FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Santuario LeDomaine Wellness & Spa, Spain

by Becca Hensley

Dec 3, 2015
2015

I am wine tasting in the Ribera del Duero, one of Spain’s most accomplished wine regions. Though vineyards surround me, I’m not sitting in a bodega. In fact, wrapped in a bathrobe, I tipple at Santuario, a subterranean spa at Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, a Relais & Châteaux hotel set in a restored 12th-century monastery.

Undeterred by the fact that the clock has not yet struck noon, I swirl, sniff and sip, spa attendants gathered around me. As I comment, they take notes, and with each glass I sample, they offer a vial of essential oil, handcrafted at the spa to match the specific elements of each of the three wines proffered. Part of the recently opened Santuario’s innovative vinotherapy concept, the ritual known as spa sommelier digs deeply into the roots of this hotel’s bucolic terroir. It’s meant to embody the spirit of the property and to honor its history as a place where monks gardened, tended the vineyards and made wine centuries ago. It also celebrates the acclaimed wines produced today in the hotel’s own expansive vineyards.

Spa sommelier ritual

Spa sommelier ritual © LeDomaine

Not a gimmick, the blind tasting procedure allows the spa therapists to assess the client’s mood and desires. When the client shows a preference for a certain wine or its corresponding oil, it may reveal what the client needs most from the impending treatment. Opting for a robust Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, might signal the need for a heavier touch on the massage table. Or choosing an aromatic citrus-infused oil could herald the need for mental clarity. Of course, everything gets discussed. But the theory is clients don’t always consciously know what they want or need. And the wine they select or the oil they favor allows the senses to respond. Savvy and intuitive therapists interpret the meaning and then turn the chosen spa treatment into an even more bespoke adventure.

It takes several quaffs of the wine and inhalations of the wafted oils before I choose the ones I like the most — at least for my first spa treatment of the week. In truth, I find each one compelling. Complementing the bold, bright, Sauvignon Blanc, an apricot pit-based oil, enlivened by exotic yuzu and lemon, promises balance and alertness. A potent potion of almond oil and thyme produces energizing effects (it pairs with a hearty red), and a macadamia nut and calendula oil infusion, awash with local cedar, mirrors the characteristics of a jovial Tempranillo — and purportedly reduces stress.

With some guidance from the staff, I realize I want to feel peppy after the massage rather than deeply relaxed, so I choose both the white wine (touted as Spain’s most popular white vintage) and the citrus-imbued oil inspired by it, in the hope it will vanquish my jet lag. It works, and after back-to-back treatments which utilize a form of cryotherapy (cold-temperature cures) augmented by the yuzu-lemon oil, I depart the spa renewed and ready to explore the hotel and its wine lands.

Inspiringly refurbished and re-envisioned by Swiss master architect Marco Serra, LeDomaine opened in 2012. With Spain’s first butler program, the 30-room monastery hotel, located in the heart of Castile-León just 20 minutes from Valladolid, cleverly marries the past with the present. Its rural setting reinforces its mission of serenity and repose. Fields of sunflowers, crisscrossing vineyards, rolling blond-hued hills and timeless Don Quixote-evoking villages surround LeDomaine. Extant Romanesque and Baroque architectural components house contemporary details, and ancient frescoes, columns and ceilings with belt-like vaults showcase the light cast from modern fixtures. Panoramic windows and a flower-filled inner courtyard roll the vineyards and Duero Valley terrain indoors as nature’s carpet. Refectory, a Michelin-starred restaurant, serves stylish Spanish cuisine in the room where the monks once gathered for their meals. Vinoteca, a more casual bistro, turns out tapas and small plates which can be tailored to spa vacationers in pursuit of detox or healthier fare. With just the perfect amount of pomp, flawless service ensures every wish comes true, though all the mollycoddling happens with a discretely delivered savoir faire.

Certainly, Santuario, LeDomaine’s newly opened spa, is the refitted medieval friary’s crowning glory. Also designed by Marco Serra, ensconced in the monastery’s former stables, the spa occupies 10,000 sleek square feet underground. A plethora of windows illuminate its treatment rooms, interior pool and hallways. The atmosphere mimics a cozy cocoon, and walking through it elicits a dream-like state, mesmerized by the sound of falling water.

After my spa sommelier ritual, I am led to spend time in Santuario’s pristine spa suite, a room ideal for couples with two massage tables, a Goliath-sized soaking tub, lounging sofas, a sauna and steam room. Here I receive my first treatments and while away almost an entire day.

The spa foyer complete with wine for tasting

The spa foyer complete with wine for tasting © LeDomaine

As the week progresses, I relish my opportunity to be enveloped in wellness. I walk through the vineyards with the spa’s conceptual designer, Sonal Uberoi. Bringing Eastern and Western techniques into play, she created a spa vibrant with healing and well-versed in the ancient art of transformation. “There’s a feeling to this land and to this place,” she says on our walk, her arms sweeping through the air like gentle wind. “It exudes a therapeutic, natural energy.”

Indeed, I feel it as the next few days immerse me in a salutary journey of discovery. One highlight, The Grand Cru, a two-and-a-half-hour ritual, begins with a foot bath (in homage to how the monks greeted visitors), then continues with an exfoliation, an anti-aging body wrap and a massage, utilizing each of Santuario’s dedicated oenotherapy treatments in one session. Another day, I pedal a bike along the Duero River’s bank, then indulge in The Diamond Rose Ritual, an exquisite retreat that transports with Damask rose oil and diamond dust.

When my trip ends, I feel renewed and rested, and my skin shimmers. I’ve awakened with the roosters, eaten from the garden and imbibed wine made minutes away. A violin quartet has serenaded my meal in the monastery’s ancient church. And the hotel’s own bees have worked hard to make my honey. I can barely stand to return to urbanity. But bravely I pack my bags, neatly folding the restored version of me to take home in my suitcase.

Santuario LeDomaine Wellness & Spa

Abadía Retuerta
LeDomaine
Sardón de Duero
Valladolid 47340
Spain
tel 34 983 680 368
ledomaine.es

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jul 3, 2020

Tap Into Forest Bathing

Travelers interested in the trend of forest bathing have a new resource at their disposal. Forest Bathing Finder is an all-in-one website that connects forest bathing walkers with trained guides. Forest bathing guides list qualifications and venues, routes, walks and payment requirements for browsing forest bathers to then peruse.

The Perfect Fit

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.

Daily
Jul 2, 2020

6 Reasons We Can’t Wait to #ComeBacktoTravel to Japan

At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Take a visual journey through Japan with us.

June 2020
Jul 2, 2020

2020 Leisure Lifestyle Award Winners

THERE’S NO DOUBT 2020 HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.

Athens: A city that charms its guests and stirs their emotions

The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.

Daily
Jul 2, 2020

Best Western Opens New Boutique Hotel Concept

Best Western Hotels & Resorts opened its third Aiden by Best Western. The Aiden brand is designed to give travelers boutique, modern, stylish and locally inspired stay experiences. The new property is situated in Warm Springs, Georgia, adjacent to the Warm Springs Hotel and Event Center.

eFlyer Deals
Jul 1, 2020

Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces Sale on Select Voyages

Paul Gauguin Cruises offers savings up to $3,050 per person on select voyages when booked by July 8. Round-trip airfare between Los Angeles (LAX) and Papeete (PPT), Tahiti, is included. Deposits for the select sailings have been reduced to $250 per person.

Earn and Redeem with oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.

eFlyer Deals
Jul 1, 2020

M Resort Spa Casino Offers No Resort Fee Summer Promotion

Through Sept. 7, guests at M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas can enjoy the No Resort Fee Summer promotion. The resort will waive daily resort fees on all reservations, and guests can also take advantage of summer rates beginning as low as $75 per night. Book online or by calling 877 673 7678.