Forget binge eating at the hotel buffet for two weeks and getting home to find you’ve put on an extra five kilos, there’s a new way people are holidaying.
These types of trips, promising to make you work through the day and make sure you party harder at night, fall under the “wellness tourism” banner.
But few places have managed to push both the wellness and party side to its limits more than W Hotels with their aptly named “Fuel Weekends”.
The wellness tourism industry is no longer one to ignore, last year making more than $900 million, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
Wealthy travellers are especially interested, forking out thousands to ditch the usual tourist hotspots and pull themselves away from crowded landmarks and people sweating to take the perfect selfie.
W’s Fuel Weekends are all about working your butt off throughout the day then partying well into the night. But there are no hangovers here, instead, everyone wakes up and does it all over again, sweating out the alcohol from the night before.
“Detox, retox, repeat,” the weekend on Thailand’s incredible island of Koh Samui promises.
Of course, if you’re an often desk-bound journalist, it’s the repeat part that was the hardest, trying to ply yourself out of bed after a night of partying and a day of furious exercise in 40C heat and 100 per cent tropical humidity.
But it’s the trainers at W’s Fuel Weekends that are no joke. Two of F45’s top trainers were there running classes all weekend, screaming at the dozen crazy enough to take their class to push through.
If you’ve never heard of F45, it’s a notoriously difficult HIIT training gym that delivers such good results it’s exploded worldwide with hundreds of branches around the globe.
There was also Aussie trainer Bec Dolan, whose “Sweat with Bec” workouts leave your legs stuck in a booty band the whole session.
There were also three Muay Thai trainers running daily classes in the country’s world-famous kickboxing sport.
And of course, if the “can’t get out of bed in the morning” type of workouts aren’t what you’re looking for, there’s also yoga in probably some of the most picturesque places in the world and other workouts that helped the soreness rather than increase it.
Even the cocktails are “healthy”, made with antioxidant-rich juices and sugar-free soft drinks. And if the fitness classes become a bit much, there’s cooking classes where the hotel’s five-star chefs teach you how to cook traditional Thai food and barbecues with the Fuel Weekend crew.
But W isn’t just all about the fitness. As you limp around the hotel, built into a rainforest-packed hillside and just steps back from the beach, there’s also the Fuel Weekend parties to prepare for.
As the sun sets over Koh Samui’s sandy beaches, the trainers and the hotel guests party together well into the night. W even admits itself that “letting loose is crucial to a healthy holiday”.
“Besides, dancing all night burns calories,” the hotel maintains.
“Wellness isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s a way of life — so why put your workouts on hold when you go on vacation, or opt out of a vacay to keep on your routine?”
Despite this journo’s ridiculously unfit body struggling through most of the workouts, you’d be hard-pressed to find a weekend that sets workouts in more picturesque places, or puts on parties more luxurious than W Koh Samui.
The incredible Thai hotel is set amongst dense rainforest right on the beach. Each villa has its own little lap pool and if you’re not happy with that, there’s a few rainbow-coloured mosaic pools set against the hillside where you can swim other guests.
And if even the hotel isn’t enough, W Koh Samui is a short taxi ride from the tropical island’s various white-sand beaches and waterfalls. Right in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand, the hotel is also a short boat ride away from the country’s best dive sites.
The next Fuel Weekend hits W Muscat in Oman in October. The top trainers will no doubt leave you sweating most of your body weight out in the Middle Eastern heat if it’s anything like the Thai weekend.
And if the Middle East is too far, soon enough W Hotels won’t be far from Australia. W Brisbane opened in 2018 and by 2020, there’ll be a W in Sydney and Melbourne.
News.com.au was a guest at W Hotel’s Koh Samui Fuel Weekend.