Pre-Saint-Didier Hot Springs, Northern Italy
I visited the famous hot springs at Pre-Saint-Didier on the trip to Courmayeur that I blogged about earlier-- it was a relaxing few days in Northern Italy following my sister-in-law Cassie's week long wedding extravaganza in Camogli. An entire day of this trip was reserved for detoxing and relaxation at the "terme" or hot springs. The springs flow out of a cave in the Pre-Saint-Didier Ravine, which was hollowed out by the flowing waters of the Verney Torrent and the Dorea Baltea River. Apparently the warm waters have been used for hundreds of years to treat rheumatic and muscular disorders, and today the springs have been built into a full-day experience of treatments and pools.
We had a reservation for 9AM, and when we arrived and checked in we were informed that we could stay as long as we liked-- closing was at 9PM. We laughed a little to think about staying at a spa for that long, but we obviously didn't understand all they had to offer-- we ended up checking out at 6PM! We were each given a giant plush robe, two towels, sandals, and key to our private locker in the luxurious changing rooms. We were also given a schedule for the day's free "events" and a map of the entire complex. We decided to make sure we made it to the chocolate anti-aging facial in the steam room and a conditioning hair treatment in the Turkish bath.
The entire spa consists of the original open air thermal swimming pools, as well as a sprawling complex in a beautiful old building that houses all kinds of steam rooms, saunas, hydromassage rooms, turkish baths and resting rooms. There is also an ongoing buffet with fresh juices, fruits and vegetables, home baked healthy breads and jams, granola, yogurts, teas and so on that you can visit at any time. The price for a full day at the spa with everything included is 55 Euro which I think is very reasonable. (The management explained that they try to keep the price low so that the average person can enjoy the springs.)
We began inside in a hot bath, and then headed to the outdoor pools for some fresh air and breathtaking views of the surrounding snow capped mountains. It's an interesting feeling to be in a bikini soaking in hot bubbling water, while surrounded by ice and frigid air. One of my favorite outdoor pools had spongy devices that would keep you afloat as your head rested into the water while you listened to soothing classical music coming from underneath the surface.
Back inside, I especially enjoyed the hydrotherapy waterfalls and the treatments in the Turkish Bath. After hours spent exploring the different areas, we finally headed up to the third floor to the "relaxation" rooms. My Mom holed up in a hanging "cocoon", my mother-in-law Libby chose a water bed and I plopped down on a giant bean bag and cuddled up with blankets.
When we were ready to go, we each took a multi-headed shower complete with their natural lines of amazing smelling shampoos, conditioners and soaps. Then we lotioned up with samples of their face and body creams. We left feeling refreshed and healed, and the Moms both bought many of the products to take back as gifts.