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Daios Cove mixes inspiring high-energy fitness, with innovative anti-ageing, plus the occasional ‘wellness’ cocktail. Sign me up, says Sharon Walker
It wasn’t what I’d anticipated from a Greek island holiday. But I am now of an age when I will try almost anything promising to kickstart my metabolism and turn back the clock.
So I donned the woolly hat, gloves and socks – quite a look when you’re wearing a bikini – and stepped shivering into the swirling Arctic mists of the cryotherapy chamber.
I soon understood the need to keep your extremities covered, to avoid losing a toe to frostbite, as I watched the temperature gauge plummet, but when I emerged two minutes later – still in possession a full set of digits – I felt like a new woman.
I had signed up for the full body overhaul, Insight to Wellness package
As high-speed reboots go, it doesn’t get much more efficient, and this is just one of many cutting-edge legal highs on offer at the KEPOS By Goco spa, in Daios Cove, a glamorous five star resort, on the north east coast of Crete.
The reception at the 300-room hotel had been all blue skies and blazing sunshine, plus a glass of Champagne, in the Crystal Box lounge with its panoramic views overlooking the azure waters of the Aegean.
You might think of a holiday as an opportunity to kick back and read a book by the pool, but I had signed up for the full body overhaul, Insight to Wellness package.
So it was straight back to the room, to change into my gym kit, with just enough time to glimpse my private pool with its stunning view, before heading back down to the KEPOS by Goco spa, to sweat it out in the hotel’s BXR gym, with coach, Daniel Sonos.
BXR is the trailblazing Anthony Joshua-backed, boutique gym, who have teamed up with Daios Cove, to bring their unique brand of body-perfecting workouts to this delectable corner of the Greek islands.
All of their trainers look like Greek Gods, perfectly sculpted as if hewn from the rocks of the craggy bay below; any one of them could have strutted a catwalk or worked as a life model for Michelangelo, they’re that beautiful.
It’s a strategy that could easily backfire – I mean, what’s the point of even trying? – but somehow fills me with an exaggerated sense of optimism and so I throw myself into the programme, no questions asked.
The class is designed to make you sweat
Daniel makes us drag a heavy metal sledge up and down the outdoor gym’s astro turf. Then there’s a box to jump on. A giant truck tyre to flip. An aptly named single legged-deadlift. Daniel yells: ‘Hit it!’ There’s really no let up. The class is designed to make you sweat, that’s the BXR thing. Sweat, sweat, sweat. Then, after you’ve sweated yourself into a puddle, you feel invincible.
Amped up like an extra from Gladiators, I felt I could conquer the world, as I strode out of gym to dash back up to my room, for a quick pre-dinner glow-up, only to realise dashing was out of the question, because I could have replaced my legs with wooden crates and felt more agile. So, instead I took the Funicular.
Can we just talk about the Funicular, because honestly this is reason enough to come to this hotel. It’s basically a glass box that slides up and down the hillside, so you can take in the views as you get back to your room.
It’s about as quick as the London Eye, or a tortoise with a wooden leg, and that’s before you’ve stood around for two days jabbing at the button waiting for it to come. But as long as you’re in a relaxed kind of mood and not in hurry to actually go anywhere, it’s really fun.
There are other options. You could hop on one of the many golf carts that whizz up and down the hotel’s winding cliffside road, but power walking up the near-vertical hill is actually the way to go, you need that max calorie-burn, because the food here is just a bit too inviting.
When I wasn’t dangling from the ceiling in aerial yoga or working my core in Pilates I could reboot my, by now, honed muscles in the hydro suite with it’s various pummelling fountains, saunas and rainforest showers.
Or plough up and down the lap pool, stopping only momentarily, between gasps, to take in the view of the wide open blue and speed boats whizzing around the bay below.
is there anything better than a boat trip on a Greek island?
Another anti-ageing gizmo is the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, where you sit in a kind of giant egg watching YouTube videos while breathing oxygen through a mask.
Oxygen therapy can reduce stress levels, improve sleep and increase energy, the idea being you go for a course of treatments over the course of your holiday and return home feeling positively adolescent.
If you’ve got time or inclination, there are tennis courts and a water sports centre, with various inflatable things that you can hop on or off. And for families, for which Daios Cove is a holiday nirvana, the God-send of supervised kids clubs.
One afternoon we headed out in a catamaran and, honestly, is there anything better than a boat trip on a Greek island, diving into the crystal clear azure waters? I really can’t think of much.
The food… oh the food
Daios Cove has six different restaurants. My favourites was The Beach House with it’s twinkly lights and Ibiza vibes, and healthy quinoa salad, but they were all extremely good.
We ate citrus-flavoured sea bream ceviche with jalapeño mayonnaise, from the Fresh and Raw Menu, in the Ocean Bar and oven-baked feta and marinated octopus in the Taverna, along with the Greek salad to top all Greek salads.
When I was there, they were about to mark certain dishes as ‘spa approved’, but honestly good luck with that, if I was you I would just get back to the BXR gym and put Daniel in charge of burning it off.
And then there are the cocktails….
I wouldn’t normally drink on a fitness holiday, but, rather marvellously, these were ‘wellness cocktails’, made to a recipes by the famous Athens based cocktail maestros, The Clumsies.
It was hard to choose, but in the end I plumped for the fennel margarita. In fact, I had two, because fennel, positively medicinal right?
Who can forget the spa?
But Daios Cove isn’t all honing and toning. Yes, there was an extra (optional) 8.30 am HIIT workout, up at the tennis court, which Daniel talked me into (how?), and all that high-tech body tech, but the KEPOS by Goco spa also has an encyclopaedia of deeply pampering spa treatments.
I plumped for a restorative massage, which might sound boring, but sorry my leg muscles, and it was as good as I’ve had anywhere. I spent the entire trip the colour of a beetroot, but other, less sweaty, visitors could benefit from a vast array of skin-perfecting facials from the brilliant skincare brand 111SKIN and body therapies.
Luckily the spa also offers a way to measure CO2 output by breathing into an apparatus. From this it was possible to get a reading of my resting metabolic rate – that’s how many calories you burn daily before actually doing anything.
Goco spa also has an encyclopaedia of deeply pampering spa treatments
Cheered by the news that mine is 1800, 600 higher than the average woman, I wolfed down the rice pudding and smoothie, in the Ocean restaurant’s terrace garden.
I’d also learned I needed to eat more good fats and less carb calories. So l also ordered a delicious avocado and toast drizzled with olive oil.
Stay at Daios Cove from 494 Euros per night, based on a Deluxe Sea View Room for two, on half board. Spa Programs start from 850 Euros for the 2-day ‘Insight to Wellness’.