Club La Santa - our favourite family sports holiday
I’m excited to announce that I’ve become a Club La Santa Ambassador! We’ve been going there on holiday for well over 10 years - pre children as well. It is the perfect combination of a brilliant family holiday and a great place to train almost any sport – for kids and adults alike.
Finding the right holiday is hard as an active family, especially when the children are different ages (and parents want time to be active too). We’ve been recommending Club La Santa (CLS) for years to friends but it can be overwhelming from the outside so here’s my mini-guide.
Where is it?
CLS is located on the North of the Island of Lanzarote, about 30 minutes drive from the main airport and capital, Arrecife. We usually hire a car, or taxis are about €35 each way. The resort sits on a lagoon, around 20 minutes from the local village of La Santa.
The sports facilities are almost endless - a full size athletics track, football field, 3 x 50m 8 lane (olympic sized) swimming pools, 8 tennis courts, 6 padel courts, 2 sports halls for badminton and games, 5 a side pitch, basketball court, bouldering walls, dance studio, golf outdoor spin bikes, crossfit zone and outdoor fitness. And an actual gym (which I only use when it’s really hot for the air con!).
The lagoon is perfect for all kinds of watersports, with running trails along the coast and good roads to explore the volcanic island by bike. The beginner surfing beach is a few miles away (extra cost for these lessons and transport), but the kids love watching the local surfers on the big waves by the lagoon. They also love the little sheltered beaches along it.
How it all works
What we love is that almost every activity is included in the price so the whole family can try new sports and discover new talents! The best thing to do is download the weekly planner in advance and make a plan for the first few days of things you all want to try (link here).
Facilities such as padel courts and swim lanes are bookable on their own but there is an insane amount of classes and group activities to try as well. There’s something for all ages and fitness levels – from reformer pilates and dance, to crossfit and TRX, with specific classes for seniors (and pelvic floor workshops too). I love the skills classes where last time I learnt to do a tumble turn in the pool for the first time! There are scheduled group runs and rides for a wide range of abilities and some rides are female only.
Everything is booked through the app using points. You have a certain number each to book classes and facilities like padel courts or bikes in advance, then you “get back” the points when the class is over. It does mean being pretty organised – especially when it comes to the kids (I get into a lot of trouble if I haven’t booked a session they want and they’re on the waitlist)
Also onsite you can have sports (or relaxing!) massage in the spa and there are incredible osteos at Osteo 43 (who also treat world champion triathletes) to finally get those niggles dealt with.
Little ones (0-2)
There is lots of little ones to do in the resort. Sports wise they have gymnastics from crawlers upwards, swim lessons from 18 months (in the warm spa pool), and mum and baby workouts. You can rent a running buggy for the whole week (about €30) or book it flexibly using points for mornings or afternoons.
There is no formal childcare until 3 years old (and toilet trained), so we use a local babysitting agency (Kiddiecare Lanzarote) to look after our 2 year old some mornings. This means my hubby and I can leave the resort together for longer cycles and runs (or as last time as I was tapering for my 24 hour race we could go and sit in the spa!)
For splashing about all of my kids love the shallow kids pool which has a gentle ramp in as well as slide. The huge leisure pool is not heated so for swimming we use the deep Olympic pools which are - I just borrow an adult float belt from the aqua jogging classes to pull my 2 year old along in her float vest or ring. Lanes 1, 8, 9 and 16 are by the edge which has a step the full length of the pool (top tip: lane 1 is also shaded in the afternoon)
The Playtime facility for the 3-10 year olds is also open for younger children (with an adult) 4 mornings a week for 3 hours. There’s a climbing wall, role play areas and an abundance of toys and games which my daughter loves. All children love the mini trampoline park by the athletics track, as well as the playground which is helpfully situated by the poolside restaurant.
At 3, the children can be looked after for 3 hours every morning, either in the “Playtime” facility or doing “Green Team Friend” where they do activities around the resort. The Green Team is the name for the Club La Santa instructors, kids club and staff teams (who unsurprisingly wear green). They are so passionate about the kids and make such a difference to our holidays. Some have been working there for several years and our children love to see them again and again.
There are also additional sports sessions at this age including pool penguins, ball games, gymnastics, with football lessons and tournaments from 5 years upwards. If it is a really hot day, we always book a badminton court and play games there as it is air conditioned.
This is the age where kids get as much as adults – every day there are so many classes of proper sports tuition by the Green Team. From all the swim strokes, to all the racket sports, golf, gymnastics and tournaments and races. They are all included so there is no reason for them not to try something new. It’s the Danish culture that prevails here so there are winners and losers in matches (which is good for them IMO) but it is all very friendly. They can also do their first (untimed) races, with mini aquathlons (100m swim, 1km run) and triathlons on offer.
We love the freedom at CLS for our oldest – the room key is a wristband which he can take out equipment with so he might go and play a game of football or crazy golf with his friends (or just go to our room and eat all the snacks). There is security on both entrances, and always Green Teamers about so it feels very safe.
Our oldest is only 8 so we’re not there yet! But from seeing what’s available it is more sports tuition and games, as well as some new things such as laser tag! We expect not to see him all day by this point, though as he’ll be a better swimmer than me by then I’ll need him for the swim leg of the family triathlon. I’m looking forward to taking him out on a road bike for longer adventures as the roads here are much safer than at home. There are bikes of all sizes and types to borrow – road, mountain and even e-bikes when you need a bit of help up the hill to the good bakery.
Most of the sports classes for kids are in the morning, as in the afternoon there is always fun and games. My kids love “Olympic day” where they throw (foam) javelins, do the long jump and have a 60 and 400m race. We also do the pirate treasure hunts, the “jungle run” which involves doing challenges with your kids and surf day where the windsurfing instructor tows them on a surfboard around the lagoon!
On Wednesday evenings there is the kids and guest show where anyone can get up on stage and do a solo or group act. I’ve seen kids as young as 4 do a song or dance which is such a good experience so don’t forget any instrument or accessories you need. All the kids do a few group dances they learn in the afternoon – my daughter can’t wait to be in the show when she’s 3. Other evenings there are quizzes or bingo but my kids tend to like hanging out on the crazy golf course, trampoline park or playground.
There are lots of options in the hotel, as well as good local restaurants about 30 mins walk away in La Santa Village. There is a buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a restaurant by the pool, one in the entertainment square and a quieter one by the lagoon. This is our favourite as there’s a lovely green lawn (with a terrapin pond) the kids can play on while waiting for food. Every room also has a well-equipped kitchen with microwave, fridge and hob so you can prepare most things.
We usually have breakfast in the room (as my 8 year old wants to head to the football pitch before 8am most days) but almost always eat out or get takeaway for dinners. We usually rent a car from the airport and do a big shop at the Mercado 30 mins drive away then just use the well-stocked-but-more expensive supermarket onsite for top ups.
Helpfully suitcase wise, most equipment you can borrow – from floats to rackets to paddleboards to bikes (even the teeniest balance bike) which really helps. We just bring a few tennis and ping pong balls and shuttlecocks as we have loads at home but you can buy more there. There are laundry facilities onsite so there’s no need to pack too much.
We also bring a set of plastic cups and plates for the room, as well as small cutlery which isn’t provided at the restaurants. Also a blackout cover for the running buggies we borrow for naptime (the wind here can take off a muslin clip pretty quickly!).
The sports shop is very well stocked for anything else (handy when you realise your child has outgrown his trainers overnight) but being on an island it is more expensive than the UK (there is a Decathlon 30 mins drive away though).
Training wise I bring 3 pairs of running shoes – trail shoes (small lugs) for the coastal trail (road shoes work but there are sharp rocks in the sand that can damage the soles so take an old pair), faster shoes for track work / the weekly half marathon and a pair for crossfit/classes with more lateral stability. And a pair of cycling clip in shoes, though you can borrow these for the spin classes.
I always describe Club La Santa as half high-end sports resort and half Danish holiday camp. You never know what pro-athletes and teams will be training there at the same time and it is so inspiring to watch them train. Last time I had German paralympic runners speeding past me on the track on blades and was able to watch a synchronized swimming team and world champion Cross-fitters train. I got a lot of questions about my 4 hour training run around the track too.
I hope this helps! Always happy to answer any questions about our family’s favourite place (@ultra_sophie on Instagram) and hope to see you out in the sun.