I love Spain, so when Emma of Unique Luxury Retreats Granada asked me to come along and sample a winter retreat I jumped at the chance. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but the experience was beyond anything I could have imagined!
Unique Luxury Retreats Granada
The word ‘villa’ is an understatement if there ever was one for the beautifully designed spectacular building that would be our humble abode for a few days. It makes anything on Grand Designs look like a garden shed!
Walking past the infinity pool to the front door gave us a glimpse of what to expect. The huge ground floor area is open planned and glass all the way around.
Ant Middleton, Wayne Bridge & Jamie Barrow
It was mid February. I was travelling with my partner Jacqui and we could not have wished for a more romantic location to spend over Valentines day. Incredibly we were joined in the villa by celebrities Ant Middleton, ex-England and Chelsea footballer Wayne Bridge, and pro-snowboarder Jamie Barrow and his partner.
As a group we all hit it off straight away and despite their celebrity status, I found Ant and Wayne great fun to be around and really down to earth. We all had dinner together and Ant had some very interesting stories to tell. Especially the time he nearly died while climbing Everest. Ant had hung back and made sure the rest of his group got across a pass safely. Battling the elements he barely made it out alive himself. The guy really is a legend!
The Basement Entertainment Area
The villa has a staggering 6 floors! The basement has been designed as an entertainment area where Jacqui and I spent a fun few hours. I have to admit that Jacqui thrashed me at table tennis but I completely redeemed myself at pool and table football. Not that we are competitive or anything!
There is also a small swimming pool as well as a sauna. A lovely way to unwind in the evening
Best of all there is a cinema. Yes, that’s right – a cinema! A cinema with 26 luxury seats that completely recline.
Any media service can be connected to be viewed on the screen including Netflix. It seemed very surreal watching a Netflix film on the big screen with surround sound.
Luxury Fitness Retreats
The luxury fitness retreat experiences are extremely popular. It is easy to see why with the gym and fitness areas that are available. Fully equipped with modern high-end equipment and apparatus including Olympic size weights. The outside fitness circuit was ideal for Ant who obviously trained to the highest standard while in the SAS.
After watching Ant, Wayne and Jamie complete the monkey bar course, I didn’t want to let the side down and had a go myself. While not quite to Ant’s standard I surprised myself and managed to complete the challenging course saving face with Jacqui!
Yoga, Pilates and Meditation Retreats
The inside and outside fitness areas are absolutely ideal for yoga and pilates. The quiet sanctuary of the villa combined with the beautiful scenery makes for a fantastic yoga, pilates or meditation retreat.
The hilly terrain that surrounds the villa is fantastic fun for biking and the villa has e-bikes that anyone can take out. E-bikes are easy to use and it is up to the rider on whether they want a leisurely cruise or want to build up some sweat. We chose the first option!
The scenery overlooking the plains towards Granada are breath-taking and we enjoyed riding up through the forests surrounded by citrus trees.
Of course, the more serious cyclists will enjoy the long straight roads that cuts through the Spanish countryside. Despite being near Granada, most of the roads are relatively quiet and free from traffic.
The Roof Top Bar
Despite being February it was quite hot with glorious Spanish sun. In the evenings we sat on the sun-soaked roof top with a beer or G&T enjoying the stunning sunset over Granada and the surrounding mountains.
Situated high in the hills, we had fantastic panoramic views to enjoy. With a small bar inside, we didn’t have to travel far to top up our drinks.
Another great feature about the retreat Villa is that it has a glass elevator. Call me lazy but I took full advantage of the lift system to get up and down from the roof top.
The Living Area
The villa has a massive lounge area on the ground floor which is an ideal place for everyone to congregate. Surrounded by floor to wall glass walls, it is light and airy and dominated by a huge dining table in the middle.
The kitchen is huge and a social central point where everyone can congregate and chat with a chilled glass of wine, while preparing dinner
The beds in our room were comfortable but twins that you could push together – very European! The bathroom was lovely with a walk-in shower.
The rooms, as with the rest of the apartment, are controlled by a modern and extensive digital control system. Everything from the temperature, blinds, floor heating, audio and air conditioning is controlled by a touch pad in the room.
This is a great system but does have a flaw in that it can be globally controlled by a touch pad on one of the floors. One morning we awoke to all the blinds suddenly going up to the windows in our room!
Sierra Nevada Ski Resort
The retreats also offer skiing and snowboarding excursions to the local resort of Sierra Nevada.
I have never snowboarded in Spain before so really didn’t know what to expect of Sierra Nevada. Only being a 45-minute car journey away we were ideally placed.
The resort village is small and quaint with a good choice of hire equipment. The further you go away from the ski lifts the more competitive the pricing is!
There is not much choice of cafes or restaurants with next to no choice if you are vegetarian or vegan (as I am).
The actual resort is bigger than I expected and is well laid out with 2 gondolas taking you up from the base station. It really does have something for everyone as there is plenty of cruisy blues for those wanting to take it easy. But also, some decent reds and blacks for those wanting more of a challenge.
A great warm up run is heading straight to the top and taking the long run all the way back down to the bottom. If that doesn’t get your muscles warmed up then nothing will!
Despite being February we had spring conditions and it was hot, hot, hot! Amazingly, the runs were in great condition and it only seemed to get slushy near the bottom.
Sierra Nevada – Uncrowded Runs
Another surprise is how awesome the park is. It has a varied choice of features such as rails and benches, as well as some well thought out kickers. Us lads really enjoyed the kickers and spent an afternoon lapping the park.
What I also loved was how quiet the resort was. We hardly had to queue for any lift. The slopes were uncrowded and a joy to snowboard down.
I was also very impressed with the infrastructure of the modern lift system – puts many French resorts to shame! For all these reasons I think Sierra Nevada is a great ski resort for families.
For great food and maybe a glass of bubbly then I recommend the Veuve Clicquot. We found this delightful restaurant on the home run back down to the base station.
It is the ideal place to stop, enjoy the late afternoon rays, and relax with an apres ski drink on the terrace overlooking the slope.
Unique Luxury Retreats Granada – Final Words
This was an incredible experience. Unique Luxury Retreats Granada offer an ideal location for winter retreat for various sports and activities. From yoga, Pilates, mediation, fitness to biking and ski trips – It has everything.
I look forward to returning with Jacqui – maybe on a yoga retreat next time!
For more information about the winter retreats, contact Emma of Unique Luxury Retreats Granada
A special thanks to Emma who organised our stay and to Colin who funded our press trip. Also to Arthur Davey who produced the amazing video.
Mark is also the manager of Jamie Barrow (Britain’s fastest snowboarder)