Sit back and relax with Katie McGonagle’s guide to some of the best spa hotels in Greece and Cyprus
We’ve got a lot to thank the ancient Greeks for – besides the awe-inspiring architecture, scientific achievements and the foundations of modern democracy, they also recognised the importance of rest and relaxation.
Spa-seekers flocked to the natural hot springs dotted around the islands, even attaching myths of gods and goddesses to those renowned for their healing powers.
A couple of centuries on, the region’s mineral-rich waters are no less attractive, with tourists still seeking peace and quiet on these sunny shores, even if these days they’re more likely to take refuge in swanky spas and high-end hotels.
From sublime four-hand massages to orange and olive oil-infused body wraps, we pick out a handful of spa-centred hotels that guarantee guests go home feeling relaxed and refreshed.
1. Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing Spa, Miliou, Cyprus
Where else could a spa guide start but in this secluded former monastery from the 17th century in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains?
The four-star resort, which reopened as a 56-room boutique hotel in 2009, has established a reputation as one of the foremost spa hotels on the island.
The resort has a natural sulphur spring running through it into three sulphur pools, used in mud baths and hydrotherapy, plus an array of treatments.
For Classic Collection Holidays, the stand-out treatment is Le Sieste – The Goddess Bath, where guests float in salt-enriched seawater followed by exfoliation and massage (€110 for 90 minutes). Look out for the herbal steam and hot mud rituals. The resort is for over-14s only.
2. Blue Palace, Crete
This property has a headstart when it comes to relaxing breaks; the breathtaking sea views will calm even the most stressed-out visitor long before they reach its spa.
Once there, they can try out thalassotherapy treatments or signature therapies such as massages using olive oil, raki or herbs, or a hot stone ritual from Tahiti.
Add two Turkish hammams, saunas, three thalasso pools and a couple’s suite and total tranquillity is almost compulsory.
Sovereign has a discount of 20% for bookings before the end of this month, plus a free upgrade to half-board and spa credit of €100 per room.
3. Le Méridien Spa & Resort, Limassol
This huge hotel boasts a similarly-sized spa, with 34 treatment rooms plus seven seawater pools and a range of treatments.
Signature therapies include: Watsu, a 40-minute underwater massage (€90); the Four Hands Harmony Massage (€215 for 60 minutes); and the Journey of the Senses, where hot stones are applied followed by a foil wrap using frangipani-scented oil (€135 for 55 minutes).
For clients who want more than just a couple of treatments, pre-book a spa package ranging from one to six days.
4. Sivota Diamond Spa Resort, Epirus, mainland Greece
There are few places more relaxing than this peaceful resort, with views of cypress tree and pine-covered mountains on one side, and the stunning Bella Vraka beach on the other.
Guests who like to get out and about will find the surroundings no less charming; the focal point of the village is its picture-postcard harbour, with small shops and pavement cafes dotted around.
The hotel spa boasts a heated pool with underwater jets and hydro-massage seats, plus a Turkish hammam, sauna and treatments including body wraps, facials, massages, manicures and pedicures.
There is also a junior club for parents seeking peace away from the kids.
5. InterContinental Hotel, Aphrodite Hills, near Paphos
The Thermae Experience channels ancient bathing rituals, with guests going through a series of rooms with gradually increasing temperatures in a similar sequence to Roman baths – albeit with a hammam and sauna thrown in for good measure (75 minutes, costs €45).
There’s also a pool and sun deck for those keen to kick back, plus 27 treatment rooms for visitors who want to take their pick from aromatherapy facials, body wraps, Thai and Swedish massage, hot stone treatments, reflexology and more.
Newlyweds can try the wedding or honeymoon packages, but there’s also a championship golf course and age-specific kids’ clubs to keep the rest of the family happy while stressed-out mums make the most of the facilities.
6. Notos Therme & Spa Hotel, Santorini
Step into another world at this 30-room boutique hotel, where cavern-style treatment rooms are carved into volcanic rock for the ultimate escape, while views of Vlychada harbour abound once guests venture outside of the treatment rooms.
It also boasts its own freshwater spring to feed the mineral pools, a Jacuzzi, sauna and a swimming pool. Olympic Holidays offers packages that include a treatment.
Commercial director Photis Lambrianides says: “The Notos Therme has real style, amazing sea views and a warm atmosphere. With a spa treatment included, it represents top-notch value.”
7. Amathus Beach Hotel, Paphos
With a recently refurbished spa and wellness centre, this five-star resort can offer everything from indulgent escapes to fitness-focused breaks.
Choose from yoga, pilates, aerobics or personal training, or loosen up with an invigorating Thai massage.
The signature Amathus Experience combines an exfoliating saltmousse scrub with a Swedish full body massage and hydrotherapy bath to finish (€189 for two hours).
There are also spa packages ranging from one to five days; men’s and couples’ treatments; plus pregnancy packages.
Sovereign is offering complimentary half-board, a 10% early-booking discount, plus room upgrade and €50 spa credit, for bookings made this month.
8. Kinsterna Hotel & Spa, Monemvasia, Peloponnese
A natural spring runs through this restored rural mansion, set on a hillside near the medieval town of Monemvasia.
It also boasts an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi, hammam, private treatment cabins and an outdoor area for guests who prefer their facials, massages or yoga sessions in the fresh air.
The boutique property, with just 27 rooms and suites, is new to Sunvil’s Greece programme for this year.
Stand-out treatments include Grape Expectations, where guests are covered in a mask made of red grapes while enjoying a grape oil head massage (available in August and September), the Detox Honey Massage (available in April and May, both €85 for 50 minutes), and an Invigorating Orange Scrub using citrus and essential oils (€40 for 30 minutes).
9. Anassa, Akamas Peninsula, cyprus
Be inspired by ancient therapies at this 175-room hotel at the edge of a nature reserve in northwest Cyprus.
Its Roman bath-style Thalassa Spa includes an indoor pool along with a seawater exercise pool, steam baths and a sauna. If that’s not enough, try the Four Greek Gods spa package based on water, earth, fire and wind and including a mud scrub, white algae facial and thalasso jet shower (€275).
There are also packages incorporating spa treatments with other activities such as fishing and tennis, plus classic scrubs, body wraps, facials and massages using Cypriot ingredients including olive oil, oregano, honey and yoghurt.
10. Porto Sani Village, Halkidiki
The 1,000-acre Sani Resort encompasses different styles of accommodation, but spa lovers should head straight to Porto Sani Village, where the Spa Suite is based.
For more active guests, there are one-to-one yoga lessons and personal trainers to put them through their paces, plus a host of on-site sporting activities.
If relaxation is key, pick from a list of detoxifying facials, anti-cellulite massages, hot stone treatments and de-stressing back therapies.
Top it off with a Perfect Hands or Soul Foot treatment for super-soft hands and feet, or a bite to eat from the health-focused menu of food and fresh fruit juices.
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