Artah Retreats, Catalonia – spa review
Few things garner hype quite like a fitness studio that has been given the seal of approval by the Beckhams. Psycle, with its cult-like following, has steadily expanded since launching in 2014. One London location grew into four and the initial spinning-only schedule now includes yoga, HIIT and barre classes too.
So it’s no wonder that when CEO Rhian Stephenson announced she was launching a health retreat, turbo-fans soon swapped their spin shoes for hiking boots and followed her to a 100-acre estate in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Stephenson’s knowledge on how food and fitness affect wellbeing (she’s a nutritionist, naturopath and former Canadian national swimmer) means they are in good hands. If her peachy skin is anything to go by, whatever she’s serving up here clearly works. Initially for those expecting the Psycle torture, it feels quite holistic, with daily herbal supplements and morning rituals including dry body-brushing and oil-pulling.
Juice is served at 7am and that extra sustenance is essential when you’re halfway up El Mont. The three-hour hikes are rigorous and, when teamed with plant-based, low-calorie dishes, are a reminder that the aim of the game here is to detox. Base camp is Can Terrades, a smart villa 45 minutes from Girona framed by vineyards and mountains. Groups are typically about 14, so there’s always someone to talk to but also enough space to do your own thing.
High ceilings, stone walls and arched door frames give the place a monastic feel, but the retreat holds a sense of warmth that’s reminiscent of a family holiday. The food is excellent. What it lacks in calories, it makes up for in flavour and innovation: slow-cooked white bean and wild rosemary casserole; chickpea pancakes with avocado cashew cream.
In the yoga barn, classes led by Psycle’s top trainers provide a good stretch after working those hamstrings. Spa treatments include LED light therapy, water retention-busting massages and Natura Bissé facials, and plenty of downtime balances out all of the intensity. The four-day Recharge programme is, surprisingly, enough to make a considerable impact on how you look and feel: energised, debloated, focused and calm, with improved sleep and digestion. Not bad for a long weekend.
- INSIDER TIP
- Don’t take the pre- and post-retreat advice lightly – adhering to the lifestyle and diet tips will maximise results.
- BOOK IT
- The four-day Recharge retreat costs from £1,690 per person, full board, including activities, supplements and some treatments (artah.co).
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, CN Traveller reports