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By Lauren Hill | May 29 2018
In the same way Tuscany conjures up thoughts of hearty Italian cooking, fields of vines and an undulating landscape navigated by twisting Cyprus tree-lined roads, the bucolic region is revered for the health-giving properties of its hot springs. Adler Thermae is one resort that draws on the virtues of this natural resource. The luxurious hotel and spa is tucked into Tuscany’s idyllic Val d’Orcia countryside, amid sprawling vineyards, pockets of woodland and olive groves, and is just a short stroll from the Unesco World Heritage site, Bagno Vignoni.
This tiny Roman village sits at the source of the region’s hot springs and is where the resort draws its thermal waters from, filling its indoor and outdoor pools with this mineral-rich water and harnessing its health-giving properties in therapeutic saunas. These key attributes are then complemented by the spa’s menu of Tuscan and globally inspired treatments, ranging from vinotherapy to Ayurveda and watsu, and all of this comes with the country club vibe of the hotel where rooms have panoramic views over the surrounding hills and where the cuisine combines creative flair with Tuscan authenticity – try dishes incorporating local herbs and honey, along with the resort’s own bio-dynamic Sangiovese wine and extra virgin olive oil.
Even with its exceptionally scenic setting, it’s the Tuscan resort’s thermal waters and extensive spa that draw most people in. The mineral-rich waters, which are found at a temperature of 50°c, are cooled to a more comfortable 37°c for the indoor and outdoor thermal pools, and these are accompanied by an additional freshwater swimming pool and collection of saunas; hop from the Artemisia steam sauna with Tuscan herbs, Salino Etruscan sauna with salt steam and travertine lake bio-sauna, to the Philosopher’s Cave steam bath with atmospheric relaxation area and Panoramica Finnish sauna in the resort’s woodland. Amidst these you’ll find an Argillae Rasul clay bath, too, as well as Grotta Salina underground salt bath and panoramic relaxation area complete with loungers, water mattresses and health bar.
The treatments here then incorporate the latest wellness technology along with wine therapy, Adler bio-cosmetics and Asian wellness traditions such as Ayurveda. Try the Brunello Ritual for two, which follows a grape seed oil massage and wine bath with a Brunello- and cheese-tasting session, or go for the Mineral Mudtherapy using volcanic mud composed of bio-active minerals and thermal spring water. The fitness facilities are almost as comprehensive, with personal trainers on-hand and classes in yoga (in the water and in the studio), hydro biking, pilates and TRX suspension training, among others.
Each evening, a lavish a la carte dinner is served in a rooftop open-air dining space that’s reminiscent of an Italian courtyard, complete with stone arches and columns, a centrally positioned olive tree and arched windows looking out over the gardens. White table cloths, candlelight and attentive waitstaff then distinguish it as a fine dining setting. The restaurant’s chef Gaetano Vaccaro specializes in Tuscan gourmet cuisine, showcasing the produce he’s sourced from local organic farms, then the sommelier pairs these dishes with Tuscan fine wines, offering labels from renowned wineries in Montalcino, Montepulciano and Chianti, as well as the resort’s own wine produced using Sangiovese grapes grown on the Bagno Vignoni hillside.
Breakfast is served in this same dining space as the morning sun streams in, with a lavish spread bringing together warm pastries and fresh breads, which you can slather with the hotel’s own honey, a variety of fresh fruits, Greek yogurts and local charcuterie, plus brunch favorites like eggs Benedict and Florentine. Later on, take a leisurely lunch in the hotel’s relaxed Osteria, and find a seat in the classic piano bar, which spills out onto a spacious balcony, for pre-dinner cocktails and afternoon tea.
Floor-to-ceiling windows and uninterrupted views make the guestrooms, which run off the main building in arcs ensuring they all come with privacy as well as a view, seem both tucked away from the rest of the world and open to the lush surroundings. The interiors are both elegant and cozy, combining plenty of space and light with classic décor in neutral tones and natural materials such as wood. Perhaps most appealingly, each one has its own terrace or balcony overlooking the resort’s sprawling gardens and Tuscan hills punctuated by hilltop towns.
With Adler Thermae as your base, you have the opportunity to explore more than 450 kilometers of sign-posted hiking trails and cycle along more than 1,000 kilometers of cycling tracks. Guided hikes are hosted around four times each week, taking in areas such as San Quirico d’Orcia, with a stop-off at a winery along the way, and Monticchiello organic farm where you can taste the different cheeses with homemade bread. The resort’s mountain bikes and e-bikes are free to use, but race bikes are also available for hire and horseback riding can be arranged on request.
Of the hilltop towns in and around Val d’Orcia, Montalcino and Pienza are particularly worth a visit. In Montalcino try the Brunello wine the town is so well known for, then while away an afternoon in Pienza, strolling between historic monuments and boutiques selling local handicrafts, cheese and wine. While you’re in the region, take the opportunity to delve into its prolific wine production and taste the most celebrated local wines at their source. The biodynamic winery Tenuta Sanoner is just a short walk up the hillside from Adler Thermae and is one that heartily welcomes visitors in for guided tours, cooking classes and tastings.