Four retreats to reboot body and soul
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
London’s latest one-stop feel-good address
The designer/curator/style magpie that is Alex Eagle has created a private destination that promises to meet fitness and wellness needs of all kinds. Her Alex Eagle Sporting Club is taking over the 180 Health Club at 180 The Strand – the landmark brutalist building that’s already home to Soho House’s 180 House. It’s a huge space, where members can come for revolving programmes of fitness and movement classes, ranging from yoga to fencing to jujitsu. A roster of international specialists and instructors-in-residence will cycle through, leading clinics, workshops and classes. There are infrared and ozone saunas and a cryotherapy chamber, as well as facilities for IV vitamin drips, therapeutic massage, and beauty needs, from facials to manicures. Access is open to Soho House members or to holders of the new 180 membership. 180thestrand.com; email email@example.com for enquiries
California fit and Italian flavour meet outside Rome
From mid-May, a taste of hardcore wellness from California is touching down for a limited time in the heart of Italy. The Ranch Malibu, known for its sweat-heavy “no options” retreat model, will stage its signature Ranch week from mid-May at Palazzo Fiuggi, the Italian Peninsula’s most buzzed-about new medical wellness spa (a very convenient hour’s drive or 45-minute train ride from central Rome). Palazzo Fiuggi is situated in the foothills of the Apennines, whose wooded peaks and paths lend themselves nicely to The Ranch’s four hours of daily hiking – part of the six-hours-daily regimen of low-impact exercise, including daily core training, that are the retreat’s calling cards (and which purportedly beget exceptional fitness and weight-loss results).
The Palazzo’s extensive medi-spa facilities are worked into the itinerary, with blood panels, diagnostic testing, and daily therapeutic massage featuring throughout the week. The “no options” part will be made quite a bit less daunting by plant-based menus created by Heinz Beck, Palazzo Fiuggi’s three-Michelin-starred culinary advisor, who happens to have more than two decades of serious nutrition science study under his belt. I tested an abbreviated programme here after Palazzo Fiuggi opened in May 2021, and can confirm that the food is sublime; Beck knows how to spread 1,100kcal a long and beautifully-plated way. From $9,100 per person for eight days all inclusive; palazzofiuggi.com
Healing waters meet high style on Ischia
Meanwhile, on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, another noteworthy Italy-America collaboration is slated for May. Marie-Louise Sciò (of Italy’s Pellicano Hotels) and JJ Martin (founder of fashion-lifestyle brand La DoubleJ) have curated a holistic wellness retreat to ring in a summer’s worth of collaborations (most notably a capsule summer-fashion collection, available in April).
Over a four-day long weekend at the Mezzatorre, Sciò’s Ischia hotel, participants will immerse in the island’s famous thermal waters and mud, take long yoga sessions and classic movement courses, embark on a guided hike to the top of Monte Epomeo in the company of Maremma Safari Club’s founder Rudston Steward, and participate in daily meditations led by Martin – who, following a tough watershed moment in her personal life, spent months in Indonesia studying spiritual and healing practices. There will be fresh sea swims and even fresher food, and the romantic 17th-century surrounds of the hotel and its acres of private parkland to enjoy. 15-19 May, €1,800pp; rooms from €510; mezzatorre.com
Get your post-pandemic groove back in Greece
Covid wrought havoc on many of our bodies, but the sustained tension of the pandemic also did no small amount of damage to our spirits. Euphoria Retreat is here with a proposed antidote, offered at its mountainside Greek Peloponnese location. “Feel Alive Again” is a reboot for the body, but also for energy levels and mindset; the mixed itinerary of physical and emotional workshops and group sessions is calibrated to release residual and subconscious stress and anxiety – from your shoulders, and your thoughts.
It will combine meditation and breathwork, creative workshops and visualisation exercises, with tailored body work sessions and restorative exercises, some long walks in the surrounding hills, and lots of rest time built in. 17-20 March, 14-17 April and 19-22 May, from £1,800 full board; euphoriaretreat.com