You know what!? We all need a little TLC in our lives.
So, today I want to share with you the perfect formula for the best pampering day in Vicenza, just like the one I had the chance to savour only a couple of days ago.
It takes three simple steps – swim, relax and eat – and you will emerge on the other side wondering why all days can’t be just like this.
Our base for the day will be Hotel Viest – a four-star establishment conveniently located on the border between Vicenza and Torri di Quartesolo. Hence it is within very easy reach, both by public transport and car. Yet it feels secluded and tranquil as if it were miles away from the hustle and bustle of daily routine.
Most importantly, you don’t have to be a stay-in guest of Hotel Viest in order to use its swimming pool, Wellness Centre & Spa and its restaurant. You can just turn on the day and pay a daily rate or purchase one of the wellness packages on offer.
Start the day by making a splash in the hotel’s swimming pool. It is big and refreshing with built-in underwater jet streams at one end.
The attentive staff will open your umbrella and move your chair out of the sun. You can also choose where to lounge – right at the front with an uninterrupted view of the pool or on the adjacent lawn, grass freshly cut and with an atmospheric view of an old Italian villa adorned with statued façade.
There is nothing more enjoyable than going for a leisurely dip when the sun shines bright, so take your time. I loved swimming slowly from one end of the pool to the other with the four gold stars at the bottom of it glistening in the blue water every time I passed over them.
The pool and the area adjacent to it are great for children too. The water doesn’t get excessively deep, so you can easily stay upright and help your little one to paddle and have fun. Then you can treat them to an ice cream and yourself to a proper Italian iced coffee or an aperitif from the poolside bar.
If you still have energy to burn, there is a ping pong table in the shade. Plus, all sorts of amenities, like free Wi-Fi, outside showers and comfortable changing rooms with lockers and more showers are easily accessible on site. You can bring your own towels or, if you purchase one of the available wellness packages, they include the use of fluffy towels as part of the deal.
Once you have had your fill of poolside fun, head straight to the Wellness centre & Spa.
It is a lovely place, carefully designed to help you relax to the max. As you would expect, it is also stocked to the brim with locally produced bio cosmetics and specialist products.
You can choose to spend time in the sauna, Turkish bath, onsen, emotional showers or the Jacuzzi hydromassage bath. There is also a heated bench, an ice machine, a kneipp walk and a quiet area where you can relax sipping a complimentary cup of tea.
Alternatively, you can opt for a beauty ritual, a face and/or body treatment or a massage. There are many options* for ladies, gents and couples.
I chose a relaxation massage which was, in the words of the massage therapist, ‘like a caress to the body with fragrant oil’. It hit all the right spots and for the first time in ages I felt totally at peace with myself.
Gone were the day-to-day stresses and the little niggles that always play on my mind. In the darkened massage room I just retreated into a happy little cocoon, letting myself be totally spoiled.
At the end of my session, I was offered water and tea to re-hydrate and then I couldn’t help but indulge in a little shopping, as the spa products were so good.
Now it’s time for the best bit of your perfect pampering day.
The final course. The cherry on top of the cake.
Call it what you like, the fact is that the memory of a dinner at the Hotel Viest’s Mezzaluna Restaurant will stay with you for many years to come.
The restaurant specialises in pizza and seafood. It offers a wide selection of dishes to satisfy all tastes and lifestyles.
The menu, both in English and Italian, is extensive and the waiting staff is only too happy to talk you through it, recommend wine and drinks and tell you how each dish is made, what goes with what and what is the local tradition behind the many different ingredients.
I went with the recommendation of my server George and it was a superb choice.
First, a bread basket with several types of bread rolls, crackers and breadsticks was brought to the table and George mixed together olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a dash of black pepper and salt for me to dip my bread in the traditional Italian way.
I was particularly taken with a type of crostini which was spiced with different herbs and then glazed with honey. I know it sounds a bit wacky, but it totally worked.
A starter called Pesce Crudo was the perfect combination of the freshest seafood. Juicy scallops, pink prawns, tuna tartare, and salmon, all artfully decorated with fiori di cappero, olives and rocket leaves, and then crowned with an oyster and a thick wedge of lemon.
The main was a rather spectacular dish of succulent tuna fillet wrapped in black breadcrumbs and served with burrata, sun-dried cherry tomatoes and a very flavoursome tomato paste.
‘But how do you get the breadcrumbs black?!’, I asked, intrigued.
‘Ah, we bake our own bread tinted with squid ink!’ came the reply.
I had to take a bow to this utter dedication to the kitchen art and the Venetian tradition of cooking with squid ink.
The food was so soul-filling and satisfying that I didn’t have place left for dessert. I made a mental note though to return and sample the vanilla semifreddo with fresh peach which sounded sublime. Next time I will precede it with pizza, though, as the chef there makes the base with white spelt and rye.
No matter what you choose to eat, make sure that you finish your pampering day out in the garden, drink in hand.
There, listen to the live music or the DJ set and dance the night away while strategically placed lights change the colour of the swimming pool water from purple to red to green.
So, here it is! The perfect pampering day to have in Vicenza in three simple steps.
Visit Hotel Viest for the day with a friend, as a couple, with your children or just treat yourself. Swim, relax and eat gorgeous Italian food. It is an experience which will make you think, just like I did: ‘I need to do this more often. I totally deserve it!’
* The minimum age to access the spa facilities is 14.