“All of England’s Rugby World Cup team were officially obese according to Body Mass Index stats,” I said, getting in a pre-emptive strike. I was delving deep into my database of trivia to prepare the case for the defence. I was half-way through my Personal Wellness Evaluation and it was giving a worrying new meaning to Big Data. For me, BMI was going to mean Better Minimise Intake.
If you are planning to have the human equivalent of an MOT – possibly getting some bad news about a flabby tyre and taking in the wrong type of fuel – there can be few more heavenly and idyllic places to have your check-up than Longevity Cegonha Country Club (LCCC), Vilamoura, on Portugal’s Algarve.
Just a 20-minute transfer from Faro airport, peacefully sunbathing inland from the bustle of Vilamoura, the Club epitomises a quiet Portuguese rural village. Blue agapanthus, red bougainvillaea and palms flourish amongst the pastel pink and gentle sunflower yellow of the houses. Within each house, named after fruit such as cherries and lemons, there is comfortable 4* accommodation with traditional cooling Algarvian ceramic floor tiles. Paths meander downhill towards a lily pond and a tempting turquoise crescent of a swimming pool. In one corner, there’s a large jacuzzi where guests relax and recharge after their exertions. Or just relax, as the case maybe.
After a plethora of measurements and a weigh-in, Ricardo, with the lean physique of Christiano Ronaldo, Portuguese football’s pin-up boy, was ready to deliver the bad news. Fortunately, he personified diplomacy and tact.
“A BMI of 30.1 is a little too high,” was his opening understatement.
“It would be nice if it was lower,” his tone almost apologising for my past dietary indiscretions and preference for sofas over treadmills.
To console myself, I headed for lunch at the cafe on a sun-doused terrace. With many solo-travellers staying at LCCC, the cafe is the most sociable of spots. Guests gather at meal-times to swap tales of massages, meditation, Personal Training sessions and yoga. A fresh pine aroma drifted across from the neighbouring woods, seemingly symbolising the clean start that many of the guests are seeking.
Having heard the bad news that my metabolic age had galloped 13 years ahead of my chronological age, one kind soul said, “Don’t worry. I expect that’s true for many of us.”
Undeterred by the frightening statistic that fat accounted for 33% of my body weight, I still opted for the pumpkin soup followed by a steak and salad. It’s a no-brainer. All of the salads and soups are world class at LCCC. I signalled my new-found dietary resolve by declining to order a glass of the organic red wine.
Pud? Don’t even think of it. Chocolate, ice-cream and pastry are not in the chef’s vocabulary and bread only makes a token appearance at breakfast time. Yet, meals are filling and uber-nutritious. Exemplifying the dietary approach was a two-course evening meal of basil and tomato soup, followed by fish with salad, roasted vegetables and a frugal timbale of rice.
For those of you urgently in need of weight-loss then you can design your visit to LCCC as a boot-camp. A handful of guests are on “the programme”, limiting themselves to a diet of salads, shakes and soups and of course the “Daily Shot”: an energising mix such as ginger, lime and vinegar. Then there is the Iyashi Dome, a high-tech Japanese sauna, a cross between an MRI Scanner and a tandoori oven, that aims to detox and reduce your waistline at the same time.
But LCCC remember that their guests are adults. If they want to take a break from their “programme” with a chicken or duck breast they can. In fact, for most of the year, LCCC is adults only. Such is the maturity of these adults that if they are in desperate need of beer, chips and ice-cream they can always head to a Vilamoura restaurant for an evening out.
As we depart after lunch, some of the guests are heading off on a guided 90-minute walk around the surrounding rugged countryside. Throughout the day there is a sociable programme of group classes consisting of dancing, Pilates, stretching, yoga and walks.
“I’ve had a frantic year, I’m just here to chill,” said one overworked marketing analyst as she departed for her own bespoke programme of massages, meditation, yoga and plenty of sun-bathing by the pool. She had decided to ignore anything resembling a personal training session. Some days, after breakfast, she just set off to explore the Algarve coastline.
Alongside a treatment menu that includes body wraps, facials, flotation tank and Reiki there is also the option to tee-off at the Dom Pedro Old Golf Course. Celebrating its 50th birthday, the first of Vilamoura’s courses and the most mature, the Old Course is in immaculate condition.
With just six rooms and 26 suites, there is a serenity to life at Longevity Cegonha Country Club. Staff quickly get to know their guests and have the time to understand their needs. Whether your focus is on building fitness, golf, relaxation or weight-loss the staff will help you achieve your goals.
Tell Me More About Longevity Cegonha Country Club
Longevity Cegonha Country Club, Estr. De Albufeira, 8125 – 300, Quarteira, Portugal
T: +351 967 108 244 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Longevity Cegonha Country Club offers the 5-night Longevity Feel Rebalance & Golf starting from €1,668 /£1,490 per person in a single classic room Click here to get the very best rates.
Getting there: 20 minutes taxi transfer from Faro Airport for around 34 EUR.