St Alpine spas – Adler Balance

In the nineteenth century, it was a commonplace that those with delicate constitutions would retire to sanatoria in the Alps for the clean mountain air. Given the current pollution levels in many of the UK’s cities, it may be a good idea once again to head for the hills.

Adler BalanceIt’s not just the clean air, though, that you’ll find up in these mountain resorts that have dedicated themselves to wellness in a way you’re unlikely to find in British spas. One such is Adler Balance, set in the lovely village of Ortisei in the Dolomites. Here, in the winter you can ski in the world’s biggest interconnected ski area; while in summer you can swim in the lakes and walk or mountain bike on the very same slopes.

In the hotel itself, there is a massive spa with pools, hydro-massage, numerous saunas and a ‘salt grotto’ where you have a gentle sauna with Himalayan salt-infused air as well as a floatation pool with the same mineral constituents. Here you can float effortlessly from side to side, listening to underwater music and watching the reflections play on the ceiling. You end up in a dreamlike state – I couldn’t recommend it more highly for stress!

However, to think of Adler Balance simply as a spa is to do it an injustice. This is a complete health MOT. Adler Balance - terrace with viewsYou start with an hour-long session with a doctor who talks through any health issues and then wires you up to a series of machines that tell you everything, and I mean everything, that’s going on in your body: the levels of essential minerals, stress levels, how your body is using energy, bone density, even what your brain is getting up to. On the basis of this, she selects your treatments and diet, recommends an exercise routine and supplies you with whatever supplements you need. She also gave me a caddy of detox tea and a cuddly hot water bottle. What else could I possibly need?

Treatments included massage, various detox therapies and ‘dry floatation’. For this, I am coated in a green algae paste from top to toe, wrapped in cling film, wrapped again in a huge waterproof thermal blanket. Then, at the flick of a switch, the bed beneath disappears and I am floating in warm water that supports my body in a perfectly relaxed state. A little bit of heaven, in fact.

Adler Balance - healthy food and supplementsThe food is good, too – and I have elected to do a pretty heavy duty detox. The food is very locally sourced and ‘vital’ – light and easily digested. So there were delicious soups, fish, chicken and lots of veggies. On the other hand, you can go for the normal menu which features wood-scented scallops, oyster risotto, duck with polenta, chocolate and passion fruit – but all in sensible servings so you are still eating in a very healthy way. But with the indisputable benefit of having a Michelin-starred chef.

Even on the detox version, I never actually felt hungry but I did feel a very positive glow by the end. So if you want a holiday in the mountains that also puts you firmly on the road to radiant good health – head for the Alps!

More information

FAdler Balancerom Euros 575 per person sharing a Junior Suite (the only category of room at Adler Balance) for a three-night, half-board stay (Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights). All guest stays include:

  • Adler Balance vitality cuisine
  • Access to Aguana Water World (the largest wellness zone in the Dolomites)
  • Adler Fit, extensive indoor and outdoor sports and leisure programme – underground car parking and all other Adler inclusive services.

For more on spas, travel and other stories see Anna’s blog on

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Anna Selby

Travel writer & author

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