Ibiza wellness: Cotton Fitness Retreats – Eat, train, love

As another long, hot summer draws to a close, all eyes on the white isle turn to the dawn of a new season. In Ibiza, winter is a time when everyone takes a deep breath, the pace of life slows and the island’s stunning natural landscape becomes the backdrop for rest, recuperation and revitalisation. This is the Ibiza little known by the masses – a closely guarded secret among the lucky ones proud to call the island home. Rather than keep this magic all to themselves however, island residents and founders of Cotton Fitness Club, Christian and Merete Marstrander are launching an all-new off-season retreats initiative, showcasing Ibiza in all its winter glory while encouraging participants to eat, train and love (life!).

The new concept is all about learning to live a harmonious lifestyle, rather than follow strict rules, regulations and requirements; a philosophy both Christian and Merete passionately live by themselves. The couple have long been at the helm of pioneering ideas in Ibiza, with the Cotton brand having spread its wings far and wide across the island in recent years. First, they launched the now famous Cotton Beach Club in Cala Tarida, followed by high-end dining destination Cotton Lounge Club in Figueretes. This year saw them launch Cotton Fitness Club in San Antonio, a venue that has completely changed the face of fitness on the island, offering a one-stop stylish destination for health, wellness and exceptional eating. With the introduction of the five-day retreat programmes, the Marstranders now fuse their professionalism in hospitality, cuisine and fitness with their personal experiences in living well.

“We spend all year here and we enjoy it very much,” explains Christian, a keen fitness enthusiast, of the inspiration behind the new retreats. “We really wanted people to come and see the island at that time of year.” Participants learn the value of feeling good when living life to the fullest – rather than restricting themselves or pushing too hard for unrealistic results, Cotton Retreats are all about appreciating the best things in life in moderation.  “Lots of retreats are all about juicing and detoxing, whereas our approach is about eating healthily but also having the occasional glass of nice wine,” Christian continues. “In our opinion, life is about balance, and if you don’t live an unbalanced life, you don’t need to detox.”

That’s not to say you won’t look and feel great as a result of attending the five-star Cotton Retreats – on the contrary, you’ll return home relaxed, re-energised and above all, happy. Putting your body through its paces amongst the stunning nature of Ibiza – gorgeous empty beaches still drenched in sunshine and lush, verdant countryside with spectacular views – by day is complemented by treating your soul to beautiful dining experiences and entertainment by night, all the while bonding with like-minded participants. It’s the stuff lifelong memories are made of, and a retreat experience like no other on the white isle to date.

The first scheduled retreat is the Winter Revitaliser, running from October 25 to 29, 2017; the second is the Ultimate Bootcamp, taking place from January 17 to 21, 2018. Both are based at a spectacular villa and run by a team of highly-trained professionals who have devised carefully curated fitness schedules that include wellbeing programs, beauty treatments and massage menus, yoga, workshops, delicious, nutritionally dense meals and plenty of outdoor activities and so much more. “Our retreats are going to be wild,” enthuses Christian. “We’re intent on using nature’s space as much as possible. In winter, it’s not so hot so there are fantastic opportunities for hiking and outdoor yoga.” The variety of activities on offer is so varied, there’s never a chance of getting bored.

All retreats start from the minute guests step off the plane, where they are greeted by a member of the Cotton team and whisked off to the luxury villa in the sleek and stylish Cotton van. The Winter Revitaliser kicks off with a laidback sunset yoga and meditation session, before a deluxe dinner prepped by a first-class chef in the villa, followed by a good night’s sleep. Training takes place over the next three days, incorporating advanced hiking, optional personal training sessions, outdoor beach training, relaxing beauty treatments and aquatraining in the villa pool, yoga at sunset in one of Ibiza’s jaw-dropping beauty spots, high energy masterclasses and meditation – all overseen by some of the island’s most highly sought after instructors. Each day is peppered with high-end and healthy dining experiences, split between the three gorgeous Cotton venues and at ‘home’ in the villa.

The Ultimate Bootcamp takes on a higher intensity approach to training – it’s been designed for those who aren’t afraid of a challenge. It’s all about training hard and also learning how to increase your fitness levels in a safe and healthy manner. And, it’s fun – otherwise, what’s the point? Intense training in the Cotton Fitbox, educational seminars on reducing risk of injury and improving techniques, advanced hiking, functional training classes, metabolic training classes, nutrition workshops and dynamic stretching are just some of the activities on offer – again, all split up with great meals, smoothies and juices, with a glamorous seaside champagne lunch thrown in for good measure.

“We truly believe that spoiling yourself doesn’t have to be a paradox,” says Christian. “It can be a logical extension of enjoying life. If you set boundaries in which you eat healthily and exercise, you don’t experience the ups and downs quite so much.” Christian and Merete plan to share their own personal ethos of healthy living during the retreats, one centred on an equilibrium that’s seen them soar since they first set foot on the island. “What I’ve described is exactly how we live,” says Christian. “So when people leave our retreats, I want them to understand a little bit more about what it means to live a balanced life, without making it too complicated. It will be an amazing Ibiza experience.”

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