After a hectic year of long-haul business travel, I couldn’t bear the thought of yet another long-distance flight for my well overdue summer holiday.
I was looking for something special in Europe that ticked a number of boxes, so I put in a call to the friendly people at Wellbeing Escapes, the experts in spa and wellness holidays and gave them my ‘essential criteria’.
Short haul, on a beach, with soft sand, where I could swim in the sea, nice weather, an exercise programme and most importantly of all, a luxury spa. The team didn’t disappoint, in fact not only did they tick all my boxes, they actually exceeded my expectations.
Home for the week was the stunning, five-star luxury wellness resort of Almar Jesolo, literally on the beach at Lido de Jesolo, on the Adriatic Riviera and less than an hour away from the beautiful city of Venice.
My primary objectives for the week were a digital and physical detox, to catch up on my sleep and to top up my vitamin-D levels.
Almar Jesolo is a serene and stylish resort decorated in tranquil neutral hues complementing the idyllic beach on its doorstep. The first thing I noticed as I walked through the doors was the wonderfully warm greeting which instantly told me that I was going to adore my week of ‘me-time’ sans technology. This was confirmed when I entered my beachfront bedroom to be welcomed by a chilled bottle of prosecco, a dish piled high with exotic fruits and a board of tasty Italian hors-d’oeuvres.
The main attraction at Almar Jesolo is the sumptuous spa where I gravitated daily for a few hours of detoxification. It’s easy to find your own space amongst the many steam baths, saunas and the multi-sensory showers before curling up in one of the relaxation areas for a mid-day snooze. The spa is complemented by a large Jacuzzi overlooking the sea beyond. From the spa, guests can take the glass walkway leading down to the 70-metre swimming pool which stretches from a bright and modern glass atrium out onto a beautiful sun terrace and is cleverly heated to three different temperatures.
I selected the Wellbeing Booster programme for part of my stay, a programme that is aimed specifically for sleep enhancement. The programme includes a specially tailored reflexology treatment which concentrates on the head area and a 60-minute massage which, again, includes lots of emphasis on the head, working on pressure points to relieve stress and tension. On both occasions, I was asleep within a matter of minutes of each treatment starting and the results were long-lasting as I slept beautifully throughout my stay.
The ideal combination of spa and beach was exactly what I was looking for. The long stretch of soft yellow sand mean that Lido de Jesolo is perfect for a daily barefoot walk to soak up the negative ions of the sea. One shouldn’t be surprised to collect a few flirty compliments from the Italian lifeguards sitting in their century boxes stationed along the beach. Alongside the beach is a colourful promenade made for picking up a frothy cappuccino as you wander into the seaside town of Jesolo, perhaps for a delicious gelato or to pick up a piece of local glassware.
As part of my detox week, it was important that I filled my body with fresh, nourishing food and the wonderful Mediterra Restaurant didn’t disappoint. Breakfast was the usual lavish affair with all manner of healthy and traditional cooked options and the eggs Florentine were some of the best I have ever tasted. I quickly learned that the kitchen is happy to prepare fresh fruit and vegetable juices, whipped up with tasty goodness such as fresh ginger or lemon juice.
However, if you are a serious foodie and committed to healthy eating, there’s a special wellness menu just for you. The ingenious Play of Lights menu, designed by a nutritionist but literally adapted to an art form by the chef left me feeling virtuous and spoiled at the same time. The menu starts with a freshly pressed fruit and/or vegetable combination followed by a stunningly presented entrée. The dishes contain light protein and a range of clean or raw ingredients. My personal favourite was the asparagus, mango and goji berry smoothie, followed by a beautifully presented dish of salt cod with black rice, mango, red lentils and avocado. Whilst the dishes are low-calorie I was still left feeling satisfied and if the mood took me, I had zero guilt in perusing the dessert menu.
The proximity to Venice is really what makes Almar Jesolo a 3-in-1 destination. A short taxi and boat ride away and within less than an hour, I was in another world ticking another destination off my bucket list. I sauntered through St Mark’s Square, took in afternoon tea at Café Florian- the world’s oldest café, popped into Harry’s bar- home of the first Bellini, and wandered along the famous canals of this ancient city. I’ve long held a fascination for the Venetian masks and I was literally moved to tears when I entered the charming jewellery box of a shop that is Ca Macana. The combination of perfectly selected classical music and walls covered with exquisite jewel-encrusted masks literally took my breath away, transporting me to bygone eras. Of course, no visit to Venice is complete without the obligatory Gondola trip and it felt as empowering as it did indulgent to do the ride solo. Yes, of course it is overpriced and over too soon, but I still felt a pang of giddiness as I was transported through this beautiful city.
The time I spent at Almar Jesolo was very personal and a thoroughly nourishing and nurturing environment. It gave me the opportunity to really spend time with and get to know myself again. With every box firmly ticked, a vacancy on my bucket list and as a much more zen version of my former self, I returned to the real world with fond memories of this very special place.
About the author
Carolyn is the CEO and founder of women’s business travel network www.maiden-voyage.com