SPA CHRONICLE – LA PERLA (SAN SÉBASTIÁN) | Bota Bota, spa-sur-l'eau



Claudie Nantel is the explorer in our crew. With five years of experience in hydrotherapy and wellness treatment, she has developed a connoisseur’s taste for the world’s best spas and resorts. In the following article, she gives us the low-down on her favourites as she pursues her international travels.

La Perla – San Sebastián

The La Perla thalassotherapy centre is located in San Sebastián, a small town on the northeast coast of Spain renowned for its beaches and big wave surfing. You’ll find the spa right on La Concha, the most popular beach in San Sebastián.

La Perla is mostly a hydrotherapy centre, but it also welcomes anyone wanting a short stay of rest and relaxation. The circuit proposed is very different from those you’ll find in Quebec. It includes a series of saltwater pools maintained at temperatures between 89°C and 98°C. Various water jets massage the body from head to toe in sections, a technique reminiscent of lymphatic drainage, which aims to draw toxins towards the heart.

La Perla also offers two steam baths, two saunas, cold showers, a large pool of cold salt water, a “labyrinth of sensations,” and several areas for R&R.

Upon arriving, you’re invited to don your bathing suit and attractive blue bathing cap (available for purchase on the premises) and to deposit your towel in the laundry chute marked “Your towel will be waiting for you at the other end.” You’re then led through a door to the coldwater jets, perfect for invigorating all the senses! Next are the saltwater pools, where you’ll move from the “coldest” (body temperature) to the warmest. Once you’ve spent a good hour in the pools, you move on to the steam bath, followed by the cold pool, and then the relaxation area where water mattresses are at your disposal.

Next on the program is the aforesaid “labyrinth of sensations,” a dimly lit corridor that sprays out salt water from all sides, but only after you’ve been warned with flashing blue lights for cold water and red ones for hot. There are five or six sections to go through. At the end of the circuit are a nice hot sauna, a coldwater pool, and a final stint of relaxation. The whole visit takes about two hours.

At the end of it all, my travel legs were oh-so grateful. There were a few things not to my linking, like the labyrinth of sensations (slightly too stressful in my humble opinion) and the cold shower at the end, which I would have preferred warm, but the feeling of weightlessness that salt water provides is more than enough compensation. And so is the magnificent view of La Concha that you can drink in from the soothing hot pool. All in all, La Perla is definitely worth a visit.