By Laura Scheiber
Photos by Matthew Harris
The Tuscan countryside surrounding Adler Thermae
As if the idyllic Tuscan countryside was not enough reason for my husband and I to visit the Val d’Orcia region of Italy, we could not wait to enjoy the natural thermal waters in the town of Bagno Vignoni, recognized for their healing benefits since Etruscan and Roman times. With thermal waters in mind we spent three wonderful days at Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort in Tuscany, Italy. With access to the local thermal springs, and couched between Pienza, a Tuscan medieval town specializing in pecorino cheeses, and the town of Montalcino, home of Brunello wine, the resort was ideally located to take advantage of many Tuscan delights.
For us, the highlights of Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort were the views of the breathtaking scenery, the consistently friendly service, and the endless opportunities to relax and rejuvenate. By the time we left, we felt mentally and physically recharged. Promising ourselves that we would return to this family-friendly haven, we have since recommended the resort to several friends and family members in search of a restorative getaway.
Brunello wine from Montalcino
Arriving on a sunny hot day in June after an hour’s drive from Siena, we checked in at the front desk, where Federika, one of the friendly receptionists, gave us an overview and map of the facilities, keys to our room and information on how to pick up our spa towels, size appropriate robes, flip flops, and a beach bag to be used throughout our stay.
The bellman escorted us to room 328, a 35 square meter room facing the pool area, with excellent views of the Tuscan countryside. The air-conditioned room was comfortable and pleasant. Had there not been so many wonderful facilities to explore, we happily would have kicked our feet up and relaxed in the sun-filled room, which had two twin-sized beds pushed together to make an oversized bed, and a small sitting area with a couch, tea table, arm chair, desk and chair.
We enjoyed complimentary cocktails on the outdoor patio
After settling in, we went to the bar area for a complimentary welcome drink. Taking in the unobstructed views on the outdoor patio, I drank a refreshing fruit juice while my husband enjoyed a mixed drink made of Prosecco and Martini rosé. Since we had been steadily eating our way through Italy for the previous four days, I decided to take advantage of the indoor gym before dinner. Just like our room and the bar lounge, the most delightful feature of the well-equipped indoor gym was the fantastic view of the Tuscan countryside.
A view of Pienza while riding bikes through the countryside
The next day we were anxious to explore the landscape, so we reserved some of the complimentary mountain bikes the hotel offered. The receptionist gave us safety helmets and a map of several nearby bike routes. Within minutes we were on a secluded trail, surrounded by open fields of wheat and cypress trees swaying in the breeze, all beneath a perfectly blue sky. After conquering a few small hills, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Pienza, atop a hillside 17 kilometers from Adler Thermae. Though we wanted to cycle to the peak we conceded to the 95 Fahrenheit degree heat and headed back to the resort for some pool time.
The outdoor spa area at Adler Thermae
After napping on the white loungers next to the 25-meter sports pool, I decided to take a dip in the outdoor thermal pool, sourced from one of the local thermal springs. I had read that the minerals had positive health benefits for joints and bones so I slipped into the 98.6 degree Fahrenheit water and made my way over to one of the areas where a row of thick iron rods served as a lounging seat. Water shot out of the side walls in twenty minute intervals, providing a massage of sorts. I laid my head back to take in the Tuscan sun and slipped into a wonderful state of relaxation.
On our last day at Adler Thermae, we wanted to take full advantage of the resort’s many facilities. I began with some laps in the outdoor 25-meter sports pool at a refreshing 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Although tempted by the 30-minute hydro bike class (one of six daily exercise classes offered by the resort during our stay), I opted for the outdoor treadmills just a few steps away from the pool area. Even after three days at the resort, I still marveled at the beautiful scenery and understood why the Val D’Orcia region of Tuscany was made a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Outdoor treadmills at Adler Thermae
After working out, my husband and I visited the sauna and steam rooms in the garden area of the spa. Located in a serene outdoor space of the resort, several humidity rooms surrounded an attractive thermal water pool. We visited the Olivae, a Finnish sauna, made from terracotta and olive trees, and the Grotta de Filosofo, a Turkish steam room with refreshing scents inside a hillside cave. Neither bathing suits nor bathrobes were allowed in the facilities, but guests had the option of wrapping up in a towel if they desired. There were pegs immediately outside the rooms where we hung our swimwear and bathrobes. After an afternoon alternating between 15-minute sessions in the humidity rooms followed by a cold shower and then a lie down on one of the single waterbeds in the neighboring relaxation room, I felt as if I had reached a new dimension of harmony. While my body was relaxed, my mind felt calm yet alert.
What stole the show for us at Adler Thermae was the beauty of the surrounding countryside. The thoughtful design of the building allowed us to enjoy outstanding views virtually anywhere in the resort. We also appreciated the many exercise options. This suited me well because I like a holiday that combines some type of physical exercise interspersed with opportunities to unwind. Just as important were the friendly and professional staff, who seemed dedicated to pampering guests and ensuring a relaxing and healthy getaway. We left rested and re-energized, with plans to return in the future.