With the evenings getting darker and the lakes getting chiller, this is the time most of us start thinking about heading out to train somewhere a little warmer.
With this in mind, we snapped up the opportunity earlier in the year to check out the newly-built 50m competition pool and fitness facilities at the Occidental Lanzarote Mar hotel.
Situated just outside the holiday resort Costa Teguise, on the east coast, the hotel has long been a favourite for Brits looking for all-inclusive holidays in the sun. But with the growth of fitness tourism in recent years, the hotel are investing in new facilities designed to appeal to triathletes and tri clubs.
So why Lanza? Well, as the island is only 77km long, it’s perfect for triathletes to explore by bike. Roads are smooth and pothole-free (and largely traffic-free, as well!), while the Lanzarote climate is good for training all year round. January is the coldest month at 17 degrees C, while the sea temperature only drops to around 18 degrees C, making it perfect for open water training. It’s also popular with both pro and age-group triathletes because of the volcanic landscape, which gives a great pre-Kona training ground.
What does the Occidental Lanzarote Mar have to offer triathletes? Well, first up there’s that new heated Olympic pool, which offers 10 lanes overlooking the sea (above). For guests it costs from €2.50 to hire a shared lane (depending on time of day), or from €17 for a whole lane booking (maximum of 8 swimmers), making it perfect for clubs looking to hold training sessions.
When we visited, Alberto Lorrio, the resort’s Sports Manager, showed us round the purpose-built space next to the pool that is now home to Technogym aerobic and strength-training machines, as well as an indoor cycling room and a complete Cross training box. There’s also a cycling centre with bike hire, storage and mechanic services.
Sleep at altitude
If you’re looking for something a bit special during your stay, the Occidental has some impressive athlete-focused bedrooms as well. When we visited there was one altitude room available (from €144pp/pn) which includes a unit that can be set so that you choose the altitude you sleep at and they plan to open two more. There are also six Sports Suites (from €168pp/pn and there will soon be nine) which include bike storage and your own hot tub for post-training relaxation. All sports rooms even include a special Ironman-branded mattress!
Thanks to the size of the resort, there is plenty available for bigger clubs or athletes on a budget as well, with rooms available to sleep up to six athletes (ideal for youth training camps). Prices vary depending the time of the year, for example a week for training in a double room, half board from the 10 to the 17th of December costs around €345 per person per week.
The size of the resort also means that they can accommodate the needs of athletes as well as holidaymakers. Ok, so you’ll probably want to dodge the all-you-can-eat burgers (and beers) at the poolside bar and the old-school evening entertainment aimed at the older package holiday market, but head to the main restaurant for lunch or dinner and there’s a wide selection of healthy options available and special diets can be catered for. There’s also a private dining room that can be booked by clubs if you want to avoid the holidaymakers, plus the hotel offer an athlete package that takes into consideration that fact that most athletes won’t be wanting any alcohol. The spa also offers sports massage.
With a chilly few months of training ahead of us now in the UK, we’ll certainly be heading back to Lanzarote to check out how the resort is developing as a fitness destination. If only for the chance to dive into that amazing pool again!
EXCLUSIVE 220 TRIATHLON OFFER. Save 10% by using the code ‘BATHLETE’ when booking directly through the website www.barcelo.com This code is not valid for group reservations. Training camps should contact the Sports Department directly.