The Flavor of Swiss Spas
- Published: Sunday, September 14th 2008
- in Living Well
Fast forward from my last blog entry re Zurich and skydiving. The weather turned rainy – skydiving was cancelled – change of plans – we all got into the car and headed for Lausanne. We drove the back way over the hills so Nicholas could hear the cowbells and see some of the “real” Switzerland, with its cute homes adorned with white lace curtains and flower boxes. We made a few stops on the way and ended up at the Beau-Rivage Palace (photo to the left). Our first stop was the famous Clinique La Prairie which I found fascinating. Known for its sheep cell rejuvenation program, it warrents its own blog post which I will add tomorrow.
I was in spa-hopping-heaven. Our first experience (and according to Nicholas the best) was the very large and comprehensive spa at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. It has an expansive and beautiful pool, fitness facilities with Technogym (and some cardio outside which I found a fresh touch), a Clarins beauty spa, and most impressive of all, the beautifully designed ESPA. It had a hamam and sauna, quiet relaxation room, showers with a variety of experiences, and a salt water vitality pool that began indoors, ended outdoors, and has a large variety of therapeutic Jacuzzi features.
I have blogged often about my various ESPA experiences – Park Hotel Kenmare in Ireland, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo in Monaco, Mandarin Oriental New York, etc. Always, without exception, the therapists have been outstanding, the spa design has been unique, and always keenly tasteful. The ESPA at Victoria Jungfrau seems like another winner. There is a reason Susan Harmsworth and her ESPA company have been so successful. I must say, no one else seems to have accomplished achieving such consistent quality in design, treatments and staff training around the world. I have lost track of how many ESPA spas there are – ones they either manage, built or which use their products. I do remember Susan telling me a couple of years ago that they were in over 50 different countries. Since there are only a little over 200 countries in the entire world, that’s an amazing accomplishment!
After our Victoria Jungfrau spa experience, we stopped at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace to visit their Willow Stream Spa. Then I headed to the Lausanne Palace & Spa (photo to the right) for a tour and a meeting with their personable spa director. The next stop was the Beau-Rivage Palace, where we all had treatments in their lovely Cinq Mondes Spa. Again, all of the therapists were well trained, and I liked the way they set up their therapy area with hamam, sauna, swiss shower, and rainshower walk over wooden boards. In fact I think that the Cinq Mondes concept has come a long way since I visited one of their first spas a few years ago.
Today we took the ferry from this side of Lake Geneva to the other side where we got off at Evian to visit the Evian Royal Resort (photo to the right). After lunch we toured this well-known facility where I noticed an entire area (almost shrine-like) proudly displaying all the various awards they have won from SpaFinder. They have been our Crystal Award Winner (Top Spa in Europe) in several of the past years. Last stop after lunch….the new buddha-bar Spa at the Hilton Evian-les-Bains.