THE ETHOS that guides those who are permanently fit — other than staying permanently fit — is that working out is a luxury, not a chore. High-end hotels have started applying that philosophy in a literal way, with unique training regimens that allow you to train with shamans on the Adriatic Sea or prepare like an extra in 300 at a minimalist Miami Beach lodge. It seems the more exotic the location and the stranger the amenity, the bigger the adrenaline charge. Here are five spots where fitness junkies can take a break from vacation.
(1) EDEN ROCK, ST. BARTH
Let’s be real. Eden Rock is not a tough sell. The St. Barth staple has hosted the likes of Mick Jagger, Tom Hanks, Lorne Michaels, and Beyoncé, and there’s a Jean-Georges restaurant looking out over the water. But the resort isn’t about only the scene: This year it has introduced a new electro stimulation program — yes, the one where trainers send low-pulse electric shocks straight to the muscle. How does it work? Under the supervision of a coach, guests are wired up and instructed to perform dynamic movements to resist the muscle contractions while getting (mildly) zapped in the right places. If it sounds intense, well, so is Eden Rock. At least now you can stand out in the scene.
(2) 1 HOTEL SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI
If it were any other Miami Beach hotel, maybe not. But the 1 Hotel South Beach is so aggressively sustainable — reclaimed driftwood, recycled coral, walls made out of plant biomatter — it’s the perfect place to launch the first-ever Spartan Gym, born of the famed Spartan Races. The beachfront property’s 14,000-square-foot space is an adult-sized jungle gym of ceiling ropes, cargo nets, monkey bars, and wall climbs. For more intensive private sessions, guests can work directly with certified Spartan trainers. At its core, the “primal” workout method focuses equally on inner and outer strength. Test both afterward, and head to the hotel restaurant run by Tom Colicchio.
(3) BORGO EGNAZIA, ITALY
The Puglia-based Borgo Egnazia is a grand destination of castles and authentic Italian cuisine. Currently, it is also where the ortho-bionomist Stefano Battaglia is kicking off three-, five-, and seven-day “shaman” sessions geared toward recovery from emotional and physical stress. The program combines elements of psychology, psychotherapy, and massage therapy taught by a team with expertise that spans aromatherapy, graphology, naturopathy, and music. For more of a calorie-burning session, Battaglia teaches a practice known as Vipassana, also called “mindful running,” in which guests run intensely while keeping in tune with their increased heartbeat. If that’s not enough, or if the Borgo’s massive, crystal blue pools leave you wanting something more intense than a brisk swim, the Puglian Dance, a nightly tradition, will help take off that extra helping of orecchiette ai broccoletti.
(4) NEKUPE, NICARAGUA
Nekupe, a new eight-room property in the mountainous Nicaraguan countryside, has secretly built one of the best runs in Central America. The resort, which means “heaven” in the local indigenous language, is set on a 1,300-acre nature reserve through which guests can ride mountain bikes or just meditate around the dormant Mombacho volcano. But the real fitness draw is the two-mile-long running track, which winds around exotic plants, mango trees, monkeys, a butterfly sanctuary, and 78 species of birds. It’s so big, Nekupe provides personal rangers to go along on the run to keep you from getting lost in all the lushness.
(5) TERRANEA, RANCHO PALOS VERDES
A bright, vibrant oasis, Terranea feels like Tuscany — if Tuscany were 35 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. With a 50,000-square-foot wing devoted to fitness overlooking the Pacific Ocean, working out is already a huge part of Terranea’s culture. But since everyone at Terranea is already fit, the resort has taken it a step further with a post-workout “Sound Sleep” program at the spa, a growing trend in wellness-focused hotels. The treatment integrates the senses of touch, smell, and sound with a specialized light-touch massage to promote deep relaxation and rest. Keep your eyes out for similar programs around the world; chances are one will soon be near you. — Bloomberg