A stay at The Lanserhof can literally be life changing. Much more than your average spa retreat, it takes holistic treatment to the next level, offering guests an unusually thorough all-round experience, focusing on health, fitness, relaxation and recuperation. From the moment you arrive and settle into your exceptionally fluffy white robe, you automatically adjust to a new, slower pace of life, a pace you’ll be following for the next seven days.
Nestled in the beautiful town of Kitzbuhel, Austria, The Lanserhof is making the most of its temporary home whilst renovations are taking place in their flagship location near Innsbruck. Surrounded by lush forest and the striking peaks of the Alps, Kitzbuhel is the perfect spot for all the outdoor activities that are part of the programme here.
The Lanserhof philosophy centres around the detoxification of the body and is based on the findings of Austrian doctor F.X. Mayer. Their programme involves cleansing the intestines and the digestive system through a strict diet and eating method, holistic medicines, detoxing treatments and exercise.
Waiting in the reception area for my initial medical check up with the doctor felt quite surreal. Guests wandered round in their white robes and slippers, wearing carefree expressions, and medical staff were dressed head to toe in pristine white outfits. Dr. Georg welcomes me into his office and for unexplained reasons I feel a little nervous. After some routine medical questions and tests, he asks with a mischievous glint in his eye, “what’s your previous experience with fasting?”
“Limited” I replied, “I’m a food blogger.” He laughed and explained the concept of the Lanserhof diet which involves fasting in the evenings. They also encourage a chewing technique in which you chew each mouthful 30-40 times. Along with this I’m sent away with alkaline powder, bitter plant-based drops and Epsom salts to take at specific times throughout the day. You are instructed to enjoy mealtimes without phones, books, long conversations or any other distractions. I think they call this eating mindfully. We’re also encouraged to ‘digital detox’ for the week, packing away our phones and laptops so our minds have a chance to switch off too.
This was a catastrophic change from my London lifestyle but I felt the stress melt away almost immediately, knowing my out of office was on and I had a full week of relaxation coming up, with a programme of treatments, fitness sessions and outdoor activities to look forward to.
The silence at first was deafening. Without trying to read through 63 what’s app messages a minute, replying to a barrage of emails and trying to get some meaningful work done at the same time, I at first felt a little lost. But as I took time to appreciate the simpler things in life, I soon adjusted and stared to cherish the quiet calm of the Lanserhof. Mealtimes were the most bizarre, without a dining partner, a book or a phone there was nothing to distract me from the process of eating and I suddenly found I was noticing things that might usually pass me by; the taste of the food, the background music, the paintings on the walls. From that first evening, I made a vow to myself never to sit with my phone on the dining table again. The experience of eating was transformed for me.
Fasting in the evenings was also challenging at first but I found by the end of the week, I had an abundance of energy. It was combating the cravings and the psychology of missing an evening meal that was difficult. The Lanserhof concept is based around the digestive system and cleansing from the inside – they aim to reduce the bloating that our modern diets induce and clear the digestive system of toxins. This means not overloading it with food, especially in the evenings.
The treatments experienced were world-class. With a standout team of therapists on the premises, you are guaranteed excellence. The deep-tissue massage got into the knots of my muscles and the head massage was heavenly. I also experienced two detoxing stomach treatments which reduced bloating dramatically. There is a huge range of treatments on offer; some purely for relaxation, others more medical based and some which are geared towards mental and personal development. You can expect a treatment list including allergy testing, facials, reflexlogy, life coaching, colonic treatments just to name a few – the list is extensive.
Movement is a big part of life at the Lanserhof – their expert personal trainers will take you through a morning workout of stretching and strengthening exercises, then throughout the day you can take part in yoga, pilates and outdoor activities. Hiking through the mountains to a 50-foot waterfall was a highlight as was mountain biking through the surrounding forests.
The clientele hailed from a vast range of backgrounds, I met high-flying execs looking to escape the corporate world and de-stress, housewifes who had left the children at home and were taking some me-time, people with illnesses looking for a cure and everything in between. One case that struck me in particular was a head-teacher I met who had suffered from a gut problem for years, with none of the advice or medication from her doctors at home improving the issue for her. She had spent two weeks at the Lanserhof last year and completely eliminated the problem, with the programme they provided her with. She had been back twice since and the Lanserhof was now part of an annual detox routine for her.
My own experience was profound. Checking out of the Lanserhof, I almost felt like a different person. My mental state had improved vastly, I gained extensive knowledge on nutrition and the digestive system and to top it off, I had lost 8lbs. I had dismissed fasting before, claiming it didn’t match our modern lifestyles but having been educated on the benefits, I couldn’t have been more wrong. If anything, it’s even more necessary now; we abuse our bodies through an over acidic diet (sugar, caffeine, alcohol), overworking, stress and too little movement, so occasional or regular fasting is the perfect antidote to that. The doctors, therapists and personal trainers will tailor a programme to suit you personally, meaning they don’t operate on a one-size-fits-all premise. They also look at the root of a problem, rather than trying to mask it with modern medicine, which is now too common a process in the western world. It’s no wonder they’ve won various awards as the best medical spa in the world. I would encourage anyone to take a week or two at the Lanserhof, I can’t imagine a person emerging unchanged, and always for the better.
The basic Lans Med package starts at €1,500 plus accommodation expenses.
Schwarzer Adler Kitzbühel Hotel & Spa