Rejuvenate with healing waters and then indulge in fine food & wine – guilt free at this luxurious spa resort where Lord Byron and the Empress of France were once guests.
For healing waters with a plenty of therapeutic luxury, head to Villa Padierna Thermas Hotel. As the sister hotel to the swanky Villa Padierna Palace Hotel west of Marbella (where the First Lady of the US stayed a few years back), the Thermas is a genuine 5 star deluxe property.
In fact, this swish hotel in the tiny village of Carratraca 30 minutes drives north west of Malaga airport seems out of place, but of course it’s those thermal sulphurous waters that have been drawing wealthy guests here for many years.
The neoclassical-style spa, with striking Romanesque columns, classic busts and plenty of polished marble is built on the original Roman baths. Step down in to the cloudy waters and you are surrounded by the same ancient stones of the baths that wrapped around these waters hundreds of years ago. Notable visitors over the years have included heads of state, writers, poets and no doubt some eminent Romans too. Now it’s an upscale wellness, spa and weight loss resort dedicated to treatments focusing on detoxification and purification.
On one’s first day here, the smell of the hydrogen sulphide gasses from the water, reminiscent of schoolboy stint bombs, is undeniably noticeable; but strangely after 24 hours one’s brain seems cancels it out and it’s not really an issue. Anyway, it’s a small price to pay for the experience of such healing waters. After a long soak in the baths your skin feels soft, renewed, and radiant.
The thermal area is beautiful – large chrome fixtures, antique Andalusian tiles; vintage marble and luxurious design touches give it the feel of a grand European Spa. The spring waters of Carratraca are drinkable too, and the therapists will be happy to offer you the water as part of your spa regimen.
It’s not all worthy health treatments though; there is plenty of luxurious indulgence too. The guestrooms are flawless, and continue the overall feeling of being pampered. Huge beds, with plush Frette linens, soft bathrobes, huge vintage marble bathrooms and fancy amenities make a stay here a real treat.
There is also a restaurant ‘La Condesa’, which is also dedicated to the goal of health and wellbeing, but serving food prepared and presented in haute cuisine style.
The restaurant and its adjacent Andalusian patio courtyard are places to restore the body and soul through the pleasure of fine food and wine.
The dinner menu, which is more seductive & indulgent than at lunch, has a choice of exquisite dishes featuring locally sourced products.
Maybe start with the warm duck salad with vinegar from Jerez, or the Malaga style salad with caviar.
The robust main dishes include Fillet Steak with a reduction of Malaga wine and Sole, rolled with Mediterranean prawns, with Spanish saffron and pea mash.
The wine list introduces you to some tasty Spanish vintages, together with classic favourites.
Well, after a day of healthy treatments and vigorous pummelling with water jets and showers, one shouldn’t feel guilty with a little indulgence.
- The water – it’s remarkable how it makes your skin look and feel so good
- The food – eating well never tasted so good
- The linens – Frette lines and bathrobes are fab
- The smell – the sulphurous smell can be pretty dominating at first
- The village – there is nothing much to do nearby and the nowhere else to eat close by, although the nearby lakes are stunning
- The ambiance – not many guests were there, where we stayed, so the hotel lacked atmosphere
COPYRIGHT 2013 – Andrew Forbes is a travel & lifestyle writer based in Europe. He is an expert in business marketing communications.