The restorative powers of the mountains are being discovered by increasing numbers searching for health and wellbeing.
The Alps have been a popular retreat for those seeking serenity & tranquility for centuries. Walking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking are all popular mountain activities which enrich you with stunning views and the wonderful fresh mountain air.
The emergence of health and thermal spas throughout the Alps reflects an increase in people enjoying the healing & restorative benefits of the Alpine environment and it's thermal baths from mountain spring water.
It takes around 60 years for the spring water to percolate through the mineral layers of the mountains & this results in a high level of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and iron in the emerging spring water. The curative uses of thermal baths stretch back to the Bronze age & today they are believed to help treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis & fibromyalgia. Although research into the actual medical benefits of thermal baths is a little sketchy no one can argue with the benefits of true relaxation.
The range of treatments available at health spas varies greatly, from simply bathing in the thermal baths to being hosed down with jets of spring water, there's a wide range of water treatments available to suit all. Many spas also offer a variety of massages, clay mud treatments and body scrub treatments using sugar and natural oils.
Thriving health and wellness spas are changing the shape of the alpine property market. It was once the case that properties had to be close to the slopes and lifts in order to become a prosperous business, or at least provide transport to the lifts. The increase in the popularity of alternative mountain activities allow alpine properties to specialise in different areas to appeal to different target customers offering a service that is popular all year round in both winter & summer months. This is creating new 'hot spots' for leisure & relaxation and promises to deliver more holiday rental revenue in these areas & so make holiday properties more attractive to investors & buyers looking to 'live the dream'.
There are dozens of spas throughout the Alps, some small and intimate others upscale and part of large hotel complexes so there's plenty of choice in terms of the kind of atmosphere, treatments and service available.
Les Bains de Lavey is a popular thermal spa in Lavey Les Bains, Switzerland, around half an hours drive from the French-Swiss border. You could easily spend the day there relaxing in their three heated swimming pools, two outdoor & one indoor. They offer a variety of wellness packages & treatments including facial treatments, an extravagant range of massages from around the world, exfoliation, beauty treatments, clay wraps, spa-jets, buffet meals at their L'Oasis des Bains restaurant & access to the pools. For medicinal use of the thermal baths they offer physiotherapy, ergotherapy and hydrotherapy which can help relieve pain associated with various conditions such as rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia and back pain.
Thonon-les-Bains is a spa town in an idilic location on the south bank of Lake Geneva. It's one of the most well established spas & has been providing wellness and relaxation treatments since 1950. As well as beauty treatments & massage there is also a fitness suite and solarium.
Thermes Parc in Val d-Illiez is nestled amongst the trees beside a natural warn water river which is usually between 22- 28C, depending on the season. There are two pools, one indoor & one outdoor & a giant jacuzzi which are all fed by three warm springs & maintained at a temperature of around 35C. They offer a range of massages including deep tissue massage and children's treatments.
The Alpine thermal spas in both Switzerland and France are found mostly in the Lake Geneva & Portes du Soleil region making this region one of the leaders in offering mountain wellness breaks. The Vallee d'Abondance is particularly well placed offering the best route into Switzerland south of Lake Geneva, a range of unspoilt charming alpine villages & some major ski resorts like Chatel. Villages like Bonnevaux, Vacheresse & Bernex are becoming increasingly interesting to investors as the ski industry there is present but immature & they're all very close to Geneva Airport & the best of the thermal spas both north toward the lake & south-east into the Swiss Portes du Soleil. Chatel, an established ski resort is also increasingly popular for the ski/wellness break, Vonnes with it's beautiful lake and nearby Villapeyron are great choices for properties that are close to exceptional skiing, ideally located for health-spa holidays and chalet prices.
When searching for property in France don't forget that there's more to do than enjoying the snowy slopes. If buying a holiday home or buying to rent investigate other activities that you or your guests can enjoy. This may be more cost effective as properties with direct access to the slopes are almost always going to be more expensive and in the winter season there are many shuttle buses to take you or your guests to the slopes.
So with a bit of research and expert help from companies like France Property Angels there's lots of great times, a great lifestyle and money to be made in recognising the rise of alpine wellness.