Hotel Palace Merano is a medical resort and spot in the South Tyrol area of Italy. Recently hotel and wellness expert JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers of Hidden Doorways, which represents unique properties, returned with several leading travel advisors. This week we offer you her report and their experiences.
By JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers
Hotel Palace Merano is a medical spa offering weight loss, better sleep, help with digestive issues, age prevention, and more, all in a beautiful part of the world. Merano is a picturesque town that is easy and enjoyable for guests to walk around. When leaving the grounds of Palace Merano, take a left, cross the bridge, and you will find yourself in the heart of the beautiful town, which has excellent shopping options.
Merano is situated in the South Tyrol region and is surrounded by the Dolomite mountains, which are over 10,000 feet high. For this reason, the hiking in the area is exceptional. South Tyrol is known for producing both red and white wines, as well as many types of apples that are exported throughout Italy.
While set in the foothills of the Dolomites, Merano benefits from being in a microclimate with palm trees – it is on the borderline between oceanic and sub-tropical climates. We enjoyed a beautiful two-hour hike that was moderately challenging but stunningly beautiful right from the front of the palace.
The staff are knowledgeable and speak at least four languages, and most have been employed on a long-term basis between five and 25 years. All medical appointments occur on the fifth floor, while the spas, massage, and hydrotherapy are conducted on the level below the lobby.
Richard Engle, a luxury travel advisor with Protravel who recently returned, says, “I would give the hotel rooms and public areas a 4.5-star rating from the American luxury point of view. The bedding was comfortable, I had a good spot to work (a desk), and I always enjoyed outdoor space, of which I had plenty. Housekeeping was superb. Meals were creative, and servings were ample. Despite eating at least 35% less than I’m used to, I never felt particularly hungry, and after two days, I did not miss coffee or alcohol at all. The surroundings of the medical spa are a real plus. There are numerous options for hiking, cycling, and shopping. I would love to return and stay longer.
Travel Society travel advisor Jen Duncan adds, “What I really appreciated about Palace Merano was the collaboration amongst therapists and medical professionals across the many different elements of care. The fact that the masseuse actually opens your booklet and reads through what the doctor or osteopath indicated or reviewed your tests is incredible. It’s holistic care at its finest.”
She adds, “At the outset, I was worried about being hungry and being sad that I was in Italy without pasta or wine since I literally flew in/out for the stay. However, I did not miss any of that. The cuisine was so creative and delicious, and I actually learned that I overeat.”
The hotel was built 120 years ago and is beautifully maintained with 99 rooms, 46 of which are suites. Even the base category is a good size, with most of the rooms featuring a balcony or terrace. There is a small castle next to the main building with all suites that can be taken over entirely. It has direct access to the Palace without going outside.
Castle Rooftop Deluxe Suite
With park and city views, the Castle Rooftop Suite can be expanded with a second bedroom. It spans 950-or-1,350-sq.ft. There is a separate living and dining room making it perfect for entertaining if you are traveling with a group.
Sissi Imperial Suite
The fourth floor Sissi Imperial Suite spans 950-sq.ft. with a balcony offering park views. A connecting bedroom is available.
Panorama Suite Deluxe
Located on the sixth floor with park and mountain views, the one-bedroom suite is 550-sq.ft. and includes a separate living room.
Food & Nutrition
The Revital Detox Diet served at Palace Merano has been created to allow your body to eliminate all environmental toxins, and weight loss is an outcome. The food is gorgeously presented, delicious, and based on a Mediterranean diet.
While limited to calories, breakfast is cut-up fruit and tea or barley coffee, and lunch and dinner are three courses, with the middle course always a fresh and tasty salad. If someone does not want to lose weight but wants to detox, the team at Palace Merano can add extra food to their menu.
Twice during the stay, fish is an added option. They also have a less restrictive menu called The Revital Biolight Diet for someone not wanting to commit to the full detox diet. This is especially helpful for friends traveling together or couples not on the same wellness journey. The dining room staff knows each guest’s dietary needs, so all you need to do is show up and enjoy.
Nutritionists are an integral part. You will meet with one of their team at least twice, and they will design a diet you can take home working around your food habits. For example, if you like to snack on rice cakes, they have a high sugar level. The suggestion was to use Buckwheat cakes. They crunch like rice cakes but with more nutrients, fiber, and a lower glycemic index.
While they have a three-and-five-night program, the seven-night detox is encouraged to get the best results. They also have a seven-night detox with a sport package added with a customized trainer and other walks and activities.
Engle adds, “The medical evaluations could not have been more thorough—I came away with significantly more information about the state of my body than I’m typically accustomed to during my annual physical examinations with my US-based physician. I appreciated the candid consultation sessions I had with the doctor assigned to me. He was articulate, well-informed, and demonstrated interest in my well-being. The spa treatments were excellent. I had a daily massage, and because I was on the detox program, my massages included special attention to the abdominal region with pressure on the intestines. Hydrotherapy was a treat, and while I know it was part of wellness, it felt sublimely luxurious. The jacuzzi was state of the art; the mud wrap was relaxing, and the hose massages were amazing.”
It all starts with diagnostics. You meet with a doctor, and they test your blood, and urine, scan your body and spine, scan your Chinse meridians, and finally, your muscle-to-fat ratio. Many women are focused on the scale number, not building muscle, and have a lower fat ratio. With the Chinese Meridian points, they are able to determine which of your organs needs attention, how stressed you are, and what your energy reserves are like. They can also determine your overall energy level, which is then measured again by the time you leave. Palace Merano is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and an onsite laboratory, eliminating the need to send out bloodwork. All testing is done onsite, as are the results. Additional blood tests, such as food intolerances and hormone levels, can be ordered.
While you are there, and after they look at all your stats, customized treatments will begin. Everyone has daily hydro-energy treatments, which include color therapy followed by phyto-mud wrap on a special bed that sinks and you feel like you are floating. This is followed by cupping therapy, which is part machine and part hands-on.
Throughout your stay, you will meet with the doctor approximately three times, a nutritionist twice, and a Doctor of Chinese medicine who will be conducting treatments on the organs that need extra energy and your whole energy system.
Other therapies offered include facials with special machines that drive moisture into your skin; Vitamin IV; Ozone therapy; may have an overnight fast; Option treatments include colonics; Physical Therapy; Osteopathy, and Aesthetic Facial Treatments
Gym and yoga classes are offered daily. In addition, a complete Technogym is available onsite, where they explain how to use the equipment and the philosophy of fitness behind it. Some of the fitness detox programs have one on one training, hiking, and other therapies. Onsite is also an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a sauna, and steam. Your program is written in small notebooks that you use at every treatment. Each therapist reads the notebook and writes their comments for the next therapist to review. Everyone communicates daily to give each guest the maximum results.
Please contact Hidden Doorways at MAIL@HIDDENDOORWAYSTRAVEL.COM or 1.949-487-0522.