Hotel spas have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. Since the global pandemic the popularity of medical wellness destinations has risen exponentially. The pandemic-triggered trauma and disconnection has undeniably shaped consumers’ desires, with treatment menus featuring long Covid retreats, restorative sound healing sessions and shared group experiences. Travellers today are seeking out self healing, and holidays have become self investments with the rise in retreat style offerings testament to that.
Wellness consultant and Spa Designer Patrizia Bortolin is one of the pioneering forces within this hospitality space. As the mind and magic behind the multi award-winning Preidlhof Resort Spa in Italy, Patrizia has transformed this wellness destination with a 360 degree wellness makeover. Described as an alchemist by many, Patrizia has created 9 Transformational Healing Retreats with a team of highly experienced bodyworkers, energy healers and wisdom keepers. The hotel resort offers a multitude of holistic spa facilities including a sauna tower and salt water pool, matched with the high energy location within the South Tyrol mountains the magic is tangible.
Poppy Roy sat down with Patrizia to learn more about the evolution of Preidlhof and her own journey of healing and wellbeing.
Patrizia Bortolin by Marina Italy Segreta
With many years working within the travel and entertainment industry, I felt the strong calling for something more meaningful and intimate in my working life. After this, I landed the role of Spa Manager, a new role for Italy at the time. Looking after a large medical spa, it was here that I was able to put my studies and experience in spa management, beauty and HR to full effect.
The introduction of the spiritual actually arrived much later. This came out of one of my most challenging times in my life. During a healing journey that I embarked upon, to overcome personal suffering that added depth and authenticity, it showed me the path for further studies and experiences that still inspire and guide me today.
What do you believe is the most powerful tonic to finding health, vitality and happiness?
The opening of the heart.
Credit: Marina Italy Segreta
I’m constantly seeking new possibilities and experiences. The first pivotal practice which opened the most important doors for me to design my wellness approach, was a Masters in Psychosomatic Naturopathy. And the most important teachings of my life have been the many Vipassana meditation retreats that I have attended in India and Italy.
One attraction for me was the desire to return to and enhance the region of Italy where I was born. What I love about this project is the process of transformation. During this period I was able to truly find the soul of the place, land and people, offering me a sense and direction for the vast offerings. The biggest impact of this was the freedom and responsibility to design and create truly transformational wellness concepts, based on the experience of the retreats.
The saltwater rooftop pool overlooking the Alps
What is your favourite part of Preidlhof?
Where do I begin? The Himalayan salt lounge, the thermal pool or perhaps the views across the green mountains to name a few. But probably I would say the whole Treatment area is where my heart is, this is because of the quality of the people practising there and the frequency generated.
Credit: Irmghard Moosmair leading the forest bathing ceremony
I try to design the healing and wellness Retreats with a multi-generational and multicultural approach, this is present in both the incredible team behind the spa and treatments available. The common ground and focus of this approach is the journey for pleasure, to inspire a more mindful and joyful way of living, with an optimistic approach. We seek to offer soothing help and encourage quality human connections.
Credit: © Nicola Cipriani
The ‘Preidlhof Way’ is a pioneering spa concept created using the latest in neuroscience research, the goal for our team is to help our guests find a balance between the hedonic and eudaemonic for long lasting well being.
As a concept designer I allowed the inspiration to arise naturally from an intuitive place. It is from this place that I began to develop and expand. At Preidlhof, I felt the need to create coherence between opposites, whilst enhancing some exceptional people working within the spa and connecting the vast offerings and healing facilities. This was with the aim to create a method that is beyond life stages and individual stories.
From the moment I joined the team, there has been a complete immersion on the healing journey of the Resort. The work and evolution has helped Preidlhof to emerge transformed, lighter, detoxed and more meaningful. Reborn and ready to offer exactly what contemporary wellness seekers are searching for today, whilst still giving sense and purpose to everyone on the Team.
This rebirth has seen the development of 9 new Transformational Wellness Retreats, newsignature Rituals and treatments, a mindful food philosophy, space and menu design. As well as the very important trauma healing offered on our programmes.
Try to embody a light-hearted, fun and loving air, but I take life and challenges quite seriously. To be present for my team and understand their individual journeys, with the intention to help with positive transformation.
I aim to make the spa an enjoyable place to be for all people around. The key to this is sharing my obsession with the experiential, to journey deeper into the wellness side of life.As a transformational coach working with the hotel and spa guests I also individually work with my team, to seek out their character strengths, adjusting the treatments, supporting additional training and programmes to celebrate their skills and passions. This I believe creates meaningful and reliable working places and transformative experiences for all.
Trauma healing is the number one. Every guest brings a different life story, which is often the hidden cause for such symptoms as insomnia, anxiety, lack of self confidence, fear and unhappiness. The trauma healing sessions are key in such Retreats as Menopause, SleepBetter, Integrated Healing and also Energy & Healing x 2. We also see that many peoplebook a healing Retreat with us due to loneliness and the desire to search for meaning in their life.
I’m very interested in food as a tool for healing. It is true that food is the best medicine and can prevent and treat many conditions and also a way to add mindfulness and even spirituality to daily life; my biggest teacher in my journey with food has been an Indian nun,named Arati.
I love to express my creativity through food and cooking. One day I would love to become a vegetarian wellness cook serving nutritious and vibrant foods to a spiritual community, butfor now I’m Ambassador of the World Food Travel Association. The Italian way with food is a celebrative and joyful approach to eating. Something unmissable and an integral part of thebeneficial eating traditions we need to rediscover, this is really nothing new to invent. I’d like to help introduce more simplicity and essentiality in hospitality eating experiences.
Many treatments on the retreats are inspired by synaesthesia. With the body and the sensorial experience key to the experiences, how do you tailor each guest’s stay?
The creative sessions and Retreats I’m designing for our guests act as keys to everyone’s inner journey, we make sensorial training a dance to enchant. By creating and experiencing unique responses guests are exposed to new possibilities turning on a lightbulb for many.With this in mind, the Team members are also selected and trained for their specific ability to share experiences and make them authentic or joyful.
Glowing Flow (Wellness Specialists) is the name of my new Wellness Consultancy, as well as, the name of one of Preidlhof’s Transformational healing Retreats, which I co-created with holistic trauma Healer Stefano Battaglia.
The ultimate goal of our approach to Wellness in Retreats is to help our guests find their Glowing Flow. This being the feeling immersed in a constant flow of love, progression and joy that is unique for each one of us and feels like being really natural, spontaneous and filled with stardust, whatever happens. It is the synchronicity, the spontaneity, the zest and for me it is an approach to life, work and relationships.
Stefano Bataglia in a Glowing Flow Session
To cultivate enthusiasm for for self-discovery and the world around you. To be surrounded by optimistic and loving people. Take care for the quality of the food you eat, staying loose and tolerant with others. Meditate regularly and walk in nature, integrate natural remedies and complementary medicine to heal and stay healthy. Reduce digital life and invest in experiences rather than things.
And finally, not going where the wind blows, but embodying the storm if necessary.