Monasteries Offer Relaxing Retreats
Monasteries have long been known as places to find a spiritual, relaxing escape from the workaday world, but they did so in spare accommodations, just as the monks lived without any luxuries. Recently, however, many monasteries have been renovated into hotels, hotels that are growing in popularity as people look for places to escape to that are relaxing and far removed from the crowds of many other resorts. The renovations are introducing luxury accommodations to what have traditionally been places designed to comfort the spirit, not the body. Are the monasteries still able to offer a spiritual retreat? This month's Travel+Leisure checked out some of Europe's renovated and converted monasteries to find out.
The four they visited were Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht, Holland; Pousada Santa Maria do Bouro in Amares, Portugal (pictured); Abbaye de la Bussière in Dijon, France; and Relais San Maurizio in Santo Stefano Belbo, Italy. The Kruisherenhotel offered too much of a city experience (and some city noise), but Pousada Santa Maria do Bouro was isolated and relaxing. Abbaye de la Bussière has food and wine to rival some of the finest restaurants, while Relais San Maurizio's vineyard location was nearly as much spa as spirit.So it is worth the expense to seek out a monastic retreat? That's up to you, but it is possible to find spiritual respite in any accommodation if you really look for it, so you might as well comfort the body while you comfort the soul.