SPA OF THE MONTH
Adler Dolomiti,Ortisei, ItalyWhen you arrive inOrtisei, you’d be forgivenfor thinking you’re in Austria rather thanItaly. Nestled in a valley between thetowering peaks of the Dolomites, Swiss-style cottages dot the hillside andshopkeepers wear traditional Austriancostume. In fact, the South Tyrol was oncepart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,annexed by Italy as recently as 1918.
The five-star Adler Dolomiti has been inthe Sanoner family for seven generations,and echoes of the family’s past bring adelightful sense of history to the place.Family relics line the walls and two ornate19th Century sledges adorn the hotel.A marriage of modern and traditional,wood panelling creates a warm, friendly atmosphere, while glass ‘walls’ make the most of the spectacular setting.
I feel relaxed within hours of arriving, andswimming al fresco against the mountainbackdrop further lulls me into a serenestate of mind. We arrive in a heatwave, butthe two indoor/outdoor pools are perfectall year round – one heated to 32oC with‘revitalised’ water, the other, saltwater, poolis 35oC and beautifully soothes my tiredmuscles post-exercise. For the ultimaterelaxation, we head to the SubterraneanSalt Lake where we float effortlesslyin individual ‘pods’ before cocooningourselves on beds in the Rock Salt Sauna,where crystal salt bricks from theHimalayas create a warm glow and enrichthe air with healthy ions and healingminerals. There are also Finnish andorganic hay saunas, a rose bath room,floral steam room and rasul mud chamber.
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Traditional treatments include an EdelweissFacial – the flower is immune to the effectsof sun, altitude and weather, and protectsthe skin against moisture loss and irritation– and a Mountain Hay Bath, where herbsand grasses from South Tyrolean meadowsloosen muscles and purify the respiratorytract. The menu is endless, offeringeverything from Ayurvedic treatments to jetpeels, mindfulness and medical diagnosis.I tried the Arnica Tango Pack – a warm,herb-infused mud treatment with soothing,regenerating and revitalising properties– which eased my tight muscles post-cycling, and followed this with the HoneyBack Treatment. This intensive massageworks on your meridians to stimulate andstrengthen your whole system, while thehealing properties of the honey deeplypenetrate your skin. The special pressing/releasing massage technique createsa suction effect that gently removesimpurities and left me deeply relaxed.
In summer, the snow has all but meltedaway to reveal possibly one of the mostbeautiful hiking areas in Europe. Thehighlight of our walk was an al fresco yogaclass set against a stunning backdrop ofsoaring peaks. Our walking guide andteacher Shanti led a beautifully-pacedclass, asking us to close our eyes the entiretime so we could connect more deeply withour inner experience. Just as we finished, aherd of cows wandered past, their cowbellsgently clinking in the midday sun. TheDolomites is also a great area to cycle in.Electric mountain bikes meant we couldpower up 35° inclines as if we were on levelground, and riding through winding trails inpine forests up to the Alpe di Suisi, thehighest plateau in Europe, was a joy.
Buffet-style breakfasts include fresh juices,fruit and yoghurts, plus a variety of cerealsand bircher-type mueslis with every nut orseed you could dream of. Add to thisbreads and pastries, bacon and sausages,cold meats, fish, omelettes and localspecialities, and you could easily go all daywithout getting hungry, although SouthTyrolean afternoon treats are availablemid-afternoon. You’ll have to be disciplinedif you want to lose weight here. You canhave up to seven courses at supper,including local dishes such as barley soupand regional farmers’ buffets, or specialitiesinclude grilled octopus and cod withliquorice and smoked potatoes. On ourlast night, we headed over to the adjoiningmedical spa Adler Balance, feasting onWild Herb Salad, a delicious BarleyLasagnette, with salmon, seaweed anda to-die-for brown butter. Heaven!
A four-day stay begins at €890 in peak season; adler-dolomiti.com.
Bamford Botanic Sugar Polish,£35 for 200ml; bamford.co.uk.Just the thing for helping yoursummer body look its best, thisluxurious organic product gentlyexfoliates (with brown sugar),brightens and softens the skin.Other natural ingredients include:detoxifying sea salt; African sheabutter, which is high in essential fattyacids and antioxidants to hydrate andsoothe the skin; and extra virgin oliveoil, which offers anti-inflammatorybenefits and helps the skin retainmoisture. These are teamed withrosemary, lemon, cinnamon andcedar oils to increase circulationwhile easing mental and physicalfatigue. It’s a hard-working product!It’s recommended that you apply itbefore you have a bath and leave iton for 10 to 15 minutes while soakingto boost an all-over body detox. Weneed no encouragement to lie backin the tub for a while…
‘IT WORKED FOR ME’
H&F’s writer Eva Gizowska triesa medical pedicure
What? Clinical Podiatry; from £150for 60 minutes.London Wellbeing Centre, 58 SouthMolton Street, London, W1K 5SL(dgpodiatrist.com)To find a local practitioner, contactThe Society of Chiropodists andPodiatrists (scpod.org).
Where? ‘Arriving at the LondonWellbeing Centre, I’m met inreception by podiatrist Dina Gohil.She takes me into one of the light,bright therapy rooms, where I removemy shoes and get comfortable onthe treatment couch. Dina takes mymedical history and examines my feet‘As a podiatrist, Dina sees andtreats all sorts of common footproblems: hard skin, corns, plantarfasciitis, fungal nail infections,verrucas and bunions. She also workswith people with diabetes who oftenneed specialist footcare. ‘Even thoughI’ve been exfoliating religiously, Dinapoints out that I have a lot of dryskin on my feet. As she reaches fora scalpel, she reassures me that itwon’t hurt. It doesn’t. In fact, I canbarely feel anything, apart from aslight tickling sensation, as Dinaexpertly removes every shred of dryskin from my feet. She’ll also cut andbuff nails and treat any problems youmight have.’She finishes by massaging my feetwith tea tree oil mixed with sheabutter as you can choose naturalproducts if you wish, or she’ll useconventional products or a mix of thetwo. The difference is unbelievable.I can’t remember the last time myfeet were so soft and smooth! Dinaexplains I probably only need threeto four sessions a year to keep up thegood work, but you may need to goevery few weeks, or more if you havebigger problems.’
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