France has built many exquisite ‘Palace hotels’ over the past hundred years, but this article concerns the grande dame of them all; occupying the entire tip of the St-Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula, the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat (henceforth GHCF) was amongst the first of its kind, and is *the* destination to experience French health and vitality along this gleaming stretch of the coast. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, it stands peerless as an enduring icon of quiet French sophistication, unchanged by the passage of time and yet overflowing with contemporary relevance; the very expression of both heritage and modernity. Inside its pristine white walls can be found the standards by which world-class hospitality should be measured, with the Four Seasons group who now operate this treasure having sympathetically continued its traditions with their unique brand of attention to detail. GHCF is also the most glamorous, most beautiful, and most immersive venue for a wellness escape on this rarefied stretch of the Côte D’Azur – and I don’t bestow that title lightly, as they’re up against competition that’s been bringing their A-game to the Riviera for decades. I’ve visited here for the past 5 years, and never do I leave this sanctuary feeling anything less than supremely recharged, emotionally contented and totally compelled to return. I booked in this year with the express intention of unveiling the wellbeing treasures of this timeless institution on FitnessOnToast.com. Click MORE to discover them all…
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Last month, I was incredibly fortunate to meet some of my country’s top Alpine athletes at the HQ of Ski Team Sweden in Åre. Amongst them, I spent some time with Matts Olsson, a World Championship medalist and one of the top male FIS World Cup competitors from Sweden, with a specialization in Giant Slalom. He’s an ultra-experienced hand on the circuit, powering through 9 seasons, and has just had one of his best in 2016/17 with two podium finishes. It struck me that the younger members of the team really look up to those who’ve given battle alongside the international legends of the sport, and Matts wears his experience with great wisdom and humility. It was with great pleasure that I sat down to ask him about his training, his mental approach, his diet, and his ethos on competition! Here’s what I learned… (more…)
I was recently whisked on an adventure with Air New Zealand to discover a different side to California, one which is very much off the beaten path, especially compared to my California trip last year. This excursion led me to LA where I voyaged onward to Joshua Tree National Park, Hicksville Trailer Palace, and Anza Borrego Desert State Park as well as Two Bunch Palms. I had the chance to experience one of the few Dark Sky communities in the world, gazing up at the Milky Way and Jupiter (through a telescope) in Borrego Springs. However, the focus of this post is to share the incredible art of singing sound baths. If you’ve never tried it, it involves neither water nor nudity but instead is a mindfulness movement which took up roots in the desert at the beautiful Integratron – a somewhat quirky location 20 miles north of Joshua Tree. It’s a 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, all-wooden dome designed to be an acoustic resonance chamber, and an electrostatic generator “for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel”. Sounds trippy? Click MORE to learn more about a totally unique experience…
A fortnight ago I escaped to a remote Eco Retreat called Deplar Farm, in an ancient, primordial landscape where people live a very different, and highly compelling life. Chief amongst any list of ‘the most beautiful places to visit on Earth’ will be found Iceland – I now understand why, and I hope this post shares some of that magic. It’s long been a romantic dream of mine to visit this isolated, mystical land with its rumbling geothermal engine, and tundra-punctuated basalt landscape; perhaps more interesting to you, my dear reader, is the recent proclamation in The Lancet that Iceland is ‘the healthiest country in the world’ alongside my homeland Sweden! But don’t be fooled, as it’s also one of the most inhospitable places to live on the planet – temperatures where I visited can plummet to an average of −30°C in January, and howling winds can lash at a brutal 160mph, with several meters of snow dumping daily. This means schools close, infrastructure suffers and cars avoid some roads for risk of flipping and/or just being buried! The land is barren and rugged but that’s bred a nation of robust and resourceful people. I was astonished by the natural beauty and the local food, but more than anything by just how much there is to do here! Click MORE to discover my expedition to Deplar Farm, the ultimate modern luxury retreat that I uncovered in the land of trolls and elves – a truly magical Icelandic saga!
This little colorful Tofu Salad with Cashew Dressing is something I designed to make the most of the fridge leftovers – salad innovation is a totally freestyle discipline in that you can literally chuck in whatever you fancy; I’ve chosen a mixture of colorful everyday affordable vegetables with a mixture of crunchy textures, supplemented with the silky softness of the tofu parcels and augmented by the deep and rich flavours of turmeric and cumin as well as the thick breadth of the cashew dressing. The dish is undisputedly vegetarian, but the cashew and tofu add a decent source of plant protein, and since it’s properly summery in London right now, this is a real ‘sit outside in the evening sun‘ dinner dish which is both filling yet light enough to enable an unconstrained night’s sleep! Click MORE for the ingredients and ‘how to’… (more…)
Snuggled between the two talismanic Piton mountains of St Lucia on a UNESCO World Heritage site, surveying the gentle breaths of the Caribbean Sea, rests the world-renowned Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. I visited, and experienced some of the most authentically delivered and luxuriously-crafted Caribbean hospitality, punctuated by some seriously demanding and gritty fitness activities. This destination was host to a unique and unforgettable Active Escape involving ocean swims, boot camp classes, morning yoga, a bamboo massage, and a brutal hike up (& down) the larger Piton mountain. Click more to see and evaluate it for yourself!
You may have spied that I recently ventured west to Bath for a Great British city ‘wellness break’, and through my escapades around that wonderful place, I wondered what lay further beyond, more westward still in the British Isles… this weekend, as a guest of the charming team at Visit Wales, I discovered precisely that. On a bank holiday city break to Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, I hiked the beautiful Taff Trail and toured the Millennium ‘Principality’ Stadium ahead of the UEFA Champions League final in June ! Here’s what I discovered…
During my blog trip to Bermuda last month, I trained with the elite sailors from Team Land Rover BAR, the Great British hope for the 35th America’s Cup and run by the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, legend Sir Ben Ainslie. Whilst they’re a brand new team for this event, they mean business with a 150-strong contingent and a well-funded £80m budget; second place isn’t an option, they’re out to #BringTheCupHome. This was a pretty unique and exceptional opportunity for a bit of an amateur sailing geek like me. I’ve previously featured professional sailing teams on my adventures with Helly Hansen, and indeed myself trained with Team Concise, as well as participating in Cowes Week 2016 (placing third!). The America’s Cup is something altogether different; akin to a Formula 1 on water, it’s the hardest cup in all sport to win, with only 4 nations having won since it began in 1851 – and NOT Britain, yet. This year for the first ever time, it’s being held in the Great Sound, a sheltered yet windy expanse off the Bermuda coastline. This is the most glamorous and intensely competed meet in the sailing calendar, and I was allowed super-rare insight into the team’s training regime. Warning: it’s beyond gruelling! Read on… (more…)
The Bermuda Rectangle. Is what I thought it was called, but it turns out that doesn’t exist either. Apart from a superstitious fiction of vanishing vessels and the even-more-mysterious Bermuda Shorts, I’d not really encountered the island of Bermuda before. This marvel of nature is a long, thin, subtropical, volcanic island (made up of 181 mini-islands!) that’s shaped like a seahorse, and is a veritable slither of paradise with soft pink sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Marine heritage is a fundamental part of daily life here, and it offers simply some of the best sailing conditions in the world. When the Bermuda Tourism Authority invited me to tour the island and train with the Land Rover BAR team ahead of the elite and ultra-prestigious Americas Cup in May, I commenced my research; Turks & Caicos is 1,340km away, this isn’t in the Caribbean, it’s one of the most isolated islands on the planet, and it’s surrounded by absolutely nothing other than the fresh depths of the Atlantic Ocean. And its waters are blessed with lashings of wind; a sailors mecca! What I discovered when I set foot on the island couldn’t have been more unique; this is one of the most welcoming gems I’ve encountered on my voyages! Click more to see behind the scenes from the sailing equivalent of F1, as well as my top 10 wellbeing activities on this stunning, arresting island! (more…)
Last weekend, I voyaged westward to Bath for a distinctly British wellness escape. For years, I’d sampled the Instagram candy that was geotagged from this beautiful Georgian city, once revered by the Romans as the only hot springs in the UK – but this was my first IRL trip. VisitBath asked me to pop down for a weekend to experience the wellbeing benefits of this UNESCO World Heritage site for myself, so I jumped at the chance! What I found was an intoxicating blend of fresh air, relaxing proportions, historic significance, aesthetically arresting architecture, and a pace of life so wholly different to London (yet just 1hr 20 mins away on the Paddington flyer) that it was hard not to cut loose the stresses of the working week! Click more to see the key highlights of what I unearthed!