Our visit several years back to Adler Thermae Resort and Spa in beautiful Tuscany came to mind with the recent news that this standout destination has received the Spafinder Wellness Award 2015 for Best Hot Springs. Winners were selected by a panel of 33 travel and wellness industry editors and experts who nominated 504 properties for consideration before narrowing the field to finalists in 53 countries and regions and by consumers who voted for their favorite locations across 20 categories.
The Sanoner family, owner and designer of the Adler Group, has been hands-on pioneers in the wellness industry, opening their first resort in the Dolomites, Adler Wellness & Sport Resort in 1810, decades before the wellness industry was in vogue. In the late 1990s, they discovered an extraordinary thermal site in Tuscany and in 2004, after many years of intense research and hard work, opened a new spa and wellness retreat, Adler Thermae Spa & Resort. It has become a welcoming oasis for body and mind in the eco-rich Tuscan countryside.
Adler Thermae is a sprawling, relaxation oasis that opened in 2003 in a valley declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for its beauty and uniqueness. The resort transports mind and body starting with how it is sited. The main house – replicating a three-story, antique, rural villa – overlooks the large indoor/outdoor thermal pool complex that sits on a high, green plain from which Tuscan hills can be viewed in every direction. Particularly prominent is the Orcia Castle, seeming to keep a watchful eye from the distance.
The resort’s thermal waters originate in Monet Amiata, visible from the property. There, deep inside the mountain, the rainwater collects and seeps slowly through the bedrock; over the decades it’s become enriched with minerals and sulphur to surface at 50º C on the resort grounds. The spa not only pampers but incorporates the ancient thermal, or “thermae,” healing waters popular here for centuries.
The resort is adjacent to the village of Bagno Vignoni, where the ancient bath in the central square was long frequented by Romans because of its location near the pilgrims’ path to Rome. The village is a mere 10-minute walk from the resort along a lighted, paved footpath. Our night stroll under the Tuscan sky became an unforgettable experience.
No Need to Leave
It will take much, however, to pull guests away from this heart of healing in the hills. And why wander? Everything is here, from gourmet cuisine and Italian wines, to wine and olive oil tastings, to 120 different spa treatments, fitness center with personalized regimes and activities that embrace the Tuscan culture, plus family programs.
The spa itself features so many areas to sample that it will take several days at full schedule to experience it all. Among the don’t-miss spots are:
- The vast 35º C thermal pool that transitions from indoors to outside under a footbridge. There’s a separate fitness pool next to it with hydra bikes;
- Grotta Salina, an underground saltwater grotto with shallow bath featuring Dead Sea salts, special lighting and music. Guests reserve 20-minute appointments, two-four people at a time. We had it to ourselves for an other worldly experience – the salt making us buoyant; the music inspiring mental flights of fancy;
- Artemisia herbal steam room;
- Etruscan bath with salt steam;
- Argillae rasul mud bath;
- Olivae, olive wood sauna on its own island;
- Grotta del Filosofo steambath with candlelight and music;
- Watsu screened hut with 35º C thermal pool; and
- Upstairs relaxation lounge with waterbeds.
But man cannot live by spa alone. Another true joy of Italy awaits: dining. The elegant, upper-floor Italian Piazza Restaurant features a live tree, retractable roof and Mediterranean villa design. The chef de cuisine and his team emphasize variety and the best of typical Tuscan cuisine. A varied choice of “fitness and health” and vegetarian dishes are served daily, plus there are gourmet events every week.
Half-board packages feature breakfast with fresh juice bar, eggs and freshly prepared specialties, fresh bakery, homemade jams and bio-products. The resort is very eco friendly. An afternoon buffet features, among other things, fresh fruit salad and homemade cakes and biscuits, for a relaxing pause. Dinners are four- to five-course gastronomic events, with unusual entree like pigeon, rabbit and boar sprinkled among beef, chicken, fish and pasta offerings, plus a wide choice of “a la carte” specialties.
A favorite for spa-goers is the poolside indoor/outdoor Osteria offering casual lunch and snacks where spa robes and swimsuits are acceptable attire. The spa is popular with singles, couples and families.
The 90 luxury rooms and suites range from superior doubles to family suites for three and four. The spacious rooms offer a sitting area with tea table and a sofa, a writing desk and an armchair. Decor is rich wood furnishings with warm-toned draperies. Rooms and suites have “bio air-conditioning” (room temperature and dampness individually adjustable) and private terraces or balconies overlooking the picturesque Orcia Valley. The marble bathroom features separate glass-enclosed shower. Rooms for disabled and for allergy sufferers are also available. Special spa packages are offered.
If You’re Going: Get all the details on their website or call the hotline +39 0577 889 001.
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International and Luxury Travel Examiners J.S. Fletcher and spouse, Kathy M. Newbern, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.