When it comes down to it, hospitality is above all a spiritual thing: there is nothing kinder, more devout, or elevated in life than to offer refuge to a stranger, to give him or her a place to sleep and something to eat, to dedicate oneself body and soul to making his or her stay as pleasant an experience as possible.
When translated into tourism, this means a focus on the senses, on the feelings, and on allowing the guest time to reflect on what he or she has learned. The establishments below take the experience of a hotel stay into the realm of the spiritual through techniques such as yoga, Ayurveda, the martial arts or transcendental meditation.
1 A shaolin sanctuary
Priorato de Val (Villacibio, Palencia)
Alfonso Muñoz Salvarrey’s home in the rugged hills of this northern province is open to anybody looking for silence and contemplation. This Spanish shigung (master) not only offers his guests hospitality, but also initiates them in the mysteries of kung-fu, tai chi and Chinese calligraphy. The day begins shortly before dawn, when a bell is rung calling visitors to the kwoon, or zen meditation room. At sunset, Muñoz presides over a tea ceremony and then offers Tui Na massages.
Priorato de Val. La Iglesia, 8. Villacibio, Palencia. Telephone: 979 06 39 11 and 669 41 72 82. Internet: www.posadaprioratodeval.com. Double room from €80 euros, breakfast included.
2 Disconnect in Asturias
Tierra del Agua (Caleao, Asturias)
With magnificent views across the peaks of the Redes natural park, this hotel, built in traditional style with a minimalist interior, manages to recreate something of the Himalayas thanks in large part to the silence that surrounds it, which is punctuated only by the sound of rushing water from nearby crystal-clear streams. Owner Marisol Dy Sánchez offers spa treatments along with yoga, pranayama and meditation sessions prior to abhyanga and shirodhara treatments to infuse stressed-out guests with psychic and physical energy.
Tierra del Agua. Sonxierru - Caleao, Asturias. Telephones: 985 61 29 15 and 626 69 74 75. Internet: www.tierradelagua.es. Double rooms from €69.
3 A holistic retreat
Shanti-Som Wellbeing Retreat (Monda, Málaga)
Monda, once a major Roman center, is popular with day-trippers escaping the hustle and bustle of nearby Marbella; but few of them bother to take the time to discover this environmentally friendly holistic retreat. Shanti-Som, as its name suggests, offers a range of oriental therapies, among them ayurveda, harmonyum and reiki. A week-long stay offers detox, weight reduction, Pilates, fitness and yoga.
Shanti-Som Wellbeing Retreat. Llanos de Purla, kilometer 22. Monda, Malaga. Telephones: 952 86 44 55 and 628 79 30 13. Internet: shantisom.com. Double room with half board from €270.
4 The Energy House
+Qi (Banyeres de Mariola, Alicante)
Set amid the rocky hills and streams of the Sierra de Mariola in Alicante, and far from any major roads, is a 19th-century farmhouse surrounded by more than 150 hectares of land. Its owners say the house benefits from its location on an energy vortex, which also explains its name, a reference to the Tao concept of universal energy. +Qi offers a range of therapies, including acupuncture, kinesiology, reiki, gestalt and Hawaiian massages, vibrational therapy, radiesthesia, Bach flowers, akashiko coaching, and energetic naturopathy.
+Qi. Camino de la Mallaeta. Banyeres de Mariola, Alicante. Telephones: 965 56 72 32 and 699 09 44 40. Internet: www.masqi.es. Double rooms with half board from €210.
5 A different philosophy
Spa Niwa (Brihuega, Guadalajara)
Ana Bedoya’s therapeutic garden provides replenishing waters, herbs, and mattresses where guests can reestablish contact with their senses. A wide range of treatments are offered by her two Filipina assistants: foot massages and four-hand massages, along with Swedish shiatsu, chocolate therapy, seaweed body wraps, marine salt peeling, and several other types of massage.
Spa Niwa. Paseo Jesús Ruiz Pastor, 16. Brihuega, Guadalajara. Telephones: 949 28 12 99 and 606 41 07 88. Internet: hotelspaniwa.com. Double rooms from €80 euros.
6 Vastu Shastra on the Costa del Sol
Luna y Sol (Almayate Alto, Málaga)
In this surprisingly quiet spot on Malaga’s coast, guests can practice Ayurveda yoga in a garden shaded by mango and avocado trees rustling in the sea breeze. Owners Seba María Blass and Frits Nielsen have attracted a mainly German clientele to attend a range of oriental techniques, among them Tibetan therapies, Samahita yoga, podabahyanga and abhyanga massages, reiki and other holistic approaches.
Luna y Sol. Finca Alegría de la Minda. Almayate Alto, Málaga. Telephone: 952 5 65 05. Internet: www.ayurveda-hotel.com. Double room with Ayurveda treatment: €148.
7 The house of silence
Ayurveda Mallorca (Montuiri, Mallorca)
Ayurveda Mallorca combines Indian and Sri Lankan Panchakarma techniques aimed at balancing body, mind, and spirit. The property has 10 rooms and a communal room for Ayurveda techniques led by teacher Fernando Ruiz Sarto and specialist in oriental medicine Arkadi Prokop. Treatments include manashanti therapy, rasayana spa and panchakarma. Food is prepared according to Vedic methods by chefs Rakesh and Jagath, from India and Sri Lanka respectively.
Ayurveda Mallorca. Montuiri, Mallorca. Telephones: 971 64 66 20 and 663 44 61 94. Internet: ayurvedamallorca.eu. Weekly course of treatment with accommodation and board: €1,950.
8 Contact in the mountains
Alojamiento Rural Gillue-La Bardana (Sabiñánigo, Huesca)
Pelvic anatomy, ovarian respiration and yoni eggs are among the aspects of female sexuality explored by Victoria Aran in this hideaway in the Pyrenees. Located in a restored farmhouse by two Basque couples as a rural retreat, Gillue-La Bardana offers personal development and spiritual growth. Among the activities are euthonics workshops, consciousness contact, yoga, panchakarma and rebirth residencies.
Alojamiento Rural Gillue-La Bardana. La Basuala, 14-16. Guillé - Sabiñánigo, Huesca. Telephones: 974 33 71 74 and 679 07 46 93. Internet: www.labardana.com. Double room from €158.
9 An empty mind
Kinedomus (Aranda de Duero, Burgos)
Owner Samuel Brogeras has combined the Greek concept of movement, kine, with the Latin for house, domus, to create what he calls active rest in his house of movement. Guests can explore the surrounding plain of Castille, practice sport in the open air, and then splash about in the heated outdoor spa pool. His wife, Marta, is a trained physiotherapist who focuses on guests’ spiritual and physical wellbeing through a combination of high energy massages using aroma therapy, along with lymphatic drainage and hot stones that aim to leave the mind blank and relaxed.
Kinedomus. Carretera N-122, km 266. Fresnillo de las Dueñas - Aranda de Duero, Burgos. Telephone: 947 61 38 78. Internet: www.kinedomus.es. Double room: €99 euros.
10 Love, devotion and chocolate
Museu dels Angels (Alella, Barcelona)
Set amid vineyards and the weekend homes of the Barcelona wealthy, this restored farmhouse dating back to 1460 has been transformed into a hotel. Each room is named after an angel and the decoration combines oriental and Christian in a blend of gothic and feng shui. Amid all this is a chocolatería offering 18 delicious varieties confirming what we always suspected: that cocoa is an angelical sweet. The restaurant, Los fogones del cielo (The kitchens of Heaven) is equally divine.
Museu dels Angels. Riera Fosca, 18. Alella, Barcelona. Telephones: 935 40 10 33 and 691 28 74 30. Internet: museudelsangels.es. Double room with dinner and breakfast: €175.
English version by Nick Lyne.