Spa Sante, inside the Fortina Spa Resort, Tigne Seafront, Sliema, Malta, was the spa experience of a lifetime for me. (And I did not even know that Game of Thrones was filmed there!)
New to me, and what we will discuss is the Thalasso Experience, including:
- Mediterranian Sauna,
- Relaxation area with Tepidarium and heated recliners
- Ice Fountain
- Reflexology Basin
- Kneipp Walk
First, let me say, I LOVE going to a full spa. My husband, not so much. This was one of those times when I asked where he wanted to go, and he suggested that I decide. So I did. It was the most enjoyable location that I have ever been to, and I think he may have been bored to death. That’s marriage sometimes, right? (I have been to so many ballgames, that it was his turn to take one for the team, and he did.)
This place was like a dream vacation come true for me, as both a water lover, and a spa lover. Since I was in charge this trip, I chose a Spa Room, and it was glorious. The Fortina had an all-inclusive package, so I chose that, as well. It was not cheap, but it was not the kind of experience that you would find at a less expensive property. (We paid a little over $800 a night.)
The Spa Room included our own Spa Capsule (I researched them afterward, hoping for one for our spa, but they were over $100,000. Eek.). The capsule had a clamshell type closure, and the Fortina provided us with essential oils to apply to the steam cup, and each session was 30 minutes. You would lay, undressed, in the capsule, after adding the oil of your choice to the reservoir, and steam would fill the enclosure. Phototherapy, or different colored lights would rotate, as well, based on your chosen program. I used it daily, sometimes twice a day, and I fell asleep like a baby every time!
The spa capsule was located in our restroom, as was a steam shower, which was awesome. (I researched that when I arrived home, too, and it WILL happen at the Stovall house one day!) The steam shower had a reservoir for essential oils, too, and had an amazing shower from the rain-shower top, to pressure heads along two walls. It also had 2 steam inlets, if you chose to use it as a steam room, and it was heavenly. Yep, I used it twice a day, too, lol. (This WAS my spa-trip-of-a-lifetime, you know!)
Of course, there were luxury shampoos, conditioners and lotions of every sort, as well as nice, heavy spa robes for both of us. One got worn nearly out, the other never touched. Bet you couldn’t have guessed that!
Our room had a large king bed, and had a hot tub located in a raised area behind the bed, in a small private retreat area.
Another of my favorite spa-room extras was the chi machine. It is a natural health device that is said to increase your chi, or natural energy. It can be relaxing, stimulates your metabolism, and increases the flow of lymph for immune health. This one I did find, and purchase, and have been using at home, and at work, ever since. I love it.
The Fortina was not our first 5-star rated property, but our first 5-star all-inclusive. There are 6 restaurants to choose from, including Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Italian cuisines. The food was good at every restaurant. Some have fare ready all day for snacks and such (pizza) and some required reservations. All, however, were included in our rate.
There is a beautiful swimming pool with grotto just outside the walkway to the restaurants , which have indoor and outdoor seating. There is an indoor pool, as well. We did not swim, but I did take advantage of all of the therapeutic resources in the spa.
To get to the spa, you just have to follow any hallway. The spa is located in the center of the property. When I first walked in, I felt as if I was walking into an ancient cave. The lights were dim, the walls filled with natural stone, and soft music filled the halls. I visited the spa daily, morning and afternoon, the entire week that we were there. I had spa services twice.
The first morning, I had to have looked like a kid in a candy store, mouth dropped wide open, and having no idea what to do first. It was co-ed, and I had not expected that, but I soon got over feeling fat in my bathing suit and started enjoying the facilities!
When researching our destination and finding thalassotherapy, I had no idea that it was just water therapy, but it was right up my alley, and I dove right in! (Pun intended!)
It is pretty much a given at this point that I liked water, and that I am just a girl (OK, woman) from rural Louisiana, and most everything is new to me!
I get excited about everything, and the spa at the Fortina was near-about overwhelming! First, I made my way into a walk-in round stone shower, water was coming from every direction, full-strength pressure-washer force…it was AMAZING. I have no idea how long I stayed in that shower, but it was so relaxing, and I felt no pressure to rush. Everything in the spa area was a take-your-time adventure.
The next treatment area that I came to was a huge built in hot tub. It was round, and would probably fit 25 people. It was huge. Did I mention that? I was walking that way, big ol’ grin on my face, I’m sure, and a cute young couple passed me and hopped in. Bikini and Speedo. Did I mention cute? (Why does a 55 year old woman feel awkward when men wear those man-kinis? Dunno, but I did, and I do!)
So, I turned my head the other way, so as not to catch a glimpse of said man-kini, and found the first sauna. The reflexology basins were right across from it, but that was too close for my comfort at the moment. They were awesome, though. Concrete basins with nubs in the bottom that you fill with water of your chosen temperature, and just sit back and relax as you rub your feet across the nubs. (Which stimulates reflexology points, similar to the effects of accupncture.)
Of course, I have been in plenty of saunas, I’m on my 2nd far-infrared sauna at home, but this was the largest traditional sauna I had ever been in. They actually had two saunas. The large one that I just entered, which was co-ed, and a smaller one that was just for women. There was no one else in the large one, so I stayed in for 5 or 10 minutes, (then visualized the men in the sauna scenes from movies and TV) before deciding to try the next treatment area. (I love the smell of a traditional sauna, when you add the water to the lava rocks, but the lower temps required for immune, metabolism and detox benefits with a far-infrared, is why I chose that type for home and work.)
The bikini-couple were still in the hot tub, so I opened the next glass door to the right, and entered a room with two glass tiled benches, and a steam generator. There was also a water hose type apparatus that came out from the wall. I had no idea what it was, but someone else came in after me, and they used it after a few minutes to cool down. After they left, I tried it, too, and Aaahhh! It felt so good. I could have stayed in there three times as long, but I was excited to see what was next!
I moseyed down to the end of the hallway, which is where I found the smaller female-only sauna, and ducked in for a little more sweat time, and probably ladled a few too many scoops of water onto the coals, as it was steamed up in no time! I sat back and inhaled the clean, dry air, and the relaxing scent of eucalyptus that filled the air. (Every time I smell eucalyptus, it brings me back to the Fontina spa!) Then I got hot. Real hot. Enough sauna-ing for me!
When I stepped out of the sauna, the next step, at the end of the hallway, contained a Roman looking entrance, and s sink basin full of what looked to me to be Sonic ice, if you know what I mean. What the? I didn’t see any cups anywhere, nor a water fountain. But I was hot, real hot. Hot enough to be tempted to fill the top of my swimsuit with that crushed ice! I looked this way, and that, not knowing what to do. Dummy. That’s what I felt like, a big old dummy. Filling my bathing suit up with ice. Can you imagine. Country comes to town! So, I scooped up a few flakes of the ice and put them into my mouth and scooted on over to the next thing. Kneipp Baths. What in the world? It didn’t look big enough for a bath. Again. I had no idea.
The Kneipp waters were 3 small, maybe 1′ x 2′ concrete basins built into an alcove in the side of the wall. The instructions stated that you step in each for a few seconds, then move to the next, turning around at the end and repeating. I stepped into the first tub, and it was room temperature water. Kinda tepid. I stood there a few minutes, feeling a little silly, so I moved into the next basin. It was warm. Not hot, but pretty warm. It felt nice, but ridiculous at the same time, just standing there with my feet in the fancy puddle. Then I moved to the next basin. It was COLD! It had ice water in it. I could see the crushed ice floating in it and had an “aaha” moment…that’s what the ice was for…I sure hoped it was food safe..since I ate some! I did not stand in that one quite as long, before I turned around and started back the other way.
Then I saw it. I mean them. I saw them. Bikini couple. They were at the ice fountain. He was filling her swimsuit with it and she his. With the crushed ice. Laughing, ice going all over the floor, really having a good time as only young (or young at heart, I suppose) can do. They were playing in the ice!
I am such a doofus when it comes to trying new things, always afraid I’m going to make a mistake. I should have just cooled off with that dang ice!
I walked back and forth in the Kneipp water (stimulating my immune system, I now know) until they scurried off into the sauna, then I high-tailed it over to that ice fountain and cooled off! It felt so good!
Then I realized, if they were in the sauna, they were not in the hot tub! I quickly made my way back to the hot tub and turned on the jets as I walked up the stairs, removed my robe and entered the water. Oh. My. Goodness. I do not think there is a spa on the planet earth that was at a more perfect temperature. The jets were stronger than any I had ever experienced in a spa of this size. (Well, I had never really experienced a spa of this size before, but you know what I mean.)
I stayed in for probably close to 15 minutes before another woman joined me, and another 5 or so after that. I dried off, and was truly waterlogged, but not quite ready to head back o the room.
I went into the Tepidarium, which was just a quiet heated room. The air was thick with warmth, but not hot. Not the kind of hot that would make you sweat, anyway. I laid down on one of the ergonomic heated glass tile reclining seats, and drifted off to sleep before I knew it. What an awesome experience. I repeated each of the treatments at least once, if not twice daily for the rest of our time in Malta, and I will never forget it.
My spa treatment experience was awesome, as well. I had a Swedish relaxation massage the first day, and Shirodhara, an Ayurvedic relaxation treatment where warm oil is poured over your forehead, the second day. I was in sheer bliss mode for days.
We did not go out a whole lot during our trip to Malta, (there was literally too much to do at the Fontina!) but everyone we met was extremely nice and hospitable. As an island, everything has to be imported, and things that we take for granted (my husband drank a lot of Diet Coke at the time) were extravagances there. ($8 for a small bottle of soda). We did ask our taxi driver for a tour of the island, which we enjoyed, and we took a very inexpensive, actually, harbor cruise.
The cruise lasted about an hour and a half, and we chose to go early morning. I am guessing that due to the language barrier, with so many tourists in the area, that was the reason that the tour was pre-recorded in English. The city is beautiful from the water, and just a few minutes into the tour, you see so much more about the area. The views were spectacular. Malta has a rich history, and many of the ancient structures from Knight and British rule are still standing. The history of Valletta and the Three Cities goes back to 1565, and you see forts, battlements and the ten creeks from the sea. It was a relaxing and informative tour, and we really enjoyed it.
I hope we get to visit Malta again one day, as it is quickly becoming a travel hot-spot, and I know there is still so much to be seen.