Lanzarote’s Club La Santa is among the best looking destinations for a healthy, active holiday, says Darren Norris
THE first mistake came early. A morning Lanzarote run — how hard could it possibly be?
There was even a choice of distances, anything from 2km to 5km. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong. Working on the basis it was hardly worth the effort of getting out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning to run just 2km or even 3km, the choice was four or five. And if you’re going to do four, you might as well do five. After all, I had once managed 42. The logic seemed sound enough.
However, certain key factors were being overlooked, not least that my marathon effort had taken place 12 years earlier when I was still a relatively fit 22-year-old. A lot of water — not to mention alcohol — has passed under the bridge since.
Then there was the heat factor. Though early, and cloudy, the temperature was already in the mid-20s when we began our run.
Picture the scene. We exit the stadium at Club La Santa, one of the world’s leading sports and active leisure resorts, and begin a run that takes us round a gloriously picturesque lagoon.
I’m running side by side with a fellow journalist called Emily. Unlike yours truly, Emily is actually fit. After what seems an eternity, she looks at her watch and cheerily announces that we’ve just covered the first kilometre. It feels like someone pulling a plug from a socket. My stride, such as it was, shortens instantly. “Are you OK,” she asks. “Fine,” I splutter, with about as much conviction as can be managed when you’re struggling to catch your breath. “I’ll catch up in a minute.” Needless to say, I can’t and don’t.
It’s an inauspicious start but the beauty of Club La Santa is the range of options at your disposal. It’s a pick ‘n’ mix of activities where every taste is catered for. These activities can be booked by an app so simple that even I could use it.
Redemption, of a sort, for the running debacle comes on the driving range during a 40-minute introduction into how to play golf.
There’s obviously a limit to how much you can learn in that sort of timeframe but I picked up a few useful titbits. There’s far more to the process of driving a ball than just simply hitting it. Who knew, eh?
By the end of my lesson, I was striking the ball cleanly on a pretty consistent basis. It’s a nice taster. Sadly, I was far more resistant to coaching when it came to my tennis lesson. Think Happy Gilmore meets the worst elements of John McEnroe and you’ve got the drift.
After a fantastic lunch at El Lago — the view of the lagoon was just brilliant — it’s time for the main event of the day, the volcano walk. Before we set off on this three-hour hike, our guide informs us that, given the heat — almost 30 degrees — and the rough terrain we’ll face, our task won’t be an easy one.
She gives us the option of pulling out and getting the €12 cost of the excursion refunded. No one takes up the option, though there are times over the coming hours when that decision seems suspect.
The route to the summit of Pico Soo is a bumpy one. This is not an activity for young kids or the elderly. That said, it is an enjoyable experience and there’s a great sense of accomplishment in reaching the top.
However, due to it being a cloudy afternoon, the view is not as spectacular as would have been hoped. Even in Lanza, the weather gods don’t always play ball.
After a hectic day the chance to chill on a sun lounger by the pool is one seized with relish. There are three at Club La Santa, two of which are 50m-length pools. They are utilised by the more serious swimmers. During my stay, I observe members of the Kilkenny Swimming Club, frequent visitors to the resort they tell me, getting put through their paces under the watchful eye of head coach, John Duffy.
The third pool is where those simply looking to relax go. It’s huge, it’s warm, and there’s an endless supply of sun loungers. Heaven.
On our second night, we eat at La Plaza. As a venue, it’s not as nice as El Lago but the food is superb. And plentiful. No one leaves any of the restaurants in Club La Santa hungry. I guess it stands to reason. If you’re going to make full use of the range of activities available you need to load up on carbs. Indeed, some of the starters would pass as main course meals.
A third restaurant option is Atlantico. There you can begin your day with a buffet breakfast by eating something healthy, or something nice.
You don’t have to be a fitness junkie to enjoy the Club La Santa experience but anyone who goes there really should try and take advantage of some of the activities provided. If you are big into your fitness, Club La Santa is the perfect place for you.
The resort is run by a Danish company so it’s no surprise 40% of its visitors are from Denmark. Britain accounts for 30%, German 15%, while everywhere else covers the remaining 15%. That, obviously, includes Ireland but given the growing obsession with keeping fit, that figure looks sure to grow. It certain deserves to on the basis of my stay. And yes, I did attempt the morning run again. And no, it wasn’t the 5km one. That lesson was learnt.
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