This holistic wellness retreat in Azerbaijan’s scenic Gabala region is an ideal spot to go for a detox

Chenot’s opulent wellness property in Gabala is just a smooth 5-hour ride away from the airport in Baku.
This holistic wellness retreat in Azerbaijan’s scenic Gabala region is an ideal spot to go for a detox
Yuri Palmin

In this era of heightened focus on conscious living – which includes well-informed choices in food and fashion -- there is a growing preference for hotel experiences that prioritise relaxation and wellness amidst natural surroundings. If projections are anything to go by, then within 2030 the global wellness tourism market is all set to expand to a whopping USD 2.1 trillion. 

According to a worldwide survey, conducted by the World Tourism Association spanning 48 countries and territories, over 24 per cent of holiday makers are highly likely to go for wellness vacations in the next two years with about 78 percent already including wellness-specific activities in their itinerary. Chenot Group, a renowned player in the wellness tourism, is already a step ahead in the luxe wellness sector with its one-of-a-kind property called Chenot Palace Gabala. 

Reception area at Chenot Palace Gabala
Reception area at Chenot Palace GabalaYuri Palmin

A green retreat

We set out for Azerbaijan to experience a 3-day Active Detox Henri Chenot programme at Chenot Palace Gabala nestled amidst the lush green Caucasian Forest overlooking the majestic Nohur Lake.

This exotic country -- which shares its borders with Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran, and is traditionally known for the Inner City in Baku, and the still waters of Caspian Sea – is fast becoming a popular destination for wellness retreats as well. Chenot’s opulent wellness property in Gabala is just a smooth 5-hour ride away from the airport in Baku.

Purely focused on wellness, the retreat offers state-of-the-art facilities amidst pristine natural surroundings for those seeking solace in detoxification. The interiors of this imposing chalet warm up to you with its fuss-free chic décor having a European flair. A walk around the property, sprawling across a whopping 26 hectares of land, gave us a fair idea of this picturesque spot meant for the discerning luxe wellness seekers. With about 72 ritzy rooms and suites, three capacious villas with private spas, and a medical centre spread across 6,000 sq metres, Chenot Palace fuses energy and serenity perfectly.

Our rooms facing the outdoor pool were comfortably smug with extended balconies for a great view of the jade green lake and the mountains beyond.

A room at Chenot Palace Gabala
A room at Chenot Palace GabalaAldo Agnelli

Detox story

After a refreshing bath we went for a quick lunch downstairs, before being led to the overwhelming medical centre for a general checkup. A look around the place gave us an idea how seamlessly they have integrated luxurious amenities, as simple as the swish gymnasium, temperature-controlled indoor and outdoor pools, and the spa area with holistic transformative treatments for individuals. Each programme in Chenot is highly personalised with all the vitals taken care of by a resident expert doctor. Focussed on overall wellness, the programmes comprise a bouquet of bespoke offerings including stress recovery, re-energising, prevention and ageing well and fundamental and advanced detox therapies.

Post a quick chat with the resident doctor and a few rapid tests of the pulse, pressure and weight, we were sent over for bio-energetic check-up to detect weak muscles and tension points in us. Thereafter, a detailed booklet was created for each of us, that held information about our overall health. This book had to be henceforth carried along with us each time we went for the treatments.

Yuri Palmin

Our wellness regimen over the following three days consisted of relaxing series of hydrotherapy comprising hydro-aromatherapy, phyto-mud treatment, Hydro-jet treatment and Chenot energetic massages. The hydro-aromatherapy – a relaxing soak in a king-size tub -- was nothing short of luxe relaxation with colourful lights emitting at regular intervals in tandem with spurts of water jet massaging the tensed muscles with the right pressure. The accompanying transcendental music kept our minds clutter-free and calm all through the hour-long session.

Post the energetic onslaught of water therapy, we were taken away to the adjacent chamber for a full body phyto-mud treatment with four exotic combinations of muds from the Mediterranean shores. The hot and cold muds were smeared all over our bodies before wrapping us up in a cocoon of soft blanket, only to be gently rocked to sleep on a vibrating waterbed. A thorough ablution was followed by an hour-long deep energetic massage involving gentle cupping in problem areas.

Neural treatment
Neural treatmentElmar Mustafazadeh

Move your body

Since the whole trip was about wellness, we had all the time in hand with no hurry to go anywhere. In fact, the entire programme was designed to do away with all the worldly affairs for a while and concentrate on ourselves alone. We kept ourselves busy by signing up for a mix of fitness exercises in the morning including, aqua aerobics, yoga, pilates, and a few weight-training drills led by a coach. A cycle tour around the vast estate during sunset hours brought us even closer to nature.

Vegan food at Chenot Palace Gabala
Vegan food at Chenot Palace Gabala

Diet dilemmas

When it comes to detoxification, a clean diet plays a vital role, and Chenot Palace regards the same with utmost diligence, allowing only 850 calories of intake for a day under the strict supervision of their executive chef Ramiz Bayramov. The bland vegan food shorn of any salt, sugar, spice, or condiments, is enough to turn any gourmand off, but with successive meals and lack of any other options, our palates were reset to appreciate the inherent flavours of the vegan fare.

The diet has been carefully designed to work in synergy with the other medical treatments to support the detoxification, stimulation and reset of the body. A significant amount of scientific research is done to select, process the diet and the unique detox recipes combine a variety of the finest ingredients that have low-density calories, acidity, low temperatures and moisture. Chef Ramiz goes to great lengths to turn each of the dishes tempting to look and besides being super healthy.

Take their Artichokes with sundried tomato pesto and greens, for example. We loved the grilled artichokes alongside a splattering of basil, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, pine nuts and red radish served with sundried tomato pesto made with veg mayonnaise. It was a great dish that barely had around 187 calories. We also loved the filling Barley risotto replete with pea shoots, carrot, celery, leek, zucchini and bell peppers. There are a variety of clean bespoke delicacies one can choose from including buckwheat ravioli, green peas soup, roasted beetroot carpaccio with charred orange, spaghetti with Romanesco and pistachio, and tomato stuffed with eggplant and pumpkin seeds.

To initiate one to healthy eating they also have a culinary workshop with Chef and we had a fun evening conversing with the chef as he rustled up our dinner, explaining each and every ingredient and the methods used. It was an eye-opening session indeed, where we learnt how spices overpower the taste of veggies, and realised how much unrequired salt and sugar we consume daily.

Armed with a battery of doctors, physiotherapist, nutritionist and an expert army of cooks, Chenot Palace Gabala seemed to be an exciting getaway to reset one’s jaded mind and body. Overall, our encounter at the lovely retreat offered a significant glimpse into the holistic wellness holiday experience that Chenot offers at this destination. 

The author was there by invitation from Chenot Palace Gabala.

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