The Vibe: A life restoring, holistic wellbeing retreat fusing alternative health methods and the Greek philosophy of joy.
The Area: The traditional settlement of Mystras in the Peloponnese, an Unesco World Heritage site, and surrounded by its own private forest, in a valley filled with lemon and orange groves.
The DNA: Overcoming cancer in her late 20s, former investment banker Marina Efraimoglou sought to bring back some much-needed balance to her life through an exploration and study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Five Elements and other alternative health methods. Inspired by her own recovery, Marina then decided to create a place of healing where people could be gently guided and motivated to live a more holistic, balanced and spiritually satisfying way of life. Marina visited many healing centres and spas around the world but felt that all too often the process of transformation was linked to sacrifice and denial. Eventually, Marina discovered that the answer lay in her own Greek roots. The ancient Greek philosophers viewed life as joyful, sensual and full of exciting potential for growth; the Greek word ‘Euphoria’ is about living and feeling ‘well’. This journey and the search for a suitable location took ten years. After finding a plot in the mythical Peloponnese, a landscape with deep historical and cultural roots, and where the incredible life-force of nature flourishes, it took her one second to decide. Here she created a world-class health and fitness retreat which, rather than handing out strict rules and dictums, offers achievable guidelines and deep nurturing to restore guests to full health.
Widely regarded as one of Europe’s premier destination spa hotels, Euphoria Retreat offers a unique combination of varying healing philosophies that marries East and West, ancient Greek and Chinese health approaches and science with naturalism. Exuding warmth and intimacy, this family-owned and family-run business offers a feeling of community, trust and loyalty central to their ethos, and aspires to keep hearts and minds open to fully understand the needs, emotions and dreams of all of its guests.
The unique architectural design draws inspiration from Byzantine architecture. Lunar blues, sunshine yellows, rustic reds and glinting golden hues reflect the region’s rich heritage. Modern touches include blond-wood heated floors, warm lighting, bespoke handmade mattresses and a pillow menu. No two rooms are the same; all have their own unique touches. All come with luxurious onyx marble bathrooms, yoga mats, Smart Full HD flat TV, and a minibar. Most rooms open to private balconies or terraces with uplifting and inspirational views over the valley. Rooms in the lovingly refurbished 1830s Leoncini Mansion can be booked for exclusive use and come complete with a private dining room.
The remarkable 3,000m2 (32,300 sq ft) spa, built over four levels into the mountain is the centre of Euphoria Retreat. At its core is an empty 25m-deep water well, encircled by a spiral staircase that joins up all levels. The holistic philosophy aims to provide physical and emotional transformation, with personal consultants for wellness and nutrition, and a variety of activities such as Yoga, Pilates and Detox therapies. The indoor-outdoor pool with its sphere transcends people into another world. Inspired by the immense dome of The Hagia Sophia in Instanbul, the sphere is half-filled with water, so that it is waist deep at its outer rim and deep enough to allow full submersion at its centre. Guest can glide within it’s womb-like form to the soothing sounds of music, dolphins and whales, or experience a gentle massage from the hydrotherapy jets positioned on the walls. There is also a Tepidarium (a striking Byzantine Hammam), Steam Room, Experiential Showers, Cold Plunge Pool, Speleotherapy-Salt Room, Watsu Pool, Treatment Relaxation Area, an Ice Fountain and a Sanctuary Deprivation Pool. The range of wellness programmes is almost infinite, like “The Odysseus Journey”, “The Emotional & Physical Transformation Programme”, “Meaningful Relationships” and, new for 2021, Euphoria’s “Feel Alive Again” Programme – a group retreat designed to offer post pandemic rest, recovery and renewal. For a complete overview check the Euphoria Retreat website.
Eat to live. Not live to eat.Socrates
Core to wellbeing is also well eating, and here Euphoria Retreat delivers as well. The GAIA (Γαία, the Greek word for earth) restaurant serves pure, authentic food alive with the energy of the mineral-packed soil of the Peloponnese. Offering a blend of regionally inspired contemporary Greek and Mediterranean dishes, the emphasis here is on simplicity, healthy living and full flavour. Seasonal and organic produce comes from local farmers, producers and winemakers and some is grown in the retreat’s vegetable and herb garden. The bar offers fresh and healthy drinks, smoothies, coffee, tea variation and an exclusive selection of high-quality spirits, as you are here to enjoy yourself.
Your host: Chris Lourantos
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 45 rooms & suites (25-100m2) (269-1,076 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2018 • architecture: Natalia Efraimoglou & Partners, decaARCHITECTURE • interior design: Natalia Efraimoglou & Partners • bathroom amenities: specially crafted for the hotel ✅ free on-site parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk