Wellness Through the Ages

The past eighteen months have been disorienting, to say the least. Routines have been in flux, our senses of identity have felt confused and uncertainty has washed over us time and time again. You're not alone if you find yourself seeking a kind of realignment, of wanting to once again feel centered in your own body.

We understand these wishes, and that they often come with a desire to be somewhere peaceful and new - a place that's entirely different from home. That's why we've focused on one of our favorite wellness destinations in the world: Greece.

This land of soothing blue seas, sunny whitewashed houses and ancient history is where many foundations of today's wellness philosophies were born. Add to that an exceptional climate and famously nourishing cuisine, and you've got the restorative holiday you've been dreaming of. Here are four diverse options for experiencing true wellness in this storied Mediterranean land.

South of the Greek capital, on the chic Athens Riviera, the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel offers both relaxation and unparalleled history from its waterfront location. Of course, you'd be forgiven if you chose not to leave the hotel at all; its 75 luxurious acres are home to eight excellent restaurants, three private beaches and an opulent spa. However, if you are willing to venture out, you'll be rewarded with the healing powers of nearby Lake Vouliagmeni. The waters of this ancient lake have a remarkably high concentration of salt and minerals, combining to offer numerous physiological benefits to those who swim within them. Fed by a natural thermal spring and partially surrounded by dramatic rocky cliffs, the scene here is so beautiful, you'll want to settle in with a book and spend the day.

Another perk of the resort is its proximity to Athens; you can easily make a day trip (or two) into the city to see the wonders of its ancient center. Tour the Acropolis, stare up at the awe-inspiring Temple of Olympian Zeus and visit the National Archeological Museum before being whisked back to Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, where a post-sun spa treatment and beach chair await.

Further to the west sits Porto Heli, a glamorous coastal town in the Peloponnese. Most travelers aren't yet wise to this "Hamptons of Greece," making an exclusive location for the ultra-luxe Amanzoe Resort.

From its perch, Amanzoe offers striking 360-degree views of the olive groves that blanket the nearby hills, and brilliantly blue Aegean shimmering beyond them. Such a classically Greek setting is well-suited to the resort's wellness program, which incorporates the teachings of Hippocrates into its 30,677 square foot spa. This "holistic sanctuary" offers bespoke wellness experiences that incorporate nutrition, exercise, olive oil massages, mindfulness and sea bathing to promote overall well-being; spa services also include the Hammam ritual, an exfoliating treatment that utilizes all-natural black soap and rock clay.

When not at the spa, you'll want to explore a wealth of fascinating nearby ruins, including the UNESCO-protected amphitheatre at Epidaurus and the Sanctuary of Asklepios; fittingly, the latter is the ancient world's most renowned center of healing. You can also request a special beekeeping visit to the Bairaktaris family, whose apiary supplies all of Amanzoe's honey and produces a special range of all-natural propolis moisturizers.

Perhaps when you envision yourself in Greece you're on an island, in which case Santorini's Andronis Concept Wellness Resort is ideal. Located near the charming northwestern village of Imerovigli, this hotel offers iconic views out over the caldera, and each of its twenty-eight suites and villas have their own infinity pool for cooling off.

The Andronis Concept Wellness Resort philosophy is inspired by both eastern and western traditions, and promotes happiness and mental wellness through a combination of spa treatments, yoga sessions and detox meals from the resort's Throubi Restaurant. Named for a local aromatic herb with therapeutic properties, Throubi creates menus that are a "celebration of Santorinian gastronomy" and take advantage of fresh island ingredients. With a sunset view over the water, you'll dine on dishes like fava beans with cuttlefish, capers and wild greens, or lamb with pea pur?e and smoked broth. Other local ingredients such as almonds, mountain tea, wild mushrooms and Cretan avocados also inform the menu, meaning that achieving wellness-through-diet won't feel like a chore at all.

Finally, if you're yearning for a Greek destination that eats, sleeps and breathes holistic wellness, head inland to Euphoria Retreat. Located in the southeast Peloponnese, this state-of-the-art hotel and spa is located near Mystras, the mythic and now-abandoned village where the last Byzantine emperor was crowned.

Euphoria Retreat was founded by Marina Efraimoglou, a Greek cancer survivor and former investment banker who wanted to create a space that "offers achievable guidelines and deep nurturing to restore guests to full health." She and her staff have created a multi-layered approach to wellness that centers around a four-floor Byzantine-inspired spa; its facilities include a Watsu pool, experiential showers, tepidarium, Byzantine hammam, Finnish sauna and speleotherapy salt room.
With personalized options available, the retreat offers twenty different wellness programs, their themes ranging from post-pandemic revival to romance, yoga, mindfulness and more.

As with Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, meals here take advantage of food produced within the region's mineral-packed soil, and cater to the nutritional needs of each guest individually. Imagine breakfasts like homemade granola with thyme honey and Greek yogurt, fresh soups and salads sourced from local farms, and beautiful fish and meat dishes.

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