Combine natural thermal baths with luxury and, to me, that’s bringing the spa experience to another level. Turns out my weekend at one of Greece’s top thermal water luxury spa hotels lived up to my blissful expectations, and it was educational.
Natural Thermal Baths
The constant flow of Greece’s naturally hot thermal waters, laden with therapeutic properties, can be found throughout the country. I had my first Greek experience in Kythnos island this past summer when I stumbled upon a natural thermal water pool near a beach. However, the spa town of Edipsos, on the island of Evia, truly proved to be a special destination, a natural thermal bath experience that dates back to ancient times.
According to ancient Greek mythology, Hephaestus cracked the land with a hammer to open up a flow of therapeutic waters that the goddess Athena believed would keep Hercules healthy and powerful. (Love mythology!) Aristotle, the great ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, discussed his earth science theories about the area’s natural heated waters. Later, Roman General Syllas healed his health problems by bathing in the waters which convinced him to keep the town safe from conquering Roman armies.
Moving forward to more modern times, the stately neoclassical hotel opened in 1897, and it was named after the aforementioned Roman general. Since then, a new era of healing spa culture has thrived, attracting celebrities, top athletes and anyone seeking relief and pure relaxation in the thermal waters.
According to the current international regulations, the Edipsos thermal springs are rich in valuable minerals and microelements and maintain a temperature of 70 – 84 degrees Celsius and 40 – 50 degrees Celsius. Besides the beauty and rejuvenation benefits, the waters have proven to help in the treatment of chronic rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica, tendon complaints, some gynecological problems, sterility, endocrinological cycle disorders and more.
Much More than a 5-Star Hotel
During my stay I appreciated the attentive service and the excellent cuisine served at the on-site restaurant during breakfast, lunch and dinner — typical luxury hotel expectations.
What made the property so unique was the great accessibility to those fantastic healing waters. The head of public relations, Voula Karatziou-Anastasopoulou summed it up well as we toured the expansive property. She said, “We’re a spa with hotel facilities, not a hotel with spa facilities.”
In fact, before entering the thermal water pools, an on-site medical doctor answers any questions and check medical histories. Once I finished with my quick appointment, it was time for a dip in the large indoor 100 percent thermal water pool. It maintains a year round temperature of 33-34 degrees Celsius.
The even larger outdoor thermal pool, is half-thermal, half-saltwater, and it keeps a year round temperature of 32-34 degrees Celsius. It is also emptied each night to be cleaned.
I ended up soaking in the indoor pool and loved the warmness of the water. I especially loved the “mushroom” waterfall in the heart of it, which guaranteed a completely relaxing pounding on my back and shoulders each time.
Next to the indoor pools, I happily pottered in and out of a sauna built around a large and very fragrant eucalyptus tree! Inhaling the amazing scents of the tree proved to be both relaxing and refreshing as the high temperatures enveloped me. A truly unique experience.
The next room simulated the humid cave (65-75 percent humidity) that the Roman General Sylla sat in thousands of years ago to cure his health ailments.
Several other rooms clearly catered to specific treatments. Check out the colors and design of this room which sprays down a thermal rain bath!
A Therapeutic Spa
The spa area on the second floor resembles a sort of friendly and immaculately clean health clinic. Massage therapists dress in white uniform. As for the services, Thermae Sylla goes beyond manicures, facials and his/her message packages. The spa hotel’s menu of therapeutic and beauty treatments included all types of relaxing and healing mud baths, an array of carefully selected messages and various facials. I was so impressed by the list and the benefits of each treatment that it was really hard to decide. In the end, I tried out a few including a Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage, a total body mud bath and a mud facial.
Then I found myself giving into a beauty treatment called Cleopatra’s Bath. What was it like to be slathered from head to toe in goat milk cream, wrapped in plastic and dunked in a thermal waterbed bath? That’s for another post… stay tuned!
Since opening at the turn of the 20th century, Thermae Sylla has taken the unique healing properties of Greece’s natural thermal waters to another level by incorporating the latest technologies and top medical expertise. As a result, there are an array of ways to experience healing waters for much needed relaxation, as well as health and wellness requirements.
After my weekend at Thermae Sylla, it was clear why the historic hotel is considered one of the most distinguished luxury thermal spa destinations in the world. The thermal waters were simply a relaxing joy to feel around you as the mild Mediterranean winter kept the world cool outside. It is a wonderful winter destination that is open all year round. The town of Edipsos is a scenic place with amazing views of the sea with its share of Greek beaches nearby.
The hotel is a unique getaway for those who want to experience thermal baths and simply let go and relax! It is a perfect escape for couples. Note that the indoor pool prohibits children younger than 15, so peace and quiet is guaranteed there. The property is chock full of history and the service is great. It is also easy to reach from Athens.
How to Get to Evia
The hotel is located on the Greek island of Evia. From Athens, take the KTEL bus or drive (about 2 hours) to reach the port of Arkitsa. From Arkitsa, a 30-mintue ferry ride brings passengers, buses and vehicles across the sea to the port in Edipsos. An easy 10-minute walk leads to the hotel.
Prices: A one-way bus ticket is €15.30 and the ferry ticket to Edipsos is €3.20.
Additional Info: The KTEL in Athens leaves from Terminal B, Lission Station. The nearest metro stop to get to the bus terminal is Kato Patission which is on the green line.
If you are driving, there is also a vehicle route that leads to Edipsos without the need to take the ferry.
Rates: From 150 Euro per night.
Check availability and the latest deals for Thermae Syllae by clicking here.
Thermal water luxury is certainly a unique combination. Have you ever been to a thermal spa hotel to experience it?