In 2014, Trip Advisor awarded Vichy Spa Hotel Les Célestins a Certificate of Excellence, and in 2013, World Spa & Wellness named it one of the Top Hotel Spas of the Year in Europe. I was about to find out why. Vichy in and of itself is a well-known spa resort region of France. Aside from the main attraction of its thermal springs and the benefits inside and out, Vichy, once a happening summer destination for nobles and celebrities to “take the waters,” also has an opera house, two golf courses, horse riding and two casinos.
To make life simpler, the television was removed from my room and replaced with two speakers and a CD player with two relaxation disks. If I felt the least bit stressed about anything, there was an art therapy coloring book at my disposal, with four colored pencils. The view alone set the tone for a rejuvenating experience. The Napoleon III Park stages sunrises of pinks and blues, with nature’s sound of birds frolicking from tree to tree. The trees in this park are from all over the world, including the U.S. and Romania, and past the scrolled iron gazebo is a pond where two black swans go about their business. Beyond the pond, a long paved bike/walk/running trail parallels the river.
Breathing deeply comes easy when you’re in the presence of such beauty. Add to this the fact that you’re in no rush to get anywhere but down the connecting hall to the glass dome-roofed spa of three floors, each area clearly labeled for ease in locating the area where you’ll receive your next treatment.
First things first, however, and for me, that meant lunch at the Bistro Restaurant of the hotel, where I thoroughly enjoyed every last drop of a healthy carrot soup before devouring a few Saint Jacques (scallops) in a bowl half-filled with the region’s light yellow dipping sauce.
Refreshed and ready to begin, I take a look at my itinerary of 13 treatments during my stay — all part of the five steps to a Digital Detox program:
- A consultation with the spa director while sipping on Célestins pression, offered freely at the spa bar. It is here where you’ll receive an explanation of your program and arrange a medical appointment for prescribed ingestion of waters across the park to the thermal springs spigots. I am informed that three water treatments each day will be experienced, as efficiency comes from repetition.
- The treatments, which include hydrotherapy baths, the slathering of treated volcanic mud under vegetable wrap, a light massage under the power of Vichy sprays, a head massage, time spent in an infrared sauna tube and more.
- A specialized treatment geared toward the Digital Detox program, which would be physical activity and de-stress techniques and visualization.
- Physical activity that begins with a one-hour personal training session on-site and continues with the use of the gym and outdoor park for bicycling, hiking or running.
- Eating nothing but mineral-rich Vichy water infused vegetables and healthy menu items.
Whether exercising or receiving treatments, every breath I took meant something. And if it didn’t, I was sure to learn it by my last day, when a session of Sophrologie entailed one hour of breathing and visualization exercises.
Although I struggled in the loss of my technology at the onset of my visit, by the time my trip came to a close, I had nearly forgotten about emails and apps. Digital Detox was a welcome reprieve to a lifestyle led by smartphones and such. The result was ironic, in that once I returned home to go through the long list of unanswered emails, I was able to organize and delete hundreds, dwindling my inbox to 13 emails, which has never happened to me before. Apparently, focus accompanies rejuvenation.
For those living in or visiting Paris, be sure to visit Les Thermalies at Carrousel du Louvre between Jan. 22-25, where thermal spas will showcase their offerings, and workshops will be held on all things healthy. Visit www.thermalies.com for more information.
For information on Vichy Spa Hotel Les Célestins, please visit www.vichy-spa-hotel.com.