In Review

Lanserhof Tegernsee: retreat to move forward

Back to basics at this famed wellness retreat in the Bavarian Alps

The goal: To ‘reawaken’ the body’s self- healing powers – the Lanserhof schlagworte (buzzwords) are ‘prevention’ and ‘regeneration’ governed by a healthy gut.

In brief: The king of results-driven retreats, Lanserhof began life in Austria in 1984 when the small Lans Hotel, set on the medieval Old Salt Road, was refashioned as an innovative sanctuary. In 2012, a specialist day clinic opened in Hamburg, followed by this outpost in Tegernsee, the Bavarian Alps, in 2014.

Unifying them all is the award-winning Lans Med Concept. Developed and researched for more than 30 years, Lanserhof’s health plans combine the philosophy of 20th-century Austrian physician and scientist FX Mayr with modern medicine, naturopathy and alternative treatments. Meticulously detailed bespoke treatment plans and a set-up that is famously discreet make it a favourite of business magnates, politicians and socialites. Earlier this year, Victoria Beckham was seen on a Lanserhof bike, taking in the bucolic views around the 9km2 Lake Tegernsee.

The place: Not a hint of bleak sanatorium here. Instead, Lanserhof Tegernsee is a sprawling, luxurious sanctuary, set in a stunning location with elegantly sparse interiors and breathtaking architecture. When drafting Lanserhof ’s blueprint, Düsseldorf’s Ingenhoven Architects envisioned the 21,000m2 retreat to frame a central patio, inspired by monastery cloisters. All 70 rooms feature sizeable private balconies looking out onto rolling green hills, and forests, and the site’s dramatic heated outdoor pool – filled with water with the same saline content as the ocean – would not be out of place in a Helmut Newton photo.

The lowdown

A fleet of private chauffeured cars wait outside Munich Airport to whisks guests to nearby Lanserhof, winding through green forests and past farmland, the snow-capped Bavarian Alps always within sight. On arrival, visitors are given a meticulous medical check-up where readings of total body water, skeletal muscle mass and somatic cells are taken and a personal health schedule and detox diet plan are provided.

At the heart of the Lans Med Concept sits the FX Mayr detox: identifying the gut as the body’s central root system, the concept aims for detoxification and de-acidification of the body by giving the gastrointestinal tract a break from everyday life. With less energy needed for digestion, the body can start to heal itself. Numbered meal plans – or cure steps – include the Spartan tea-fast and the 700-800 calories 1:1 menu, which comprises a glass of milk or yoghurt of choice (sheep, goat and soy are all on offer) for breakfast and lunch, followed by a bowl of alkaline mixed-vegetable soup for supper.

Each meal is accompanied by a measured portion of plain dietary bread, which serves as a training tool for considerate chewing. In accordance with the belief that digestion starts in the mouth, each mouthful of bread is to be chewed at least 30 times. Tea is quite literally on tap: herbal brews made from local ingredients such as birch leaves, silverweed and lavender are dispensed from metal spouts set into the wall. In between meals, toxins – now freed from internal blockages – are removed from the body in saunas and steam rooms.

Vigorous treatments include regular abdominal massages, electrolysis foot baths and a lymph detox pack, where skin is slathered in a potent algae concoction, which is then activated with micro-molecular steam blasted into a small tent- like construction that sits over the body. Then there’s the daily changing programme of exercise classes –yoga, Zumba and Pilates included – and outdoor activities. I quickly fall into a daily routine beginning with morning group exercises en plein air – lunges and stretches to a soundtrack of birdsong and cowbells – followed by Nordic hikes past wild meadows, and herbal tea with fellow guests in the evening.

2014007 Lanserhof

2014007 Lanserhof

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The philosophy here is simple, and appears easily translatable to my everyday life. First, ‘no raw after four’ – uncooked foods, including salads and crudités, are harder to digest; night-time is the right time for rest and the body’s healing processes. Second, take your time and chew – patient chewing (30-40 times per mouthful) eases demands on the digestive system. Third, drink responsibly – plenty of water and herbal tea, but not during meals.

Does it work?

Days at Lanserhof Tegernsee start and end with views of forests, green hills and the Alps in the distance, and the cloistered set-up does make you hit pause and focus on your wellbeing. I acclimatise quickly to my new regime, which seems to work wonders. By day seven, I have lost weight, gained energy and feel thoroughly rested. I leave a devotee of FX Mayr’s rules. Chew, chew, chew...

A seven-night stay at Lanserhof Tegernsee starts from €5,215, which includes the Lans Med Basic Package and single occupancy in a double bedroom (lanserhof.com/en). Or Healing Holidays can arrangea seven-night Lans Med Basic programme from £4,133 pp sharing, including flights, transfers and full-board (healingholidays.com; 020 8131 6868). A London Lanserhof pied-à-terre is set to open this yearat Mayfair’s The Arts Club

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