Italians are known for enjoying la dolce vita—the sweet life. While it may sound like an excuse to be lackadaisical, it's actually a very proactive way of appreciating the simple joys that can be found every day. Deep in the heart of Tuscany, visitors can find Adler Thermae Spa Resort, a destination spa that allows its guests to find the sweetness in life as they relax, recharge, and rejuvenate in a beautiful environment.
Saying that Adler embraces its magical location is an understatement. Taking into account the countless rows of cypress trees, charming farmhouses, and rolling hills that stretch as far as the eye can see, the views of the Val d'Orcia valley that are afforded to guests from the villa-style property are postcard-perfect. Alas, Adler is more than just a pretty face. Amid the serene landscape, this countryside escape offers guests an innovative spa experience that incorporates local bathing traditions that predate the time of the Romans.
History has proven that thermal baths have been present in this region since 800 B.C., during the Etruscan civilization. Since this time, the tiny spa town of Bagno Vignoni, located steps from Adler, has had a range of illustrious visitors—including popes, saints, artists, and writers—take the plunge in its curative waters. The town's popularity was mostly due to its proximity to the Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrimage route connecting England to Rome. The world-famous water that wells up in Bagno Vignoni has also been flowing in the pools at Adler since it opened in 2004 and is now at the center of the spa's wellness offerings. "Adler continues the history of spas in the area," says manager Anton Pichler. "Just as the pool is the centerpiece of the town, the pool is at the heart of this modern spa."
Nestled in the Tuscan countryside, Adler offers wonderful views of the surrounding hills.
Whether the heat is on or there is a chill in the air, guests of all ages take in the therapeutic waters at Adler year-round. The bicarbonate-, sulphate-, and alkaline-rich water, which is a comfortable 95 F, has been proven to benefit skin and bones, as well as the respiratory and vascular systems. Even though the pool, which offers incomparable vistas of the surrounding countryside, is the most popular place to while the day away during a stay, guests have the option of kicking back in a handful of other reenergizing respites.
From top to bottom: Programs such as yoga, Pilates, and Zen Stretching are popular; the Artemisia steam sauna stimulates circulation and purifies the skin.
Near the 25 treatment rooms, guests can lounge pre and post-services in the two-level relaxation area while enjoying views of a tranquil lake. In case they are interested in breaking a sweat without hitting the gym, guests can detox by visiting the Herbal Caldarium for a steamy aromatherapy fix, the Etruscan Brine Steam Bath to enjoy the purifying benefits of saltwater, or the Etruscan Clay Steam Bath where they can apply mineral-rich mud for a nourishing treatment.
Above: The relaxation area offers views of the Travertine Lake. left: The ancient town of Bagno Vignoni is steps away from Adler and is the source of the resort's thermal water.
Considering the many amenities and the fact that there are more than 300 treatments from which to choose, it is no wonder Adler has such a broad clientele. "Surprisingly, the split between men and women is pretty even, and there are a lot of couples of all ages here," says Pichler. One reason men might feel especially welcome at the spa is the host of specific services that cater to their every whim. Whether they are in the market for facials or body treatments, traditional or high-tech options, the menu is likely to have what they are seeking. For a thoroughly modern offering, the Hydradermie Trés Homme Facial ($162, 55 minutes) uses Guinot products to deep cleanse and condition the skin by employing galvanic and high-frequency electrotherapy. The Regenerating Body Treatment ($138, 80 minutes) provides gentlemen with a classic recharge and a full-body exfoliation.
Guests have free reign of the thermal waters throughout the duration of their stay.
Piquing the interest of both men and women are the regionally inspired services Adler offers. Using the spa's signature organic products, these popular treatments honor local delicacies, such as olive oil, red grapes, honey, and sheep's milk, which are all very rich in nutrients and provide stellar results when applied to the skin. Some of these services that are sure to satisfy guests' cravings for a taste of Tuscany include the purifying Body Treatment with Olive Oil-Nourishing and Draining ($147, 75 minutes), the regenerating Body Treatment with Milk and Honey-Firming and Relaxing ($147, 75 minutes), and the age-fighting Adler Massage with Grape Seed Oil ($91, 45 minutes). For those interested in spa-ing á deux, the Olive Tree Ritual ($119, 1 hour 40 minutes) takes place in the private couple's Tuscany Room and involves a thorough body exfoliation with olive pits, a relaxing bath, and a hydrating massage with olive cream.
The spa's reception area is the center of activity at Adler.
While indigenous treatments are a spa favorite, therapies that originated a bit farther afield are also very popular at Adler. One of the most requested treatments is the Kerala ($145, 80 minutes) Ayurvedic massage, which is meant to ease tension, nurture the skin, and strengthen the immune system with a head-to-toe massage using warm plant oil. Other Eastern-inspired services include Garshan ($158, 75 minutes), where therapists use natural silk gloves to perform a stimulating massage to catalyze the metabolism and increase the flow of the lymphatic system, and the Udvarthana ($158, 75 minutes), which is a detoxifying massage that incorporates a wrap involving milk, honey, and Ayurvedic herbs.
For more results-oriented services, Adler offers medical guidance to its visitors. According to Pichler, another one of the spa's major draws is the Adler Balance Program, which allows guests to turn their visit to Adler into a true wellness escape by combining revitalizing treatments, nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and detoxification. Available as either a four- ($1,030) or seven-day ($1,387) program, Adler Balance is overseen by Thomas Platzer, M.D., who is readily available on-site for consultations. For total body conditioning on the inside and out, both packages include a bioelectrical body composition check-up, a glycemic test, daily massages, detoxifying baths, algae wraps, facials, fitness classes, evening conferences with the doctor, and a final check-up at the end of the visit. Full room and board is also part of the program with a special "Diet and Vitality" menu that offers healthy and organic options, including fresh seasonal produce, that complement the Balance program.
"The Adler spa team offers not only top-quality treatments but also special human care," says Pichler. Considering this and what he describes as a "unique energy" on property, it is no surprise that 70 percent of Adler guests are repeat visitors. With an ever-evolving and growing program, which will soon include new meditation areas, private Qi gong coaching, acupuncture, and naturopathy, clients always have new things to look forward to upon their visits. "We offer a pure escape where guests can be in natural, beautiful surroundings with fitness and spa facilities, medical supervision, and excellent cuisine, wine, and entertainment," says Pichler. With such an uncomplicated and thorough mission on customer service, it is clear that guests have found a place where they can truly celebrate la dolce vita.