Let me preface by saying my trip to Henri Chenot Spa was by far the most vigorous and results driven week I have yet to experience at a retreat. However, it’s one for only the most ardent and committed of spa junkies. Yes there are all the requisite luxury touches; the grand surroundings of this stately hotel, the exemplary service and the pristine bedrooms but the focus is clearly on total body rejuvenation and for this one must make considerable sacrifices. For those that are inclined and motivated you are sure to leave a couple of kilos lighter, but more importantly with a new vigour and energy that endures for many months after.
The Henri Chenot spa is located at the Palace Merano, a grand hotel situated in a picturesque Italian town. A typical day at the spa is full to capacity with treatments yet I still urge you to discover the beautiful walks and vistas that this area has to offer.
At the heart of the Chenot philosophy is that poor digestion is the cause of most root problems. This borrows from ancient Chinese medicine which Chenot supports and implements in it’s many treatments. Energy meridians are checked at the beginning of your stay and checked before you leave, adding weight and proof that your week long stay has had a positive effect on detoxing your various organs.
Nutrition is at the heart of the experience with a mostly vegan diet being adhered to and with strict calorie control, between 800-1000kcals a day. Despite the obvious dietary restrictions I have yet to encounter food that retained so much flavour and vibrancy. The kitchen do an outstanding job and for this you barely feel deprived. The hardest day is the 30 hour fast helped along with a deadly laxative, I don’t think i need to elaborate.
Along with the nutritional programme the six day programme is jam packed with treatments. On a daily basis you undertake a hydrotherapy session, in a bath with flashing lights where various fragrant oils are added. After which you are covered in mud, and placed on a squashy bed where you drift off in a semi catatonic state. For the brave hearted you are encouraged to be sprayed by industrial hoses with ice cold water.
Special mention must be given to the massages. These are unlike anything i have ever experienced using a cupping technique and strong fluid pressure. I can’t say they are relaxing but I’ve never felt such a great release from my normal aches and pains.
All the above are included in the six day package, but there is also an additional extensive medical and cosmetic spa with an astounding array of treatments.
In addition to the treatments included in the plan I opted to have a detailed nutritional analysis. I discovered I should stay away from eggs and of all things crab. I also had a full Dexa bodyscan. This is an exceptionally accurate method of checking body fat, lean mass and also the density of your bones. I also had a series of vitamin infusions, administered intravenously.
Exercise is actively encouraged, there is a fabulously equipped gym with some strange looking machines. I tried the Vacupower where you feel your body is being sucked down a deep hole, apparently this is optimal for fat burning. I’m not totally convinced. However, it’s the amazing walks with the fresh, invigorating air that are most actively encouraged by staff and proponents of the programme
The hotel itself is luxurious and in pristine condition with a largely Russian and Middle Eastern clientele. Body guards litter the corridors, whilst the oligarchs and political figures try and relax and evade another week of potentially being bumped off.
I still feel the benefits from my 6 day visit to Henri Chenot and it’s over 4 months since I left. It totally reeducated me in terms of my food choices and strengthened my resolve to eat a predominantly plant based diet. This is certainly a life changing programme and one that I hope to repeat every year for the foreseeable future.
Palace Merano Espace Henri Chenot
Via Cavour, 2 – 39012 Merano
Tel. +39 0473 271 000 – Fax +39 0473 271 100