Palace Merano Espace Henri Chenot Spa, Italy

Palace Merano Espace Henri Chenot is no ordinary hotel. Step into the lobby of this decadent, neo-classical haven and find yourself transported to a bygone era – a chic mergence of crystal chandeliers, Elizabethan furnishing and elegant marble floors.

The enchanting story behind this inimitable spa hotel began in the mountain-strewn Italian town of Merano, when at the beginning of the 1900’s an entrepreneur bought the land on which an ancient 16th century castle was built.

In 1906, the enigmatic Palace Merano first opened its doors – and with the help of intuitive diagnostician and acupuncturist, Henri Chenot, transformed itself into a holistic sanctuary to the stars.

Well-heeled guests have included Flavio Briatore, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Luciano Pavarotti and the Emir of Qatar – alongside his style icon of a second wife, Sheikha Mozah.

Henri’s self-invented concept of Biontology – a unique study of psycho-physical ageing, is encompassed within many of the hotel’s wellness treatments. These include Chinese energy channeling, hydro-aromatherapy and phyto-mud therapy.

Guests float around the palace in comfortable white robes provided during their stay, and dine at either of the two dietetic restaurants.

These ethereal eateries offer healthy, organic meals made using Chenot’s renowned method and individually tailored to personal dietary programmes – determined during lengthily consultations with the hotel’s doctors.

Alcohol is not available, yet it’s possible to indulge in a guilt-free herbal infusion at the inviting Tea Bar, before a stroll in the scenic botanical gardens or a few laps in the ample outdoor and indoor swimming pools.

Those with a penchant for privacy can retreat to their plush rooms or suites after a long day of pampering for leisurely soaks in the bath or a cozy evening of satellite TV – smugly swathed in fluffy duvets and surrounded by glossy magazines.

Mitra Wicks

Editor in Chief