Portugal has become a hotspot for wellness retreats in recent years, its reliable warm climate offering up the perfect conditions for a little escapism from cold UK and Irish climates. The Algarve is the centre point for the very best in Portugal's wellness retreats on offer as it caters to the yacht owners and land-lovers alike, and one of the best in this area is Longevity Cegonha Country Club right outside Vilamoura.
I spent a few days in Longevity in June this year on a 3 day Juice Detox and loved every minute. On arrival to the property the front-of-house staff make you feel immediately at ease, settling you into the relaxed rhythm of life across the resort. Here things are relaxed, quiet and peaceful. You can opt for a sun holiday alone, or take the resort up on one of their fantastic packages or dip in and out of both depending on your schedule and just how much you need to relax. Sample packages include Spa & Golf (see our article on current Golf packages here) , Fitness & Bootcamp, Weightloss and Rebalance & De-Stress to name a few.
My Juice detox was over three nights/ four days and began with a consultation with Longevity's in-house Nutritionist. The Nutritionist gave me a complete consultation and offered personalised suggestions on how i could reach my goal of better gut health and weightloss long-term. Then she smiled as she offered up an enema which i was to take that night along with a natural laxative. This would clear out any current 'issues' and help me start afresh to get the full benefit of the Juice cleanse. That night was one of the more interesting evenings in my life as i tried to administer the enema in the comfort of my suite ......i'll say no more!
The Juice Detox was to consist of regular juices and consommé in a window from 8am through to 8pm, ideally aiming to have a juice or liquid meal every two hours to stave the hunger pangs. My first juice at 8am on Day 1 was delicious, light and refreshing consisting of cucumber, ginger, banana and orange. In fact every juice offered up by the fantastic Longevity Kitchen was delicious - always magically managing to make every juice a delight.And the Beetroot consommé for that night evening meal was also out of this world. I went to bed that night very satisfied despite having been on a liquid diet all day.
All guests on the Juice Detox also get treated to a full Body Scrub, a Pure and Detox Body Treatment and a Detox Massage. I also added a Venus Cellu-Contour Treatment to my package as an extra to tighten my abdomen which is constantly either puffing out like a little mushroom or looking like a heavily pregnant woman due to my gut issues. All my treatments were fantastic and i actually noticed a very obvious change in the appearance of my cellulite on the back of my legs directly after the detox weekend - an added bonus i hadn't expected!
Longevity's in-house spa facilities are second to none, and if you're on one of the packages you have complimentary access to their Detox and Relax Wet area circuit which includes an infra-red sauna, steam room, ice fountain, epsom salt room, sensations show tunnel and outdoor heated multi jet pool.
As well as enjoying the Juice Detox, i took a personal training session, did a group walk and got to know my fellow Longevity guests - all of us escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and looking for a new start. Longevity is also only 15min drive from Vilamoura so if you do start to get cabin fever, city life is just a cycle or taxi ride away.
I left Longevity feeling a stone lighter, though the weighing scales said it was only 5 pounds. I had taken some much needed 'ME time' and the staff at Longevity had made this the ultimate in self-care. I can't recommend the resort enough if you're looking for a retreat for a 3 - 5 day period. I plan to visit next March for another Detox and to recharge my batteries.