Courtesy of one of the world’s best spa centers, close to the graceful town of Mystras
Being Greece’s first holistic wellbeing destination, Euphoria Retreat stays true to its name, offering a life-changing experience. How else could one describe an intimate journey of healing and transformation, in a space that combines Mystras’ magical power and the vision of Euphoria Retreat’s gifted creator Marina Efraimoglou?
A small group of journalists, including me, visited the retreat and got to know its magical vibes, soon before the quarantine began this past spring. This brief escape was a priceless experience, providing us with strength and calmness before the storm. Built into the hillside of Taygetus (the tallest mountain of Peloponnese), close to Mystras, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Euphoria Retreat envelopes you in its soothing and relaxing ambiance from the first moments of your visit. It is a remarkable fact that it took 10 years to locate such a site that combines historical, cultural and natural energy to match the ambitions of Euphoria Retreat’s philosophy.
Architecture and design at Euphoria Retreat
Byzantine art is the key reference for most of the design elements as well as the colour palette. Noticing the bright yellow, burnished gold and red hues dominating the iconography from Mystras’ local churches, one finds its perfect, organic incorporation in the beautifully decorated guestrooms, luxurious textiles and furniture. All this, topped off with an aura that can be characterized as Byzantine Zen and enhanced by the endless green view of the mountain, turns the rooms into the perfect relaxing nest. The 45 beautifully decorated guestrooms also feature state-of-the-art amenities, alongside furniture and textiles made of natural materials.
It was Natalia Efraimoglou who was involved from the inception, in interpreting the retreat’s philosophy into its architecture. decaARCHITECTURE specialize in integrating buildings into their settings with a focus on sensory experiences
The philosophy and the treatments at Euphoria Retreat
Everything is planned and curated down to the very detail and the programs, the therapies as well as the food are all personalized to fit the needs of each individual guest. Designed by a group of consultants and healing experts, based on scientifically-proven testing methods and research of such practices, they aim to generate a transformational journey of self-change. In addition to the pampering and luxurious offers, guests get to enjoy Euphoria Retreat’s philosophy, an approach built on a unique blending of ancient Hellenic and Chinese philosophies and practices and the belief that we each have the ability to become our own healer.
The philosophy of the ancient world’s five elements s (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal) and their related energies stands as the base of the healing process and therapies, helping us understand and locate our inner self and tendencies, and achieve a better understanding of our behavior, needs and life choices. A key to our inner harmony, in and out.
We were lucky to share this experience in our opening, consulting session with the Euphoria Retreat ‘s creator, Marina Efraimoglou. There, we identified and recognized our special element as the centerpiece behind our health habits, our life choices and possible limitations.
The Euphoria Spa is central to all these experiences -the space where everything comes together. Built into the mountainside, it has four levels – each representing a distinct passage in the transformational journey -and is organically connected to the surrounding nature. The journey begins from the moment you open the spa door, built-in such angle to maximize the space’s Feng Shui.
My top 5 moments at Euphoria Retreat
1, Byzantine Hammam: the ultimate pampering moment
Designed with curves, domes, rich colours and subtle lighting (reminiscent of a Byzantine church), the atmosphere is one of warmth and safety -the perfect place for pampering and relaxing. There we enjoyed a great session, relaxing our muscles, boosting our immune system and feeling our skin more refreshed and clean than ever.
2. Swimming at the Shere Pool, the trademark pool of Euphoria Retreat
The innovative Sphere, already one of the retreat’s highlights, plays a key role to the healing process. Its design is inspired by the architecture of Hagia Sophia and aims to provide a womb-like experience of relaxation and rebirth.
3. Dinner at Leoncini Mansion
Our first meeting with Marina Efraimoglou and her unique vision was held in the impressive and elegant dining room of Leoncini Mansion. Built in 1830, the renovated mansion is home to 6 guest houses, a library and a restaurant hall provided for private dinners.
4. The Waterwell
With its spiral staircase connecting all four levels, the Waterwell is no less than the centerpiece of the Euphoria experience. It is the place were hot and warm baths are offered (with black and white stones), and it is also the gate to the therapeutic benefits of Kneipp Therapy – in the process “working” all five elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal). An ancient therapy, the treatment of cold and hot water constricts the blood vessels facilitating the vascular extension that promotes circulation throughout the body. Regular hydrotherapy can boost the immune system and lymphatic drainage, facilitating injury recovery.
5, Soaking in a Hot Tub under Mount Taygetos
Before leaving Euphoria Retreat, we plunged in the boiling water of the hot tub, under the hillside, covered by a dark green blanket of fir and pine trees. Another unique, lifetime experience was crossed off our checklist.
Euphoria Retreat is a truly and deeply generous place -there is no limit in what it has the power to offer its guests. The moment we left, we were already secretly planning our next visit.
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