Villars-sur-Ollon in the French-speaking Swiss Alps is surrounded by snow-covered peaks, velvety green meadows and forests carpeted in moss. It’s also home to Lonhea, a new alpine clinic/wellness retreat.
I have come to destress and can’t think of a better place to do it than at a retreat whose name is a combination of longevity and health. Nine guests, staying for one or two weeks, are given an individualized program that includes a daily massage.
The first day, I’m given a heart rate monitor (to keep) and put through diagnostic tests to assess my heart, nutrition, motor skills and fitness. It’s serious stuff: The program and testing was developed by Dr. Michel Golay, who has worked with elite athletes for 25 years. The machines the resort uses were developed by NASA for astronauts.
I’m here for six days and on each one I have a consultation, cardio session, chiropractic treatment, personal-training session, nature walk in the forest or alpine meadows, yoga class, and – thankfully – a massage. We do get some downtime, enough to enjoy the outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and shopping a block away in the Villars boutiques.
But what I love best is hanging out in my mountain-style chalet, either lounging on the living room sofa with a roaring fire in the hearth or sitting on my terrace with a drop-dead gorgeous view of the Alps.
The food is delicious, not only because it’s made from fresh ingredients and sourced from local farms, but because there’s no deprivation or calorie counting. Four times a week, we can have wine or beer with dinner (but it’s only one glass).
Guests come to work through injuries, sleep and digestive disorders, weight issues, stress and addictions. Besides wearing our heart-rate monitors all day, we also wear them to bed. Each morning Dr. Golay plugs our monitors into the computer so he can measure our quality of sleep.
This is one spa that doesn’t forget you once you depart. Lonhea follows up with guests every two weeks for the next four months, the time they believe it takes to change a habit.
Prices start at $11,539 (10,580 Swiss francs) for one week. For more information, visit lonhea.com