By Ariadna Bakhmatova
With the global wellness Spa scene expanding quicker than one can follow, I’ve always been much more eager to explore new holistic destinations rather than returning to the places I’ve been before. Yet there are a couple of resorts where my first-time experience was so undeniably good and had such a strong positive effect on me that I was drawn to return for more.
One such destination for me is Blue Palace in Crete. On my second visit to this sustainably-minded Five Star Alliance property, I also wanted to share the blissful experience with my partner, so off we went to enjoy this true Grecian gem together.
Every day, we marvelled at magnificent sea views from the privacy of our two-level suite, whilst sprawling out on our spacious comfortable bed. My favourite moments were when the sun would slowly appear from behind Spinalonga early in the morning, bathing us in its soothing warmth.
Greek to the Core
As the ancients used to do, only local materials were used for constructing this wonderful hotel – from rocks excavated during building, to locally sourced timber and Greek-made organic cotton textiles and bedding.
And unlike most resorts in Europe, the Blue Palace Spa Hotel doesn’t use plastic or polyester sun umbrellas and deck chairs; once again, instead, they are beautifully made from straw, wicker and locally sourced timber.
Of course, the food is sustainable, too! For most meals, we headed to the hotel’s Greek taverna style restaurant, set right on the beach, serving the freshest, locally caught seafood imaginable, as well as plump, juicy olives, homemade breads and of course, famous Greek appetisers like halloumi cheese doused in fresh olive oil, and tangy stuffed vine leaves. These traditional recipes are brought to life by the freshness of their ingredients, and in short, everything was sourced from the region. In fact, most of the foods, I was told, were grown with minimal pesticide use, or were actually organic.
Perhaps my favourite experience in Blue Palace during my both visits has been visiting its outstanding Elounda Spa & Thalassotherapy. This time round, I had the pleasure of trying some of its most natural signature treatments with the use of, once again, only the purest ingredients from Mother Nature, including locally sourced honey and beeswax.
But I had a wholly unexpected treat this time round at the Spa. I was really excited to experience this special treatment, not least because I was lucky to be one of the first people to try it. The ritual was called the “Ariadna Beauty Treatment”– not quite named in my honour, of course, but serving as a nod to an ancient Greek myth in which Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, has offered a thread to Theseus to help him find his way out of the labyrinth. My mother named me after this princess, and since then I’ve always felt a special connection to the Cretan land.
The Ariadna spa ritual began with a full body exfoliation using pure, locally grown olive and lavender oil, followed by revitalising body massage with a specially processed beeswax, chamomile, honey and olive oil.
The latter was the most interesting part of the treatment and something I’ve never experienced before – the use of warm natural wax in a body massage. Hot (but perfectly bearable) wax is dropped and then massaged into the body, soothing the senses and deeply moisturising the skin. The ritual concluded with a relaxing facial massage and a deliciously scented hydrating hair mask with honey, chamomile and vanilla. This is probably how royalty was treated in ancient Greece; all I know is I felt more like the princess I was named after than ever before.
Floating back to my room and my partner, I was in a state that could only be described as ‘dreamy’. The only stress I faced was tearing myself away from the comfort of my room, dressing, and deciding what to dine on that evening. As I mentioned, in the myth, Ariadne offers the thread to Theseus to help him out of the maze. Somehow, I feel like the magic of the Blue Palace is the ‘thread’ that has led me away from the pressure of city life, into a lighter realm.
For more information on the Blue Palace Spa Hotel, please click here.