The Palace Merano - Espace Henri Chenot has built a reputation as a no-nonsense albeit luxurious wellness centre

  • Team Brunch, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 19, 2015 22:54 IST

What does Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo have in common with French musical icon Johnny Hallyday, Princess Caroline of Monaco and the Emir of Morocco?

Every few months, all these seemingly unrelated celebs keep returning to the idyllic Italian town of Merano for a complete body overhaul: to rejuvenate their muscles and minds and return energetic, revitalised and full of beans.

Recently, readers of the travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller voted the Palace Merano - Espace Henri Chenot as the Best Destination Spa in Europe for 2015. But it isn’t the first such encomium the hotel-spa has received. Last year, its Regenerating Anti-Ageing Programme had been conferred the Tatler Spa Award honour for 2014.

Luxe factor! The Palace Merano - Espace Henri Chenot spa is located in the idyllic Italian town of Merano.

Unlike high-end spas which are too gentle or lenient on their client, the Palace Merano - Espace Henri Chenot has built its reputation as a no-nonsense wellness and detoxification centre which works towards a singular objective: Helping people age healthily and staying young, albeit in a luxurious environment.

Analyse this

Word-of-mouth publicity has ensured that the spa’s operating procedure has become well-known among the well-healed. It begins with tests to analyse everything from hormone levels to bone density and is followed by the formulation of a personalised diet for every client.

Most of the clients enrol for a week-long programme in which, after a thorough diagnosis and a session with a dietician, they are given a personalised schedule based on the principles of Biontology.

The aesthetic biontology room.

The pre-treatment assessment includes – apart from body-composition assessment, cellular resonance treatments and bio-energetic check-ups – measuring the client’s Toxemia level or gauging the extent to which toxins have penetrated. Another new diagnostic tool used at the spa is called Impedenziometria, where the physical structure of the person is examined as a whole to arrive at their fat mass, lean mass, body water and basal metabolism.

Nature’s own
One of the biggest reasons for the spa’s popularity could be its location. It is housed in the picture-postcard town of Merano, in the province of Alto Adige in north Italy, surrounded by the peaks of the south Tyrolean Alps.

Henry Chenot, its founder, has perfected the ‘Chenot Method’ based on the principles of Biontology. The underlying principle of Biontology postulates that people are in good health when their body, mind and soul work in harmony, transmitting a sense of peace and happiness. When this harmony breaks, toxins build up and the body accumulates damage.

Biontology underlines the importance to invest in our physical and mental health from an early age. It proposes that a balanced lifestyle, with good nutritional habits, together with sufficient energy intake for body needs and increased levels of physical activity are the most appropriate tools to delay the aging process and improve general well-being and mental alertness.

The method
Over the last four decades, Chenot has refined a signature procedure of treatments and diet aimed at protecting the body from damage, toxin. The Chenot Method works at three levels:
* Elimination of damaged cells and removal of cell impurities
* Assimilation of nutrients needed for metabolism and,
* Regeneration and repair of tissues.

Chenot argues that cells with toxins cannot assimilate nutrients and repair. Therefore, the first step in the healing process has to be detoxification.

Water as rejuvenator

An integral part of the treatments at the spa is abundant use of water. Spread across 18 private hydrotherapy cabins, every client can undergo treatments that revitalise them using water, essential oils, vegetable extracts from the sea and the land, to tone and firm up the body.

Hydrotherapy eliminates toxins and fats that infiltrate into the tissues and is especially beneficial for the cardio-circulatory system, relaxing the nervous system, for cases of osteoarthritis, organic detoxification and boosting lymphatic circulation.

At the hydrotherapy cabins, clients undergo treatments that use water, essential oils and vegetable extracts to tone and firm up the body.

The next stage includes Phyto-mud therapy devised to eliminate tension, whether in your nerves or in your muscles. The pleasant-feeling mud used in the compresses is enriched with pure micro-algae, white or green clay, essential oils and mother tinctures. The diet

With hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol emerging as the by-products of unhealthy lifestyles, nutrition plays a big role in regenerating the body. Mr Chenot’s wife, Dominique, the head of the department of Dietetics, collaborates with nutritionists and chefs to create customised diet plans for the restaurant.

Care for a Bio-light bite? The caloric density, the nutritional value, the preparation and cooking process of the food are all taken into consideration while personalising the client’s diet plan.

The caloric density, the nutritional value, the preparation and cooking process of the food, are all taken into consideration. Taste and presentation are of paramount importance. But the emphasis is on personalisation.

On the basis of food intolerances and other information, the spa’s dietary team provides the necessary inputs to the diet kitchen team.

Medium is the massage
The array of massages under the aesthetics section is mindboggling. From tendon-muscle massages, to manual lymphatic massage to Plantar Reflexology. Another USP is the use of cutting-edge wellness and rejuvenation techniques. These include Biorevitatilsation (treatments with platelet-rich plasma) and Doublo, which uses High Intensity Focused Ultrasound for face lifting and tightening, by producing new collagen deep below the skin and subcutaneous layer.

Also on offer is non-surgical liposuction. This technology works by applying high-intensity ultrasound energy through the skin, reducing localised fat without damaging the epidermis, the dermis, the underlying tissues or organs.

The spa even has its own research and development team based in Bolzano, which specialises in the production of pure high-quality protein and peptides, underlining the development of pure ingredients.

The promise of a complete body overhaul, combined with the Italian traditions of hospitality and service keeps bringing back clients to the spa, year after year.


How much does an average treatment cost?
The detox programme with dietary meal plans costs about €5000 including accommodation in a single room. The minimum length of stay is seven nights and six days of treatments.

What else to do in Merano?
Situated at the foothills of the Dolomites, enjoying 300 days of sunshine per year, Merano is a three-hour drive from Venice, or a four and a half hour journey by train.

Once at Merano, you could consider visiting Bolzano by train or seeing Venice before you wind up your trip. In Merano itself, you could explore the cycling and walking track along the River Passer, a stone’s throw away from Palace Merano.

You may also want to see Merano’s ultra-modern thermal baths (, with its 25 pools, which are a short walk away from the spa.

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