A Smashing Start To the New Year
If you are looking for a rejuvenating and totally different experience to start the new year, and want to try the real top of Swiss holidays, look no more. Your destination is the The Chedi Andermatt. Here, you can combine luxury holidays with something else.
Bootcamp in Style
Reboot. Refresh. Work Hard. Enjoy Luxury. Laugh. And cry.
Often when people finish our bootcamp and have to say goodbye, they are in tears, tells me Andrea Fritschi, founder of Top Hill Retreats. Spending a week training together, detoxing, enjoying the luxury lifestyle and going beyond your limits has an incredible bonding effect.
I can confirm that – I had never experienced such a combination between physical work and holiday pleasure, before. I was sweating – but I was experiencing a new start too. With 8 hours of sport a day.
From Ibiza With Love
A little history of Top Hill Retreats:
Andrea previously worked in the Financial Industry before she started her own business, right in the sweet spot of a constantly evolving Fitness Industry. She herself loves going on active holidays but often felt she had to compromise about the location, and missing food concept: why wasn’t it possible to go for a bootcamp to a place you would also go on holiday to? And to eat really well? Her business idea was born: a camp offering the best of the best, in a highly desiderable place. She started in Ibiza, the holiday destination par excellence, and is now exporting her package to the Swiss Alps. I was invited for the first bootcamp at the The Chedi Andermatt.
When I read that the retreat would have been at the Chedi, I hardly finished to read the program. Actually, I confess: I didn’t read it. I said yes because I simply wanted to go to the Chedi Andermatt, where I had been once.
How can I describe the hotel in a short sentence? It’s a stunning design hotel. When the weather is bad, people are almost happier because they have an excuse to stay in. The Chedi is terribly chic.
My Top Hill Retreats Experience
I arrived in Andermatt and was shown into my room. A standard room here is what would be a suite in Manhattan. Even the kitchen looks minimalistically fancy – covered in leather and white stitches, it reminds you of a Hermès shop. The bathroom? Sleek, elegant, and with a real stone wall. You just want to bring it home exactly like that.
It was time to start with sport.
The Trainers have a long experience as fitness managers in the best clubs in Zurich and know what high-end clients and busy people want. The first thing they did was assessing where you really were. This was done together with your group and creating a bit of competition: who can hold a plank the longest? How many jumps can you do in a minute? And so on. Since the weather was brilliant, we went outdoors – Nicole Gibbard, our coach, was extremely flexible (in every sense!) and loved to decide the location depending on weather conditions. She knew that a fancy location motivates people and clearly enjoyed it herself too.
Examples of Workouts
Let’s put one thing straight: we are talking about 8 hours of sport a day. There are wonderful smoothies, stretching or meditation breaks, but fact is – you get tired. Still, the schedule is misteriously achievable. Maybe because the team observes you closely and adapts to your needs (I was injured, so they managed to keep me busy with the body parts I could use, and ignore the remaining ones), or maybe because a lot is done without tools, weights or machines, so you feel it’s not so as hard as a gym. You are playing, visiting new places and socialising. During hikes, you talk to interesting people (boring people don’t join a bootcamp in Chedi Andermatt, really). During burpees, you have someone counting and timing you with a stopwatch. During outdoor yoga or body art, you get a small audience of guests watching you, and end up show off a bit (you are better than them drinking coffee – aren’t you?). Some trainings are slower, like running technique classes, where you concentrate on the right movement but hardly catch speed. Some are simply relaxing. Fabian, the only male coach during my bootcamp, had a lot of patience and corrected my positions many times – a much needed help in my case: precision is not my biggest talent!
Finally, you get spoiled with really outstanding, surprising food.
The Gotthard Tunnel
But the absolute highlight of the bootcamp was running in the semi darkness of Sasso San Gottardo, a previous military base created to protect the country, especially opened for us for this occasion (apparently, having the permission to train there took months). What a place. The outside is like a natural mirror. The inside felt like Alladin’s cave. Andrea run with us and had a small loudspeaker with the Full Metal Jacket running cadence as a soundtrack – the acoustic was amazing, we run up and down the stairs so pumped up that Rocky would have been a loser, compared to us!
We also stopped to admire the old army HQ with the pinned maps from the Second World War. We saw four cannons aiming at Italy, from the time Mussolini was a real threat. We wore the army uniforms. We saw the guns, the old telephones. And then, in the middle of this toughness, a magical room opened. It contained some mesmerising giant crystals from the Alps. For million of years, this unrivalled treasure had grown inside the Planggenstock in the Gotthard massiv and today is displayed in the tunnel. The group of crystals is unsurpassed in terms of size, transparency, lustre and pure perfection. People who stare feel the energy. Of course Nicole ordered us to exercise there too!
Every day there is some free time too: believe it or not, the Top Hill Retreats guys manage to find the time for you to relax at your leisure too. But the Chedi being the Chedi… people end up meeting at the pools. The main one is indoor but surrounded by glass so you enjoy the whole outside scenery too, and a part of it is outdoor. Healthy and abundant snacks of fruits, nuts and freshly flavoured water are offered everywhere. It’s towels, beds and gowns galore, and the staff is always there to help you (they even gave me some hair clips and an elastic band because I had forgotten it).
The cherry on the cake was Nicole’s personal coaching. This is a one-to-one session where you simply talk (thanks God!) with her about yourself and your strategies to keep strong and healthy back home. Nicole’s impressive sport cv becomes less important when you hear her precise analysis of who you are. She has been observing everybody very attentively and has a talent for getting you. In my case, she got all my strong and weak points spot on (can you believe she said I talk too much and have too much energy I use without focus?). She almost p**ed me off. Because I have too much energy and no focus. After the initial shock, she proposed me some strategies to improve my weaknesses and focus on my strengths in a realistic, achievable way during my daily life – she understands what being busy means.
The Best of the Best
So if you want to try the best of the best, this is it. I challenge you to find a better bootcamp – you won’t manage. I can only recommend Top Hill Retreats at the Chedi, and who knows, maybe I’ll try the one in Ibiza too! A rejuvenating experience with some food for thought too.
(All my clothes are by Odlo)