A Stretch in the Sun, GK Beach Hotel Greece, Crete

A week to treat yourself, from 27 September to 4 October, 2016

Relax, shape up and rediscover your youthful vitality… That’s what A Stretch in the Sun, GK Beach is all about – a week-long programme in a fabulous beachside location to teach you the body-changing, if not life changing techniques of Method Putkisto.

Suitable for couples, individuals, young and old, the Method, created by Marja Putkisto, is based on slow, deep stretching which allows the body to realign. The result is more flexibility and freedom of movement; relief from joint pain, a trimmer, more youthful body shape and a natural facelift, all from one simple exercise routine!

Your destination for this unique experience is Crete’s intimate GK Beach Hotel, with accommodation in a comfortable suite and fantastic sea views to wake up to. Alongside your inclusive Method Putkisto sessions, there’ll be plenty of time for sunbathing on the wide sandy beach, massages, swimming in the pool and quiet time in the hotel’s beautiful tropical gardens. You’ll also be offered a guided walk of nearby Kalyves and a city tour of historic Chania, just a 25-minute drive away.

More about Marja, the creator of Method Putkisto

Born with a hip out of place, Marja Putkisto spent the first year of her life in a cast and, even after 15 years of ballet classes, she remained what she describes as an ‘ungifted mover’ with ongoing hip and postural problems.

However, when she was just 25, whilst working as a movement and dance teacher at the Sibelius Academy and Finnish National Opera, she took matters into her own hands. She’d had enough of waiting for doctors to diagnose what was going on with her body and had strong sense that her muscles were simply too short. If she could open them up, her bone structure would be able to fall back into optimum alignment. A little like pulling everything apart and putting it back together again, the right way.

And so Method Putkisto, a deep, dynamic, precise stretching process, was born and although it’s evolved in the 30 years since, and benefitted from the scientific input of one of the world’s leading physiologists, Professor Esko Mälkiä, the original premise remains intact.

Today, Marja, an international ambassador for the Method, is full of vitality, animation and humour – and the gift that she gave herself is a gift she now takes great pleasure in sharing:

“I love the change I see in people, the freedom they find in their body. People light up and become more confident. The less you trust your body, the more energy it takes away from you and your ability to interact fully with life. When you stop being afraid of the body and start understanding it, which is what Method Putkisto is about, everything changes. Rather than you dragging your body around, it holds you and getting older becomes much less of a challenge.”

Method Putkisto Institute, is now recognised as one of the leading bodywork and movement schools in Finland and includes ten studios in Helsinki, 70 full-time instructors and a studio in Richmond, London too.

What is Method Putkisto?

Muscle tightness and shortness force our body out of alignment. The Method Putkisto, created by Marja Putkisto, uses slow, precise exercises to stretch these tight, short muscles and, by simultaneously stabilising the core muscles and activating the breath, it realigns the body and helps it return to its neutral, balanced position.

There are a number of simple movements, such as walking, that form the basis for everything we do. The Method helps you analyse them and iron out any issues, giving you a firm foundation on which to build. With more self awareness, combined with increased inner strength and flexibility, you’ll be able to move more freely and in a way that’s much safer for the body.

What will you get out of it?

With regular practice, you can expect:
• Freedom of movement for life
• Improved flexibility and co-ordination
• Stronger core muscles
• Better posture and body alignment
• An uplifting face and body workout
• A trimmer, more youthful body shape
• More energy and vitality
• A deeper understanding of how your body works

The week at Arosmari will give you a toolkit of exercises that you can use to continue the practice independently when you get home (although classes are available if you’d like to delve deeper).

You’ll find all the details on Marja’s website at methodputkisto.com/uk.

Who's it for?

The beauty of the Method is that it can be tailored to fit, so you can expect young and old, men and women, from top athletes to those just starting a health and fitness routine. It’s also completely non-competitive. So come with an open mind – and a sense humour!

I've had an operation/bad back/injury. Can I take part?

Method Putkisto is great for rehabilitation after injury and operations and for alleviating back and joint pain. However, as with any new exercise, if you’re in any doubt, check with your doctor or physiotherapist before starting. You’ll also be sent a full medical questionnaire before the holiday.

Marja also has fully-qualified assistants who can offer you extra support if you need it.

What are the classes like?

The average class lasts 90 minutes and everyone can work at their own pace, as getting to know your body and how it works is a uniquely personal experience. However, Marja takes a hands-on approach, and is likely to make gentle adjustments to your body so you can get the full benefit of the exercises.

The groups are small and depending on numbers, Marja will have assistants with her – qualified MP teachers to be her extra eyes and ears, answer any questions and ensure everyone is happy.

What should I wear?

Bring comfortable loose clothing that you can move easily in. You won’t need shoes for mat-work classes.

How does it differ from Pilates?

Pilates works FROM the core, the ‘powerhouse’ of the body, and co-ordinates movement through it. Method Putkisto’s primary focus is stretching and elongating the muscles allowing the bone structure to fall back to its neutral position. Whereas Pilates offers a structure for movement, MP relates to your own unique structure and helps you understand why you move the way you do and how to do it more effectively and with less stress on the body. However, it is a beautiful complement to Pilates and many MP teachers are also Pilates teachers.

How does it differ from yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice based on harmonising mind, body and spirit – a system using breathing, postures and meditation. Method Putkisto has a different starting point, promoting freedom of movement and increased awareness and understanding of how the body works best for each individual. For yoga practitioners, it offers a deeper understanding of the structure of the body, going back to the basics of movement, which applies to everything you do in life, on and off the yoga mat.

Is the Method easy to do on my own, outside of classes?

Yes – if you can’t make the classes and workshops in London, there’s a 30-day programme you can follow by yourself, available on DVD and in a book.


Your programme for the week, 27 September-4 October

A Stretch in the Sun is about feeling good in body, mind and spirit, and we’ve created a week that nurtures all three. It’s a chance to eat well, sleep well and relax completely between classes, as well as getting to know this lovely corner of Western Crete and making it your own.

27 Sept

Departure from London Gatwick
Arrival in Chania, Crete
  You’ll be greeted by the Simpson Travel team and taken to the GK Beach Hotel, where there'll be light refreshments to welcome you. The afternoon is free for you to unwind, unpack and explore your new surroundings.
  18:00 onwards Welcome Dinner:
A chance to meet Marja Putkisto and your hosts at the GK Beach Hotel, Katerina, the owner, and our Simpson Travel representatives, Harvey, Anne and Sarah.
28 Sept
07:00 - 09:00 Method Putkisto Session
09:30 - 10:30 Breakfast
10:30 - 12:00 Kalyves Walking Tour
12:00 - 17:00 Free
17:00 - 19:00 Method Putkisto Session
19:00 onwards Free Evening
29 Sept
07:00 - 09:00 Method Putkisto Session
09:30 - 10:30 Breakfast
10:30 - 17:00 Free
17:00 - 19:00 Method Putkisto Session
19:00 onwards Free Evening
30 Sept
07:00 - 09:00 Method Putkisto Session
09:30 - 10:30 Breakfast
10:30 - 17:00 Free
17:00 - 19:00 Method Putkisto Session
19:00 onwards Free Evening
1 Oct
07:00 - 09:30 Breakfast
09:30 - 16:00 Free
16:00 - 19:00 Chania City Tour
19:00 - 22:00 Hosted Dinner
2 Oct
07:00 - 09:00 Method Putkisto Session
09:30 - 10:30 Breakfast
10:30 - 17:00 Free
17:00 - 19:00 Method Putkisto Session
19:00 onwards Free Evening
3 Oct
07:00 - 09:00 Method Putkisto Session
09:30 - 10:30 Breakfast
10:30 - 17:00 Free
17:00 - 19:00 Method Putkisto Session
19:00 onwards Free Evening
4 Oct 08:00 - 09:30 Breakfast
11:15 - 12:15 Departure from Chania Airport – UK guests
14:40 Flights departing Chania Airport
16:35 Flights arrive at London Gatwick

* We reserve the right to make changes to any part of this programme should it be required for any reason.


The GK Beach Hotel

Each elegantly simple, light, bright suite of this intimate beachside hotel has a private balcony or terrace for morning coffee with a sea view – one of the nicest ways to start your day. And as the days unfold, the relaxation only goes deeper.

The sea or large swimming pool are equally inviting, the former just a short walk through green lawns and the hotel’s lush, tropical gardens. There’s a restaurant and bar within the grounds and the traditional Greek village of Kalyves, with its lovely tavernas, is a just a 20-minute stroll away.

For a taste of Greek’s ancient history, Chania is a 25-minute drive away, its Old Town a melting point of Venetian and Turkish influences with an impressive harbour, shops and tavernas.   

Find out more about the GK Beach Hotel.

The people who'll be looking after you

Marja Putkisto, the creator of Method Putkisto

"I was lucky enough to be brought up surrounded by forests with views of the sea, and being in a natural environment is very important to me. Over the last ten years in particular, I've seen a change, with more and more of us leading a 'two dimensional' life, through phones, televisions and computers.

The Method Putkisto, which I created 30 years ago, is fantastic at helping people connect with their environment and their bodies again  and, in the process, learn how to move more freely and easily, ease physical aches and pains and rediscover their vitality." 

Find out more about Marja.


Harvey Smith, our Island Manager in Crete

"Originally from Suffolk, I’ve lived in Crete for nine years and been based at GK Beach Hotel since 2012. Not many can boast a view from their office of palm trees, beach and the sparkling Aegean Sea.

My garden keeps me particularly busy during the winter months. In summer, everything grows so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up! For exercise, cycling the local lanes and tracks is a great way to connect with the local flora and fauna; the smell of the wild herbs, buzzards circling overhead and bright green lizards dashing across the road.

If there’s anything you need during your stay, just talk to me or one of the team. We’re here to make sure you get the most from this beautiful island."


Sarah Lovell, Assistant Manager, GK Beach Hotel

"I’m originally from New Zealand, but spent many years working in London, for Sky Television, London Underground, London Transport and, for eleven years, as a Project Manager in Canary Wharf. However, I always used up my annual leave island hopping in Greece.

Like Harvey, Crete reminds me of my homeland too; the mountains, the sea, the beaches and of course the sheep! I’ve worked at GK Beach Hotel since 2011 and I love it, whatever the season. Summer nights are balmy and tropical – perfect for a sunset ouzo or small glass of retsina – while winter presents a wonderful opportunity for beachcombing and sourcing driftwood for our house-warming wood burners."


Anne Perkins, our local representative

"I've been with Simpson Travel since 2013, 17 years after I moved to Crete. Having worked as a travel representative and in retail since I came to the island, I’ve gained many insights into local life and, I’m told, I speak Greek with a Cretan accent!

Out of season, I make the most of the sunny days with mountain walks and pit stops in a village kafeneion (a traditional coffee house) for an uplifting glass of tsikoudia. It's a great place to observe local life, especially when vans stop outside selling bread, fruit and vegetables, fish and even clothes. Cretan people are so friendly, keen to help and offer you hospitality. You’ll soon find yourself caught up in their unique charm and the wonderful experiences to be had on their island."



Details & Prices

We’ve made the sun-filled path to a fitter, healthier body easy with a package that allows you to make the most of your beautifully peaceful West Crete destination – and Marja Putkisto’s 30 years of body wisdom and experience.

The holiday includes

  • Flights with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Chania
    Outbound: Tue 27 Sept, 8.00 - 13.55 (Gatwick to Chania)
    Return: Tue 4 Oct, 14.40 - 16.35 (Chania to Gatwick)
  • Seven nights' accommodation at the GK Beach Hotel
  • Transfers to and from the GK Beach Hotel
  • Refreshments and snacks on arrival
  • Ten 90-minute Method Putkisto sessions
  • A copy of Marja's book, The Body Lean & Lifted
  • All breakfasts
  • Two hosted dinners with wine
  • Chania tour and dinner
  • Vamos tour

Prices for guests travelling from the UK

Property Price Capacity
Ground Floor Junior Suite £1179 per person (based on 2 sharing) Sleeps 2
Ground Floor Suite £1279 per person (based on 2 sharing) Sleeps 2
First Floor Suite £1379 per person (based on 2 sharing) Sleeps 2

There is a single person supplement of £300.