Palazzo Arzaga Hotel — Saturnia Spa

Imagine having an herbal wrap in a fifteenth-century monastery just twenty-five minutes outside of Verona. An ambitious renovation has transformed the Palazzo Arzaga, a once austere abbey, into a luxurious golf and spa resort.

Designed with golfers in mind, there is a morning warm-up and stretch program endorsed by PGA Europe, as well as a variety of massage therapies under medical supervision designed especially for golfers. For those who want to assess their muscle contraction and posture (which might affect swing or cause pain), a kinesiologist is on staff to solve the problem. And for those who simply wish to “spa,” the holistic skin and body treatments span the Saturnia product range, with antiaging facials, biopeeling, reflexology, and aromatherapy.

The Palazzo is for those who are comfortable at a resort where the outside world is held at bay (thanks in part to excellent security). In many ways the ambience is that of an upscale American spa and golf resort. There are year-round tournaments at the Jack Nicklaus II 18-hole, par-72 golf course and a golf academy for those who want to improve their game.

The guest rooms are among the most unusual in Italy, some with the original monastery frescoes still intact and integrated into the decor. Every room has a distinct personality: eighteenth-century Venetian and nineteenth-century Lombardy furnishings, sumptuous fabrics, marble bathrooms, fireplaces, hand-painted and timbered ceilings, and such modern amenities as satellite television, minibars, and hair dryers. Guests choose not only from a superb collection of rooms in the hotel but also from thirteen chapel rooms near the church and others that overlook the golf course. From their windows, guests may view the serene inner courtyard and chapel, the original orchard behind the hotel, or the Palazzo’s terrace.

Pistachio gelato and penne pasta aside, there is a weight program integrating the Arzaga light menu (low sugar and low-fat ingredients) with a personalized exercise program. Together they afford a gentle way to induce weight loss.

Unique in Italy, the resort’s Slim & Tonic Pool contains water formulated with mineral, marine, and thermal salts that are thought to have an impact on metabolism and circulation. Magnesium, potassium, bromine sodium, and iodine are added to the pool to stimulate venous and lymphatic circulation, important for the treatment of cellulitis and general circulatory problems, according to spa director Dr. Marco Merlin.

Situated in the tranquil Italian countryside combined with a beautifully restored palazzo, Saturnia Spa, championship golf courses, and acres of gardens, the Palazzo Arzaga is one of Europe’s finest resorts, one where the spa experience has been taken “religiously.”