Feeling a little off-colour as winter drags on? Claire Wrathall is ready with a prescription...
From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, March/April 2012
SWITZERLAND Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
This is one of Switzerland’s pre-eminent medical spas, set in an alpine valley 114km from Zurich. It still looks like the grand, stucco-fronted hotel that was built in 1869, but today it has clinics in gynaecology, fertility, dermatology, rehab, sports-performance and plastic surgery, as well as screening and diagnostics programmes. The insomniac’s package begins with tests for liver, kidney, thyroid and lung function, as well as your central nervous system. It then analyses your sleep patterns using video and electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, on the basis of which you’ll be given recommendations “for lasting insomnia relief”.
Sleep Diagnostics €2,643 for two nights, B&B; resortragaz.ch
FRANCE Les Pres d’Eugenie, Gascony
The chef Michel Guérard may have three Michelin stars for the restaurant at this elegant spa hotel, but he is also the inventor of cuisine minceur. You can choose the régime minceur—a substantial breakfast, three courses at lunch and dinner, both with wine—and still notch up only 1,250 calories a day. “There is nothing you shouldn’t eat,” he says. “It’s just a question of measure.” There are also two spas on this idyllic 40-acre estate. One offers a programme of 15-minute baths, interspersed with upmarket tea-breaks—sipping tisanes. The other, more austere, specialises in therapies for rheumatism and arthritis.
Doubles from €170, room only; michelguerard.com
ITALY Espace Henri Chenot, Merano
Checking in at this handsome belle-epoque mansion in the foothills of the Dolomites involves not just handing over a credit card, but also a battery of tests from bone scans to blood, urine and hormone analysis. The ensuing “treatment”—to revitalise and detoxify you—usually begins with a powerful laxative and a two-day purge (nothing but weak mushroom broth and water), after which a programme of hydro and oxygen therapy, massage, mud wraps and rest may be prescribed. Two football giants, Arsène Wenger and Zinedine Zidane, are said to swear by it.
Seven-night comprehensive programme from €4,420, including meals; palace.it
THAILAND Paresa, Phuket
On a cliff-top above the Kamala coast of Phuket, Paresa is a contemporary tropical retreat that offers its guests all the usual relaxation therapies and beauty treatments, and also dentistry through the nearby DC One dental clinic. It may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but the hotel is confident that “ceramic restorations and crowns (using Cerec 3DTM technology)” have their part to play in “the ultimate pampering holiday”. Most of the 49 villas and suites have private pools, so you can lie low after treatment.
Doubles from 17,127 baht, including breakfast; paresaresorts.com
GERMANY Brenners Park-Hotel and Spa, Baden-Baden
The German processed-food conglomerate Dr Oetker is best known for frozen pizzas and instant cake mix, so it’s something of an irony that the Medical Spa at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, one of the Oetker Collection of grand hotels, lists Nutritional Coaching as a speciality. But this is a serious medical facility: there are departments of dermatology, dentistry, physio and—unusually—ophthalmology, with a team of surgeons performing cataract and glaucoma surgery.
Doubles from €295, room only; brenners.com
Claire Wrathall writes about travel for the Financial Times and the Guardian, and blogs at Arbitrix.net.
Illustration by Neil Gower