Spring detox at Chenot Palace on splendid Swiss lake
Chenot Palace Weggis is the first wellness outpost in Switzerland of for over five decades-established health retreat founded by the late Henri Chenot. From the General Hospital in Cannes the Chenot Method® luxuriously upgraded at the Palace Merano in Northern Italy where global athletes and celebrities communed over their wellbeing. Since then Athens, Krete, Monte Negro, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and further collaborating fine hotels in Italy adopted his eastern – though millennia tested experience – meets western science approach to physical and mental health restoration.
Chenot Palace in Weggis, a Swiss village under the foot of the spiritually and wellness oriented Mount Rigi, nests on the shores of the Vierwaldstadter lake near Luzern (perhaps for international simplicity known in this part as Lake Lucerne). Mark Twain, an avid traveler, was particularly fond of this area. Conveniently, in the German speaking part of Switzerland, just under an hour ride from central Zurich, a train and taxi hop from the city of Luzern (about there hours from Geneva), and about 80 minutes from the Zurich international airport, you are transported into a calm zone in this stunning natural setting. All the staff speaks fluent English. Italian, Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek or French are also widely spoken by the staff coming from all over Europe.
Now, time for myself is the most precious mental activity as well as joy that can reset the body into equilibrium. A walk in solitude, a swim in open water, an afternoon with a great book, a trip away from it all. More profoundly, signing up for a yoga retreat or a rejuvenating spa cure will shine the gems of our being. When a higher awareness of who I am and what I need and want to do unveil themselves like a lustrous lake in a receding morning mist, I feel complete and the body shows.
The longer golden sun hours, grass sprouting in verdant carpets of energy, birds in frolicking songs and budding trees, all nature in a seasonal unison announces that for us indulgent humans it is time for a spring detox. The lent period introduces warmer weather, and as nature awakens from winter rest, the couch-bound body calls for a reset in such an energising environment.
The Chenot Method® of detoxification incorporates millennia old eastern methods such as TCM system of meridians, European hydro therapy, with the newest nutritional and technology-based science to reset both, the overworked body and the mind. You need to dedicate time for this reset and the Chenot Palace requires a minimum stay of seven nights. While the paths of your meridians are cleaned through energetic treatments, your cellulite melts away with each aromatherapeutic bath, signature mud wrap and jet shower, an additional water exercise in the pool strengthens, and any water stuck in specific accumulation areas is cleared away through lymphatic pathways. I also recommend adding a lymphatic facial that will redefine your contours within an hour. So much water is retained in our chin, under the eyes and the sides of your face. The suction cups effectively channel out this undesired accumulation.
The Chenot Palace in Weggis was opened in 2020. In Covid years, not as strictly lockdown in Switzerland, most staff from other Chenot locations such as in Greece and Italy moved here, which means they have plenty of expertise in practicing the method. Completely renovated indoors, the two contemporary and two old Swiss style buildings with spiky tourettes were accompanied by an extensive spa and medical area. Japanese style gardens are a treat for the eyes even in winter as the giant bonsais gracefully welcome you at the entrance and the waiting lounge in the medical wing.
On bad weather days the cosy library and fire place lounge treat you with non-alcoholic cocktails, most guest favourite is the Italian spritz (made with Lyre, low calorie tonic, sparkling water and dried orange) and Chenot herbal tisanes. The view on the lake lures you in even on a sunny day.
Petit Palace is the oldest building close to the scarcely by traffic frequented lake rim road. The new wing above the reception can offer some partial lake views, but mostly face the town and the Mount Rigi. These new are larger rooms though, more popular seems the new wing above the spa closer to the town but has closer lake and Weggis views with some interfering trees. The highest floor definitely offers most open views reaching towards the glacier Alps. My room was on the fifth floor in the old larger building practically above the restaurant (I like it since it was further from the road and has vast open lake views). A comfortable sofa, desk, great materials and bed quality, a wide choice from pillow menu will increase comfort. There is enough room for your private yoga or stretching practice. A bluetooth speaker to use for my preferred music library on my phone or laptop comforted my resting time.
Top floors only have single rooms like this which I prefer. Contemporary, comfortable and luxurious naturally hued interior design same for all rooms, doubles have extra chair by the table, otherwise smaller in the old buildings. In the minibar all you find is an assortment of waters. The high altitude Swiss Valser water is replenished daily complimentary, but you also have it available in the waiting lounges. The new building rooms have larger bathrooms and the rooms in same category but the views are interrupted by other buildings as it’s at the back behind the old buildings. Tasteful art graces the walls all over the Palace.
Detox plant-based, hypo-caloric menu at Chenot Palace
The diet at Chenot Palace in Weggis is very strict, but mostly very tasty. The plant-based daily menu comes daily in seven plates. The fasting-mimicking, fibre-rich, whole foods Chenot diet is based on seasonal vegetables and little fruits in breakfast and lunch, when possible grown locally. A tiny fruit-centric breakfast with herbal infusion or caffeine-free coffee alternative like roasted chicory root (can be with plant milk whipped into a macchiato or a cappuccino which are very popular) start you without physically breaking the fast yet. Simple fruit salad or an apple, pear or strawberry purée topped with berries, a coconut milk flan with berries, stewed apple, topped with fresh whole berries and physalis.
You can have barley coffee alternative if gluten is no concern to you (less strong but less coffee taste than the chicory). Almond milk is recommended but tastiest is oat (my favourite Oatly isn’t allowed because of some additives during processing). Soy also available. That non-caffeine coffee comes with optional cinnamon to dust over. No caffeine is best for detox as no stimulation and rest is better during detoxing.
The low-density calories, high water content diet is in synergy with the daily treatments. It is minimally processed, alkaline-leaning concoction of seasonal ingredients of highest quality, even truffles and saffron pop up on your plate. The local sourcing is unfortunately limiting the chef’s expression. While most dishes are sublime, one simply cannot rely on the Swiss terroir and shortness of sunshine seasons. The presentation is of a fine dining restaurant.
Lunch is raw mainly, while dinner is gently cooked trio of a small vegetable starter, a wholesome plant-based soup and a tasty, usually vegetable-centric main course.
Gentle use of spices and herbs to compensate taste for low sodium and low protein diet. Taste-wise I didn’t miss the salt in most dishes. An additional trio set of cumin, curry, red cayenne (not very spicy) pepper can be added to your three course lunch. I had salt because of my low blood pressure. At dinner a herb of the day (rosemary, thyme) is served with the middle course of warm vegetable puréed soup. Once we had fresh black truffle shaved atop the Jerusalem artichoke cream. All soups with the additional herbs, mushrooms or cooked veggies toppings were great.
If you wake up hungry and cannot sleep, ask for thermos with a fragrant hot broth. I love the more intense mushroom over the ginger and lemongrass option, but some days it’s brewed weaker and then I prefer the later. They alternate each day on the communal tea and water counter from 2pm onwards.
Savvy in using lightening methods such as nut-based mousse with less calories than the firm nut. The diet is low protein because building is the opposite of detox for the body so plant-based carbs and fat consist most of the food. , the chef will have cookbook also in English out this summer.
My favourite plates were:
Coconut cream with berries and chia pudding
Almond pudding, mandarin coulis, lemongrass
Hazelnut plant ‘cheese’ stuffed zucchini flower with vanilla coulis
Vegan egg beetroot tartare
Celery root cream soup
Black truffle topped green cabbage and shallot cream soup
Food is mostly delightful with some exceptions such as too dry pasta (spelt or can rice tagliatelle for GF with tiny bit of pumpkin sauce, plus hazelnuts) needed some oil or more moisture. The rice tagliatelle with pumpkin sauce and hazelnuts that were too dry, and the mushy texture of sweet potato cubes with green peas (called Dodo after a game on the menu) was not for me and the next table over was not hot about it either. Also the wonton pasta were too stiff to cut and I didn’t like the béchamel. Considering that one consumes seven plates each day that’s a talent speaking through his overall achievement.
The Sicilian chef dares to combine unseeable ingredients like raspberry powder over zucchini velouté. He worked at a vegan restaurant before. The challenge is heightened by using seasonal, most local vegetables and not fermentation. I was told that the best season for ingredients here is spring from April-July.
Most advanced diagnostic, performance and wellness equipment for holistic health at Chenot Palace Weggis
You are meant to rest, not build muscle and strength because the detox diet contains minimum proteins. A full medical staff is to assist you, and two doctor appointments are scheduled in each program and so is a consultation with a certified nutritionist. Hydro therapy, mud wraps (different for body parts, mint fresh along the inner arms and tights) and jet shower are included in all programs for the first seven days.
The optional Cryo (-110°C!) this current trend is not for me. I noticed that particularly the male guests fancied freezing in the enclosed well below freezing cabins. You noticed them wearing warm hats while in their bath robes at lunch. Yet, for someone with low blood pressure and many other health conditions, this shock Wimhof method can be dangerous. I much preferred the inflammation and pain reducing photo-biomodulation under red warm led lights emitting specific light wavelengths.
My cardiovascular health was assessed and arteries were inspected for functionality. The report showed my arteries in the shape of a decade younger person. I was elated, but the doctor cautioned my joy since this is just compared to an average person. Please!
Bone density and the thickness of skin and the distribution of collagen in the tissue was measured. Also your fat versus muscle ratios can be seen form the scan.
You get your heavy metals (where have I collected that aluminium into my body?), minerals and vitamins checked. Some deficiencies can be acutely addressed by vitamin infusions administered by friendly, experienced nurses (Nora is a favourite). Your energetic balance is inspected, which may cue to existing health issues not just physically but also emotionally. This energetic test has impressively reflected my current health imbalances and retesting after the week most of my organs and glands were back in equilibrium.
Nu Calm neuroscience applying technology relaxes you as deep as a profound meditation or your best night’s sleep. It is not just noise-cancelling headphones with covered eyes in reclined setting, the sound you will hear does more than any YouTube alpha wave stream.
Technical equipment as well as the attractive natural location lakeside with vast snow-capped mountain views attracted me the most about Chenot Palace. Perhaps also the reasons Roger Federer drove over, a short drive from his Zurich lake residence, to test the methods of performance improvement available on site. The Neurac® Norwegian method for musculoskeletal pain directed by an excellent, eloquent physiotherapist Julia or an osteopath was revelatory for my old injury causing chronic pain. Whether from an injury or incorrect training, weaknesses and imbalances between muscles are corrected with the aid of the suspension slings manipulated by the therapist.
Fitness altitude room within the gym. The hypoxic conditions force your heart work harder and the oxygen is more efficiently distributed, so when you exercise back in normal altitude it feels easier. There you also find a weightless training treadmill and Vacu-therm treadmill for fat-burning walks under infrared rays that also help to reduce cellulite.
Find what you need: detox with recovery, rest or improved performance
At Chenot Palace Weggis three signature programmes, each with a goal – from the basic Advanced Detox, Recover & Energise, to Prevention & Ageing Well – offer some targeted results. I recommend the basic program so you have spare time to add water the doctor and the friendly therapists additionally recommend. It becomes more targeted to your needs.
Gentle walks, complimentary morning group stretching classes and aqua gym are the most suitable accompaniments to intense detox. While incredible hikes surround you, do not force, since every week someone faints just after the bath and wrap. The lake facing swimming pool is ideal for laps, it is comfortably warm because during intense detox the body temperature drops.
There are two 90 degrees Finnish saunas, one separate for ladies, and a steam room. I missed the more gentle bio sauna because during detox one should not expose oneself to extremes, so mind these facilities.
Overall I cannot more agree with Chenot’s retreat’s mission: “Wellbeing seeing as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease. They are for people who come with the intention and purpose to reset or looking to make a serious long term change to their lifestyles.“