Arriving by a glamorous 20-minute seaplane ride from Pula, I was enamoured by the lush pine forests, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of the island below. For a moment it felt as though I was flying over a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, alas this was in fact Croatia - my first visit, yet to land, I was already sold.
Croatia is the original home of 'health tourism' and the stunning island of Losinj is otherwise known as the 'Island of Vitality.' Due to the foresight of Professor Ambroz Haračić, large areas of the island were reforested at the end of the 19th century. According to research, about 1100 plant types were identified and over 200 of these fall under medicinal herbs umbrella. Today, the thick emerald pinewoods and turquoise waters of Lošinj are the symbol of the island. A truly idyllic setting; investment in the island has been rife over the past three years creating a super luxe wellness destination.
The two main towns in on the island are Mali and Veli - both perched in picturesque harbours dotted with an array of markets, eateries, cafes and bars, serving everything from espresso to the freshest seafood you'll ever taste. Mali is also home to the wonderful Apoksyomenos Museum - architecturally designed in homage to the Adriatic waters where the famous sculpture of the Greek athlete was discovered.
Fringing the crystal clear waters of Citak Bay, The Bellevue Hotel is now hailed as one of Croatia's elite hotels. Recently renovated to a five-star status - surrounded by lush vegetation, with a cool, stylish decked white flag beach, three pools, bars and restaurants and a brand spanking new state of the art spa.
You can opt for a deluxe, superior or standard room with views ranging from the atrium exterior to the scenic pools and ocean. Spacious suites offer terraces with private outdoor whirlpools. All rooms are modern in design and styled in a neutral palette of creams and taupes. Bathrooms are well stocked with products from luxury Spanish spa brand Natura Bisse.
The Bellevue's state of the art Spa Clinic is a haven of thermal and thalassotherapy areas, a spa cafe, and a tranquil spa garden with private hot tubs for pre-treatment zen-ness. The vast clinic is spilt in to sections - there's a Beauty Zone, Fit Zone, (with full Tecnogym and a Kinesiologist on hand) Spa Zone and Medi-Spa. With a plethora of holistic and innovative treatments on offer I was particularly impressed by the LCM (Light, Colour, Movement) therapies - specially developed therapeutic tables enable different types of treatments adjustable to the physical and physiological needs of the client. The system combines colour therapy and sound frequency to solve psychosomatic issues and improve problems such as sleep and anxiety. The Medi-Spa also offer non-invasive treatments such as EXIMIA HR77 (thought to help in reduction of cellulite and tone of the skin).
The Elemis Signature Massage begins with a health questionnaire and the therapist discusses any problems you may have with stress, tension and back problems. A bespoke massage is then designed to work with the Elemis signature oil. My treatment began with a relaxing foot cleanse and stretch of the limbs followed by a massage combining the techniques of shiatsu, deep tissue and Ayurvedic. My therapist Ana, who had also trained as a physiotherapist, managed to magically work away all tension from my problematic scapular.
Other treatments include:
The Elemis Biotec 02 Facial - a complete rejuvenating and anti-ageing facial using oxygen infusions to plump the skin and LED lights for skin cell renewal and decongestion.
Fusion Face and Body Renewal - a full body massage using the essential oils of lavender and moringa to de-stress, followed by a tailor-made facial to suit your skin type.
The Silhouette Programme - a personalised seven day slimming programme which includes a bespoke treatment, exercise and diet plan.
Natura Bisse and Elemis.
Beach yoga and pilates, cycling, hiking, water sports.
Pin & Oli Restaurant - Oceanview dining with a Mediterranean menu including fresh local seafood, cooked to order meats, pastas and risottos, served up with delicious salads and herbs from the hotels kitchen garden. Offerings from the impressive buffet breakfasts include fresh juices, fruits, eggs and crepes to order, and sparkling wine.
A visit to Boutique Hotel Alhambra situated next door to The Bellevue. The Small Luxury Hotel of The World houses an intimate Asian-inspired spa, offering treatments from local brand Mitre.
A trip to the wonderful Aromatic Gardens of Losinj - wander the pretty fragrant gardens, and you may even bump in to Betty the donkey! Produce from the gardens such as homemade lavender soaps, immortalle creams and lemon liqueurs are sold in the garden shop.
A guided tour of the Apoksyomenos Museum, tours take place 4 times a day and tickets should be booked in advance.
Prices at the Hotel Bellevue start at £160 per night and include access to the spa & relax zone.
Direct flights from London Gatwick to Pula with Norwegian Airlines start at £60 return.
A seaplane from Pula to Losinj with ECA starts at £45.
For more information visit www.croatia.hr