Feeling inspired by the sporty fever that has gripped the nation? From cycling through French vineyards to playing football on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Orient-Express’ hotels and luxury river cruises offer guests a selection of ideal escapes to improve their game and explore a new destination.
Bend it Like Beckham at Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro
In sports-mad Rio, guests of the iconic Copacabana Palace can walk straight out of the beachfront property and onto the vibrant Copacabana Beach and have a go at two of the most popular spectator sports in the world – beach volleyball and football. Volleyball nets line the golden beaches and locals are only too happy to welcome tourists into a game and teach them the tricks of the sport. The majority of Brazil’s population considers football as part of their lives, and their passion for the sport is evident. And with the World Cup due to take place in Rio in 2014, what better place could there be to take in a match of the beautiful game.
Laps in the Lap of Luxury at Hotel Cipriani, Venice
Summertime in Venice can see temperatures soar. Guests who want to cool off, practice their stroke and shave a few seconds off their lap time can do so at the largest outdoor pool in Venice at Hotel Cipriani. Olympic sized and filled with filtered sea-water, the pool is surrounded by the luscious Casanova gardens, offering an oasis in the bustling city. After a day by the pool, guests can then reward themselves with the iconic Cipriani Bellini, at The Gabbiano Bar over looking St Mark’s Square.
Serve it Up Like Murray at La Residencia, Deia
La Residencia is set amongst the lush Tramuntana mountainside, providing the ideal backdrop for a tennis holiday. The hotel is home to two tennis courts which over the years have played host to Virgina Wade, Richard Branson and Pierce Brosnan. The hotel has its own resident tennis coach who is fully accredited and can offer private coaching lessons for those who want to brush up on their game. La Residencia also provides a more modern coaching facility in the form of video analysis lessons. Students are filmed playing with their present technique, shown how to improve their game, and then filmed again to view their newly learnt skills. Video analysis lessons last 60 minutes and cost 60 euros (approximately £52). The tennis school also has a ‘Fastest Serve Competition’ where players’ serves are tracked with a Sports Radar Gun. Players are then ranked in fastest serve order and placed on the ranking board in the tennis pro-shop.
Keep the Wheels Turning Like Wiggins, France
In idyllic rural Burgundy aboard Orient-Express’ luxurious barge called ‘Amaryllis’ guests can use the onboard bikes to explore the stunning scenery at their leisure. What better way to burn off those calories consumed during delicious five-course dinners prepared by their very own chef and paired with local wines, than by cycling along the pretty canals through the heart of the Côte de Beaune. Throughout the six-nights onboard, amongst an array of other excursions and time spent relaxing in the heated onboard pool, guests have the option to take the bikes to tour several Grand Cru vineyards including Pommard, Meursault, Volnay and the famous Romanee-Conti vineyard, which is set in bucolic surroundings. At the end of the day, the private tour guide from Amaryllis will meet the group with a well deserved Champagne picnic alongside the canal! Amaryllis is one of five of Orient-Express’ fleet of luxury barges in France called Afloat in France.
Gallop Through the Sacred Valley, Peru
A novel way to discover the breathtaking scenery of Peru’s Sacred Valley is on horseback. Guests of Orient-Express’ Hotel Rio Sagrado can do just this, riding on a local Paso horse enabling them to get close to the magical valley in ways that most visitors never achieve. Offering guests the perfect base to acclimatize, Hotel Rio Sagrado offers a variety of routes such as the Pumahuanca route which is great for beginners, the Salineras Pichingoto route which takes riders through salt pans and the ancient town of Pichingoto, and the Moray-Maras-Salineras which is a full day adventure perfect for taking in the amazing views of the Inca archeological complexes.