Biarritz Baby! Sara visits Thalassatherapy spas
Once an old gambling haunt of the rich and famous, Biarritz attracted the elite for years. Now, with the loss of one of its two casinos, Biarritz had come back down to earth. The largest tourist group to hit Biarritz coastline in recent years is the surfing community, who come in their thousands to avail of the Atlantic’s generous and unrelenting waves. I was happy to find that there are many friendly people and many financial alternatives to spending top dollar for Hotels, spa resorts and eating out.
I was staying at the Miramar Hotel, part of the Sofitel Accor group. A luxury **** hotel with breathtaking sea views and stylish rooms. The Miramar is perhaps overshadowed by that fact that it’s a stones throw from the famous Hotel Du Palais where guests like Liz Taylor and Princess Michael of Kent hang out. It’s a completely different style of hotel - Old versus new but whatever your preference, the Mirimar can offer something the Palais cannot - an adjoining Thalassotherapy Spa where you can enjoy the complete benefits sea water & seaweed and all their healing powers.
I’ve experienced variations on Thalassotherapy before, but I had never been to a specifically designed Spa, which offered over 40 different marine therapies. As I only had two days to try treatments and get a feel for the place I was determined to plan my time with military precision! A treatment, a swim in the thermal pools, a spell in the relaxation lagoon, or take a walk on the beach? As the spa is right on the seafront, between treatments you can simply open the patio doors and be inches from the beautiful sandy beaches which make Biarritz so memorable. There is also the option of stretching out in the beautifully designed aerosols room, charged with negative ions, and filled with sweet smelling marine mist to boost your immune defences and your resistance to stress.
Standing on my sunny balcony, looking out on the lapping waves and the picturesque lighthouse, I felt like a 50’s starlet, living the dream. Perhaps that’s the Biarritz charm, Icon-ised by famous visiting stars like xxxx, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot. I felt a million dollars, even before my first treatment! Now that’s the kind of result I like!
Like most other spas, I was given my treatment schedule, chosen in consultation with a spa therapist. I travelled through the hotel lobby to the institute, located on the -2 and -3 floors of the hotel. The oatmeal and cappuccino colours of the hallways sent me into relaxed mode almost immediately and I felt comfortable and at ease even though I was wearing just a bikini and a bathrobe!
My first treatment was a multi jet Bath - the powerful jets promised to stimulate blood flow, tone slack muscles and decongest cellulite-affected areas. Bring on the jets! As you’d expect the bath contained many multi speed jets, which set off on a routine as impressive as the water fountains on the Las Vegas Strip.
I felt energised afterwards, refreshed and ready for my trip to the Relaxation Lagoon. Now, for anyone else who has suffered an hour in a dingy single floatation tank here in Ireland, and paid 50 euro for the pleasure, then your faith, like mine, can be restored by experiencing this vast, flower shaped pool with high ceilings and soothing underwater music. In the salt saturated water, you float effortlessly in a sweetly scented, atmospheric haven. After about twenty minutes in a state of weightlessness, I felt my neck was becoming sore and strained. Floatation therapy is ideal for re aligning your spine and if you’ve got any back problems you will feel the shift quite soon into the therapy. I felt more than one session was necessary for any real benefits but one is a great way to relax in a new way.
I took the second afternoon off to sit in the sun and have a quintessential dip in the sea. Considering it was late September, I couldn’t believe the weather was still so perfect. A comforting 28 degrees by midday. I have to admit, I had forgotten how great the south of France is for a holiday. All my trips abroad in recent years have been further a field, sure in the knowledge that distance from home equalled a more rewarding holiday. I left the cost confident I would return soon. Horse riding in the Pyrenees perhaps? Iv’e just added touring the Basque region with its splendid scenery and unique flavour of architecture and cuisine to my To Do list!
The rates for the treatments at The Thalassa therapy Institute are reasonable and bear in mind, there are less expensive options to staying at the Miramar hotel ( many people use the spa on an daily basis while staying at a cheaper hotel)
Rooms @ The Miramar Hotel start at E122 with treatments starting @ E25. Check the website for the many package deals the Hotel & spa offer.
The Thalassatherapy Institute
11 Rue Louison Bobet
Tel 00 335 59 41 30 01
Fax 00 335 59 24 77 20