Parkhotel Igls review | spa retreat, Austria
The Quick Read: Situated in the small village of Igls and the clean fresh air of the Tyrolean Alps, Parkhotel Igls is a top-flight medical spa subscribing to the ‘Modern Mayr’ method – a combination of diet, exercise, naturopathic and modern medical methods to heal you and help you feel great. There’s little they can’t help you with, and if the resident facilities and experts are insufficient, expertise can be provided through their close working relationship with the nearby University Innsbruck Hospital – so you know you’ll get the best and newest tests and treatments. Staff are intelligent and flexible so, whatever your need, you can expect a stay that is well-planned and excellently executed. Medical facilities are supplemented by gorgeous food, a hydrotherapy spa complex and a lovely little beauty spa, all in the same well-appointed building. And relax…
Who it’s best for: Anyone who wants a thorough, top to toe, health check and reboot. It would suit those who want to tackle specific health problems, or get to the bottom of niggling health concerns. The Mayr cure is famous for soothing dodgy digestions and for weight-loss but a vast range of other issues can be helped. One woman we met said she had been looking throughout Europe for somewhere that provides a full medical check, musculoskeletal programme and intensive health reboot at the same time, and that the Parkhotel Igls was so good she comes back time after time. A male guest said that, since he first started the Parkhotel Igls’ Modern Mayr programme, he has been able to control his diabetes without any insulin at all.
What you can do: This is a top-flight medical retreat using the ‘Modern Mayr’ method – a combination of diet, exercise, naturopathic and modern medical methods to heal you and help you feel great. Any medical or diet programme will leave your schedule quite full (though not invasively so). Any time left over can be pleasantly filled with yoga, walks (including Nordic), and hydrotherapy.
Experts give specialist talks about the Mayr method and other aspects of personal health maintenance and the staff are always happy to facilitate other ideas. The weight loss programme we experienced included regular medical check-ups, wonderful sports massages, physiotherapy consultation, supervised (light) exercise in the gym alongside optional water workouts and group exercise programmes. Lifestyle consultation and mentoring along with detox and cleansing options are also available and the beauty spa offers a series of alternate or supplementary treatments such as colour therapy, massage therapy and relaxation massages.
The schedule is so busy that it’s unlikely you’d want to venture too far. But, if you do, Innsbruck and and the countryside surrounding it offer beautiful walks, a spot of shopping and lots of cultural experiences (the Cathedral, Court Church and the Imperial Palace are well worth seeing).
Where you stay: With 42 rooms and nine suites, the hotel has a clean, simple but stylish design that melds woodwork, stone, white walls and splashes of orange and lime. All rooms are decorated with a combination of sophistication and simplicity. Try to get a North-facing room for the very best views, though all the rooms are bright, airy, and have terraces. Facilities include flat screen TVs, free internet (throughout the hotel with the exception of the dining room) and individual safes. There are luxurious suites on the top floor with infra red cabins, and some rooms have wheelchair access. If you so wish you can pre-book DVD players.
The gym provides a 210 degree panorama from which both sunrise and sunset are spectacular. The extensive and comfortable communal rooms such as library, lounge area and dining rooms are all based on the ground floor. There is also a glass-walled indoor pool. What more could you need?
How was it for us: I went to Parkhotel Igls for a weightloss programme. I was sceptical about the Modern Mayr practices, expected to be hungry all the time and thought I’d be put through some hard exercise too. I left impressed with the quality of service, the logic and efficacy of the practices and feeling much better.
While I didn’t lose weight, I did lose inches – just over an inch (3cm) from my waist, which is how it should be as muscle weighs heavier than fat. But the biggest surprise, and the reason I plan to return every year, was that through following the Mayr techniques of food combination, disciplined intake of fluids and chewing properly, many of the symptoms that have racked my body for the five years since I had chemotherapy for aggressive breast cancer have been totally eliminated or hugely reduced.
Much of my time was spent in the gym (one-on-one sessions were scheduled every day), on one of the varied walks through valleys and into the foothills of the nearby mountains, and having sports massages (while you can choose the intensity, the really hard massage treatment I prefer turns out to be the best for weightloss which was great). The ‘colour massage’ I had felt wonderfully decadent – it consisted of a light facial abrasion, massage and the shining of laser-type light on my face through coloured crystals (to which I had demonstrated a link by picking them according to how they felt). Sounds random, but I was amazed to see how much difference it made, and even more amazed to discover that the treatment had removed a good few of my heavier wrinkles for months after.
Doctor Peter Gartner gave generously of his time and knowledge throughout the stay. My initial consultation included a fairly thorough health assessment with kinesology, blood pressure, heart and a Body Mass calculation, and my learning started with some basic biochemistry and a short introduction to supplementary therapies and the Modern Mayr technique.
What we took home: The feeling of peace as I relaxed in my room between treatments, memories of sunrises over the Tyrolean Alps, and a realisation that, despite what the doctors say in England, I don’t need to stay stuck with the physical problems left by chemotherapy for the rest of my life.
Would we go back: Absolutely! I’ve been saving for my next visit since arriving back home.
People watch: It’s too difficult to say that one person was lovely or that one person helped more than the others. Everyone was friendly, flexible and knowledgeable about their areas. They all made me feel welcome and that they really wanted to help.
Food watch: The food was light but delicious, and Igls is entirely responsible for my current passion for pumpkin seeds, multi-seed wafers, light tuna pate and pumpkin soup. The Modern Mayr philosophy says it isn’t so much what you eat but how you eat it, so you can choose what you want from a huge menu (provided it fits within the outlines made as a result of your first medical consultation).
Everything I tasted was good, but my favourite breakfasts were porridge made with water and special Mayr bread, and the outstanding lunchtime pumpkin soup. I’ve also been trying to copy their duck with confit and sweet potato mash for months. I liked their extra-light creamy cheese spread so much I took some home, and was happy to receive a new Mayr recipe in the post only last week. Chewing everything a minimum of 35 times makes for quite silent work (you are advised even to do this with soup) and if you need extra sustenance, broth is freely available every afternoon.
What’s lowly: The Modern Mayr technique includes taking detoxifying Epsom salts every morning, and minimising fluid intakes before and after meals to aid digestion. It’s an easy, important part of the method, but we did find it more challenging to the drink enough in a day.
Insider tip: Fly (or take the train) into Innsbruck Airport if you possibly can as taxi rides take hours and are expensive from the other airports.
Price with a companion: From 141 Euro (about £100)per person per day for double or shared accommodation with the week long Basic Programme at 867 per person (about £630). While the Basic Programme included all of the procedures we’ve written about here apart from the colour therapy facial, there is a plethora of other tests and treatments that could rack up quite a cost. Rather than choose these on an ad-hoc basis we would recommend that you choose the programme that best suits you, as everything you need will be included that way.
Price going solo: 146 Euro (about £104) per day for accommodation with the Basic Programme at 867 per person (about £630).
Value for Money: It’s certainly not cheap, even for a medical spa, but we believe it to be well worth the money for the expertise and results it achieves.
Reviewed by Carole Edrich
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