Underwater, I listen to the whale song all around me. The soothing sound completely relaxes me. And I needn’t worry about a humpback popping up beside me, because I’m here at the wellness centre of Euphoria: a Greek destination spa that leaves even the most experienced of spa-goers spellbound.
In terms of quality, Euphoria Retreat is on a par with the likes of our Thai top resort, Kamalaya. Though without the same spiritual impetus. Where Euphoria excels is in its enchanting beauty and attention. The owners worked for ten whole years on the resort’s design, which is nothing short of dazzling and unique. Words – even photos – can’t do it justice. Indeed, whereas the photos of the spa, with its vaulted ceiling, suggest a dark space, I in contrast experience it as a lovely light space.
Of course I know I’m in Greece. But as I look out over so much greenery and so many mountains, I am constantly reminded of Italy. The hotel blends in nicely with the surroundings. It looks like a tiny village. But everything is nice and compact and so within short walking distance. There is an actual village beside the resort. It’s a sleepy little place where you can pick oranges from the trees on the streets.
The unusual design is a little confusing on arrival. There appears to be no door in sight among the floor-to-ceiling windows. Until you realise that those windows are in fact huge doors, and from the moment we enter the property, everyone does their absolute best to make our stay wonderful.
The super service begins even before you leave home, with a pillow menu sent to you via email. Thanks to it, you’ll find your favourite pillows waiting for you on your bed on arrival. The bed is a little on the soft side for me, preferring a harder matrass myself. The bedroom is entirely soundproof. Not that we think we’ll need it, because the resort is quiet. We encounter the odd guest, but for the most part, there’s nothing but peace and quiet.
If after a day on your own you feel like some company, there are long tables in the restaurant that incite conversation. The restaurant serves healthy Mediterranean cuisine with plenty of fish and pasta. There are lots of vegetarian options, and those with dietary requirements can look out for the little icons besides each of the dishes. My favourite? The goat’s and sheeps’s cheese pie with honey and thyme. Then again, I’d do anything for goat’s cheese. Weird, I know…
When it comes to bedtime, the two massages I’ve booked help prepare me for sleep. One is a lovely relaxation massage that chills me out massively. The other is the five elements signature massage. After answering questions like ‘Do you prefer the winter or the summer?’ or ‘Do you like hot or cold food best?‘, the therapist prepares a massage blend of scents and herbal oils especially for you.
Now, I need to admit something strange. As much as I love goat’s cheese, I hate foot massages. I can understand rationally how people find them relaxing, but the thought alone sends shivers down my spine. I politely tell this to both of my massage therapists; one of them subsequently cleans my feet gently and leaves it at that. The other emphasises the health benefits and suggests a gentle foot massage. I reluctantly give in. Although she keeps to her word and massages very gently, it just isn’t something I will ever find relaxing.
The hammam is another unique experience. Usually, this would be a pretty vigorous scrub in a hot room. Here, the treatment is softer and gentler. The room is pleasantly warm but not suffocating, and at the end we are given cubes of ice to cool down with.
Our itinerary also includes a yoga class. Now I’m no yoga fanatic, but the class is tailored to the level of our little group. The teacher speaks good English and corrects me when my slightly underdeveloped coordination skills let me down. Through my lack of practice, the class demands my full concentration. ‘Are my feet even straight? Am I bending the right way?’ Luckily we end the session with a wonderful moment of meditation. We are asked to think of our favourite colour. My whole headspace turns blue. ‘…and think back to the nicest place you’ve ever been to.’ And from the blueness, I land gently on the wide open, white salt flats of Bolivia beneath a clear blue sky. What a delicious moment.
A little later, when I come to rinse off the imaginary salt from my skin, I am (once again) frustrated by the fact that I have no way of regulating the temperature of the shower in my bathroom. You can turn it on or off. That’s it. There is a tipping point where minimalist design becomes too minimalist. What the shower lacks in buttons, the bedroom makes up for in the form a great little button that allows you to lock the door from the inside if you need to stall housekeeping for a little while.
That is the button I want to keep pressed indefinitely when check-out day arrives, so that I can stay here forever. There’s no other place in Europe that I know of that tops this place. Everything is perfect, there is nothing that hasn’t been thought of and it’s all so incredibly beautiful and photogenic. As far as I’m concerned, this is the Bucket List destination in Europe.
Go to all wellness programmes in Euphoria Retreat
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