What better place for a medical retreat than a wellness haven tucked away on a Swiss mountain with breathtaking vistas, fresh alpine air, and cozy moments in front of the fireplace? The Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, where Swiss medical science meets luxury, is everything you want a medi retreat to be, and more.
Marrying top medical tests, performed by some of the best doctors in the world, with fitness sessions, cryotherapy, healthy food and feel-good treatments at the stunning spa, the Waldhotel takes the term wellness retreat to the next level. It is the perfect getaway if you want to spend a week or two getting check-ups, improve your fitness game, immerse yourself in nature, and treat yourself to a clean eating meal plan.
Never having done such a comprehensive medical retreat before, we were extremely excited to experience a six-day wellness retreat here at the serene and uber luxe Waldhotel.
The picturesque journey starts in Lucerne, where you get on a boat which will take you to Kehrsiten, followed by the funicular up to the Bürgenstock Resort. Perched high above Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstaettersee), and surrounded by lush meadows and green forests, Bürgenstock Resort is made up of four hotels (Bürgenstock Hotel, Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, Palace Hotel, and Taverne 1879). Waldhotel is located at the very end, after the other hotels, slightly tucked away, adjacent to the forest, with sweeping views of the valley and romantic sunsets. The 160-room five-star wellness haven (over nine floors) was designed by famed architect Matteo Thun and features a 13,000-square-feet spa, and a medical center that spans a whopping 45,000 square feet. Here you’re met with complete tranquility and silence. The only sound you hear are cow bells in the far distance. It’s pure Swiss bliss.
Waldhotel offers access to diagnostic, rehabilitative and therapeutic services, movement therapy, dental health, cosmetic procedures, sports medicine, weight management and mental wellbeing to name just a few. Matched with innovative healthy cuisine and cutting-edge spa treatments, guests can expect to re-set, re-energize, detox, de-stress, and relax through restorative medical methods in a unique destination surrounded by nature and serenity.
Guests begin their wellness retreat by choosing one of its 11 programs to fit their health needs. The retreat menu ranges from themes such as Diagnostic & Advanced Check-ups, and Mobility & Activity, to Weight Management & Metabolism, Body & Mind Balance, and Beauty & Healthy Ageing.
We embarked on a 7-day Detox Pro retreat, which builds on the Waldhotel Check-up (3 days), which is the start for every program and includes a series of medical examinations and a thorough physical check-up with Prof. Dr. Verena Briner, head of the medical center and also one of Switzerland’s most prominent physicians. Furthermore, the comprehensive tests include blood work (where they check for anaemia, diabetes and vitamin deficiency to name a few), biometric and body composition (which indicates body fat, muscle and bone density to rule out osteoporosis), as well as lung function, an abdominal ultrasound, a cardio-vascular test, an echocardiogram for the heart, an energy metabolism test, a skin screening by a dermatologist, dental hygiene at the dental clinic, and sports activities. The program starts at US$3,300.
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DETOX PRO – CLEAN EATING AND MOVEMENT
The Detox Pro retreat, which aims to free the whole body of damaging environmental toxins and stressors, also focuses on balanced nutrition, with the Waldhotel Colour Cuisine at its core, which is based on an alkaline, no sugar, no dairy, low-carb diet. The delicious and well-thought-out menu is supplemented with nutrition sessions, a colon cleanse, and a Cooking Lab class where you learn to make some of these healthy dishes. Furthermore, the retreat also includes Functional Movement Screens, Fasting Training, Cryotherapy sessions ahead of Personal Training sessions (3 times weekly), along with a number of relaxing spa treatments, such as skin-smoothing wraps, stimulating coffee peels, as well as invigorating body treatments and massages. The 7-Day Detox Pro program starts at US$6,100.
We also took time to recover in the serene Waldhotel Spa, where a series of water features awaited us. While away the time in the heated outdoor pool, or opt for the invigorating hot and cold Kneipp baths (which we absolutely loved) to boost your immune system (think Wim Hof style dipping). Breathe deeply in the salt grotto (ideal for people suffering from allergies and asthma), and de-stress in the Finnish sauna.
The vast spa menu ranges from detoxifying and beautifying elder and seaweed wraps, to collagen infusion facials by Swiss Line, and body and face treatments by Susanne Kaufman. Furthermore, the spa also boasts infra-red treatments, and if you dare, whole-body cryotherapy sessions at -110 degrees Celsius in the Icelab.
The dishes were extremely flavorful, as the Mediterranean-style menu bursts with organic vegetables and 30 types of herbs. The Waldhotel Colour Cuisine at Verbena Restaurant & Bar offers an individually tailored diet designed to optimize your wellbeing. Chef Martin Stein uses the philosophy of eating foods of certain colors, focusing on a different health benefit each day, and putting an emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients, with very little salt, no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, low carb and only using plant oils, such as hemp and camelina oil. Hemp oil for example is more than 75 percent omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a ratio of 3:1, considered to be the optimal nutrition ratio. Hemp oil has shown to reduce inflammation and is effective in treating a number of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
We also had two nutrition classes, where we carefully analyzed our daily diet, asked numerous food questions, and were re-educated about dietary habits. The on-site Cooking Lab allowed us to get hands-on experience, as nutritionists and chefs teach guests here how to create flavorful, nutritious and healthy meals back home.
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If you’re still waiting for a sign to give your health a complete overhaul, this is it. A one stop shop for all things wellness, health and fitness, Waldhotel makes it easy to commit to a healthier new you this year.