Parkhotel Igls Review by Jessica Baldwin
Our spa blogger Jessica Baldwin has explored the medical wonders of Parkhotel Igls, Austria. From it's Mayr diet to naked saunas, along with a Terra-Vit wrap, Jessica experiences it all - with a very positive medical outlook...
My last trip to a ‘medical’ spa involved having 1,000 injections of my own blood pumped in to my fearful face. Yes, in my experience, as soon as the word ‘medical’ is floating around, it’s no longer martini manicures and preened pieds – it’s hard graft!
The hottest medical spa right now is the award-winning Parkhotel Igls. Located in a picturesque Austrian hillside village, teetering above the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck, this convenient retreat is under two hours flight from London and was recently crowned ‘Best Spa for Medical Marvels’ by Tatler and ‘Best Destination Spa’ by Conde Nast readers.
A pioneer of modern Mayr cuisine, this well-established hotel boasts a world-class spa and an incredible medical centre which is home to an A-team of health and fitness professionals waiting to transform you – and all under the watchful eye of the stunning snow-capped Alps. Ideally guests would spend two to three weeks at Parkhotel, but they have recently created a 4 day programme available from June – September, so I headed there to check it out!
My visit began with a medical consultation, where my charming doctor analysed my health and goals and created a personalised exercise, treatment and diet plan for me for my stay.
The original Mayr diet was a dry spelt roll and a glass of milk, so I was very relieved to be placed on the Mayr Vital Diet, which offers a hearty breakfast, a healthy four course lunch and light supper. Part of the Mayr method is to chew every mouthful at least twenty times in order to stimulate saliva kick start the digestive process. And, it must be said, despite suffering serious caffeine and sugar withdrawals for the first two days and hiding away with migraines, the food was actually delicious and by the end of our stay we were savouring every mouthful of homemade soup and perfectly presented fish.
At home I am a member of a gym, but I burn more cash than calories. However, if every gym looked like the Parkhotel gym I may go more often; think floor to ceiling panoramic views of the snow-capped Alps from every torturous machine, fringed with stylish chill out balconies and even a chandelier to complete the sense of occasion. However, I have always been an outdoor gal, so my daily exercise consisted of borrowing the hotel’s KTM mountain bikes and exploring the local Alpine villages and trying out a spot of Nordic walking.
The majority of guests during my stay were women alone, so the hotel’s activities are a great way of meeting people- and distracting yourself from clockwatching until mealtimes. They offer a great schedule featuring everything from shopping trips and cultural excursions to educational nutrition lectures, pilates and yoga. For those that simply want to collapse, the pool at heat treatment area is blissful – but when it comes to the sauna and steam rooms forget the cozzie, it is nude all the way!
Throughout my four day stay I tried a range of treatments, from my daily Kniepp circuit to stimulate my circulation and my regular hay pack compresses to detoxify my liver to fantastically holistic massages which saw my masseuse work with my physio to create the best treatment for me.
However, the Terra-Vit wrap wins for the most effective (and hilarious) treatment... Aiming to stimulate lymphatic drainage and weight loss it saw me slathered head to toe in a mysterious mixture of algae, salts and clay, before my entire body was wrapped in wet, mineral-enriched bandages. I was then cocooned in layers of cling film, towels and sheets and laid to rest. Having awoken from my size 6 dreams I burst out of my sweaty bed and attempted to hunt down my therapist for a cool down. The bystanders looked woozily at me, thinking that their fasting was finally causing them to hallucinate – oops. Having been unwrapped I was delighted to see my cellulite free thighs gleaming. Tatler were right - this place really did do medical marvels!