Sanctuary: “a place of refuge or asylum”
Looking at the sweeping views afforded by the rooftop pool of the Sha Wellness Clinic, this is the first descriptive noun that came to my mind. Just a short 15-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Benidorm, a Spanish seaside town that welcomes 7 million sunbathers a year, the SHA Wellness Clinic fits the description perfectly.
The SHA Wellness Clinic was founded by Alberto Bataller Parietti on the premise that a healthy macrobiotic diet is the secret to our general well-being and happiness. He combined this philosophy with a mix of Eastern and Western spa treatments as well as meditation and yoga to bring body, mind and spirit into harmony. Alberto chose a secluded spot high up in the hills above Albir and proceeded to build his dream of creating a wellness sanctuary like no other. He recruited some of the best macrobiotic consultants and experts as well as whole teams of natural therapists, aestheticians, masseurs, meditation instructors and chefs. The result is certainly impressive.
Tucked into a hillside, with stupendous views of the lovely seaside community of Albir, the Manhattan-like skyline of Benidorm as well as the imposing mountains that hug the coastline, the SHA is renowned as one of the most exclusive spa retreats in the world. A 2010 Winner of the Condé Nast Award for the Best Medical-, Natural-, Thermal Spa, the SHA counts the likes of Kylie Minogue, Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Campbell among its guests.
As I explored the SHA, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the spacious rooms; breezy terraces; well-equipped spa and the rooftop pool (arguably one of the most inviting pools I’ve ever seen). The whole complex exudes a serene ambiance. Similar to the experience of stepping off a busy street into a place of worship, I quickly found myself talking in hushed tones. The pool area, with its shady cabanas and many private nooks and corners, was clearly designed to facilitate quiet, reflective moments.
Then there’s the food and drinks: everything is organic, from the wines and beer to the honey that’s served as a replacement for sugar. I was very impressed with the quality of the meals. The head chef of the Shamadi restaurant worked for many years at one of the world’s top restaurants in Barcelona. Nowadays, he uses his talents to create exquisite meals that incorporate the macrobiotic regime.
Mr. Bataller has certainly created a unique retreat. My two days there were a bit too short to truly experience the workings of a macrobiotic and spa regime but the wellness concept, the magnificent location and the excellent staff made a big impression on me. The SHA is absolutely a sanctuary like no other. I’m sure a stay at the SHA will get anyone feeling healthier and more balanced,… and ready for the next patatas bravas and deep-fried calamari splurge. 😉
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Note: my trip to Valencia and the Sha Wellness Clinic was sponsored by the Land of Valencia.