I've had spa treatments before. I've had massages and alternative healing therapies. But I can honestly say nothing compares to the feeling of well-being I experienced during the Day Spa Ritual Detox at HSPA by GPRO Valparaiso Palace & Spa.
As soon as you walk downstairs into the Valparaiso Palace spa, you feel the change. The lighting softens, the air smells of soothing oils and the sounds of the city are replaced with gentle melodies from the east. I enjoyed a refreshing glass of chilled water scented with cherries and was given a tour of the facilities.
The spa is tastefully furnished in a palette of warm golds and browns with great attention to detail. There are thirteen different treatment rooms, some benefitting from natural light, others dark and restful. The centre offers treatments from the east and west, and the rooms are individually designed to enrich each experience. Ayurvedic massages are popular amongst guests, and there is also Shiatsu, Reiki, acupuncture, as well as beauty treatments.
I began my session with a Thermal circuit. First, I showered under 'tropical rain' in a shower designed to echo the sound of rain falling on leaves. After that I headed into the dynamic pool, where at the push of a button I could activate the different water shoots and the jacuzzi. I particularly enjoyed being able to swim through to the outdoor circle and feel the sun on my face while the water pumps massaged my back.
Eager to try all the different rooms in the thermal circuit I didn't spend long in the pool. A big clock on the wall means you don't need to worry about bringing your watch, while mobiles and screens are a big no no here. It was 16.00 in the afternoon and there was no one about yet. I'm told in summer, it's often very quiet, so it's worth taking advantage.
In the steam room, I leant back in the blue tiled armchair and entered into the process of relaxation. Like the treatment rooms, the saunas and steam rooms each have their own individual design and character. At the entrance of each room, a sign informs you of the nature of the treatment and suggests how long to spend. I would have gladly stayed the twenty-five minutes if I hadn't been so curious to try out the herbal room. As I inhaled the herbs, felt the dry heat on my skin and listened to the soft instrumental Indian music, I could imagine myself in a far-off place. It was a complete contrast with my next stop, the Turkish sauna, with its 70% humidity level.
The traditional Finnish sauna was occupied and the rooms being quite small, I didn't feel comfortable joining the very relaxed looking guest inside. Instead I wandered up the passage to the relaxation area, stopping on my way to touch and breathe in the herbs that are located in brightly coloured boxes along the wall. Rosemary, lavender, bitter orange, cinnamon and Maria Luisa herb, all designed to either combat anxiety, soothe or uplift.
Further on the relaxation room allows guests to stretch out on heated beds in an atmosphere of real peace. Off to the side is the dark meditation room with a cushioned floor and four comfy pods. I curled up in one of them and closed my eyes. I pondered how letting go of your worries was a choice; a choice certainly made easier in a place like this. Little did I know, the unwinding of my mind and body had only just begun.
In the luxurious Japanese room, I stepped into a large gold bath for 25 minutes of hydrotherapy detox (€15). My therapist, Anais, gave me a choice of four delicious oil essences to smell and I settled on lemon grass and rosemary. She added hydrating milk to the water, dimmed the lights and left me to it. The bubbling water glowed pinky red. I breathed in the aromas and closed my eyes.
Twenty five minutes felt exactly the right amount of time for my bath and just as I was thinking I was ready for part two, Anais appeared with a fresh gown. What followed next was a 90 minute Organic Full Body Exfoliation and Algae Wrap (€150) using superior Anika products. As the first hot drops of white chocolate scented oil were rubbed over my calves, I felt myself sinking deeper into total relaxation. My muscles unwound as expert hands worked across my entire body, switching from my back to my front four times. I was massaged with oils and exfoliation scrubs, and then covered in an algae wrap.
I didn't think it could feel any better but then my therapist activated the water bed feature. If you've never been on one, it feels like the table you were on disappears and you are suddenly weightless. I have never felt so comfortable. Before the treatment I had been suffering from tight shoulders and feelings of anxiety, but all my worries and all my pains faded away as I rested in this warm embrace. For forty-five minutes I lay there, zoning in and out, sometimes noticing the faint eastern music in the background and sometimes disappearing into thoughts. Thoughts that mainly centered around how I was going to encourage all the stressed people in my life to have this very treatment!
Again, the timing was perfect. Just as I was beginning to feel I was ready to emerge from this blissful state, Anais appeared with a smile to bring the treatment to an end with a full body moisurising massage. A whole range of scents of ylang-ylang, almond, coco butter and jojoba sank into my skin.
I emerged from HSPA by GPRO Valparaiso Palace & Spa feeling like I'd been given a new body. I felt restored, relaxed and my skin smelt incredible. People often come back from their holidays needing a holiday to get over it, but with a spa treatment like this, you're bound to return ready for anything!
The Day Spa Ritual Detox cost €165 and is just one of the day packages now available.
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