A refreshing change of seasons, as well as a fresh take on destination spas, Brazil’s Kurotel Longevity Medical Center and Spa combines wellness, longevity, and medical services in a weeklong program that can put you on the path to balanced health.
European kur concepts for lifestyle change were brought to this mountain resort in 1982, by Dr. Luis Carlos Silveira and his wife Neusa at a time when spas were sparse in Brazil. They created Kur all-natural skincare products and imported technology for health assessments. Expanded in 2008, Kurotel offers a full-service spa, fitness center, and bathhouse adjoining the original chalet.
Beginning with assessments of your physical and mental condition, a personalized program is prescribed by the medical staff. If weight loss is a goal, have no fear; meals are based on Swiss techniques, offer choices from a menu presented in English or a language of your choice. Fresh produce and eggs from nearby farms, herbs from Kurotel’s kitchen garden, beautifully served on fine china and linen, make every meal a pleasure. And snacks are served in the clinic’s juice bar.
Checking in after a 90-minute drive from Porto Alegre airport, you sense the samba rhythm of life in Gramado. Settled by immigrant Bavarian farmers, the town resembles an Alpine resort with palm trees. Guided walks with Kurotel staffers introduce local attractions, but don’t expect much entertainment except during December when parades and fireworks celebrate the holidays.
Quickly you become part of a small circle devoted to staying well.
Comfort comes with the kur: rustic rooms with marble bath and upscale suites adjoin the gym. Guests are international, many fluent in English, as is the medical staff. Quickly you become part of a small circle devoted to staying well. Each day brings new therapies: 3 Swedish massages, 3 underwater-massage baths, extremities baths for the hands and feet, galvanic bath, and muscle-relaxing fango mud. Advised to de-stress, I had sessions of light therapy with music, and soaked in the mountain-view therapy pool.
But the best therapy is being here. Mountain air, sunshine, outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, and a Kneipp water walk in the garden (Dr. Silveira studied Kneipp nature therapy in Germany). Camaraderie grew as I worked out in the gym, joined aquatics and yoga classes, and after-dinner coffee in the parlor.
A weeklong stay starts at US $4,540 for a single room, and includes:
•Interview with psychologist, nutritionist, physical educator, dermatologist
•Treatments as prescribed
•Customized diet plan
•Three meals daily, plus snacks
•Group exercise daily or personal trainer
Health challenges led spa historian Bernard Burt to Canyon Ranch in Arizona, inspiring his 1986 book "Fodor's Healthy Escapes" for Random House. The co-author of "100 Best Spas of the World" (Globe Pequot), his byline has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Health, Spa Management Journal, and on Examiner.com. Based in Washington, DC, Burt is chairman emeritus of the Washington Spa Alliance and founding director of the International Spa Association.