Before I went to Ile de Ré I had only the faintest of ideas about what precisely “thalasso therapy” means. I obviously knew that it had something to do with water but had no idea what would be involved in the treatments. I went to the Thalacap Ile de Ré through RCI, which means that I had to take a treatment package in order to be allowed to spend a week there. Here are all of the things I wish I had known in advance: 1) I have a thyroid condition and the algae body wrap that is part of the treatment package is full of iodine. After the first treatment I felt absolutely great, my skin was glowing and I felt very well. After the second treatment the following day my heart began to race, my blood pressure rose and my pulse went up to 125. Although I cancelled the third and last day’s treatment my pulse and blood pressure never got back to the normal range until well after I had returned home. So, if you have any type of thyroid or hypertension issues, definitely check with your physician before doing thalasso therapy. 2) If you book through RCI the treatments can only be done on consecutive days, meaning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. There is no discretion on your part about that, nor do you have a say in what kind of treatment you want. You are given a treatment schedule the first morning and are expected to stick with that. The pace is very rapid and you basically run from treatment to treatment; definitely not very relaxing. 3) If you don’t speak French or only have a rudimentary knowledge of the language you will be very bewildered, as none of the oral or written instructions are in English. Some of the staff actually speak a little bit of English and one massage therapist also knew some Spanish, but that was pretty much it. During the week I was there I met an American couple who seemed lost the entire time, never really knowing where to go, which treatment would come next, etc., etc. because they did not know a word of French. 4) If you decide that thalasso therapy is for you, make sure you bring several bathing suits/trunks so that you can change into a dry one after a particular treatment. You are asked to take off your bathing suit/trunk for some of the treatments and it is most unpleasant to have to get back into a wet outfit afterwards. 5) Yes, you guessed it – you will be naked for some treatments, so if you have modesty or other body issues, you will feel very uncomfortable at times. The women at the Center could not be nicer and never made me feel strange, but you should know in advance what you are getting yourself into.
Now a few words about the lodging and the restaurant: The rooms have been recently redone, are spacious and the beds have very good, new mattresses. There is free wifi that worked very well, and rooms also have a nice little refrigerator. We found the restaurant not terribly good and overpriced. As we had a car we opted to drive the 5 minutes to Ars de Ré, a beautiful little seaside town with nice little cafés along the harbor, to take our breakfast there. This was only possible after I dropped out of the thalasso therapy, however, as treatments begin early in the morning and there would not have been time for breakfast in town. There is a wonderful local farmers market right next to the Ars de Ré harbor, so after breakfast we stopped and bought fresh fruits and yummy cheeses for dinner in our room. We usually ate lunch out and found a number of wonderful restaurants very close by. Ile de Ré apparently has become a favorite holiday destination for wealthy Parisians and we found the restaurant prices simply astronomical. Lunch menus are much cheaper than those at dinner time but even so we always ended up paying right around 100 Euros for the two of us for a nice lunch and a couple of glasses of wine. It was thus a relief to have the small refrigerator and be able to eat a small dinner in the room.
Overall, Ile de Ré is a wonderful little island. It is far removed from the commercial bustle of modern tourism and gives a sense that time has stood still. You can bicycle around the island and many, many people do just that. The hotel rents out bikes so you can go exploring the many hidden treasures of this remarkable island. Just make sure you bring enough money with you to be able to enjoy its culinary treasures as well. And definitely make sure thalasso therapy is for you before you book.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel *** Thalacap Ile de Re is directly connected to the thalassotherapy institute. It is located 150 meters from the beach and 800 meters from a beautiful village: Ars en Ré. Comfortable room, pool or garden view, with bathroom, hair dryer, television, telephone, safe, wifi free access.The best of this hotel: unlimited access to the Fitness Marin (Sauna, Hammam, swimming pool with heated sea water, relaxation room, aquagym ...). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Thalacap Ile De Re Hotel Ars-En-Re
- Cote Thalasso Ile De Re Ars-En-Re, France