By John O’Ceallaigh
Germany isn’t known for its beaches, which suits Sylt’s wealthy residents and discerning holidaymakers well. Fringed by a 40km-long beach, the North Sea island is referred to by some as Germany’s Hamptons and is home to the country’s most expensive real estate. Mass-market tourism isn’t something the local economy has ever courted, though one new retreat opening next year could well rise to global prominence. A five-year, €120m development, the 55-key Lanserhof Sylt will be Europe’s most expensive resort (on a per-room basis, with each room costing over €2m on average). Alongside those headline-grabbing figures, the property’s anachronistic appearance will make an immediate impact too: it will be capped by Europe’s largest thatched roof.
While this Sylt medispa is entirely new, Lanserhof itself is already something of a household name among well-to-do families in Germany. “A unique institution for prevention and health regeneration”, the brand is a specialist in gut health and an advocate for the medical benefits of fasting. Clients in its properties in Austria and Germany ordinarily stay for a minimum of one week, reducing their calorie intake significantly and engaging in a battalion of tests, treatments and training programmes while they’re at it. I spent a week at Lanserhof Tegernsee a few years back – it wasn’t quite a pleasure but the experience did feel beneficial and I left replenished; the place was staffed by proper medics and felt reassuringly serious. Many people come back annually and those with more serious health complaints often leave in significantly better shape than when they went in – or at least have the insights they need to implement meaningful long-term changes to their wellbeing.
On dry days at Lanserhof Tegernsee, I left the resort, in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, and cycled through the quaint villages that surround Tegernsee lake on an electric bike. At Lanserhof Sylt, residents will be directly beside the beach and can gulp in as many calorie-free mouthfuls of fresh sea air as they wish while they amble the boardwalks that stretch across this part of the island. Regular Lanserhof visitors will find the new property has a strong similarity to the Tegernsee outpost too. Some of Sylt’s common areas feel almost identical to the established property. Expect plenty of calming, muted lounges in neutral lounges; centrepieces will include a signature five-storey, freestanding spiral staircase and fireplaces centred in the middle of rooms. Gym and wellness facilities will be top-notch; the two indoor-outdoor pools will be saltwater, which supposedly will support the detox process, and almost entirely devoid of chlorine.
Another key offering will be an advanced 3D scanner that can pick up indications of nascent skin cancer. There are only five of these specialist machines in all of Germany; they scan a patient’s body and meticulously identify moles or growths of potential concern. The service will probably be of most use to patients who go regularly and can track changes; one member of the Lanserhof team told me that upon trialling the service he was surprised to learn he has 440 moles on his body: “Try getting a human doctor to immediately pay fully attention to them all.”
Were potential skin cancers to be identified they could be extracted then and there. Medical treatments more generally will be overseen by Medical Director and Cardiologist Dr. Jan Stritzke, a specialist in cardiological rehabilitation for acute and chronic illness, so anyone with heart issues will be in particularly good hands.
Also of much importance will be accommodation. During my last Lanserhof stay I spent more time than expected in my room. That was partially because the sudden absence of food initially sapped my energy and I wanted to rest, but also because Lanserhof guests are given Epsom salts to clear their digestive systems. If you stay here, you’re going to want to know where the nearest toilet is at all times.
Starting in size from 39sq metres, guest rooms will all feature a private balcony cut in the thatched roof the building. Depending on the category, other rooms might include “innovative FreshBed technology to ensure the perfect night’s sleep” – seems a bit strange this isn’t standard across all rooms – and “a unique, human-centrc lighting concept to keep guests in harmony with the natural biorhythm.” Sustainable materials have been used throughout the property.
Rates at Lanserhof Sylt start from 7,120 for a seven-night Lanserhof Cure Classic stay. This includes board and some treatments, but most guests will supplement their programmes with extra appointments; a typical seven-night stay is more likely to cost from about 9,000.
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