More and more spa fans are traveling to Greece every year to rejuvenate themselves in one of the many excellent spa facilities and treatments on offer across the land, demonstrating the emergence of wellness as a leading travel trend. Here are some of the most alluring wintertime options for you to try (or simply fantasize about) on your next trip.
Aegeo Spa | Electra Metropolis Athens
At this spanking-new spa, which even has a glass floor revealing the ruins of the Themistoclean wall, you can let go with aromatherapy, deep tissue and lymphatic massages as well as beautifying flash treatments. Try the signature Cretan massage, in which warm raki (60 percent alcohol) is vigorously rubbed on the body to relax the muscles and clear the respiratory system. Next, gently heated olive oil is used for a (very) deep tissue massage to loosen every knot of tension throughout the entire body.
INFO | 15 Mitropoleos, Syntagma • Tel. (+30) 214.1006.200
By far the city’s most luxurious spa, and located right on Syntagma Square. Spend at least 5-15 minutes in the steam rooms such as the Amethystos Grotto, followed by a dip in the ozone-rich pool. To rebalance after the holidays, try a two-hour round of Ayurvedic therapy, which encourages a profound rebalancing and regeneration of the mind and emotions using sensual, floral and exotic oils massaged on the marma points (mini chakras, as defined in ancient Indian medicine).
INFO | Grande Bretagne Hotel, Syntagma Square • Tel. (+30) 210.3330.799 / 772
The Hiltonia Spa offers a progressive treatment menu, with treatments such as the Rich Cleopatra Sperience Jacuzzi Therapy, which includes milk proteins and seaweed collagen; a Vitamin C+ facial that includes extract of Ume (Japanese apricot), which has anti-aging qualities; Diamond Noir facial exfoliation, and Golden Sensation body seaweed wrap. Try the Exceptional Anti-Wrinkle and Lift Facial therapies to start the year as a fresh-faced, bedazzling you.
INFO| Athens Hilton, 46 Vas. Sofias Ave. • Tel. (+30) 210.7281.812 / 210.7281.801
Hammam is inspired by the baths of ancient Greece and Rome as well as those of Constantinople. Start with a steam session in the circular, marble-benched bathing room, letting your skin, muscles and lungs “open up,” as you occasionally pour cool water on yourself from brass bowls and lather yourself with soap. Follow this with a deep tissue, exfoliating or beautifying massage in which therapists use black soap made with olive oil paste, Dead Sea black mud, and loofahs and silk Ketsea “brushes” for scrubbing the body and face.
INFO | 17 Agion Asomaton Str. & 1 Melidoni Str., Thissio • Tel. (+30) 210.323.1073
Le Hammam, Kifissia
A pampering escape in the verdant northern suburb of Kifissia, Le Hammam is inspired by therapies and products from the world’s most exotic destinations, such as Bali, Polynesia, Morocco, Hawaii, the Himalayas and Thailand. Try the Queen Nefertiti, in which Balinese jasmine, lotus flowers and 18 karat gold powder are used to activate the feminine energy, or Shirodhara, an Ayrvedic therapy, in which a mixture of essential oils is poured slowly on the forehead to clear the third eye and induce deep tranquility.
INFO | 8 Aghiou Trifonos, Kifisia • Tel. (+30) 210.623.3143
Obeying the Hippocratic philosophy of holistic wellness and making the best of Greece’s purest bee products (honey, pollen, royal jelly), Apivita’s Beehive Spa offers a sumptuous series of face and body treatments and two types of massage. Try the Queen Bee Firming Treatment, a luxurious anti-ageing therapy inspired by the bee dance that helps firm and lift the skin while increasing elasticity and glow.
INFO | Apivita Experience Store, 6 Solonos & Kanari, Kolonaki • Tel. (+30) 210.3640.560
Cocoon Urban Spa
A unique mix of therapies are offered here, such as Chavutti, an ancient southern Indian massage performed in a rhythmical motion by the therapist’s … feet! Try also the Spice Market Hammam, which starts with a deep scrub in the marble steam room, after which you will be lathered up with black soap and then slathered in rhassoul clay while your face drinks up a royal jelly mask. That’s only the beginning, as after that comes a full body massage using rose, pomegranate and sandalwood oils.
INFO | 9 Souliou & Eryfilis, Ag. Paraskevi • Tel. (+30) 210.6561.975
Asian Spa Ayurvedic & City Retreat
Eastern sensuality reigns supreme here, with treatments that celebrate the touch, smell and sight involved in relishing inventive treatments like Apricots and Cream or Chocolatier, the latter being a romantic “chocolate and flowers” couple’s massage involving an antioxidant cacao scrub and choco-massage, followed by a blissful soak in an aromatic floral bath. Then there’s the Glittering Prize, in which the therapist applies a gold scrub and mask, followed by gold dust powder. Several sophisticated Ayurvedic treatments are also available.
INFO | Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, 13 kilometres Thessaloniki-Perea • Tel. (+30) 211.404.0115
Modelled on the traditional Turkish hammam, this boutiquey haven of peace, cleansing and restorative therapies – located bang in the heart of Thessaloniki – encourages you to lie back in the marble sauna, where you can bathe and then enjoy a re-energizing and purifying signature massage such as the Aritma Polis massage, which thoroughly works on the entire body and includes the application of brushes and essential oils with stimulating fragrances.
INFO | 40 Karamanli St., Kalamaria • Tel. (+30) 231.0488.216
At Imaret, housed in a Koranic school founded in 1817 by Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt, escape to the “hidden” hammam that offers therapies derived from traditional eastern rituals, using ingredients like curative muds, exotic oils, herbs, flowers, honey and milk. Try the Harem Massage, a deeply pacifying therapy in which aromatic poultices filled with fresh chamomile and mint that are dipped into warm essential oils of myrrh and applied to relieve tired muscles, nourishing the skin and boosting circulation.
INFO | 30-32 Th. Poulidou, Kavala • Tel. (+30) 251.0620.151