SHA Wellness Clinic - Spa Review
Macrobiotics and More on the Costa Brava
|The infinity pool and view of Sierra Helada Mountains|
When the news arrived announcing that SHA Wellness Clinic had just received the award as "Best Medical Spa, 2010," it was January (2010) and the vista through the glass-walled marble-floored, mosaic-tiled Shamadi restaurant included blooming flowers cascading from the poolside terraces, the harbor backed by an ancient Moorish village at the foothills of the Sierra Helada Mountains and the vast Mediterranean Sea.
The Betaller family, who owns and operates SHA, was thrilled with this particular recognition because when Alfredo Betaller, the father, had adopted a strict macrobiotic regimen for 30 days, he discovered that it resolved a 30-year-old medical issue. It prompted him to create SHA as a haven of healthful gastronomy and a place to share his wellness lifestyle and influence better health for his family, friends and guests.
The chosen site for the spa was his family's hilltop estate located on the Costa Brava, a region which the World Health Organization claims to have one of the world's best climates. Carlos Gilardi, a top Uraguayan architect who also resides in the area, constructed the five-structure complex connected with bridges to take advantage of the views—the white marble, glass-walled modernist building rises like a multi-storied ocean liner above the hill.
Elvira Blanco, a noted Spanish interior designer, designed the grey mosaic glass-tiled columns in the spa and decorated using white leather and grey accents throughout and added hand-painted murals for warmth. She divided the 93 spacious and serene suites into sleeping and lounging areas with TVs that turn to face the bed, the couch or desk and room-size closet, lots of built-in storage and shelving, and a grand, private terrace.
One of the indoor pools
Water is as much a part of the design as it is a wellness routine. Even the two heated indoor pools, one for circuit training and one a shallow Jacuzzi pool fitted with five molded jet-stream beds, view the rock-walled gardens. The Dead Sea-like Flotarium, on the other hand, is reserved by the hour and hidden behind a door in a dark room with a night-sky-ceiling complete with twinkling stars.
Dr. Rubio (Betaller's personal physician) sees spa clientele embarking on wellness campaigns, and Dr. Larisa Perezhogina and a staff of aesthetic medical experts, perform magical beauty treatments—from botox, laser and acupuncture to cellular regeneration and mesotherapy.
The esteemed macrobiotic master Michio Kushi consulted with SHA staff and eminent macrobiotic experts design individual diets for clients on weight loss programs or diets for medical issues. Kushi and staff taught Macrobiotics 101 to head chef Pablo Montoro, whose experience includes four years with famous molecular gastronomy master Ferran Adrià. Montoro has enhanced the macrobiotic menu with gourmet techniques, fabulous presentations, originality and, of course, the preparation of local ingredients, which is a basic tenet of the macrobiotic lifestyle.
The who's who of the international elite schedule regularly repeated retreats for week-long (and longer) diet, wellness, beauty and body betterment campaigns. Or they might concentrate on specific issues such as weight loss, quitting smoking or stress reduction. Ongoing educational programs (in English) are scheduled for all guests; there are nutritional lectures and macrobiotic cooking classes; and yoga, tai chi and fitness classes plus bike rides, beach walks and hikes to the nearby lighthouse add to the fitness opportunities. SHA will send a chauffeur for guests arriving in Valencia, which is a two-hour drive away.