I don’t know about you, but I always feel a little melancholy after the holidays. I think it’s the realisation that you have to wait another year before you can throw weeks’ worth of lavish parties without feeling guilty.
But rather than mope around the house lamenting about the lack of decadent food in the fridge, I make it my New Year’s resolution to treat myself.
Since going on a ridiculous designer shopping spree in Milan is out of the question (Hubby would have a heart attack), my annual treat is always locally based and usually spa-focused.
The Tuscan Maremma has more than its fair share of spectacular spas. The most celebrated and most luxurious of these is, of course, the Terme di Saturnia spa.
The water in this spa flows at a constant temperature of 37°C and comes from an underground volcanic source, and I have gushed about it endlessly in previous posts.
So this year, I decided to go a little further afield and find a spa I’ve never been to. I came across three that I thought I would share with you… just in case you’re looking for a bit of pampering to ring in the New Year.
Here are my top hot spring spa picks for 2013.
1. The Terme di Sorano
The less famous, but no less magnificent, neighbour to the Terme di Saturnia is a local affair. The tourists blinded by the bright lights of Saturnia are blissfully unaware this gorgeous spa even exists.
The waters here flow from an almost identical underground volcanic source as their counterparts in Saturnia. Flowing at a constant 37°C, they too have curative properties. The only difference is that Sorano‘s waters have less sulfur, so you don’t end up smelling like a rotten egg.
I love the Terme di Sorano. The massive thermal pool has the atmosphere of a lush resort. There’s a special section for children and two man-made waterfalls strategically placed for the occasional back massage.
There’s also a gorgeous little water course that breaks from the main pools and allows you some measure of privacy in the oak-filled woods nearby.
The spa has a selection of massages, and body and facial treatments at extra cost. There’s also a fairly reasonable hotel on site.
The landscape around the Terme di Sorano is green and open, so you get a real sense of bathing in the elements of the Tuscan countryside. It’s also cheap and family friendly with a full day ticket to the pools only costing €20 per person.
2, Antico Casale di Scansano
Winner of a Tripadvisor Hotel of the Year award for 2012, the Antico Casale di Scansano is one of the Maremma’s best value accommodations. The four star resort is located in a beautiful corner of Scansano and both its rooms and restaurant are constantly gushed about.
As for its spa or ‘Centro Benessere’ as they call it, I was blown away. I’ve been to a lot of spas in hotels all over the Maremma – my husband loves them! Often space constraints mean they’re little more than a jacuzzi with a shower that lights up – hardly exotic.
But the spa at the Antico Casale is incredible. They have a sauna, a Turkish bath, two jacuzzis, a sun room, a watercourse that leads into a salt cave, which is supposed to have curative respiratory properties, and a huge heated spa filled with saltwater from the Dead Sea.
The atmosphere is the perfect couple’s retreat. For a little extra, you can have a Haman, yoga, aromatherapy and a bunch of other amazing treatments.
Overnight packages with spa entry and all your meals start at €125 per person.
It’s less if you just want to use the spa. And you can take the kids, with free entry into the new kid-friendly pool and play area at the resort next door.
3. La Cerreta
La Ceretta is a lot further out than I normally travel for my spas, but utterly worth it because this spa is magnificent and eco-friendly.
Everything about this agriturismo, from its wines to its honeys, breads, olives and farming is biodynamic and environmentally sustainable.
Even if you don’t go in for all that, it makes for a very pleasant atmosphere. The complex blends into the open fields and you just feel like you’re part of the countryside of Sasseta.
The spa itself is built from local travertine stones in a very rustic manner. Inside, the waters of Sasseta flow abundantly. The thermal pool is big, beautiful and has an indoor and outdoor section.
The water here is far hotter than anything you’ll find at Saturnia, bubbling at up to 40°C as it leaves its underground source. The minerals are richer too as they aren’t diluted and are a mix of calcium and sulfur.
With a sauna, Turkish bath and the other traditional trimmings of a spa, this is a very luxurious place to be. Tickets cost €30 per person for a full day entry.