Outside of chocolates, watches and bank accounts, the Swiss do Spas well. Set in the twee mountain town of Interlaken, Spa Nescens makes our month’s must-visit spa.
The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel is designed in belle Époque style, originally built for stressed out Brits who flocked to the area for a bit of R&R. Nowadays, it’s regarded as one of the leading health spas in Switzerland and is renowned for its anti-ageing treatments.
We visited to try one of their latest health programs and take a dip or two in the hotel’s spectacular pool…
SHOP THE ESSENTIALS
The spa at Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel is huge (5,500 square metres) – it’s so big you might need to spend some time getting your bearings. It’s also easy to get distracted by the magnificent view of Jungfrau Mountain (part of the UNESCO Jungfrau-Aletsch region), which forms the ever-present snow-capped backdrop.
The focus here is very much on ‘better ageing’, from facials and hairdressing, to fitness classes, outdoor exercise (think mountain biking and horse riding) and holistic programmes designed by a team of health professionals.
The decor is state of the art spa meets Victorian grandeur. Modern and minimalist changing rooms with wooden slatted walls (like the inside of a sauna) open out on to a shimmering monochrome and gold pool area. Outside there is a luxurious saltwater steam bath with thermal jets and an expansive sunbathing terrace. Back indoors; relaxation rooms with plush day beds are highlighted with daylight flooding in through the floor to ceiling glass windows. Explore further and you’ll find a sauna complex, massage and beauty rooms, indoor tennis courts and café. Upstairs there is the Sensai Select Spa, in a contemporary cocoon design, and a gym.
The atmosphere suits those looking to join a 7 day programme (with healthy menu and dedicated spa suite) to a relaxed afternoon with friends by the pool enjoying treatments. It has a warm, friendly and discreet vibe where disciplined health overhauls slot seamlessly alongside manicures and hairdressing.
If you want to improve your health, lose excess weight or manage stress, try one of the ‘better ageing’ programmes. I sampled the ‘4 day break’, designed in partnership with the Centre for the Prevention of Ageing Switzerland. The programme helps you to achieve a healthy weight, restore energy and understand how to live well for the future.
The diagnosis part was the most fascinating – a team made up of a doctor, osteopath and dietician – who assess your current biology. They evaluate your health in amazing detail, down to how much strength/fat you have in each major body part, in order to create your own bespoke program of physical activities and spa treatments. A daily personal training session is tailored to you, from light stretching to interval training. Spa treatments include relaxing massages, body wraps, scrubs and balneotherapy (bathing in mineral springs). Meals are from a specially developed menu of calorie controlled but fulfilling dishes, from vegetarian bruschetta and aubergine tartare to grilled sea bream with peperonata, pesto and rosemary potatoes. (Not being completely strict, we allowed ourselves a glass of wine or two with dinner.)
I came away from the program with renewed enthusiasm for exercise, having now seen the positive biological effects from years of regular training. I did also lose weight, feel less tense and my skin and eyes looked clearer. Overall, it was refreshing to be part of a programme that felt enlightening rather than restrictive.
THE BEAUTY KIT
Spa Nescens is one of the few spas in the world to use Nescens products (a recognised leader in anti-ageing innovation). Their products are science-backed effective formulas, but many are also suitable for sensitive skin. For massages, the spa provides naturally scented oils as an option and for nails they use OPI.
On the first floor, the Sensai Select Spa offers face and body treatments using the Sensai range, which contain fine Japanese Koishimaru silk.
A big thumbs up for the women-only facilities. These include a private outdoor sauna, accessed via the changing room, and a relaxation room with screened off chill out beds, lovely mountain views, freshly made teas, cucumber water and dried fruit.
CF SPA TIP
Give yourself lots of spare time either side of treatments or gym sessions to relax and make the most of the space, especially the spa bistro (for great coffee and light meals), relaxation rooms and terraces. Take a moment to enjoy the sun terrace in your robe post-treatment. Pure bliss.
NEED TO KNOW
Treatments at Nescens Spa start from £25. The 4-day break better ageing programme costs £2510. Double rooms at Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa start at £313 in low season.
Address: Höheweg 41, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland
Tel: +41 33 828 28 28
To book Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa visit www.victoria-jungfrau.ch/en
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