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Catherine Beattie visits the Costa del Azahar – the 'orange blossom' coast and discovers Spain's first authentic thalassotherapy spa - Thalasso Hotel Termas Marinas El Palasiet.

Thalasso – Spanish style

View of Benicassim from Thalassa Hotel

On a recent trip to the Costa del Alzahar  – Spain’s  ‘orange blossom coast, ’ I visited the charming Thalassa Hotel Termas Marinas El Palasiet. The hotel is surrounded by dramatic mountains and overlooks Benicàssim beach, some 75 kilometres north of Valencia.

What is remarkable about this 74-room hotel is its fine thalassotherapy centre – Spain’s first – which has been offering marine based treatments to discerning spa goers since 1970.  Dr Joaquin Farnós de los Santos established the centre after experiencing the benefits of seawater therapies in France and it fully complies with the International Federation Mer et Santé’s strict criteria, that ‘thalassotherapy must be practised on a privileged coastal site and under medical supervision with a view to prevention or cure.’  Over 40 years on, the Thalassa Hotel Termas Marinas El Palasiet continues to maintain the six basic principles of thalassotherapy: immediate proximity to the sea (what allows the direct extraction and maximum usage of the marine environment attributes), use of natural sea water without chemical treatments, medical supervision, appropriate technical installations, qualified personnel and hygienic conditions.


Thalsso pool at El Palasiet, Benicassim

The health and medical benefits of thalassotherapy are widely recognised. Sea water is similar in composition to human plasma and immersion in warm (36°C) sea water has an analgesic effect on joints and muscles and restores the body’s state of balance through osmosis. The marine environment’s exceptionally rich nutrients and minerals are absorbed through the skin during bathing and treatments. Thalassotherapy reduces pain and improves health problems, notably mobility and circulatory disorders. It also slows down the degenerative ageing process and is an integral part of slimming and beauty treatments.

Gym at Thalasso Hotel El Palasiet Today, the Thalassa Hotel Termas Marinas El Palasiet is one of Europe’s most modern thalassotherapy spas, having a large sea water pool heated to 37°C and a full range of thermal amenities. These include air and water jets, a Finnish sauna, steam rooms, hammam, Vichy showers, hydro-massage baths, cervical waterfalls, cabins for seaweed and sea mud bodywraps and an extensive choice of medical, beauty, cosmetic and wellness treatments. There is also a large gym and oriental therapies such as shiatsu and Thai massage. Treatments are carried out by doctors, physiotherapists, assistant nurses, massage therapists, beauty specialists and dieticians.

Outdoor pool at Thalassa Hotel El Palasiet


The hotel is still family owned, managed by Dr Joaquin’s sons Pablo and Ximo Farnós de los Santos. Rooms and facilities have been tastefully refurbished to appeal to a new generation of tourists looking for relaxation and wellness amenities as well as therapeutic ‘cures’. All rooms have a terrace, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat screen TV with satellite channels. Guests can sunbathe and swim in two outdoor pools, join exercise and yoga classes, jog, hire bikes, take a dip in the Mediterranean or play a round of golf on a nearby course.

Dining Room at Thalassa Hotel El Palasiet

Good food is an important part of any holiday and the hotel’s restaurant serves some of the healthiest, freshest and most delicious food on the entire Costa del Azahar. In the last few years, a gastronomic revolution has occurred, with head chef Francisco Clausell and nutrition expert Irene Domínguez fusing traditional Mediterranean cuisine with avant-garde healthy culinary techniques. The hotel now offers menus to suit all needs, whether gluten- free, slimming, vegetarian or heart-friendly meals.

thalassotherapt at El Palasiet

During my short visit, I  took a dip in the enticingly warm seawater pool with its exhilarating underwater jets,  enjoyed a relaxing seaweed treatment and ate a delicious lunch in the light and airy restaurant. I was most impressed with Thalassa Hotel Termas Marinas El Palasiet – the hotel’s friendly Spanish ambience and extensive health and leisure facilities make it an ideal choice for short breaks or longer therapeutic stays.

Thalassa Hotel Termas Marinas El Palasiet

C/ Pontazgo,11- 12.560, Benicàssim (Castellón), Spain

Tel: +34 964 300 250

3-night Getaway packages from €960 for two persons sharing a room, includes half board, access to the bio-marine circuit and thalassotherapy treatments.

Prices do not include flights.

Nearest international airports: Valencia and Castellón (limited flights)

Further information visit


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