Hotel Adler Thermae: A Tuscan Spa Resort
By Geri Bain
Relaxing in the naturally-heated thermal lagoon-like pool at the Hotel Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort, I met couples and families from Italy, Germany, England and Switzerland as well as a handful of Americans. Many described the resort as their vacation home; a place they return to once or more during the year when they want to unwind. For my husband, 21-year-old daughter and me, our five-night stay was an idyllic immersion into the sights, flavors and delights of Tuscany.
Located about 1½ hours from Florence by car (about 2¼ from Rome), the Adler Thermae overlooks a rolling region of ancient mountaintop castles, monasteries, farmlands and vineyards. The hotel centers on a lovely Tuscan villa and a huge indoor-outdoor pool, filled with the mineral-rich waters that have drawn health- and relaxation seekers to the region since the days of the ancient Etruscans and Romans. Around the pool are alcoves with indulgent massaging jets and a waterfall that gently pummels your back and neck. Most guests walk to the pool and spa in the hotel’s fluffy white bathrobes, creating the air of a private estate.
The resort’s name aptly describes its allure: a spa featuring the region’s mineral-rich waters and a relaxing ambience that belies its buzz-worthy array of spa, recreational and kid’s programs. For adults, there are classes in TRX suspension training, nordic walking, aquasize, hydrobiking, yoga and pilates as well as indoor and outdoor gyms with treadmills, stairmasters and weights as well as guided excursions—most included in our daily rate. For us, the resort’s varied activities was ideal, allowing us to follow our interests and whimsy, together and apart, without any logistical hassles.
The first thing we noticed about our room was the sunlight flooding in through a wall of sliding glass doors opening onto a garden patio. Inside, we happily noted that our family suite included a comfy sitting area and a separate bedroom, not just a pullout couch. And my daughter appreciated the fast (free) WiFi. With three of us, it also helped that our spacious bathroom had a deep soaking tub and a shower. In fact, all rooms have the same spacious bathroom and either a patio or balcony—the essential difference between family suites and regular rooms is the separate bedroom.
As expected in Tuscany, meals were a highlight. The resort has its own herb garden, and most ingredients come from the region. A sumptuous buffet breakfast, served until 11 a.m., featured made-to-order items such as omelets and extensive spreads of fresh local jams, cheeses, fruits, meats, fish, fresh-baked breads and, my favorite, a make-your-own breakfast smoothie station. Lunch was available, but we usually didn’t regroup until afternoon tea—a complimentary spread of cakes and fresh fruit served at 4 p.m. daily.
Breakfasts and dinners are served in the villa’s atrium restaurant, which features a retractable sunroof. Dinner, a true event, can be topped off with a nightcap in the piano bar or game room. There is no required attire, but most guests dress up a bit, heightening the elegance of the setting and service. Our favorite dishes were Tuscan specialties such as lasagna made with lean, local Chianina beef, and Scottiglia, a hearty Tuscan stew made with rabbit and deer.
The wine and herbs of the region also turn up in many of the resort’s spa treatments, most notably their signature Brunello Ritual for couples, which includes a wine-enriched bath in side-by-side tubs, and my daughter’s favorites, vinotherapy facials and scrubs. While the towel-only sauna attire took getting used to, we also loved the distinctive sauna and steam rooms, which we usually had to ourselves. The Philosopher’s Cave, with stalactites and stalagmites, was the most visually interesting; Artemisia has steam infused with herbs, Salino’s salty steam spews amid Etruscan jugs and murals, and Olivae is an olive-wood Finnish sauna.
We could happily have spent a week unwinding at the resort, but Tuscany was at our doorstep and the Adler Thermae made it easy to explore the region with guided outings by foot, van and bike.
For more information, visit www.adler-thermae.com