Swimming with snowflakes, floating by flames, massaged with stones, pummelled with rollers and immersed in the smoke of burning bark. Wellness takes on the natural elements at the sparkling new Spa Minera at Hotel Plunhof, peaking out of the Stubai Alps in Italy’s South Tryol region.
It’s lilac and silver, wood and water, glazed with silver quartzite at every viewpoint. Natural elements represent the lifeblood of the spa, its DNA.
And I took full advantage. I likened the experience to swimming in a luxury lounge, the water like a rippled carpet flowing under stairs and dappled with reflections from Swarovski crystal chandeliers glittering from above. I floated by oversized loungers shaded with bulbous table lights, book shelves on one side, a stone log fire in the centre, wood-panelled walls, mirrored pillars and squidgy seating all around. Comfortable tranquillity, understated glitz.
How luxurious to wallow in such exquisite surroundings. Warm, intimate and decadent. And then, just like magic, glass doors opened to an outside poolscape where the snow taps you on the shoulder and a mist disguises the surface. It’s eerie and atmospheric. Towering mountains greet you, nothing in-between, except the water warm, the air refreshingly cool.
Relaxation areas seem to appear around every corner to surprise you, each dressed in a different style, another ambience to enjoy. But finding them a second time is an art in itself. They all offer those please-lie-on-me loungers of every shape and style, rugs in the right place, contemporary fireplaces and enviable panoramic scenery with a focal point towards the Santa Maddalena Church sitting alone enclaved into the side of the mountain.
The hotel is located about an hour from Innsbruck in the Ridanna Valley. It’s a family affair – run by the Volgger family whose personal attention is in evidence from the moment you arrive. I met Thomas who proudly showed me the spa facilities, just three months old, all sparkly and new. Excitedly he told me of further plans although I was quite content with the stylish spaces they have painstakingly produced. Five saunas, two whirlpools, relaxation areas – too many to count, a fitness room, pools indoor and out and a dedicated room for classes.
With 67 rooms which overlook Alpine scenery, this dedicated wellness space has been designed to incorporate Spa Minera & Acqua Minera, all 4,000 sqm of it. Here it never seems busy although you may spot a few guests strewn over sofas, strolling in robes or hanging out in the saunas, relaxed and chilled. Guests come here to ski in the winter months – there’s a daily bus to the slopes, – or for bracing hikes in the fresh crisp air. They all enjoy overdoses of pure relaxation, rejuvenation and therapeutic therapies.
The treatment menu reflects the Spa’s focus on natural elements with its creative use of local resources blended with traditional healing principles. My 80-minute massage was performed with pine wood rollers of various sizes delivering pressure and heat as it toured the body. Strong at times, the pressure and warmth re-routed the flow of energy unblocking areas to leave a sense of renewed calm. Billed as Pine Vitality, this relaxing ceremony aims to channel the inner spirit to activate self-healing powers.
From wood to stone, the Silver Quartzite Stone Massage experience was gentle, directional, purposeful and somewhat spiritual. In the background, haunting chants, as if resonating from a monastery chamber, kept my focus in the moment while long rhythmic strokes would halt periodically to grind energy in chakra areas and then swiftly sweep away negative residue. Enhanced by the burning of bark shavings, this meridian massage, combined precious natural minerals with medicinal herbs, warm oils and raw materials to leave me released of negative feeling, grounded and strong.
Heat, water and steam, ancient bathing rituals, Kneipp pools, infra-red cabinets, a shower temple, a thermal grotto and saunas of every kind are plentiful here. Temperatures range from ice cold, mild, hot and only just bearably hot. The revived ancient ritual “Thrown into the Knappensauna” is featured on the daily programme and not to be missed, It involves very hot temperatures in a large sauna cabin, au natural, save for a few towels. A staff member, acting like a central courtier parades around the central burning coals sporting a large fan to direct hotter air over each person. Red in the face, sizzling by the second, we brave souls lasted the 15 minute experience to be rewarded with a barefoot stroll in the outside snow followed by salt peeling in the steam room. All this to cleanse the skin, stimulate circulation, loosen joints, exfoliate the skin surface and improve the immune system…..
From tried and tested organic resources to the latest technology, The Spa Minera has moved with the times to offer a wide range of advanced cosmetic treatments. The Dr Spiller Celltresor Facial followed an in-depth regime which included a machine-controlled cleanse and a serum massage followed by a collagen mask which felt and looked like an Egyptian mummy covering. The result, a thorough treatment and a plumper look! This facial is designed to maximize the skin’s rejuvenation by targeting muscles to relax facial features.
Qi Gong and Yoga, exercise and wellness all have to be nourished and the Hotel’s restaurant does it well. Inventive menus, organic ingredients and a balanced fusion of tastes are a match to any high class establishment. Think venison steak with cranberry pear served with red sauerkraut with apples and polenta cream, roasted suckling pig cup with beer jus or guinea fowl with figs – exotic descriptions, plated artistically and served to your reserved table. In addition, a choice of irresistible desserts and a buffet area ever laden with homemade artisan breads, fresh produce and, homemade oils and dressings. So much choice, an occasion in itself, a restaurant to be rewarded.
Spa Minera has borrowed wellness from Mother Nature. “Back to the origins… the force of the earth and the might of the stone” are the words inscribed on the glass window – wellness instilled in its structure, soul and spirit.
Hotel Plunhof is a member of Niche Destinations www.niche-destinations.com
Prices for a double room Minera – from €118 pp sharing including half board and use of Spa Minera
Hotel Plunhof, Family Volgger, Obere Gasse 7, 39040 Ridnaun – Ratschings, Italy. Tel.:+ 39 0472 656247. firstname.lastname@example.org