Here’s a small hotel dedicated to wellness that’s unknown in our part of the world, but enjoys a predominantly Italian clientele that returns year after year, eager to keep this place a secret. It gives us great pleasure to bring Villa Eden out of the shadows for the French-speaking public, because this little gem sets the bar very high when it comes to health stays. Here’s an account of the stay by Pascal Languillon, Director of Luxe Wellness Club.
An oasis of well-being in the wellness valley
Merano is a charming town of 40,000 inhabitants located in a South Tyrolean valley just a few kilometers from the Austrian border, and just a 3-hour drive from Milan. Villa Eden is located just a fifteen-minute walk from the town center, in a quiet residential area. The hotel boasts a large garden and swimming pool with a beautiful view of the mountains.
What strikes me in and around Merano is the high concentration of spas and wellness hotels. The region seems to be obsessed with wellness, and this was obviously the reason for my stay there.
Indeed, Mérano was made famous in the upper echelons by the Palace that bears its name, the Palace Mérano, which for many years welcomed Henri Chenot and attracted stars from all over the world to get back into shape before he moved to Switzerland. Villa Eden is a smaller, more intimate establishment with the same preventive medicine ambitions, and can boast of having welcomed Diego Maradona, Luciano Pavarotti and Barbra Streisand , among others.
A member of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”, Villa Eden is a 29-room hotel that opened in 1982 and has been constantly evolving ever since. The hotel is first and foremost a medispa dedicated to health, but some guests come just for vacation, so it’s possible to drink wine and eat a gourmet menu if you feel like it.
The style is very chic, with attention to the smallest detail. Sophisticated furnishings, chandeliers everywhere, impeccable cleanliness wherever you look… there’s no doubt about it: the hotel is extremely well kept .
In fact, Villa Eden feels more like a plush home than a hotel, and that’s exactly what owner Angelika Schmid aims to do: make her guests feel right at home. What particularly impressed me was Angelika’s acute sense of hospitality, and the same passion she instilled in her staff. Employees love their work, and it shows. What kindness, what smiles, what professionalism!
Important fact: the hotel is for adults only . Some wellness hotels lend themselves well to family stays, but Villa Eden has chosen to create an atmosphere of total calm and serenity. As the father of two young children, I understand why!
My very chic room: the Cocoon Garden Suite
My room was a large 70 m² suite, the Cocoon Garden Suite, with a balcony, dressing room and spacious bathroom. Absolutely comfortable, I loved the discreet elegance of the materials and tones used.
Particular mention should be made of the king-size bed with its extra-comfortable mattress, and the top-of-the-range bathroom with its deep bathtub, two basins and oversized shower.
Villa Eden’s exclusive courtesy products are delightful, and every evening the team drops off a sample of the cosmetics range that has been created by the hotel.
A spa on a human scale
Villa Eden is a family-run hotel, so don’t expect the huge spa facilities you’ll find at other Luxe Wellness Club establishments. Its modest size and relative age in no way detract from its quality, with a beautiful indoor pool, Jacuzzi, infrared sauna and steam room. I was able to enjoy these facilities on my own in total peace and quiet, which is the advantage of a small hotel. There’s also a small fitness room and yoga mats, which I put to good use. Group courses are organized on a regular basis.
The “longevity center”: exceptional care
Villa Eden’s primary vocation is to enable its customers to improve their health. To achieve this, the programs are overseen by Dr De Nobili, an expert in anti-aging medicine and dietetics. The list of treatments and medical procedures on offer is surprisingly extensive for a hotel of this size.
Villa Eden offers highly specialized examinations such as DNA tests to determine the right dietary profile,blood oxygenation treatments using ozone, and even face lifts.
I particularly liked their signature “Body Cast treatment“. The treatment lasts two hours. It begins with a massage, followed by a seaweed application. You then have to put on a suit so that the therapist can apply a cast without damaging the skin. The plaster will harden, producing alternately a sensation of hot and cold.
It’s a detoxifying treatment that relaxes at the same time and even helps you lose weight. I also liked the fact that therapist Estefany didn’t disappear while I was trapped in my cast, with a discussion that helped me have a good time.
This treatment increases internal temperature and blood supply, helping to combat localized fat deposits and cellulite, because heat accentuates the fat-dissolving principle. Impressive.
I also enjoyed the chakra rebalancing, performed with a biostimulation machine that helps combat stress and mental fatigue. Deliciously relaxing.
Finally, the facial I received was one of the best I’ve had in recent years. The therapist used moisturizing and lipid-replenishing products from the range created by Villa Eden, and I can tell you that my skin was glowing for a few days.
Refined, inventive cuisine
Another big surprise for such a small hotel: Villa Eden offers excellent cuisine, with a choice between a gourmet or detox menu. Meals are served in two different rooms, depending on the diet chosen. If you take the detox diet, you should know that there will be no alcohol or coffee.
I’ve tasted everything, and can attest to the chef’s creativity and the quality of the ingredients. Sample gourmet menu: fish tartare with apple and beet, spaghetti alle vongole, salmon with saffron, orange and chicory, and mango parfait with passion fruit. For the detox menu: broccoli with hazelnuts, anchovies and goat’s cheese, celery and apple soup, cod with mushrooms and puntarelle, finishing with an infusion.
I also really appreciated the waiters, including a certain Raj, an Indian who has lived in Merano for several years and was both professional and extremely friendly.
Breakfast is also healthy, with fresh fruit, seeds and other detox juices. One morning, however, I fell in love with some really delicious à la carte options. Try a poached egg served in an avocado and I’ll tell you all about it!
An intimate medispa where you’ll feel right at home, cocooned by a friendly team. A real “coup de coeur” for this very well-run establishment with top-quality care.Luxe Wellness Club
Rates: From 250 euros per night on a half-board basis, not including treatments and wellness programs. Take advantage of our expertise by asking us for advice on this hotel we know so well!
or call us for the USA on +1 (646) 980 6652 or for the UK on +44 20 4577 3258 to discuss your holiday plans.
Hotel tested and approved in October 2020.