Group participating in a kettlebell work out in the sunshine in morocco

I booked my in:spa trip last minute and on somewhat of a whim. A boost of sunshine and endorphins seemed to be exactly the right tonic for January.

A first time visitor to Morocco I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was to get there. A fuss-free three and a half hour flight from London and I was off the plane to be greeted by my smiling driver. Transfers took just under 45 minutes and offer the first opportunity to get chatting to the fellow guests.

Pool in Marrakech with loungers and trees

Hike day and it was up bright and early for breakfast to fuel the walk. I knew food would be a huge part of the retreat but didn’t know the specifics. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Each meal is a wonderfully colourful buffet spread and in no way are you limited or restricted. If you want seconds that’s fine, although the nutritionist is on hand to guide and advise based on your individual goals.

I opted for the harder hike (you’re given the option of two) and it certainly got the blood pumping. It is a fitness retreat after all. The hike is guided with two guides at the front and two remaining at the back so even on the harder hike you can go at your own pace, you’re under no obligation to keep up with the speedy folks at the front. A quick pit-stop at the stop to marvel at the view and it was time to head back down.

A group hiking in the Atlas mountains, Morocco

After lunch there was the opportunity for some R&R in the sunshine and my legs were thankful. After a couple of hours of sunbathing on my private terrace (yes, sunbathing in January – bliss!) Then came the time for a boxing session. A great introduction to a new way of exercising and the snow-capped mountains for a backdrop really do help when you’re tiring.

A restorative yoga class to finish. Yoga is never my usual choice of workout but I was thankful to dedicate an hour to stretching out those legs. Anna was an excellent teacher, recognising the needs of the group completely and adjusting accordingly.

Yoga practise in the studio at Cal Reiet

Following a blissfully deep, uninterrupted sleep it was up and out for a sunrise stroll before breakfast. A lovely way to kick start the morning and opportunity to chat to fellow guests. All of whom I found as friendly as I did fascinating. We were offered the option to run the route but I was more than happy pootling along for a stroll.

You might think a whole day at the hotel could become a little samey but with the group activities plus private sessions there was more than enough to keep me entertained. The couple of hours I had in the afternoon provided a welcome opportunity to read my book by the pool.

Perhaps the most challenging fitness class of the retreat was the kettlebell class. Although challenging, it was excellently guided by our trainer Chris, with clear instructions and individual pointers and correcting as we did the activities.

Another incredibly deliciously and wonderfully colourful lunch devoured on the terrace and time for yoga. Now I’m no yogi, but the gentle pace and excellent, calm guidance of Anna the yoga teacher I found myself struggling less (flexibility is not something I was gifted with) and letting in the calm. Of all the activities on an in:spa I’ve come back determined to pursue yoga. So far so good – although still terribly wobbly.

And finally the cooking demonstration. After eating so many delicious dishes, with pairings I wouldn’t have ever thought of, it was great to have the in:spa chef Miranda walk us through how we could recreate them. Many were reassuringly simple and I’ve already tried a few since returning. We were also guided through some other simple changes we can make to our everyday cooking to add some extra health-boosting elements. All felt simple, effective and very achievable.

Table full of colourful food for an inspa lunch buffet

I expected to return from an in:spa feeling fitter and healthier, and indeed I did. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the positive effect it had on my outlook. Turns out five days away from life’s rush, around wonderful people, putting your well being first, really can leave you feeling recharged, re-energised and ready to face what 2020 has in store.

Book it: 7 day retreats cost from £2,195 per person full board, including all activities.