An exclusive five-star hotel and luxury spa where wine tastings and wellness are partnered is my idea of a healthy retreat: one where spirits can be (literally) lifted, stress relieved and serenity re-instated.
Set within some 1,700 plus acres (including 500 acres of vineyard), Spain’s five-star Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine boutique hotel is an hour north by high-speed train (the AVE) from Madrid, to the countryside near Valladolid. Built around the ancient (dating from 1146) Monastery of Santa Maria de Retuerta, the monastery has been restored and transformed into a historical luxury haven where the past now surrounds the present.
It’s fun to wander this beautiful architectural wonder: in warmer weather tables are set outside in the cloister. Inside, find faded frescoes, columns, corridors, vaulted ceilings, and a 16th century Baroque staircase. Guests can relax after dinner in the Chimney room with a well crafted gin and tonic or find more twenty-first century comfort in the Chapter room–also filled with sumptuous sofas, soft leather chairs, artwork and lighting
But comfort isn’t everything. There’s also impeccable service from the professional, multilingual and friendly staff. With only 30 rooms, the ratio of staff members to guests is 3 to 1.
Such service includes your own personal butler; mine was assigned as I checked into the hotel. LeDomaine is the first hotel in Spain to offer a “Full Butler Service”. Part of this decadent amenity meant I was given a mobile phone so I could reach my butler at any time. (Helpful if you’re wandering the monastery trying to find, say, the beautifully appointed tapas restaurant, Vinoterac, for lunch—or desiring an extra espresso pod for your in-room espresso machine).
My room was in the main building on the second floor–with a stunning view over the vineyard.
Stylish and spacious, it oozed classic (and expensive), contemporary simplicity. Two original Miró lithographs hung on the walls (one of 17 rooms that boast original Miró lithographs). Bed, pillows, linens were top-notch. An abundance of sockets included two sockets on both sides of the bed (plus another concealed panel of sockets on the desk).Wi-Fi was free and fast. Besides an Ipod dock and television, there were the little lavish touches: plush robes, lavender scented padded hangers, personal espresso machine, incense to burn in the bathroom, lovely bedtime gifts (ie. a jar of honey—produced from the estate’s own beehives). Plus every room comes with a complementary bottle of the vineyard’s wine and a tray of fruit.
In the bathroom (not really a room, but a stylized series of privately connected sections), a gorgeous deep bathtub (there’s also a walk-in shower) offered its own vineyard view.
I took advantage early one evening, soaking while sipping my glass of wine and gazing at the fading light on the vines—perfectly infused in the silence and peace of the place.
LeDomaine’s spa, Santuario, offers its own sense of peace and tranquility—incorporating the estate’s wine into its 10,000 square foot spa wellness practices—along with indoor and outdoor pools.
Treatments start off with, what else? a wine tasting. Along with the wines to taste, your “Spa Sommelier” gives you oils to sniff (each wine corresponds with a different essential oil). From the sampling preferences, spa treatments are determined: perhaps one that promises an energy boost, or another to enhance mental clarity.
My own two-hour Grand Cru treatment promoted balance and well-being. It commenced with a foot bath (a bow to the monks’ homage) then continued with a scrub (exfoliation) followed by an anti-aging body wrap and ending with a massage. I can easily say I have never felt so balanced and full of well-being after any other spa treatment in my life.
The à la carte breakfast is served in the hotel’s main and formal restaurant, Refectorio– another spectacular spot.
Fresh croissants, homemade jams, and eggs cooked to order are a few of the choices—served with your own personally printed out “USA Times” newsletter. Dinner is not to be missed here; chef Marc Segarra uses many locally sourced ingredients (some are grown on the estate), to create inventive and delicious fare; the restaurant holds a Michelin star for obvious reasons.
Weddings and special events are often arranged in the church on the estate–another amazing setting. One of the nights I was there, a guitarist, singer, and flamenco dancer performed during an unforgettable candlelit dinner.
If you’re inclined to do other than eat, sip wine, spa and relax, LeDomaine offers plenty more: including a gym, plus pilates and yoga classes (a 16th century Buddha in the yoga room is part of the hotel’s art collection). Guests can also borrow bikes to cycle along the banks of the nearby Duero canal, or take a wildly fun Land Rover tour of the vineyards, followed by a wine-tasting session (I highly recommend).
Double rooms start at $429. Spa treatments are separate. The hotel is closed from mid-December to March. Transfers from Vallodolid or even private pick up through the hotel from Madrid (it’s a 2 ½ hour drive) can be arranged.
Review and photos by Donna Tabbert Long who was a guest of the hotel.