Fitness retreats are a hugely growing holiday trend, with many millennials swapping sun, sea and cocktails for yoga retreats and sober fitness bootcamps. But what if you can’t choose between an indulgent all-inclusive and a more healthy holiday? Lucy reviews a new type of all-inclusive at Syntopia Hotel and Spa in Greece where you really can have it all.
It’s 7am and we’re waking up bleary eyed from sleep. Wandering out onto our balcony embalmed in warm Cretan morning air, we take in the most beautiful swimming pool area below; a chic gypset haven with white Balearic daybeds floating lazily in the water, and then the panic hits. Dear god, all the sun beds are nearly taken. Nowhere it seems, is safe from the war of towels on sun loungers. We descend the stairs at a nonchalant half-run trailing shoes and clothes, to discover a blissfully empty identical second pool. Thank the sweet Jesus of pool-gods.
We are staying at the beautiful Syntopia Hotel & Spa, a new-age all-inclusive resort offering a holistic mixture of wellness and fitness activities, PLUS an all-inclusive cocktail bar, all-you-can-eat buffet and plenty of entertainment. Ideal for ‘balancing out’ a plate of chips, onion rings, pastries and croissants with a morning yoga session, or offsetting a morning group run with frozen margaritas by the pool In the afternoon.
Syntopia is a a new breed of everything-in hotel, with more emphasis on finding balance than brit-abroad behaviour. The pool area is what serious holiday photo-dreams are made of. Centred around an Ibizan style white Tipi at the centre, four poster day cabanas beds line the pool, floating out over the azure water. The interiors are Urban Outfitters chic with giant Aztek cushions and natural wood details adding to the boho luxe vibe. Outdoors, wood, metal, and wicker combine with Aegean architecture to set a one-of-a-kind scene.
Each day offers different wellness activities, from yoga, Tai Chi and meditation to outdoor movie nights in the hotels tranquil grounds. The spa offers a long menu of signature and classic treatments plus a wider menu of holistic therapies including cupping and reiki. You can also chill out in the hot tub, sauna and relaxation zone.
Don’t want to let your fitness habit drop on holiday? Keep motivation high and join one of many group activities including TRX, body pump, cross-training and team running Prefer to stick to your own schedule? Work out as and when you like at the trendy fitness centre complete with weights, witty slogans and all the cardio paraphernalia you need.
Right on Syntopia’s doorstep lies a fascinating concoction of wild beauty, old-world charm and modern style in the form of Rethymnon city. Whether you’re into culture, clubbing, cuisine, nature or art, Rethymnon has something for everyone. Visit the old town for medieval and Venetian architecture, explore the Fortezza and Venetian harbor with Egyptian lighthouse for a slice of Cretan history and taste traditional Greek gastronomy in the authentic Greek tavernas. The Kotsifou canyon is a real highlight and must-see for nature-lovers.
A couple of minutes walk and you’re at the golden sandy beach. Cool off with a dip in the sea or in a hammock with a cool cocktail at Beach Bar Roulis. Entertainment is taken seriously at Syntopia. Every week live international and local music events and pool parties with live instruments are put on. Get involved and try your hand at wine making & tasting, Raki making & tasting, cooking lessons and cheese making! Or kick back with a movie under the stars at the open-air cinema. Unleash you inner child at Syntopia’ s sister hotel Fodele – an enormous family centred resort just 20 minutes away, where the star attraction is an award winning water park plus there’s three restaurants to choose from.
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Hettie is the editor and co-founder of DOSE. A keen runner, she’s also partial to a blast of high-intensity and hot yoga. A country girl at heart, she divides her time between London and the lush rolling hills of North Devon. When she’s not jetting off on her next adventure, Hettie can be found in a candle-lit alcove with a laptop, a spaniel and a full bodied Malbec.