Water and Italian hospitality | IHC a new concept in wellness
Wild and mysterious Sardinia of the Chia Laguna Resort, with its contrasts of light and colour, perfumes of the sea, undulating sand dunes, and crystal clear waters.
Tuscany, with its rolling hills and artistic treasures, reduced into three temples of wellness dedicated to psycho-physical wellbeing: Fonteverde and its boundless natural surroundings; Bagni di Pisa and with its historic aura, Grotta Giusti and its territory steeped in millennia of history.
The eTrippers have chosen to experience 2 of these hotels and will report back on their findings.
Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa, in the hills of the Val d´Orcia.
A way of life, harmony everywhere you look: the unique landscapes, the medieval cities, and the masterpieces of the Renaissance; the artisans, the flavours of an exceptional cuisine, the unique traditions. And it is this precious land that is home to Fonteverde, the elegant spa resort located in San Casciano dei Bagni, a historic village in Val d’Orcia, known for its mineral rich spring water that has been used for millennia.
Fonteverde is the perfect starting point for discovering authentic Tuscany, and exploring the nature, art, and history.
Fonteverde has 78 elegant and refined rooms – including 6 junior suites and 7 standard suites. The décor blends the renaissance quality with modern comfort, creating exclusive environments conducive to total relaxation. And for those who don’t want to leave their four-legged friends at home, there are specially designed rooms with more practical hard floors instead of the elegant carpets used in the other rooms. The Junior Suites on the first floor of the oldest part of the property each have a charming balcony where guests can sit and admire the rolling hills of Val d’Orcia and breathe in the fresh air of the Sienese countryside. The hotel is connected to the wellness centre via an internal corridor, allowing guests to access the spa in robes and slippers.
Fonteverde is affiliated with “The Leading Hotels of the World”, a prestigious brand of luxury hôtellerie and its spa is the proud holder of the “Leading Spa” title. In 2012, Fonteverde won the “2012 Italy’s Leading Spa Resort” category at the World Travel Awards.
At Fonteverde, the wellness begins at the table. For this reason, the hotel offers its guest a tasty and healthy menu that will satisfy even the most sophisticated palates without ever losing sight of a balanced diet. The chef, Salvatore Quarto, offers Mediterranean menus where quality, taste, and simplicity are key. He combines intense flavours with lightness and low calorie content, presented in a harmony of colours and products. Vegetables grown in the resort’s own garden are always part of the menu, to create a culture of healthy eating in line with the philosophy of the spa. The dessert list is marvellous: Salvatore Quarto has created a range of special dietary desserts, using alternative and unrefined sugars.
The Spa Centre of Fonteverde occupies 5000 square meters over three levels. There are seven swimming pools: two indoor pools dedicated to treatments such as “Thalaquam Massage” and the “Bath of light”, a third partly indoor partly outdoor pool, with more innovate hydro-massage techniques. The “Bioaquam” pool offers draining and toning plans with numerous jets of water. In addition to these three main pools, Fonteverde has an additional four pools, one of which is for external guests who come to use the spa facilities for the day, one especially for hotel guests, one for children, and one for pets. The spring water that supplies the pools have therapeutic properties with elements such as sulphur, calcium, fluoride, and magnesium and emerges from the 40 natural springs at a temperature of 42°C.
Fonteverde also has an outdoor infinity pool of 140 square meters. Constructed in white travertine, it is surrounded by a dark teck platform with sunbeds and umbrellas for guests to use.
Fonteverde is one of the few spa resorts equipped to accommodate Fido and Felix. A quality service to meet the needs of those who want a relaxing holiday without having to leave their four-legged friends in the care of others. The resort has facilities that allow your pets to benefit from the sulphur-rich waters of the age-old springs. We know that the treatment of animals at the baths is an ancient tradition. Fonteverde invites your pets to paddle in the thermal baths created especially for them. And for exercise, they can run free in the vast green parkland around the hotel, surrounded by the natural paradise of Val d’Orcia.
Grotta Giusta Resort Golf en Spa, Monsummano Terme, Montecatini
This precious land that is home to Grotta Giusti, a spa resort located in Monsummano Terme, just a few kilometres from Florence, Pisa, and Lucca.
Grotta Giusti is the starting point for an encounter with authentic Tuscany, to discover the nature, art and history.
Surrounded by an age-old park, Grotta Giusti accommodated guests in a marvellous nineteenth century villa with frescoed rooms and period furniture that preserve the historic atmosphere and respect the harmony with nature.
The hotel has 58 double rooms and 6 junior suites, furnished in fresh and refined style and embellished with unexpected details such as the white marble baths, filled with the natural spring water. Grotta Giusti has an internet point and a business centre with spaces for conventions and smaller rooms for conferences. The hotel’s halls consist of the Sala Giusti, with the enchanting frescoed ceiling, and is the perfect space in which to relax and chat, to the gentle accompaniment of the piano bar.
Directly connected to the hotel is the bath house, which has an ultra-modern wellness centre with an oriental treatment area, a gym, numerous areas for relaxing and an aesthetic medicine centre.
There’s also a tennis court and a nature trail, and trekking routes through the surrounding countryside. For golfers, just 5 km from the hotel, at the foot of the hills of Monsummano, is the “Montecatini Golf Club La Vecchia Pievaccia", where hotel guests are entitled to a discount.
In 2010, Grotta Giusti won the prestigious prize: Spa Finer 2010 readers’ choice award and the ‘Top Ten Best for Mineral or Thermal Springs’ thanks to the properties of the water.
The name “Grotta Giusti” is a tribute to Giuseppe Giusti, a 19th century Tuscan poet from Monsummano, and son of a renowned local landowner. In 1849, farmhands hired by Cavalier Giusti were working in a cave just above the town and discovered a thermal grotto that was 130 million years old but had been hidden by a boulder until their discovery. By throwing down rocks, they could hear that there was water at the bottom. One of them was lowered into the dark and there he found a spectacular hidden world of stalagmites, stalagtites, a lake of warm water and miraculous vapours that would alleviate aches and pains and make them feel revitalised.
Word of the extraordinary powers of the grotto of Monsummano soon spread – Giuseppe Garibaldi was among the many who immediately wanted to try it for himself, and this was the start – in 1853 – of an intense and enduring spa business that has evolved over time to adapt to the demands and needs of the visitors, arriving in ever-increasing numbers.
The wellness continues at the table. The tasty recipes of Chef Giuseppe Argentino, a combination of creativity and tradition, are the perfect accompaniment for the regenerating treatments. The secrets of good Tuscan cuisine, the genuine ingredients, and the special attention to detail come together in the tasty and light gourmet recipes. And all this is served in the exclusive restaurant “La Veranda”, immersed in the beautiful age-old park of Grotta Giusti. In the summer, lunch is served outside on the terrace called “La Pergola”, or by the pool, offering a relaxing and tasty lunch.
Grotta Giusti is surrounded by a magnificent 45 hectare park, designed by the renowned landscape architect Pietro Porcinai at the start of the 20th century and restored to its original design in recent years. The restyling of the park and the garden has restored its harmony, in a perfect marriage of comfort and natural beauty. The project, born from the collaboration of Studio Pellegrini and the Vivai Mati studio, created a natural environment of incomparable beauty, with trees and flowers (conifers, laurel oaks, hydrangeas, camellias…) all with a nineteenth century atmosphere.
The pearl of the Resort is the ancient Grotto, which is now divided into three areas: Paradiso, Purgatorio – with its Limbo pool, at a medium temperature – and Inferno – which reaches 98% humidity. Each room is maintained at a different temperature, in which to relax and make the most of the therapeutic effects of the thermal vapours, in a wellness circuit that lasts around 50 minutes.
Thanks to the expert restyling works, the spa now offers a new illuminated access walkway that lets you appreciate the magnificence of the calcareous concretions and creating a warm and welcome atmosphere in this surreal and unforgettable place.
To read this article in Dutch go to/Om dit artikel in het Nederlands te lezen ga naar: Water en Italiaanse gastvrijheid
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