Detox diaries at Chenot Palace Weggis
Perched on the mild shores of Lake Lucerne 45 minutes from Zurich Airport, the majestic property offers sweeping Alpine views of Mt. Rigi and Mt. Pilatus.
Chenot’s highly coveted wellness programmes are curated around its signature Chenot Method, administered by a team of specialised medical and hospitality professionals. Guests at Chenot Palace Weggis must choose between three week-long programmes, each a veritable gateway to achieve one’s peak potential.
My weeklong experience is based on the award-winning Advanced Detox programme but Chenot Palace Weggis also offers the Recover & Energise programme for stress-weary clients, and Prevention & Ageing Well programme, aimed to strengthen the body and boost its resilience.
The personalised check-in begins in a tastefully designed private alcove right by the entrance. The hostess welcomes me with a delicious shot of blueberry and declares that my seven-night, six-day Advanced Detox programme at Chenot Palace Weggis has begun.
The check-in formalities are like you would expect from any superior five-star hotel, except, she also hands me a beige planner to carry with me to all my consultations. This portfolio is a common reference point for all consultants and therapists, a way for them to communicate my personalised treatment with each other and to document my progress.
Next, we download the Chenot app on my phone, which has an itinerary for the stay.
I head to my Double Deluxe Room, which is spacious, airy and has a balcony overlooking Lake Lucerne and the Alps. Two perfectly fitting bathrobes and footwear are provided, thanks to measurements requested during the booking process.
Today is agenda-free on the calendar so I spend it exploring the grounds of the 20,000 sqm wellness retreat and its immediate surroundings. The lakeside property houses a beautifully refurbished Belle Epoque building from 1875, with a much larger modern new building (made of wood) and a secluded private beach.
The consultation, diagnostics and treatment rooms are all located on the ground level of the modern building - the medical, human performance, hydrotherapy, aesthetic, medical aesthetic and sports and fitness departments, a mega spa designed over of 5,000 square metres.
The Belle Epoque building with direct and unhindered views of Lake Lucerne is home to an ornate library, a Tea Lounge that serves Chenot’s range of efficient and delicious cold and hot teas, the conference room where inhouse experts share riveting talks twice a week for all to join. Most importantly, this is where the food is served. Depending on the weather, meals are served in a grand salon with lake views or outside on a large terrace by the lake.
The facilities include 97 rooms and suites of different configurations, a 21-metre indoor pool, steam and sauna chambers, a cosy zen garden and a gym of Olympic standards. The private beach has paddleboarding and lounges for sunworshippers. E-bikes available to explore the quaint lakeside town of Weggis.
My first meal at Chenot Palace Weggis is a beautifully arranged three-course dinner on the lake terrace. There’s Harumaki, a roasted vegetable bisque and a zucchini patty for dinner followed by a relaxing herbal tea.
It is a good first day, but the programme only starts tomorrow.
A quick look at the Chenot app reveals I have a packed agenda for the day and the rest of the week. Having already done my sightseeing in Zurich, Lucerne and nearby Mount Rigi, I am totally dedicated to detoxing this week.
I must first deal with the dress code for the week: Chenot-branded bathrobes and slippers, unless otherwise specified. Leaving the room in a bathrobe (snug and comfortable it may be) has to be one of the more difficult (if hilarious) challenges that I have to overcome on Day 1.
I soon realise that the dress code is born out of convenience for guests as they proceed with their diagnostics and treatments one after the other. There’s also another more subtle role: dressed in beige robes, all guests are united in their journey to wellbeing.
Breakfast is half a fruit and some herbal tea, but I don’t mind because dinner was a three-course meal and, I hope, lunch would be too.
My first consultation at Chenot Palace Weggis is with the inhouse nutrition specialist Dr Felicia Gaitanos. The 30-minute session starts with her gathering information about my food preferences, habits and concerns. She is empathetic when I reveal my indulgent lifestyle and takes notes of my allergies. She then explains the Chenot Diet briefly: 850 calories per day of clean, plant-based meals to stimulate the fasting mechanisms in the body. The food will have no salt and no coffee will be served on property.
She understands my nervousness around food deprivation and recommends I pour myself as many mugs of the freely available mushroom and lemongrass broth as I like.
Next up is a 30-minute medical consultation with Dr Ardian Hana. He, too, is very knowledgeable, affable, and inspirational, and makes a list of diagnostics and treatments I must experience over the week. He can crack a joke in 14 languages, making clients immediately feel at ease.
I have some lifestyle-related pre-conditions so some treatments are out of my reach. These include cryotherapy (where you are exposed to -110 degrees for 3 minutes) and the youth-mimicking, anti-gravity treadmill (where you exercise in a somewhat weightless environment thus benefiting from a vigorous workout without putting undue stress on your joints).
I head for the Chenot Lifestyle Biomarkers and Stress Test HRV Training: between these specialised tests, the doctors try to get a clearer picture of the effects of lifestyle to determine my wellness score, so to speak.
The mainstay of the programme is a 20-minute hydro-aromatherapy treatment, where we soak in a hot bath with tailormade essences. This is followed by 20 minutes of mineral-rich phyto-mud application, which is then washed down by hydrojet. The hosing down along the body’s energy meridians for the purposes of detoxification can be painful initially but it prepares the body for the soothing massage that will follow. The massage uses prescribed essences on the body’s energy meridians freeing up the qi.
This is the core treatment of the Advanced Detox at Chenot Palace Weggis and will take place on each of the six days.
The result: I am already looking fresher and feeling fabulous on Day 1 itself. I am also gloriously hungry and dinner does not disappoint.
Today I have the first session with my energy doctor Dr Stylianos Portalios. The consultation begins with diagnostics: I am to hold a pair of small metal cylinders for a few minutes while Resonance Analysis Technology screens my body’s vital functions. It provides my doctor information about the energetic state of my internal organs and body functions. In combination with my requirements and with my feedback, the doctor prescribes the course of treatment in my diary to guide the therapists.
This is followed by about 30 minutes of acupuncture and I feel relaxed throughout the process.
It’s just day 2, but I already feel like a Chenot native, hopping around different treatment rooms.
I try several cutting-edge diagnostics and treatments today: Intermittent Hypoxy/Hyperoxy, Whole-body Photo-bio-modulation, ZField Dual Abdomen and Intermittent Vacuum therapy. Meanwhile, hunger is slowly building up in the background.
Body composition analysis gives me a true representation of the amount of fat I carry around every day. Apart from fat and muscle mass, this test also measures bone composition, helping monitor health, weight and fitness goals.
Dr Hana also prescribes a postural and movement analysis because I had complained about a nagging backache. After a thorough check up, my therapist points out the problems in my posture and how I can fix them with simple exercises. It is surprising that my lower back ache that’s been bothering me for months is greatly reduced after one 30-minute session with the postural and movement therapist.
Dinner is a satisfying affair. I note that while I am hungry, it’s not impossible to survive on 850 calories a day. I can do this.
I can’t do this!
I am cranky and hungry at breakfast (I need a large portion of pancakes, stat). Everyone in the retreat is eating the same quantity of food, taking in the same amount of calories. There is some comfort in that.
I have been committed to a life of sedentary work and careless food choices, and now it’s time to clean up my act.
It is not uncommon for people to completely reset their lives after a visit to Chenot, build positive habits, set realistic goals and march along the path of wellbeing.
Today, I am the first person to march towards lunch: a three-course meal under the bright Weggis sun. Hummus with lentil crisps, a Lolo Biondo salad and brown rice paella, followed by liquorice and fennel tea. All the meals are delicious and well presented, an experience in themselves.
The trick, I am told, is to stretch mealtimes to 20 minutes because that is when the brain registers that the body is being fed. Look at your mobile screen during meals and you lose track of just how much you are scarfing down.
Throughout the day I find myself first discreetly lining up for mugs of the free-flowing steaming hot broth. The fasting effect is kicking in full force today.
The daily routine feels like a good distraction: immersing in the comforting hydrotherapy bath, followed by enriching mudpacks, being hosed down by waterjets and finally an invigorating massage.
My therapist says I already look slimmer. I just laugh it off and have extra broth after dinner.
I go to sleep dreaming of cheesecake, which is not even my favourite dessert.
The next morning is not so bad. While the hunger hasn’t magically evaporated, it’s not taking up as much of my mind space as it did yesterday. I am all smiles because at breakfast, I am spoiled with an iced barley coffee latte with almond milk.
Today’s highlight is the second of three medical consultations with Dr Hana to gauge my progress and advise me on future course of action based on all the results and diagnoses.
A new treatment I try today is Lymphastim, which aids in shaping cellulite and reducing swelling in the body, following Pressotherapy principles.
I wonder if these treatments will do me any good if not used consistently and over a longer period of time. “Nothing ever goes to waste,” my therapist soothes me, imparting centuries of wisdom with a few words.
Another, more intense round of Intermittent Hypoxy/Hyperoxy treatment follows today. This time, the oxygen levels are the amped up to simulate the conditions at 4,000 metres above sea level and I still do great.
The whole-body photo-bio-modulation treatment is my feel-good treatment of the week – I feel radiant and stress free every time try it.
Next up is the Chenot Facial Drainage Treatment, which really seems to have reduced the puffiness on my face and enhanced my features.
I am now on the second last day of the Advanced Detox treatment and I feel lighter. A quick check on the weighing scale reveals 2.5 kgs of weight loss.
In order to aid people in their wellness journey, Chenot Palace Weggis has recently introduced some onsite activities such as Meet & Greet Mondays, where guests have an opportunity to hobnob with each other and the property’s general management over healthy snacks and flavourful drinks.
Two invaluable expert talks – focusing on mental health and nutrition – are available weekly and not to be missed. Apart from this, guests can choose between the aquagym, stretching and yoga group classes throughout the week free of cost. There’s also one weekly cooking class offered at an added fee, should you wish to unravel the secrets of the Chenot Diet.
My last nutritional consultation is an in-depth analysis of my optimised diet and lifestyle going forward. It is personalised, taking note of my allergies, preferences and underlying conditions.
I learn that some of the age-old interventions still hold true. For example, eating at the same time every day, eating at regular meals, focusing on chewing your food without being distracted by screens of any size while you eat.
My second Chenot bio-energetic acupuncture treatment, also my last, is an overwhelming experience, not for the pain but for the relief. This time the acupuncture points were a little different, more points on the ears: this is known as Auricular Acupuncture, and its main objective is to relieves stress.
The third and final medical consultation is also an eye opener. My doctor tells me that on average everyone leaves the Advance Detox programme losing about 3 kilograms of weight, 2 of which are water and the remaining is fat.
Chenot Palace Weggis is not a weight-loss clinic, but this is a rather favourable outcome of the detox programme.
I treat myself to one last session of whole-body photo bio modulation, soaking up all the energy I can from the light rays, ready to face the world.
For those on a journey to self-improvement or looking to embark on such a journey, Chenot Palace Weggis will aid you along your path or jumpstart your batteries for you.
No two treatments are the same and this is because The Chenot Method thrives on personalisation.
How much you take out of the experience and apply to your life post Chenot, however, is entirely dependent on your will and motivation.A seven-night minimum stay at Chenot Palace Weggis, including one of the extensive Chenot wellness programmes, starts from CHF 8,030 ($8,363) per person.
The Advance Detox treatment has a lot of beneficial inclusions, but the doctor may recommend some great add-on diagnostics and treatments, depending on the client’s preference. Some of these are:
Intermittent Vacuum Therapy, a technology used by NASA to prepare astronauts, but in Chenot it is used to improve blood circulation and lymphatic reflux in guests.
Intermittent Hypoxy/Hyperoxy Treatment improves metabolism by alternating reduced oxygen concentration levels and ambient air.
Whole-body Photo-bio-modulation Treatment requires lying face up inside what looks like a tanning bed. This treatment melts away stress, relieves pain, jetlag and inflammation. The science: the body is exposed to specific light wavelengths to deliver energy into the cells and thus promote cellular metabolism. The skin feels radiant and tighter after just 30 minutes of treatment.
ZField Dual – Abdomen: a belt is tied around the abdomen and electromagnetic impulses are sent into the muscle cells to generate thousands of muscle contractions that tone and build muscles. It’s a painless procedure aimed at toning the flab.
Neuro-Acoustic Deep Relaxation Treatment: As the name suggests, this treatment aims at achieving a state of deep relaxation listening to pre-arranged auditory signals. It involves lying down in a dark room with a pair of headphones.
The Senso Pro is a joint-friendly trainer that exercises multiple skill sets in a single session, achieving a complete body workout in 20 minutes. It is a fun way to get active as it requires balancing and bouncing on a band of elastics.
Chenot Facial Drainage Treatment has a lymphatic drainage action with a decongestant effect, leaving the face and the eyelids less swollen and the entire face illuminated. It decongests the skin, reduces swelling and contours the face.