Spas are traditionally associated with water. And mineral-rich healing springs are generally the reason that a particular spa can be found in a particular place. So, why is there a spa in Lanzarote? This island is a desert, covered in volcanic lava and ash for almost 300 years and with barely a drop of rain. The locals literally count the days when it does rain and remember them vividly – if there are 20 days over the course of a year, that’s regarded as good (as in high) rainfall.
Of course, there is another water source here. The sea. Or rather, the ocean. Lanzarote sits in the Atlantic (roughly on the same latitude as southern Morocco) and it is sea water that it is the foundation of the treatments at Princess Yaiza’s Thalasso Spa. Thalassotherapy means quite literally “sea water therapy” and the treatments here are all about the minerals that you can extract from sea water.
Take magnesium – almost three-quarters of the UK population are deficient in magnesium and this deficiency can result in insomnia, stress, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, muscles spasms and cramps and heart palpitations. Calcium is important, too. Calcium is mostly associated with osteoporosis and brittle nails but a lack can also cause skin problems such as eczema, muscle cramps and sleep disorders.
The mineral cocktails at Princess Yaiza also include iodine, phosphorus and potassium as well as trace elements and marine salts – between them they are great for cleansing, revitalising and stress, as well as improving joint pain and skin problems. So, worth considering, right?
You can take a five day course at Princess Yaiza designed to boost your mineral levels with body wraps, hydro massages in baths with added minerals and, of course, massages using mineral-rich oils. And you may well notice something happening. When I had a potassium massage, my skin began to tingle instantly – slightly disconcerting!
The wraps are basically pastes that are painted on to the body and then you lie in a capsule and get steamed like a fish for fifteen minutes while the minerals are absorbed. Then the steam switches to a shower to wash it all off. A fellow guest was a bit nervous about this, being claustrophobic, and said it reminded her of an MRI machine. I had vague thoughts about iron lungs (though not quite sure what they really looked like…)
In between these Thalasso treatments you can spend some time following the 1001 Nights Circuit where the sea water is at a constant 34C and the roof is a starry ceiling. There are various kinds of underwater massage as well as saunas and hammams scented with eucalyptus. And, of course, there are plenty of the more usual spa treatments – massages and facials, scrubs and aromatherapy – as well as fitness classes and yoga next to the well-equipped gym.
Lanzarote is an ideal place if you’re craving a bit of winter sun. It takes only four hours to get there and in mid-November when I visited it was almost too hot at midday. The winter is generally pretty warm and the temperature never drops below 17C. This is perfect if you want to do a bit of exploring and, while this isn’t perhaps the prettiest island you’ll ever see, it certainly is dramatic. The Timanfaya National Park looks pretty much just as it did when more than 100 volcanoes erupted between 1730 and 1736. It’s an area of over 50 square km and it’s as close as you’ll get to a Martian experience on this planet.
Back at the Princess Yaiza, there’s a white sand beach (they’re usually volcanic black on Lanzarote), eight restaurants and I lost count of the pools. While you’re on a spa trip here, you’re most definitely not on a spa menu. Take your pick from Spanish, Italian and Asian specialist restaurants and don’t miss the fine dining at Isla de Lobos. Named for the small island you can see from the gorgeous terrace at this restaurant, the food here is nothing short of sensational. Try the tasting menu – or book for the most delightful Sunday brunch you can imagine (especially on a cold winter’s day in the UK.)
Rates for a Basic Superior Room at Princesa Yaiza start from £169 per night including a buffet breakfast, based on two people sharing.
For further details or to book your escape, visit www.princesayaiza.com or call 0034 928 519 300.
*Rates in pound sterling accurate according to today’s exchange
For more of Anna’s spas and other travels, visit www.annaselby.co.uk