I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Hellenic Healthy Holidays. The name summoned up images of hiking round temple ruins with a guide waving an umbrella. Okay, so maybe a guide wearing trainers and waving an umbrella. Wrong, wrong, wrong! The name may be a bit fuddy-duddy but this is, quite simply, the most fabulously queenly fitness retreat I’ve ever been on (and she’s been on quite a few – Ed).
From the moment I arrived at Kefalonia airport, I knew it was going to be good. We climbed into the minibus and retreat leader Henlu passed round smoothies. I leaned out the window and watched the turquoise and azure patchworked ocean below as we meandered along the coast and up over the mountains to the Emelisse Art Hotel, our base for the week.
The hotel was perfect – just the mix of laid-back quirky style and supreme comfort I adore. The staff greeted us like we were their long-lost best friends and Bennie, the hotel dog, bounded up to inspect the new recruits.
My room was small but had fabulous views of the ocean, and that heavenly sound of waves. I smiled on seeing natural Korres products in the bathroom and loved that the welcome pack included a HHH cool-shirt, baseball cap and water bottle – a nice touch (just wish they’d get a funkier logo!).
Yes, there’s a shedload of exercise here but it’s no bootcamp. I certainly felt challenged and my thighs often muttered that they were going to leave me for someone less insane but honestly, I loved it, every sweaty, sinew-wimpering minute of it – yes, even the hardcore circuits and the monster hikes. It’s all down to the attitude of the team. They know their stuff so well and will tweak and correct your technique or encourage you to stretch yourself just that bit further.
If a certain activity is too much for you, they’ll find an alternative – nobody ever gets left behind. But, over and above all, they’re just huge fun. These guys love what they do and they clearly get a real kick out of the whole experience. It’s contagious. If you don’t laugh on a HHH break, I swear you have no sense of humour and no soul.