An intoxicating experience

CHLOE URQUHART visits The Opium Health Spa at The Elysium in Cyprus and swaps the heat of the sun for some hot volcanic stones



A hot stone massage while visiting a Mediterranean country in mid-summer may seem a strange request. But stepping into the tranquil air-conditioned Opium Health Spa from the poolside of The Elysium hotel, on the outskirts of Paphos , I felt the need to keep warm and ESPA’s holistic back, face and scalp hot stone massage seemed the perfect answer.

The Elysium, near the ancient Tombs of the Kings, provides a harmonious blend of luxury, tranquility and seclusion within a five-star hotel sprinkled with its fair share of Greek colonnades, mosaics, waterfalls and shimmering pools.

The spa provides an immediate haven with its effervescent waters, soothing sounds and hypnotic aromas of essential oils wafting in the air. Locals flock to this spa off season to take a dip in the majestic 17 meter pool – the longest in the region.

Apparently a hot stone massage has “rejuvenated and healed the body since the dawn of civilization”. Well, who can argue with that? As I entered the treatment room the first thing I noticed was a small oven just to the right of the bed inside the oven were the smooth black pebbles which are mined from a volcano in Hawaii.


A hot stone massage is specifically designed for the areas where most of us carry our stress and tension which is usually the back and shoulders.


My therapist started by giving me a soothing back scrub and just as I had started to relax picked up one of the hot stones and rhythmically massaged my back.


A high percentage of iron and magnesium make the stones dense so they have an ability to hold heat for long periods of time. This became evident during my treatment as the heat penetrated into my muscles.


Yes, it was hot, but bearable and as the massage progressed I could feel the heat penetrate my skin and start to soothe away the tension knots in my back. She then placed a pebble in the palm of my hands which I grasped for the final few minutes of this very soothing treatment. As I drifted off the treatment ended with a soothing facial and scalp massage.


In Greek mythology the Elysian Fields stood for majestic beauty and absolute tranquility and well being. As I relaxed after my treatment I couldn’t help thinking what an aptly-named spa!

· ESPA Holistic Back, Face and Scalp with Hot Stones - 100 minutes €155.00


A familiar face seen swimming in the pools of The Elysium was the guitarist from international boy band McFly Danny Jones enjoying some R&R with his girlfriend.


The SPA Traveller tips
· Watch out for the hotel’s discreet sign on the road just passed Fat Mama’s restaurant as you drive out from Paphos
· Book ahead. The spa offers a 10 per cent discount to all its guests if you arrange treatment times before arriving at the hotel for your stay.
· At 17 meters, the spa has the biggest swimming pool in Paphos which attracts many of the locals for a dip.
· The ESPA-trained therapists will advise you on a treatment to suit your needs
· One of the few spas in Cyprus to offer an Ayurvedic treatment

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