Set at the foot of Italy’s Euganean Hills and surrounded by olive trees, palms and tropical plants, Abano Grand Hotel is a luxurious thermal spa retreat hidden from the well-trodden tourist path, just 45 minutes from Venice. Abano Grand Hotel’s philosophy is simple: getting well and healthy using thermal spring waters and mud.
Dating back to Roman Emperors, thermal waters and mud have been used since the ancient times for healing purposes. Since its opening in 1998, jet-setters have been using Abano Grand Hotel as a one-stop rejuvenation stop to find healing and wellness. The journey starts with an initial consultation with an on-site doctor and guests walk away with a customized itinerary that includes fitness classes, thermal spa treatments and dietary recommendations. With over 50 spa treatments to choose from, most end up with a version of the hotel’s signature Mud-Fango treatment (Fango means mud in Italian). Created by mixing mineral-rich thermal water and mud, the mud mousse sits through an incubation period and ends up packed with active ingredients that are good for anti-oxidation, joints and muscles. When the silky Mud-Fango clay is applied, it’s an incredibly luxurious experience as the skin warms up absorbing the ingredients. Therapists might use a special version of Mud-Fango – think oak tree stem cells, lavender, milk proteins – to pack on benefits such as anti-aging and detox. Frequently, these Mud-Fango treatments are accompanied by facials, peels, massages and dry brushing. A visit to thermal pools is also a must-do as the underground thermal water helps guests relax their bodies and cleanses respiratory tracts.
There are many mini-retreats to explore in this relaxation sanctuary –Anti-Aging Thermal Spa, large thermal pools filled with underground water (two outdoors, one indoors), a medically sanctioned spa mud farm and an aquagym. Everything is created with wellness in mind. There is a wellness center offering aqua therapy and inhalation therapy; signs suggesting frequent and short dips into the thermal pools; or join a group class for some aerobics training in the aquagym; specialized rooms for luxury thermal mud facials; contra-current swimming pools and Kniepp Paths for those looking for healthy legs. Even the water jets in the pools are placed strategically for massages.
The true crowd-pleaser is the new Venezia Spa, a new area added to the Anti-Aging Thermal Spa for DIY detox in April 2014. Featuring quartzite floors and stone-wall showers to emit healing energy and heat, the sanctuary is a magical world filled with clay fields, steam rooms, saunas and cold dipping pools. Hop between the four areas and there are DIY mud, salts, black soap and an ice-made waterfall for complete cleansing and revitalization.
Fitness is the focus at Aqua Spa, another new addition to the Anti-Aging Thermal Spa. The scenic space offers personal training, consultations with sports doctors and nutritionists and the BIOGYM. A coach will teach technique on Kinesis and Arké programs or suggest programs such as Orthopedic and Neurological Rehabilitation or Thermal Aqua Fit in an aquatic spa tub.
Abano Grand Hotel’s 189 rooms are outfitted in opulent Louis XV style, featuring elegant design adorned with unique art and antiques from the eighteenth century. The hotel’s four restaurants use locally sourced ingredients to create healthy Italian cuisine. The day starts right with a multisensory breakfast experience at Ristorante Giotto, where colors and flavors are expertly paired. Menus with specific wellness goals are offered to accompany types of spa treatments prescribed – e.g. antioxidant, detox, cleansing. Bond-inspired drinks are available at the James Bond Bar for a merry time.
With its close proximity to Venice, many visitors add day-shopping at the tourist spot into their schedule for an indulgent experience; or visit in February and join Carnivale for an once-in-a-lifetime experience. The surrounding town Padua is a hidden gem in its own right. It’s home to an university that hosted Galileo, Copernicus and Dante. The Basilica of St. Anthony draws pilgrim from all over the world to touch his tomb and the Scrovegni Chapel offers remarkable 14th century frescoes for fine art enthusaists.
Before leaving, all visitors receive a wellness regimen to apply to their daily lives – eat white fish three times a week, reduce carbohydrate intake, replace bread with oatmeal etc. Want to continue thermal beauty routines at home or bring home souvenir? There are spa and beauty products, made from organic, natural ingredients, available for purchase. Many guests become repeated guests after experiencing luxurious thermal spa treatments and plan yearly pampering visits to achieve all-rounded wellness.
Abano Grand Hotel is located in Padua, Italy and is the only five star deluxe hotel in the region. Padua is accessible by car and SITA bus and train from Venice. For more information and packages, visit abanograndhotel.com.