Known by Aristotle, Plutarch, and health-seekers throughout the early Hellenistic period, the waters of Edipsos rise from volcanic springs in the sea. Full of minerals, this constant source of hot water is utilized with state-of-the-art equipment and medical supervision to provide revitalization and wellness programs at the new (1999) Thermae Sylla Spa.
Set on the tip of a popular seaside resort, about 150 kilometers from Athens, Edipsos has connections by ferryboat with some of the most important archaeology sites in Greece. What it does not have is a sandy beach. The new spa makes up for this by mixing seawater with thermal water in the outdoor swimming pool. The water is constantly circulated and requires no chlorine, and the pool can be used year-round.
Given the island’s subtropical climate, eucalyptus trees and palms are abundant: they shade the pool and are used in spa therapy. Relax in a wooden sauna as steam infused with essential oils bathes you. A most magical treatment is the mud chamber ceremony called rasul, where your body is exfoliated with several kinds of mud and then cleansed in a mist of herbal steam and a shower of thermal water that pours from a starry dome. Respiratory problems are treated by inhaling steam of ionized water mixed with extracts of eucalyptus, chamomile, and other plants grown on the island.
All things natural is the key to Thermae Sylla. Geothermal springwater heats the buildings as well as the swimming pools and relaxing whirlpool baths. Physiotherapy under supervision of the spa team takes place in the warm pools. Calming showers are combined with massage, and mud mixed with thermal water relieves pain of arthritis, rheumatism, and muscular ailments.
Designed around a secluded garden pool, the new spa complements the original Thermae Sylla Grand Hotel, which first opened in 1897. Newly restored, the hotel offers four-star accommodations with sea views and new spa rooms overlooking the garden. With interior access to all facilities, this is a self-contained resort, offering destination spa programs and day spa packages for guests at dozens of hotels nearby.
Mediterranean cuisine comes naturally in the Greek islands, and the Grand Hotel offers a choice of two restaurants with traditional healthy cooking. Special diets for slimming also take advantage of the local seafood and farm products. Combined with massage and physiotherapy, the spa doctors design personalized programs to show results that you can take home.
Nature lovers can explore the Spo-rades, home of rare seals, and Chalkida, a fishing village noted for restaurants overlooking a rush of tidal waters. Excursions to the Byzantine monasteries of Meteora, which cling to rocky cliffs, offer hospitality from the monks. In winter, there is skiing at Mount Parnassos.
Surrounded by the Aegean sea, Thermae Sylla Spa brings healing waters together with modern technology on an island where time stands still.
Accommodations: 110 rooms in a seafront complex that includes a modern wing adjoining the spa and the original Grand Hotel with high-ceilinged rooms, French doors opening to small balconies. Completely air-conditioned, rooms have king-size or double beds, modern bathroom, some with marble tub. Amenities include robes and slippers, TV, radio, safe, refrigerator.
Meals: Seafood, from giant shrimp to lobster, lamb herbed and cooked with olive oil, are features of the traditional Greek cuisine served in the hotel’s two dining rooms. Local farms supply fresh produce year-round, and fruit comes from Mediterranean orchards of Israel and Spain.
Facilities: Gymnasium with exercise equipment; private treatment rooms for clay, mud, and seaweed body masques and facials; Cleopatra Bath with milk and oils; mud bath; underwater massage tubs with ozone; Vichy shower; herbal steam bath; volcanic steam bath; inhalation therapy.
Services & Special Programs: Massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, body wraps, facial, pedicure, manicure. Physiotherapy program, anti-stress program. Tennis, biking, fishing, and water sports. Evening concerts.
Best Spa Package: Thermae Sylla Energy, a three-day program that integrates exercise and relaxation with beauty treatments. Price: $182.84 per person includes half board (buffet breakfast and lunch), taxes, medical exam. Room for two from $118.94 to $288.74.
Getting There: From Athens by car, the Lamia Highway to Arkitsa, ferryboat to Edipsos (three hours).
What’s Nearby: Delphi, Mount Parnassos, Meteora, Epidaurus Roman coliseum and healing center.