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Interview with Carra Sutherland (Happy Sport & Détox)

Happy Sport & Détox offers fitness stays based on sport, positive attitude and nutrition. Carra Sutherland, the agency’s founder, believes strongly in the idea that a healthy body helps a healthy mind. Meet a woman with a passion for well-being who wants to make us resolutely happy!

Carra Sutherland (Photo: Stephane Louesdon)

Why did you create Happy Sport & Détox?

I come from an Irish family for whom sport and a positive attitude are the answer to everything. We took very little medication when we were kids, because my father always told me to go for a run when I had a cold… so I guess you could say I had the basics right in my upbringing. I left Ireland to pursue a career in Paris in fashion, luxury goods and communications… 20 years later I felt the need to return to my passion. I loved going on sports vacations with my son, but apart from Club Med, I couldn’t find anything… So I took the plunge!

What is the DNA of Happy Sport & Détox?

In the beginning, it was mainly a question of creating holidays where parents could do sport and feel good while their children were being looked after, in an upscale but not ostentatious atmosphere…
Today I have several types of stays, some of which are not child-friendly.

The 3 pillars of our stays are: Sport – Food – Attitude, which I describe as follows:

  1. Sport – over-the-counter medication
  2. Food – balanced diet and alkaline diet
  3. Attitude – a positive mindset

I really worked with doctors to build the programs. With Happy Sport & Detox, I want to help people feel good in body and mind.

Outdoor yoga class in Dakhla (Photo: Happy Sport & Détox)

Are your stays yoga retreats?

Not at all. Of course we do yoga and pilates, but our stays aren’t for yoga pros and that’s not all we do! On average, we do 4 hours of sport a day: hiking, cardio pilates, swissball, strength training, kitesurfing, stand-up paddle, High Intensity Interval Training … It’s quite sustained. Depending on the holiday, there’s also surfing or golf. Activities vary according to location, but there’s a common denominator: the “miracle morning”, a morning ritual to get the day off to a flying start.

So who are your stays for?

I have a great clientele of people between 25 and 60, from France as well as Switzerland and Belgium, who want to de-stress and take care of their bodies. It’s a sporting vacation, but also a vacation where we learn how to live better, quite simply. The idea is to leave with the desire to apply certain principles to your daily life.

Ocean Vagabond Lagon Ecolodge in Dakhla (Photo: Ocean Vagabond )

How do your detox stays differ from those of La Pensée Sauvage, a benchmark in the field?

I have great admiration and respect for Thomas Uhl, founder of La Pensée Sauvage, naturopath and author who pioneered fasting holidays in France. We’re very different from La Pensée Sauvage in that we don’t do fasting holidays. At Happy Sport & Détox we offer detox weeks with intermittent fasting. This involves alternating periods of eating and fasting of at least 12 hours.

In concrete terms, this means that during our stays, our customers stop eating in the evening after dinner… until brunch/breakfast the next day. Skipping breakfast has been shown to help you lose weight, even without changing your diet at other meals. In fact, this type of fasting is often practised in the USA.

I wanted a simple, easy-to-apply method for our stays. I’ve been doing it for 3 years now and I’ve never had weight problems, I have more energy and I never count calories!

What is the alkaline diet you advocate?

The human body contains too much acid, leading to fatigue, insomnia, stress and weight gain that resists all diets. The alkaline diet is based on a high consumption of vegetables, dried and fresh fruit, and a reduction in foods rich in animal proteins to regulate the level of acidity in the blood. We remove gluten, alcohol and coffee during stays too.

Sofitel Mogador Golf & Spa Hotel (Photo: Sofitel)

What are your destinations?

For the moment, I’ve been concentrating a lot on Morocco, because it’s beautiful, there’s sun all the time, and direct flights from Paris and the major provincial cities. It’s an ideal place to relax. I love Daklha in southern Morocco, it’s a little-known place but it’s the most beautiful spot in the world in my opinion. Blue water and magnificent dunes. It’s great for kite surfing. Our stays take place in an ecolodge that I love, Ocean Vagabond Lagon Ecolodge. I’m also a fan of Essaouira, with a stay at the Sofitel Mogador.

I’ll be adding new destinations to my catalog in the autumn, in France, Morocco, and later in Spain and Portugal…. Starting in September, we’ll be offering stays at the Château de Fonscolombe, a 5-star hotel near Aix-en-Provence. Also at theHotel La Crique, another 5-star hotel in Daklha, Morocco, and the Château d’Uzer in Ardèche in 2020.

Carra and Karim (Photo: Stéphane Louesdon. )

What happens if I bring my child?

For example, in August we’ll be staying at the Sofitel Mogador in Morocco. Children are looked after between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. in a Kid’s club called “La Villa des Enfants”, where there is a team dedicated to children. The children are generally between 4 and 10 years old, and a whole range of activities is on offer. They also learn to play golf and visit the medina. There’s quiet time too, and quality food. Kids have just as much fun as grown-ups. We have an all-inclusive package for a couple with one child at 3.850 euros a week.


To find out more and book a stay, go to theHappy Sport & Détox article on our website (if you come from Luxe Wellness Club, get a free treatment…).

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