Spa therapy is certainly not new to Greece. Thousands of years ago, Greeks were already well acquainted with the many pleasures and vital benefits of curative hot springs and mineral springs, of seawater rich in ozone, salt and iodine and of therapies involving the inhalation, imbibing or bodily application of herbal and flower essences. They were aware of oil massages, medicinal diets, healing music, and the role of physical exercise in health. Today, spa and thalassotherapy centers operating around the country have taken wellness to a new level by using high-tech equipment, new-age practices and radical new scientific products that offer guests highly sophisticated, tailor-made wellness services. Although most of the best spas in Greece today include a delightful range of therapies from other ancient cultures such as India, Japan and China, the enduring reliability of the health principles of Classical Greece, inspired by the likes of the physician Hippocrates and the god Asclepius, continue to be the prevalent foundations for even the most progressive treatments, thus holistically and harmoniously bridging the old with the new.
To all of this, you can add the attractive prospect of relaxing in either majestic interiors with peaceful lighting and décor carefully designed to enhance the serenity of your surroundings or outdoor locations where the air is ozone-rich, the sun is bright and the sea embraces the landscape in dazzling blues. Finally, throw in fresh local seasonal food divinely prepared, and it’s guaranteed the experience will leave you “sparkling” inside and out.
ANAZOE SPA, COSTA NAVARINO
Ancient Greek healing philosophies and cutting-edge techniques embrace guests in a curative, restorative and relaxing experience at Anazoe, a spa whose name comes from the Greek word for rejuvenation. A broad and beautiful variety of therapies, using products from around the world and natural ingredients sourced in the flourishing Messenian countryside, is accompanied by the soothing musical elements of ancient Greek modes and scales.
The 4,000m2 spa is in the competent hands of certified physiotherapists. When it comes to physical well-being, Anazoe centers on the holistic approach of osteopathy, offering what the director of the spa Dora Koromila describes as “structural diagnosis and manipulative therapy” that helps to realign and relax the musculoskeletal system, meanwhile treating the guest holistically, based on Hippocratic doctrine.
As for their emotional well-being, guests are encouraged to unwind by enjoying the various Thalassotherapy treatments. Further options at Anazoe Spa include kinisiotherapy, hydrotherapy and floating pools, and indoor and outdoor treatment areas, as well as an extensive range of light therapies and heat treatments, including the use of ice-grotto rooms, mist showers and herbal saunas.
The most in-demand therapies to date are Anazoe’s Oleotherapy® Signature Treatments. These involve pure olive oil and are based on ancient local practices inscribed on clay tablets discovered at the nearby Palace of Nestor.
ANAZOE SPA | Navarino Dunes, Costa Navarino • Tel. (+30) 2723.095.000
SIX SENSES SPA, PORTO ELOUNDA
The Immot Detox Program at Six Senses Spa (a chain with outstanding branches around the world) was recognized as the most progressive of its kind in the world in 2015 by Conde Nast Traveler. Leading a dynamic staff of healers, occupational therapists, fitness and wellness instructors, estheticians and physiotherapists, Porto Elounda Spa Manager Elli Soumaki says that “our vision, now more than ever is to help people reconnect with themselves and others in the world around them.” How does Six Senses Spa achieve this daunting challenge? “We combine treatments that benefit the mind, body and soul of our guests, using both ancient and cutting-edge techniques,” she says. “One of our diagnostic tools for 2017 will be Fusionetics, a system that monitors and analyzes movement and fitness levels, while physiotherapy, body alignment, respiratory techniques, fascia and Bowen therapies are all elements of our programs as well.”
The spa has even created a preventive healthcare package called Olous, to be launched in 2017, which will include check-ups and pain-free diagnostics based on the latest in health technology. Meanwhile, yoga aficionados can enjoy a yoga detox program that combines physical exercise with meditation, breath regulation (pranayama) and a balanced Ayurvedic diet. If guests simply wish to relax and be pampered, Soumaki recommends the most popular therapies – from signature massages and Subtle Energies Aromatherapy to the Abhyang Fusion and the Apivita Queen Bee Facial. All this pampering magic takes place in a gorgeous space that has won several awards for its Zen-like esthetics that manages both to reflect the local surroundings (via the use of wood, stone and glass), and to offer profound serenity. Make sure to spend time relaxing in the tepidarium area, where the water element rules so completely that you can even enjoy its presence in the quasi-skylight water pond overhead.
SIX SENSES SPA | Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, Crete • Tel. (+30) 2841.068.000
DIVANI APOLLON SPA & THALASSO CENTER
The new program named #DivineYou reveals a great deal about the philosophy of this spa and thalassotherapy center, which provides its guests with tailor-made treatments that holistically address their every need. Cutting-edge technology (with machines such as the Hypoxi, the Vacunaut and the i-Lipo) is used to enhance programs such as body sculpting and weight loss. This is done in combination with the use of a range of Symmetria products created by Dr Nikos Metaxotos. The suite of massage therapies include those based on Eastern health philosophies, with treatments such as Thai massage, reflexology and head massage, and there’s also an extensive range of meditation and yoga classes, especially idyllic in summer when they are held on the hotel’s private beach at sunset or sunrise.
Housed in a space with warm earth tones and marble-covered walls, with individual cabins featuring natural wood elements, the spa prides itself on its well-trained staff (they attend Thalgo and St Barth seminars every year) and their ability to provide tailored care for each guest. One of the most attractive wellness features at the spa is the Thalassotherapy Pool, which Spa Manager George Notopoulos describes as unique: “At 270m2, it is the largest of its kind in Greece, with 16 different areas with water jets.” Guests are offered fresh homemade lemonade, green tea and antioxidant “vitamin water” with cucumber, lemon and blueberries as they receive therapies and savor the tranquil environment and opulent atmosphere.
DIVANI APOLLON SPA & THALASSO CENTER | 10 Aghiou Nikolaou, Vouliagmeni • Tel. (+30) 210.891.1100
GB SPA, GRANDE BRETAGNE HOTEL
When the luxurious GB Spa first opened its doors to hotel guests and the wider public in 2003, it gained an immediate reputation as the capital’s most luxurious wellness paradise, and it has retained its standing as one of the most impressive spas in Greece, with absolutely flawless standards, stunning facilities and unparalleled treatments. “Following the true meaning of the word ‘spa,’ which derives from the Italian ‘salute per aqua’ meaning ‘health with water’, our ozone and oxygen-rich swimming pool with thick sea salt that’s brimming with mineral elements immediately whisks guests away from the intense stress of urban life,” says Spa Manager Anne Speck. Guests are encouraged to enjoy steam and water experiences one hour before treatments, and to spend at least 5-15 minutes in the various steam rooms, such as the Amethystos Grotto, which has walls covered in amethyst crystal mosaics and air infused with the pungent aroma of eucalyptus, or the Herbal Suite, in which local, seasonal herbs are steamed to release their curative aromatic essences.
“Basing our therapies on the use of top-quality ESPA products, we have created a series of treatments for all tastes and conditions,” says Speck, adding that their most popular therapy is the Balinese massage, which focuses on the back, shoulders, face and scalp, areas of the body commonly knotted with tension among high-flying hotel guests and stressed-out city folk alike. GB Spa’s two Ayurvedic therapies, each two hours long, encourage a profound rebalancing and regeneration of the mind and the spirit. These therapies use exotic sensual floral essences infused into cold-pressed sesame oil, and massage on the marma points (mini chakras as defined in ancient Indian medicine). For instant beautification results, Speck suggests the Signature GB facial, based on the use of Japanese Kobido massage and innovative prickly pear products, as well as the Regenerating Mask Treatment by Valmont, which offers a “biological lift” using a 100% collagen mask.
GB SPA, GRANDE BRETAGNE HOTEL | Syntagma Square, Athens • Tel. (+30) 210.333.0799/772
ALDEMAR ROYAL MARE THALASSO
Greece’s first Thalasso/Spa Center, this 4000m2 wellness paradise, which opened in 1997, welcomes up to 200 guests per day and is rated as one of the top 10 of its kind worldwide. “Our key focus is to be innovative at all times, rather than imitating others,” says Spa Manager Apostolos Rizos. “Some of our most advanced treatments are the Innovzen Breath Concept, our Ritual Detox, the Affusion Watermass and the Four-finger Lifting Massage.” A luminous and luxurious environment that instantly seduces guests into letting go of all their tensions, the spa has 50 individual treatment rooms, four swimming pools and a large beauty center. It is decorated with mosaics and offers a dream-like atmosphere set against a “Big Blue” backdrop. At Aldemar Royal Mare, the sea theme reigns supreme, with many treatments involving hydro-jet pressure and curative seaweed or mud wraps.
There is also a focus on bolstering the immune system. “With treatments like Vein Tone Vitality Program and Elixir Vertebral Program, combined with our hydrotherapy rituals, we effectively address physical problems and the discomfort they cause,” Rizos says. For emotional and mental wellbeing, the spa/thalasso center pampers its guests with sensual and pacifying aromatherapy and Ayurvedic therapies and programs that help guests reconnect with their inner self, including the Breath Revive program and the two-day Absolute Serenity treatment. The center, which offered highly customized care to cosmonauts Anton Shkaperlov (2015) and Yuri Malenchenko (2016), prides itself on the multitude of medical benefits that its waters and specialized treatments can offer to treat a whole host of conditions, from rheumatism, arthritis and blood circulation to insomnia, backache and cellulite.
ALDEMAR ROYAL MARE THALASSO | Limenas Hersonissou, Crete • Tel. (+30) 2897.027.200
ELOUNDA SPA, BLUE PALACE
The ingredients used at this spa could be sourced from the kitchen cabinet of any Greek household: honey, extra virgin olive oil, Cretan raki, wild herbs and sugar. Blue Palace, however, manages to work wonders, using these simple local products in a highly sophisticated way, adding pure essential oils to create their effective and enjoyable signature treatments. The spa’s environment, too, plays its part: your senses are stimulated by streams of sunlight, the sound of running water and textures and shades that reflect the natural landscapes of Crete. Here, there is something for everyone: a couple’s suite where privacy-lovers can enjoy luxurious, synchronous respite; the late-night spa pampering program, for those who need to relax after a demanding day; one-day rituals that rejuvenate guests completely; and weekly classes such as water watsu, prenatal yoga, basic pilates and even boxing.
Apart from offering beautifying treats such as the Ariadne Beauty Ritual (named after the daughter of King Minos and based on ancient health and beauty practices), the spa also helps guests suffering from chronic or ordinary aches and pains by offering them its Medical Massage, an intense rub-down during which pressure is applied to muscles and bones, releasing metabolic waste and boosting circulation, and which concludes with the application of a special analgesic ointment. “Most of our clients suffer from back, neck and shoulder muscular pain or stress, and all the treatments from our Ultimate Massage Collection are ideal for releasing tension and restoring vitality to the body,” says Spa Manager Babis Egglezakis. “For weight loss and muscle or joint healing, we recommend any of our pleasurable and remedial Thalassotherapy Collection treatments.”
ELOUNDA SPA AND THALASSOTHERAPY | Blue Palace, Elounda, Crete • Tel. (+30) 2841.065.500