Pascal Languillon, Director of Luxe Wellness Club, tells us about his experience at one of the finest spa hotels on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
Surrounded by 3 golf courses, the hotel is located near Marbella, the most exclusive tourist resort in southern Spain. It is a member of Traveller Made.
Let’s be clear: you’re struck by the grandiose atmosphere from the moment you arrive at Villa Padierna. The pink palace, inspired by Tuscany, is immense. It gives a sleek, elegant impression, and its manicured gardens dotted with cypress and palm trees are superb.
Ceramic bowls, archaeological pieces, engravings of Italian manor houses, and numerous pieces from the owners’ art collection adorn the walls. Outside, a magnificent swimming pool is lined with trees and elaborate fountains.
Although it looks very historic, the hotel was in fact built entirely in 2003. Although the illusion is almost perfect, I can’t help thinking that there’s a slightly kitschy side to this reproduction of a Tuscan palace crammed with statues. I always prefer the original to the copy, and as far as I know this is Andalusia, not Italy… Never mind. A little fantasy never hurts.
The only downside is that the immediate environment is increasingly concreted over, and unless you’re a golf enthusiast, you might prefer to be closer to the sea.
The 121 luxuriously appointed rooms, spread over two buildings, have a bright, airy and welcoming feel. The smallest rooms are 42 m² including the terrace, which is the size of many apartments in Paris…
For my part, I found the King-Size bed extremely comfortable, and I really liked the idea of the pillow menu (which I strangely didn’t take advantage of), a sign of great hotels. All the chic of a 5-star hotel: large desk, sofa, well-stocked mini-bar, bathrobes and slippers, safe, Acqua di Parma toiletries in the marble bathrooms. A special mention goes to the Italian shower, with a flow so strong it’s like standing under a waterfall. My room 223 was therefore very pleasant, with a view of the golf course, unfortunately nowadays surrounded by buildings. Lots of cranes on the horizon, which spoils the scenery.
A superb 2000 m² spa
Obviously, for me the highlight of the show, and in my opinion the real highlight of this hotel if you’re not a golf fan, is the immense 2,000 m² spa. The term “medical wellness” is even used here, as the spa offers comprehensive wellness programs with consultations with doctors and osteopaths. The Slim & Detox program, inspired by the benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle, is the most popular, but apparently some customers (especially Russians) also come to try to quit smoking or for beauty treatments.
According to spa manager Ione Alkorta, one of the most popular treatments is the “Michelle Obama” facial, inspired by the former First Lady’s recent visit. This treatment is based on the energetic concepts of Chinese medicine, well known for its therapeutic properties. It focuses primarily on the face, neck and décolleté, helping to stimulate collagen production to restore skin elasticity and vitality.
Hammams scented with lemon and lavender
For my part, I was content to do the “thermal circuit”, i.e. enjoy the entire hydrotherapy area (without taking any treatments). A real pleasure, because it’s a great aromatic circuit where the key word is relaxation. We move from salt baths to the lemon-scented hammam, then to the eucalyptus-infused hammam, and finally to the lavender-scented hammam.
These three hammams have different virtues (digestion, purification, sleep, breathing) and you should spend 15 minutes per hammam, taking a break in a small cool pool or in the beautiful indoor pool between each steam bath. Finnish saunas at various temperatures complete the picture.
After almost two hours of sweating and immersions of all kinds, I finished the session in the beautiful relaxation room, with its comfortable beds and cushions, pervaded by the powerful scent of essential oils. Mission accomplished, I felt perfectly relaxed, almost intoxicated by this experience of absolute relaxation. A spa well worth the detour.
Good news: the spa is open to guests outside the hotel for 80 euros, so you don’t have to stay at Villa Padierna to enjoy it. But if you’re attracted by a palatial ambience, then do yourself a favor and book the room too, bearing in mind that hotel guests can visit the spa free of charge.
A sumptuous spa and a pleasant Tuscan palace atmosphere.Luxe Wellness Club
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Tested and approved in March 2019.
Note: The hotel has since been rebranded as Anantara.