Five star detox resort Healthouse Las Dunas is hailed as the ‘Best health hotel in Spain'. A statement that I admit to initially taking with a pinch of salt - as cynical Brits do when anything describes itself as 'the best'. That was, until I arrived to check-in and crossed paths with a guest checking-out, who had lost a staggering 2 stone in three short weeks.
Perched on the country's south coast, with 55 spacious suites and an impressive pool, this adults-only resort is a comforting oasis. And as far as you can get from the clinical image your mind imagines when you hear the word detox.
Famed for its expert weight loss, anti-ageing, anti-stress and quit smoking programs - which are all available for 2-21 days - it's a haven for anybody wanting to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, slow the hands of time or just simply take a break from it all.
Soon after that game-changing moment at check-in, when I realised that the Healthouse experience may involve a bit more than lounging around while sipping green juice, I was seated in the large open plan restaurant.
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As I gazed out of its grand gallery windows across the sea to Gibraltar, friendly and attentive staff briefed me on the no gluten, no salt and no sugar menu. Yet despite their best efforts, nothing prepared me for the first bite. Words cannot describe. But I needn't have worried, as by course two my taste buds were back and being exposed to all kind of new exciting flavours that I can honestly say I still crave now.
By the end of the second day, I was so full I considered skipping sittings. Forty-eight hours of 3 course meals morning, noon and night will do that to you. The plethora of healthy food and snacks are prepared five times a day by Michelin star chef, Andoni Luis Aduriz.
Delicious regional produce including veal, lobster and even homemade ice cream fill the three course a la' carte and set menus. Free bottled water is available 24/7, plus an extensive range of non-alcoholic vitamin cocktails that leave you glowing. It isn't until you are flooded with complements at Arrivals that you wish you had taken the recipes down.
As standard guests receive daily appointments with resident nutritionist, Laura, who creates a personalised calorie plan based on your likes, dislikes, targets and goals. She also equips you with a Fitbit activity tracker, to monitor all aspects of your wellbeing beyond her four office walls, but in part the wearable tech is merely protocol. Laura is so in tuned to her craft, that she can identify your eating, sleeping, exercise and occasional smoking habits with laser-like precision just by looking at your face. They don't mention that on the website, but they should, it's pretty impressive.
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As well as a gym and state-of-the-art spa complete with endless therapeutic treatment rooms, a Thalassa pool circuit and rock salt cave, there's a second to none medical centre. It houses a DEXA Analysis machine (the only one in the country) that measures your fat, muscle and metabolic rate not just your BMI from a quick and simple body scan.
What's more, the resort is set in such a way that it doesn't rely on good weather to function, making it just as popular in the run up to Christmas as it is throughout the summer.
The fact it attracts men, women, couples and solo guests of all different ages and sizes, from the world over. Plus, locals who check-in despite living just 15 minutes down the road - testament to the resorts facilities, their incredible results and its patient and professional staff.
Healthouse Las Dunas offers the ‘Healthy Weekend' package from €750pp, based on 2 nights' full board accommodation in a Deluxe room with sea view.
The programme includes a consultation with a nutritionist, 1x body massage, 1x therapeutic treatment, 1x Yoga/Pilates/Aqua-gym session, a personalised individual plan and access to the spa.