Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting RA NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
New you getaways
10:00am Wednesday 16th January 2013 in Travel
Get into shape for 2013 with a round-up of the best fitness and pampering weekends away in the UK and abroad.
By Sarah Marshall
Best for... A mind and body overhaul :: Bootcamp Boutique, Yorkshire A beautiful country house perched in the hills of North Yorkshire, with delicious food served by a personal chef, doesn't really sound like the setting for a boot camp. But throw daily eight-hour training sessions with two army soldiers into the equation and a stay at Lifestyle 247 quickly becomes hard work.
Bollywood Bootcamp is one of several courses offered by the fitness company at their five-star house in Settle.
Three days before guests set foot in the house, they're sent a detox plan to do at home. It's a great way to kick-start your diet and get you in the right frame of mind for the boot camp, with consultants offering guidance by phone and email.
On arrival at Settle station (45 minutes by train from Leeds) participants are told to change into their running gear and are then dropped at an 'undisclosed location' to meet their trainers.
During a gentle two-mile walk to the house, trainers Jay and Justin give a run-down of the week ahead.
Days start early at 5.30am with military exercises, cardio, weights and more military exercises! Jay and Justin incorporate teamwork into some of the sessions, to keep up morale, and also do regular fitness tests.
Afternoons are spent doing Bollywood dance classes, learning a routine to be performed on the final day.
There's also the opportunity to hike to Malham Cove, where scenes from Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows were filmed.
Days finally end at 6pm with an ice bath (incredibly painful, but extremely necessary) and a dip in the hot tub (divine).
But fitness isn't the only focus at Lifestyle 247; the idea is for people to leave feeling and looking fantastic.
In-house psychologist Lesley, who uses similar techniques to Paul McKenna, teaches valuable techniques to deal with stress. Guests are also treated to Cavisculpt sessions, non-surgical liposuction that melts away your lumps and bumps.
Another plus point is - surprisingly - the food. Chef Miranda prepares a selection of fabulous dairy, gluten and wheat-free treats. Everything she uses is locally sourced and organic.
Lifestyle 247 certainly isn't an easy ride, but if you want to start a new fitness regime this is the place to do it.
(Emma Everingham) :: Lifestyle 247 offers three-night packages at Bootcamp Boutique from £730 per person, including accommodation and meals. Call 0113 347 2477 or visit www.lifestyle247bootcamp.com Best for... Getting fit :: Clumber Park Hotel, Nottinghamshire If you're a regular exerciser who has hit a barrier and is stuck in the same weekly routine, Clumber Park is definitely the place for you.
Launching this month, the six-day boot camp will take groups of up to 12 people and put them through their paces through a combination and variety of interesting and challenging activities.
The project has been devised by the hotel's expert fitness trainer Kyle Hanrahan, who devised the programme to concentrate on individuality, team work and fun. He says the workouts are designed to be intense, life-changing and not just a walk in the park.
"For some people it's a week away but it's also the start of a new lifestyle, or the reboot of a lifestyle for others," he says.
Boot camp days are structured around a combination of cardio and core exercises, which can be adapted to individual fitness levels.
A sample day starts with a warm-up at 7am in the beautiful surroundings of the National Trust park near Worksop in Nottinghamshire, followed by cardio circuits in the hotel's grounds and a circuit of an Army-accredited assault course (complete with camouflage jumpsuit).
Other activities include aptly named "suicides", shuttle runs, flipping 30kg tractor tyres, speed ladders, mini hurdles and rope-climbing.
And you won't go hungry - the food here is plentiful, healthy and tasty.
A nutritionist helps individuals to devise a personal eating plan, while Kyle also prepares an exercise plan for attendees to take home.
(Lucy Bogustawski) :: A six-day camp starts at £799 per person including accommodation, meals and all activities. Call 01623 835 333 or visit www.clumberparkhotel.com for dates of forthcoming camps Best for... A pampering treat :: Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, Casablanca, Morocco The festive season seems a whole world away from Mazagan's spa, sun and seafood lifestyle.
Situated on the northern coast of Morocco, next to a seven-kilometre white sand beach, the destination spa is the perfect setting to refresh the mind and body.
You can even air your spring/summer '13 wardrobe with temperatures ranging from a mild 17 to 30 degrees all year round.
The setting, treatments and techniques are inspired by the surroundings, with products created in Morocco and active ingredients including Argan oil, north African prickly pear seed oil, Sahara sand and local sea salts.
Unwind in the vast marble and mosaic traditional hammam, then choose from a menu of sensory treatments. A highlight is the Mazagan Escape, a salt and oil full body exfoliation.
Afterwards retreat to the relaxation room, with windows looking out to sea.
It would be easy to switch off completely at Mazagan but there are also opportunities to be active.
Try horse riding on the beach, where you can vary from beginner's trot to experienced gallop through the sea. Alternatively, Pilates and yoga classes are available.
Providing you can show some restraint, nourish from the inside with authentic Moroccan fare at Morjana restaurant or fresh local seafood at Sel de Mer.
Mazagan may be a sprawling resort with 500 rooms but service doesn't suffer in the slightest. The minute you put your china cup down it's topped up with refreshing (but sugary) tazota tea, poured from a great height by waiters in colourful djellaba robes.
For an authentic souvenir of your stay, the mehndi henna decoration is a must. The intricate adornments on your hands or feet can be a reminder of your clean living regime.
(Lisa Haynes) :: Doubles from 156 Euros per night including breakfast. Call +212 5 2338 8000 or visit www.mazaganbeachresort.com.
:: For flights visit Air Arabia (www.airarabia.com) Best for... A refreshing change :: Arosa, Switzerland Spending time at a ski resort in winter without doing any skiing might seem like sacrilege to some, but Arosa in Switzerland has more than enough to keep visitors occupied.
The journey alone to the town, some 5,900ft up in the mountains in the Graubunden area of eastern Switzerland, is one to be enjoyed.
The train from Chur winds its way up into the mountains past spectacular scenery with the hour-long journey offering plenty of time to gaze out of the window at the cascading waterfalls, traditional wooden Alpine huts and goats grazing on the hillside.
Opposite the town's train station - the last on the line - is a large lake, which freezes over in winter, making it the ideal location for a variety of sports tournaments, including horseracing.
The fresh mountain air is invigorating, but the four-star Sporthotel Valsana also offers a programme of outdoor activities and spa treats guaranteed to give visitors a new lease of life.
Tobogganing, trekking and snow-shoeing are all possible in the winter months - along with 7km ski runs if the urge takes you.
For pampering, guests can head to sister hotel, the five-star Tschuggen Grand Hotel.
The striking glass and steel building, connected to the hotel by a suspended walkway, was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta to look like sails rising out of the mountainside.
Inside a swimming pool, sauna, solarium, gym and pretty much every kind of spa treatment imaginable are offered over four floors.
Even more impressive is the hotel's very own ski lift, the Tschuggen Express, which takes guests from the grounds right up to the slopes.
Even if you're not skiing, you can use it to toboggan back down and zip straight into the spa.
(Jenny Cockerell) :: Double rooms at the Sporthotel Valsana start from £148 per person, per night (based on two adults sharing on half board basis). Visit www.valsana.ch or call +41 81378 6363.
:: Swiss International Airlines operates 34 daily flights from London Heathrow, London City, Birmingham International, Manchester and Dublin to Switzerland. Fares start from £89 return. Call 0845 601 0956 or visit www.swiss.com/uk