Perched along the Tagus River lies one of Lisbon’s most stylish spots: Altis Belém Hotel & Spa, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection. Altis Belém is often celebrated for its sprawling terrace, which faces the iconic 25th of April Bridge and the city’s shimmering river. This five-star hotel has transformed the local marina into a place to wine and dine, see and be seen – and also to indulge at the lavish BSpa by Karin Herzog.
I walk through the hotel’s lacquered black lobby, past guests mingling over flutes of champagne. It’s a sunshine-filled afternoon and light streams into the space, but I’m headed underground through a black floor-to-ceiling door that acts as a portal to an urban oasis. A secret club? Not quite – though I soon discover that BSpa by Karin Herzog is a club I would instantly join if I could.
As I descend the stairs, I’m met by a team of lovely ladies who greet with a smile and an “olá!”. The B Alive Ritual, they explain (in flawless English), is ideal to dissolve and reduce stress build up. The deep-tissue massage will renew my body with all the energy and strength bestowed by Mother Nature.
I’m handed a cosy white robe and slippers to change into, but first I’m granted full access to the Thermo gardens, a playground for spa-loving adults. Featuring an indoor sundeck and swimming pool with cascading massage waterfalls lit by rays of sun pouring in from above, I could spend the day lounging poolside on a chaise longue, sipping fruit-infused ice water and nibbling on chilled apples, but a marble-clad sauna and Turkish bath calls. I sample their delights, rinsing under showers in-between, before heading to my massage treatment.
The B Alive treatment features the use of bamboo sticks and rose oil to release muscle pressure points, ensuring a quick physical recovery and an immediate sensation of relief and well-being. After lying down in a room gently lit by fragrant candles, I give in to a five-minute, hands-on massage before my masseuse introduces the warm bamboo sticks onto my back – an unusual prop that delivers spectacular results.
As she rolls the wooden branches up and down, my shoulders begin to sink and tension vanishes from my lower back for the first time in weeks. The rose-oil aroma helps to induce relaxation and I’m as mellow as can be, wondering: What is the definition of being alive? If it’s spending the day lying languidly with a warm-and-fuzzy feeling, I’ll take it.
Along with B Alive, there’s a ritual for everyone at BSpa by Karin Herzog, a concept originating from Switzerland: B Energised focuses on neuromuscular and digital-pressure techniques to kick-start enthusiasm and creativity; B Balanced uses aromatherapy with foot reflexology to access chakras and elicit a sense of Zen; there’s even B in Love, for couples, because there’s nothing better than relaxing with your better half.
Some 55 minutes later, post-bamboo and rose-oil magic, I’m completely satisfied leaving the spa. It’s difficult to part with my beloved Thermo gardens, but I’m buzzing and ready for another day of exploring Lisbon. I step out into the sunshine towards the gleaming river, feeling grateful to B Alive.
The important bit