Travel: Active Travel: Health Retreats

The Body Camp

Come here for a complete overhaul


Set in the hills of San Juan, this luxe retreat in the north of Ibiza is where you come for a complete overhaul.

The Ethos

We’ve done a couple of boot camps in our day – 38, Bikini, Brooklyn Bridge – and they all have very different philosophies. At The Body Camp, it’s about a complete ‘mind, body and soul’ overhaul. They are also big on results. There are fitness tests (beep, burpie, push ups and sit ups) at the beginning and end of your stay and you’re measured at these times, too; measurements, however, are of the scientific kind, and include things like metabolic age and muscle mass, so it’s not just about the scales (a lot of people are actually here to put on weight and or gain muscle). There are also nutrition classes and health documentaries at night to inspire.

The Villa

As you’d expect, this is one of Ibiza’s superior villas, with a two-tiered pool, main rooms with en suites and an additional guest house with three modern rooms. There are tipis for those who don’t mind a bit of rough and treatment beds set up outside for pampering. The location is remote – this IS the north, so watch where you go if you plan on walking back from anywhere alone (or leave breadcrumbs) – and there’s a daily walk to wild horses, which is nice. There are robes in the rooms, daily cleaning and turndown services, Hierbas de Ibiza products, and sarongs and beach towels for the beach.

The Schedule

This is not a come-and-go-as-you-please type of camp: this is an all-in, all-week, all-the-time kind of place. The days are usually 7am-8pm and the schedule is extremely varied, which helps keep you motivated. After a killer first two days (fitness tests, rugby, water polo, circuit training, boxing, swim laps, hikes), it eased out a bit: think beach boxing followed by a group treasure hunt, dance class followed by meditation, 20K hike followed by manicure/pedicure treatments… you get the picture. You’re going to sweat, but you’re going to be rewarded too.


So, the first thing to know is that most people here are on a weight loss program, which means you get 1000 calories a day. Plates are small (this is also about learning to control portions for your post camp life), and ‘feeding’ times are often (5x per day), but what the meals lack in size, they make up for in flavours. Highlights included scrambled eggs with quinoa bread, overnight oats with raspberry coulis, date protein balls, cacao shakes, quinoa with salmon flakes, spiralized courgetti with walnut bolognese and smoked aubergine bacon, mushroom burgers with sweet potato fries – there was even popcorn on the final night. Okay, so it was 4-6 kernels in a paper muffin cup, but we were still grateful. Oh, and booze. There’s no booze.


The spa and wellbeing side is big here. One massage is included in the boot camp, but there’s also deep tissue or cranial massages, facials, and, on the more spiritual side, there are also reiki treatments and tarot card readings. The therapists are top tier, and night treatments in the open air (or in your room) make getting through the day that much easier. Book lots, and bring cash as you pay therapists directly.


UJ slightly panicked when we arrived and realized we were sharing a house with 20 others for a week. Close quarters! But the ‘family’ vibe was really a highlight. UJ also truly appreciated the effort Kate and Rick (Body Camp partners) went to on the music front. From the 6:30am wake-up calls to post dinner hangs and fitness sessions in between, there was always music on. And it wasn’t just background, it was considered, meaning banging hip hop to power us through tricep dips in the heat. UJ loved the 20K hike where we saw the hotel that André Balazs has supposedly bought, the capoeira, and the boxing. It was also great to swim again – a good reminder to mix up our sessions at home. We also loved the final open-air movie under the stars, even though we may currently have pneumonia as we definitely didn’t bundle up enough. Inspirational quotes on our pillows at night – yes, sounds cheesy – were a definite highlight too. ‘Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.’ Indeed.

Top Tips

Arrive in the afternoon on the first day as you can’t check in until 4pm and leave early on the last day unless you are staying on; no one wants to be stuck hauling a suitcase around. Get your own room: if you’re going to be with people all day, you’ll need time to decompress (or maybe that’s just us…). Come with an open mind. As the program is so varied, you’re definitely going to like some things more than others, but get involved and just keep moving! Choose a week where you won’t need to be online at all times (wifi isn’t great at the house) or better yet, choose a week when you don’t even look at your phone, as turning off and tuning in is part of it. Bring earplugs. You may be in the middle of nowhere (a.k.a. the countryside), but between the frogs and ducks that quack all night, it’s surprisingly loud.

What to Pack

Of course, the usual kit, but also warmer, comfortable loungewear for cool evenings. There’s also a final dinner where people get out of their sweats, so it’s good to throw a casual upgrade in too.


The Body Camp, open now until November 26, 2016.
Seven nights including all activities and meals starts from £1250. Day rates are from £200 

Originally published on
14th June 2016


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