Soak away wedding stress at Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort
Your wedding promises to be joyous, fun, memorable and filled with love. Your wedding planning? At times very likely nerve-wracking, maddening, memorable—for the wrong reasons—and filled with anxiety. Your honeymoon needs to be the antithesis to all that pre-wedding stress. And a stay at Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort in Bagno Vignoni, Italy, is just the answer.
Adler Thermae is set in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia region, where rolling hills of grapevines and golden fields, interrupted by pointy cedar trees, antique hill towns and the occasional flock of fluffy sheep make for one swoon-worthy vista after another. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the region is known for its wine, cheese and olive oil. But it’s also rich in another natural resource—hot mineral water that bubbles up from beneath the Earth’s crust and has been coveted by spa seekers for millennia. The delightful little town of Bagno Vignoni even has a thermal pool (now off-limits to bathers) in place of its town square. The picturesque hill towns of Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino are all just a short drive away, and Siena just a little further.
Yet once you check in to Adler, you may forget entirely that there’s a world beyond it. With a restaurant, a clubby bar, a wine cellar, a winding circuit of saunas, steam rooms and pools, plus an extensive menu of spa treatments, there is plenty to idle away the time without setting foot off-property. Yet should you decide to leave the sanctuary of your room and the spa, the resort has an extensive garden, walking and biking trails leading off in every direction, and a busy activities programme.
Adler’s restful, generously sized guestrooms allow loving couples to cocoon in sweet comfort. Keeping with the warm, modern feel of the rest of the property, they are fitted with light-coloured fabrics and blonde-wood furnishings, cushy king beds, minibars, satellite TV and free Wi-Fi. Chic bathrooms are built for two, with especially spacious walk-in, rainfall showers, benches, plenty of counter space and Adler’s own gorgeous, honey-perfumed bath products. Underfloor heating and cooling throughout keeps the wood floors cosy in winter and cool in summer. A spa kit of robe, towel and slippers is at the ready for each guest. All rooms have furnished patios or balconies, with views of the beautifully landscaped pool and garden area or that iconic Tuscan countryside.
Meals are served in a romantic, glass-roofed restaurant built in and around a central courtyard. The resort’s half-board programme includes breakfast and supper buffets; the former a healthy morning spread of fresh fruits and juices, cereals, yoghurts and homemade baked goods. In case you don’t feel like eating entirely healthy on your honeymoon, there’s also chilled prosecco, made-to-order omelettes and decadent cream and chocolate-filled pastries.
Evening meals are a celebration of abundance, with a rich antipasto buffet of Italian charcuterie and cheeses, plus salads, canapes and again—that bread table. This is followed by first and second courses from a daily menu, after which guests can once again hit the buffet, this time for a plate (or two) of delicate, elaborate desserts.
Available for an extra fee, lunch is a slightly restrained version of supper. In late afternoons, a complimentary dessert and fresh fruit buffet is served in the bar.
A bliss-out spa
Adler’s thermal and pool areas are among the most extensive and upscale in Tuscany. Built over one on Bagno Vignoni’s natural hot springs, pool water actually has to be cooled down to a soothing 36 C. The indoor pool connects (through an automatic glass door) to the sprawling outdoor one with waterfalls and jets, plus little alcoves for semi-private cuddling. There’s also an unheated pool with a countercurrent feature and a lap-swimming area.
Indoors and out, an enchanting maze of saunas, steam rooms and relaxation rooms invite guests to lounge, linger and explore. Steam rooms use herb-infused vapors and in those and the resorts two Finnish saunas, built over a shallow travertine lake, stress and toxins sweat away, drop by blissful drop. The resort was completely full during our stay, but with so many different thermal chambers, lounges and ample pools, the spa area never felt crowded. Access to the saunas, steam rooms and pools is included with your stay.
Sensuous couples’ treatments
The spa offers a menu of treatments to pamper you from head to toe, including 14 treatments designed for couples. First among these is the Grotto Salina, a cavernous pool of warm salt water, where just the two of you float weightlessly in dark silence, with the only sound from the twin Etruscan chimera fountains that spout water into the pool. Another private experience is the Rasul room, where couples apply and scrub off curative mud, and then follow the exfoliation with an oil massage—sexy!
Other couples’ treatments include the Brunello Ritual, which features dual massages with grapeseed oil, followed by a soak in a wine-infused whirlpool bath and a wine and cheese tasting. There are also Thai facials, body scrubs and anti-aging treatments, all made for two, or splurge on the That’s Amore package, consisting of five couples’ treatments and priced at €357 (about £315) per person. It’s guaranteed to make you forget all about those pre-wedding spats with your future mother-in-law, arguments with the caterer or fretting over where to seat your inappropriate uncle.
*Note that the attitude here is very European—that means bathrobes and slippers are de rigueur at breakfast and during daytime hours, while evenings are dressy casual. Bathing suits and undergarments are not permitted in saunas and steam rooms—you may opt to drape yourself with a towel, but your neighbours may or may not.
A honeymoon at Adler Thermae is not inexpensive, but it is a luxury experience from start to finish. While nightly rates are occasionally available, accommodation is usually offered for a 3-night minimum, and priced from €721 (about £637) per person, depending on the time of year. Weekly stays start at €1460 (about £1290) per person. (www.adler-thermae.com)
Written by: Elizabeth Heath