Nestled in small thermal village of Bagno Vignoni in Siena countryside and a 2 hour drive from Pisa, Rome or Florence, Adler Thermae Spa and Relax resort isn't your typical sun worshipers destination, it's a different sort of relaxation to that of a hot beach, dipping your toes into the blue salty Indian Ocean and sipping on freshly made pina coladas. Instead, you're greeted by hot thermal pools that Mother Nature helped to produce, staff on hand for every possible need, a restaurant that serves fresh, locally sourced food and a Spa that has a long list of a treatments, that it could even leave the most regular spa-goers pondering over which treatment to start with.
Our flights threw our first few hours in Italy into limbo, and our first afternoon was a bit of a blur, spent mostly catching up on the days sleep that we'd lost. The following morning, we open then balcony doors, and we're in Tuscan paradise, nothing but the rolling green hills of Italy and the villa used as Maximus's home in Ridley Scott's Gladiator in the far distance. The prospect of spending 4 days doing nothing more than relaxing in our soft robes, provided by Adler, slippers and swimwear is pretty welcoming.
We slip on our dressing gowns, hair undone and feeling naughty that we're heading down to breakfast in our pyjamas and slippers! Breakfast is served until 11am, meaning for those that want to pack in some pre-breakfast activities or stay in bed for a few extra hours, won't miss out on the offer of freshly cooked eggs, an abundance of nuts, seeds, cereals, yoghurts and fruit after you've played around with the juicer, squeezing your personal favourite morning boost. We sipped on coffee, enjoying the strong february sun that beams through the top floor restaurant and panoramic views of nothing but natural beauty.
Upon arriving, Steve had been murmuring his love of wine and excitement that Adler was close to Montalcino, a small Tuscan town that is home to the Brunello wine region, he quickly filled me in that a bottle of Brunello in most restaurants will set you back £100+ and straight away the hotel arranged for us to visit the yearly tasting event that was in its last day, a rather happy coinsidence. With an afternoon of wine tasting, and a slightly work-related task in hand, we spent the morning wondering the grounds of the hotel and dipping in and out of the thermal pools, which host healing properties to the skin.
Come early afternoon, Adler had kindly arranged for transport to drive us in to Montalcino, where we were met by one of the managers close friends who was taking part in the tasting event, showcasing her own vintages of Brunello. The afternoon pretty much consisted of sipping 2010 vintages from one Brunello wine producer to the next, and happily walking away with a few glass bottle purchases to bring home!
That evening after an afternoon of tasting some of the worlds finest reds, we slipped back into our dressing gowns and swam under the stars, feeling the floaty benefits of the thermal waters. With an open fire in the background and the 'relaxation room' in view, we made ourselves a cup of herbal tea, that's on offer around the hotel and wondered over, before sitting back into the ceiling suspended swinging beds for an hours pre-dinner rest.
Dressing gowns, swim and gym wear is the dress code until 7.30pm, at which point all guests turn out their sunday best. Although there isn't a strict evening dress code, Italians, which is most of the hotels guest are pretty savvy when it comes to dressing, so pack a pair of heels and your best lippy. Dinner is a 3–7 course tasting menu that features seasonal ingredients that are grown on the door step of the resort and traditional Italian dishes with finesse, and they even make their own olive oil, wine and honey. Staff at the hotel are out of this world, and the restaurant is no exception. Doubling up as sommelier, we let our waiter select a bottle of Gavi to accompany our 4 courses, the same method we used every evening when dining in the restaurant, gracefully sampling one wine after another.
Even at all full board, lunches aren't included in the cost of the holiday, but a big late breakfast and a daily 4 o'clock treat of cakes, fresh fruit and tea in the bar will more than keep you going until dinner. There's herbal tea, water and fruit and vegetable stations dotted about the hotel which keep hunger pangs at bay, but if you do feel the need to indulge, there's bar service on the reception level floor which serves food and drinks throughout the day as well as lunch in the restaurant.
Our second day was spent in the luxury of the spa. With offerings of red wine baths, bespoke facials, health treatments and pure indulgence on offer, there's a treatment to suit everyone. Couple packages include massages, clay baths and a 20 minute session in the grotto which is home to water from dead sea. After an 30 minute long pedicure and my toes looking pretty fine, we wondered down to the cave by the side of the outdoor pools for our 20 minutes of floating in the super salty water. After a couple of hours of more relaxing by the pool, we both headed off for facials, Steve's a bespoke treatment to work with his skin type, the type that doesn't often see the light of day thanks to his job. My treatments consisted of an 'Anti-aging facial with grapes' followed by an Olive Oil massage. When in Italy, why on earth would you not take advantage of the opportunity to cover your face in grapes, and let your skin reap all of the benefits of having olive oil gently massaged into your skin!
The massage, was less of a sports massage and more of a rub down to unwind, that almost sent me to sleep. I came out feeling relaxed, moisturised and glowing from the several steps involved in the facial. If you fancy something a little bit more fancy than wine, there's the'Soin Mille' which uses white truffle combined with collagen active ingredients facial, amongst others.
We spent the rest of our time between the incredible views from the edge of the thermal pool, hikes over the rolling hills of the Sienna countryside and the fine foods that were on offer each evening in the restaurant. This place, really is one to suit all. Whether you're looking to discover the natural and cultural landscape of Val d'Orcia – a UNESCO World Heritage site, cycle as far as your legs will take you, or bathe your skin under the Italian sun, don't let the cool weather of Tuscany in November – February, put you off the idea of a european relaxing winter break.
Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort 5*
Bookings can be made via www.adler-thermae.com and start from £1,104 per couple in February and March.
Feature in The Journal & The Wedding Journal, May 2016