Turns out you can eat feta cheese and still get fit. In sunny Halkidiki, there’s a luxe fitness programme that’s individually tailored for the feel-good factor…Hone your silhouette without the compromise at Sani Resort Halkidiki.
The first thing I asked when I enrolled in the Sani Resort’s SLIMFIT programme was: ‘Can I eat (a lot of) olives? Please.’ Our welcome drinks arrive with a tempting bowl of Greek olives that look as juicy as apples. It sets the tone for this retreat programme that’s way more about enhancing your body and mind than restrictive diets and dropping dress sizes. Phew.
With miles of golden sands and azure views over the Aegean ocean, just breathing in the Halkidiki sea air suddenly makes me feel healthier. And with activities like ocean paddleboard yoga and spa deep cleanse spirulina wraps on the agenda, I feel more than ready to get my Sani SLIMFIT on at Halkidiki’s Sani Resort.
What to wear when you’re on a health kick in sunny Greece…
HALKIDI PACKING EDIT
The Resort Life
Sani Resort really is like a mini Greek village all on its own. It’s even been holding its own popular music and arts festival since 1992, usually between July-August each year. Made up of five resorts – Sani Beach, Sani Club, Sani Asterias, Porto Sani and Sani Dunes – there are regular luxe bus shuttles to whizz you freely between each Sani hotel. Each has their own distinct vibe, so it’s worth venturing out to explore with the ‘dine around’ to try out some of the 22 different restaurants in the resort during your stay. I’m located in a beautiful bungalow suite, complete with balcony-with-a-view that overlooks the pinky-red evening sunset.
Sani Club, where I’m staying, is surrounded by spectacular Mediterranean scenic views and gigantic palm trees. We enjoy a traditional (but healthy) Greek mezze at Ouzerie overlooking the sea to celebrate our arrival at Sani. With overhanging trees for shade and wooden furniture with blue and white checked tablecloths, it feels like a scene straight from a Greek postcard. With seafood platters and fresh tomato salads, I barely notice that we’ve been eating from a calorie-conscious fine dining menu…
THE SILHOUETTE DIET
Let’s be clear here, the Silhouette menu is anything but a traditional ‘diet’. Designed by world-acclaimed chef Patrick Jarno, each daily meal plan is packed with detoxifying and antioxidant-rich foods that are both filling and insanely delicious. Not only that, the meticulous presentation of every meal, from starter to dessert, prompted our group to regularly activate Portrait mode on our smartphones for foodie close-ups. It’s all low-calorie but definitely doesn’t taste like it with starters like sea bream tartare and beetroot cream and artichoke salad with lobster, and mains such as stir fry monkfish and sole fillet.
If that all seems like fish overload, it’s because I’m pescatarian and during a thorough consultation, our meals are planned out according to our dietary requirements, likes and dislikes – to the letter. Despite it being calorie-conscious, desserts are served with every single lunch and dinner so you don’t feel like you’re missing out. Think servings of citrus flambé, vanilla pannacotta or mango fondant, all averaging around just 150 calories.
The Workout Vibe
You can be as active or as laidback as you like at Sani. The SLIMFIT programme combines three elements: nutrition, body treatments and body workout in a 3-day or 5-day programme – but your motivation levels are really down to you. SLIMFIT isn’t only ideal for kick-starting better nutrition, but also counteracting sky-high stress levels. Side note: we can vouch there’s no evil PT cracking the whip if you’re zonked after your detox massage and want to familiarise yourself with a sun lounger instead of hill sprints.
As well as the Sani Silhouette menu, there are heaps of outdoor-based activities so you can soak up the Greek sunshine and surroundings as you’re upping your heart rate – biking tour, jogging tour, beach walks, outdoor TRX, aqua fit and paddleboard yoga. Our sunny paddleboard yoga session was halted by livelier waves than expected, so we jumped up on the wide boards for a SUP session to feel the after-burn in our arms, bums and thighs. During the initial SLIMFIT consultation, the Sani coaches pull together a tailored programme of one-on-one activities and training sessions that take into account what you love, and what you hate.
The Relaxing Bit
Disclaimer: the spa will never not be the favourite part of my vacation. If this also sounds like you, the SLIMFIT programme has a daily spa requirement, aka joyous. We head over to the super-luxe D Spa at Sani Dunes for the signature Xerolipo Bodysculpting treatment, which is worked into the plan daily. Using high-tech lasers, it can shift stubborn pockets of fat in your chosen targeted area, be it bum, thighs or tummy. While it’s not relaxing, it’s not painful either. The detoxification continues with a 30-minute deep cleanse Spirulina wrap treatment.
Rich in iodine and marine elements, the thick green algae paste is smoothed all over my body until I resemble a sea monster in paper pants. Once it’s showered off, my skin feels amazing. Who know if it’s the Greek olives, the SUP, or the sea monster paste, but I look in the mirror and feel like I’ve got that outside-in glow back.
If you’re looking to stay fit while you travel, take your inspiration from fitness sensation Danielle Peazer