Luxurious Spanish resort, Hotel Camiral, balances pampering with wellness, providing the perfect place to rejuvenate and recuperate.
Recovering from a bad back, I sit up straighter than I’ve been able to in weeks when I first read about a hotel in Spain that offers high tech body treatments in a luxurious setting, just outside Girona. Being ‘healed’ whilst sipping cocktails beside the pool sounds very much like my kind of mini break.
5* Hotel Camiral is part of PGA Catalunya’s Golf and Wellness resort and is set in 300 hectares of verdant grounds. Voted number one Golf Resort in Spain, it is home to two golf courses including the acclaimed Stadium Course, which is consistently ranked among the best in Europe, and is the past home to the Spanish Open. I’m not there for golf, though, oh no, I’m staying in the newly opened Wellness Centre in one of seven suites. A place where I will be perfectly situated to don a robe and be in the steam room in under a minute.
The 72 sq m suites are stunning; huge windows look out over acres of Mediterranean forest. With a kitchen and living area, a huge bed, and a dressing room situated outside the luxurious bathroom, I can safely say I’ve lived in smaller flats in London!
Suites also come equipped with personal fitness accessories such as yoga mats and gym balls – if only I were in better physical shape (ahem). On checking into any hotel, it is customary for me to check out the minibar – this one is filled with nutritious Flax & Kale smoothies and health boosting snacks, along with an integrated filtered water tap that helps to reduce plastic waste.
After a chat with the team in the Wellness Centre, in which we discuss my current health concerns, I’m given a programme of treatments; I can’t wait to get started. There is a wide range on offer here, from vitamin IV drips through to Oxygen Chamber Therapy, as well as carefully curated nutrition plans, with meals delivered straight to your suite. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end, though: my first treatment is, to be honest, rather terrifying. Cryotherapy is at the forefront of wellness technology, working both inside and out it is reportedly incredible for repairing cells, reducing adrenal stress and releasing endorphins. I’m already a fan of Wim Hof and cold showers (a 30 second drench counts, right?), but this is three minutes in a chamber at -110 degrees. I go in with a friend and we pick Kate Bush’s Running up that Hill to listen to as a distraction. Boy, do we need it.
Employing some serious breathing techniques and some very interesting dance moves we somehow survive our ordeal and come out feeling exhilarated, with tingling skin. We’re dispatched for a well-earned lie down on what looks like a sun bed, for a mysterious-sounding photobiomodulation session. This is red-light therapy, which helps to deliver energy into the cells, dealing effectively with pain and inflammation and assisting skin repair. Whatever the benefits, it is a relaxing 20 minutes, and is much appreciated after the freezing three minutes that preceded it.
All this high tech wellness leaves us with a big appetite, so it’s fortunate that next on the agenda is a tasting dinner. 1477 Restaurant is an impressive space; decorated in natural colours and textures, with huge picture windows, tall bookshelves, and nature-inspired artwork. We choose to eat on the terrace, though, which overlooks the pool. Here we tuck into a delicious menu including tuna fillet tataki and chicken with Catalan-style stuffing. A particularly stand-out dish is a cashew nut white gazpacho with smoked eel. We’re treated to a wine pairing with each course – the hotel has its own vineyard, so we know we are in safe hands.
Nature is evident everywhere at the resort – alongside the vineyard and the forests, the hotel is home to a million bees (we go home with a pot of honey produced from their hives), and the aquatic eco-systems of the grounds have been designed to attract wildlife and are paradise for tortoises in particular. There is something special about staying somewhere that is so connected with the natural world.
After a blissful night’s sleep, we are back to the Wellness Centre, and, while waiting for our next treatments, we take a look around; there are inside pools (one cool, one warm), and another outside. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the gardens from the sauna and steam rooms it’s another example of how well the hotel blends outside and in, and the space is incredibly serene. Today’s treatment is a blissful two hours of body exfoliation and massage. If heaven is a place on earth, then it’s right here being treated to a Mindfulness Ritual. My back issues are all but forgotten thanks to the treatments I have enjoyed, which seem to be a mixture of science and magic.
Later in the day, freshly scrubbed and having floated back down to earth, we visit Girona, a beautiful medieval town just 15 minutes away by car. Indeed, with Barcelona only an hour away, the hotel’s location couldn’t be better. I’m already planning my return: a few lively nights in Barcelona followed by a couple recovering at the heavenly surrounds of Hotel Camiral. Combining state of the art treatments with top-notch food and wine in a beautiful part of the world, this really has been the very best kind of break.
Suites from €561 (£476), deluxe rooms from €175 (£151) (hotelcamiral.com)