If you were told – ordered, even – to take a Spartan holiday, you might picture a week in a villa right after Ms Marie Kondo had checked out. Or, perhaps you’d imagine an excursion with a little more suffering, more glistening superimposition chroma key torsos, and not just objects but also elderly and infirm people thrown out. And while neither of which would be entirely inaccurate, both interpretations miss the point.
Euphoria is a luxury retreat in Mystras, a small town that served as the final outpost of the Byzantine imperial line, just outside Sparta, itself once a city state to rival Athens in stature. It’s a part of the world where you have to try hard not to trip over a millennia-old ruin – and, in fact, you can use the foundations of what is thought to be King Leonidas I’s summerhouse for part of your TRX (total resistance exercise) training. (King Leonidas is perhaps best-known today as the double-hard monarch played by Mr Gerard Butler in 2006’s 300: proof that you can never be too tough for a summerhouse.) Which is to say that for a thoroughly up-to-date wellness facility, Euphoria has a lot of history to play with – and this is its USP.
The resort is the vision of founder and owner Ms Marina Efraimoglou, a Greek entrepreneur who began her career as an investment banker, but after surviving a particularly aggressive bout of cancer took a decade-long trip around the world picking up healing techniques, only to come full circle and find what she was looking for in the ancient philosophies of her homeland. In our rush to turn to age-old Eastern practises as a means for remedying our social ailments, she argues we’ve overlooked the vast heritage on Europe’s doorstep. And the Greeks, renowned for their thinking and reasoning, also knew a thing or two about wellness.