to listen to instructions with musical accompaniment to stretch your body ready for a new day.
From there it seems the vast majority of people head to the athletics stadium to meet for a jog. Here a three, four and five kilometre run is led and timed at six, five and a half, and five minutes respectively, on a course that takes you out of the resort and back again.
Two years ago I ran the London Marathon and I haven’t run much since then, I am ashamed to say, so I joined the short run. Being late June, by this time the sun was already out and I dripped with sweat as I made my way round, while contemplating whether I could run the extra few metres straight into breakfast.
You’ll never guess what I did. I went straight to another class. I spent 40 minutes being told “EXTEND YOUR HIPS” by a loud, but very affable, Scottish man leading a kettlebell class.
It took me a while to get the hang of swinging the weight from my hips and not my arms and it is a technique you really have to get right otherwise you won’t be able to get out of bed the next day, I was warned. That is why this is a class with limited space, so instructor Greg McClure can make sure everyone has got it.
Afterwards I ate some breakfast – in fact I ate a lot of breakfast – and then took a much deserved break on a lounger by the pool with some glossy magazines and had a snooze and a swim to prepare me for a mammoth task ahead.
That afternoon, in 35 degree heat, armed with hiking boots and a lot of water, and accompanied by two instructors carrying snacks and fizzy drinks, I set off on a 10 kilometre walk across the Pico Soo volcano.
It felt good to get out of the resort and see the incredible landscape of the volcanic island up close, and it was a challenge hard to come by near my home in London.
Once I was back in the resort I tired, but not ready to stop. I headed down to the lagoon, got myself a stand up paddle board and went solo into the water. Club la Santa does, of course, offer classes, however these fill up quite quickly and I had been too slow to book myself in. Luckily I have had a lesson before and, having previously gone two hours without falling in, I was confident I could do it again and I was right.
You may be thinking this is an awful long time to spend exercising in such high temperatures and you are right, I wish I had thought of that and my fair skin earlier in the day because by the evening not only were my muscles sore, but my skin.
Following the same morning routine as the day before I woke up early, having been at the club for 44 hours.
I headed as fast as my aching limbs could take me to morning gymnastics before taking part in my last activity: another run. My body definitely needed a break but with just 48 hours at hand I was content with how much I had done.
Maybe it was the short amount of time I had which makes me want to return; it would be interesting to go for a week and experience the club at a slower pace, assuming that’s what I would do.
The real reason I want to return, and understand why so many people do, is not only do you feel refreshed from a beach break in a beautiful location, but you feel invigorated from the health kick and have a huge sense of pride from what you have achieved.
Mattie Lacey-Davidson travelled as a guest of Club La Santa, one of the world’s leading sports and active leisure resorts, offering 40 free sports and activities including cycling, tennis, golf and Pilates as well as a range of watersports including windsurfing and kayaking in the nearby lagoon. For more information and booking visit clublasanta.co.uk or call 0161 790 9890. Prices start from £644 for a ‘comfort’ one bedroom apartment for 7 nights, which sleeps up to 3 adults and a child under 15 years.