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In the heart of the Peloponnese, just a 2.5-hour drive from Athens, Euphoria Retreat is a holistic-wellbeing destination spa that seamlessly blends cutting-edge science with ancient wisdom. It is also the expression of one woman’s personal story of transformation — thoughtfully conceived after years of research and planning as a space where others may experience healing and growth.
The location alone is magical: situated in the foothills of soaring Mount Taygetus, Euphoria overlooks a river valley carpeted with citrus and olive groves and is surrounded by nearly 20 acres of private forests, for walking, hiking and meditation. When Athens-born Marina Efraimoglou, Euphoria’s owner and founder, first fell in love with the setting in 2007, it had been largely abandoned, though a 19th-century villa at the heart of the property remains, painstakingly restored to showcase the off the region’s rich Byzantine history. A former successful banker and cancer survivor, Efraimoglou traveled around the world to learn about different approaches to wellness, alternative medicine and ancient practices before returning to her native Greece and creating Euphoria, which opened in 2018.
Composed of 45 rooms and suites, a state-of-the-art, four-story spa and fitness facility, as well as a restaurant, the property overlooks the village of Mystras, the last significant stronghold of the Byzantine Empire and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Taking inspiration from this fabled past, the design showcases a striking interpretation on classical Byzantium, with colors that are characteristic of the region’s rich iconography.
Interiors are understated and harmonious, with blond-wood floors, warm lighting and lots of spaces from which to take in the stunning views (many rooms come with private balconies, terraces or patios. Spacious bathrooms feature deliciously scented beauty products, adapted from ancient Greek recipes and combining healing herbs and aromatherapy. There’s also the latest technology – including subtle lighting, bio-climatization, under-floor heating and home automation systems. Everything feels in sync with Euphoria’s overall Zen vibe: details have clearly been designed to invite a thoughtful slowing down.
The pièce-de-résistance is the four-story spa, which blends Greek and Eastern philosophies in a state-of-the-art space inspired by ancient hammams and Turkish bathhouses. In its center, a spiral staircase leads from a glowing moon at the bottom of the pool to a circular skylight more than eighty feet above. Many guests have described the cocooning effects of this circular architecture.
Ambitious and comprehensive, Euphoria offers everything from multi-week retreats to massage therapies, signature bodywork and holistic healing. A day might include acupuncture and watsu, five elements meditation and energy treatments, and a lymphatic massage and challenging yoga class.
The programs (all curated by Efraimoglou) adopt a holistic approach to health to help restore physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance. They feature a host of influences, from Greek philosophers and Hippocratic healing to Taoist philosophy and Chinese medicine, but are customized around individual needs, which may include weight loss, fitness, immunity, or mental perseverance, and the team here includes doctors, mentors, nutritionists, therapists and fitness gurus. In short, each Euphoria journey is personal. While ancient knowledge and alternative medicine play a big role, there’s also the latest in scientific innovation. Meal plans, for instance, are crafted using a patented “3GL Plus” therapy. Measuring the most important nutritional and metabolic markers, it allows the team to tailor a well-balanced menu for each guest that is immediately beneficial.
Central to any stay at Euphoria is the food—the approach here is personalized and never about deprivation, and each guest eats differently according to their individual needs. With gorgeous views, the property’s restaurant, Gaia, focuses menus on locally and seasonally driven fare. Guests might start the day with homemade granola with thyme honey and creamy Greek yogurt, snack on smoothies and fresh fruit, break for lunch with soups and salads, and end the day with super light fish and meat dishes, all of which are packed with fragrant herbs, antioxidant spices and essential nutrients.
With its single-minded focus on enabling and powering healthy personal transformations, Euphoria is a true place of healing and transformation, and its effects are felt long after guests return home. This award-winning place truly lives up to its name in all ways: in Greek, the word euphoria means the state of well-being, balancing body, mind and soul, resulting in happiness.