For many, the idea of a January health retreat to purge the sins of the festive period and kick-start the New Year with the right intentions is just what the doctor ordered.
For others, the thought of spartan instructors screaming in their faces, demanding push ups and tree poses with nothing but a green juice to look forward to after a 12-hour day is, quite rightly, torture.
So imagine a health retreat so gentle and all encompassing that you can pick and choose your daily workouts, spa massages aren’t only encouraged but are part of the package AND you get to indulge in Pinot Grigio and Ferrero Rocher in your room for no added cost.
Now imagine it in a majestic, serene setting on a private, 18-acre island in the Maldives.
That’s exactly the fairy tale that Pullman, a hotel chain best known for its urban properties, has built on a once baron atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
A world-away from the comfortable corporate space it normally occupies, the Pullman Maldives Mammuuta resort is a haven for the weary.
It is the first of its kind in the Maldives to offer a 5*, all-inclusive experience which actually means all-inclusive and is of astounding quality and generosity.
The Pullman Maldives Mammuuta resort offers a first-of-its-kind program for anyone wishing to indulge in all-inclusive luxury and get fit
The newly opened resort is nestled on a once baron atoll in the Maldives. It's remote location means it is completely unspoiled and entirely private to the staff and guests there
One of the spectacular villas at the island which boasts several bedrooms, living rooms and room for staff
Meals at any of the three island restaurants are included along with a vast selection of wine (80+ varieties including Argentinian Malbec, French rose and champagne, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand). All of the rooms - or ‘villas’ as they are luxuriously dubbed - have Nespresso machines and the minibar - stocked with Smirnoff, Jack Daniels, San Pelligrino and fruit juices - are restocked twice a day.
And the all-inclusivity stretches far beyond food and drink.
Stay for five nights and you receive a free, 60 minute massage in the dreamlike spa. A stay of 8 nights bags you two. Activities, including all non-motorised water sports are part of the package and soon, the hotel hopes to offer guests a free skydive with a stay of 8 nights or longer.
All of these creature comforts are enough to put even the most faint-hearted fitness fan at ease when they arrive for a health program.
I visited in January for part of a 10 day wellness retreat with star trainer and Pullman’s resident fitness ambassador Sarah Hoey.
Among activities on the extensive list of options is water Zumba, water aerobics and, of course, swimming
The hotel group's wellness ambassador Sarah Hoey demonstrates part of Raviera workout which is based on the daily routine of a coconut picker
She gently led the group through unique daily workouts including a session on the beach that is inspired by the routine of a coconut picker. It’s called the Raviera workout and involves lifting weights carved by hand out of wood, climbing trees and, of course, using a bag of coconuts as a weight.
Jen Smith does aerial yoga at the Pullman Maldives #UpYourGame health retreat in Januar
To get our blood pumping before the session, we were treated to an unforgettable warm up of Boduberu dancing complete with drummers, a singer and traditional Maldivian sarongs.
Not only was it great fun but it had the group of 10 - which included at least two personal trainers - dripping in sweat.
To put together a workout program in the Maldives without incorporating its inimitable waters would be a crime. Naturally, there are paddle boards, kayaks and freestyle swimming races to be enjoyed by all.
The most intense portion of our program was an island adventure race which started with a 1k run around the over-water villas. In the beating heat of the morning sun, this was enough to put even the healthiest