Although the modern concept of wellness has been around since the 1970s, it’s only during the last decade that it has steadfastly entered our collective psyche, evolving from a buzzword used to sell gym memberships, spa visits and dietary supplements into a trillion-dollar cross-industry market underpinned by our newfound enthusiasm for a complete wellness lifestyle. Entwining several distinct industries, from fitness, nutrition and personal care, to preventive medicine and tourism, the burgeoning wellness market may be offering an ever expanding range of products, programs and services, but it’s usually up to the individual to piece together a holistic approach to well-being – a confounding task made all the more daunting by our nebulous understanding of what wellness really means. We were therefore delighted to discover TATOΪ Club, a private members club that holistically addresses all aspects of wellbeing in a euphoric natural setting of understated sophistication.
When we recently visited the Club on a typical Greek mid-summer day, a light breeze was blowing through the pine trees and herb gardens that are dispersed across the landscaped grounds, filling the air with lavender, rosemary and other Mediterranean aromas that gloriously complemented the hypnotic soundtrack of the cicadas. Strolling through such an idyllic setting, courtesy of Athens-based landscape architects H. Pangalou & Associates, complete with a picturesque lake where scenic yoga sessions take place and two outdoor pools with a team of baristas and mixologists at hand, it seemed to us that, far from being an abstract concept, wellness was within our grasp.
Located at the pine-covered foothills of Mount Parnitha in the north of Athens, Greece, the Club couldn’t have chosen a more suitable location for nurturing the overall wellbeing of its members, both geographically and symbolically. The spot combines a serene, natural setting that can be enjoyed all-year-round with close proximity to the cultural and commercial delights of Athens. But more than that, the Greek setting taps into a long-standing tradition in health and wellbeing practices, centred on Plato’s belief that the part can never be well unless the whole is well. It was after all the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, who was the first to suggest that prevention is just as important as treatment, arguing that disease is a product of diet, lifestyle and environmental factors – an axiom that has become the bedrock of the modern approach to wellness which also informs TATOΪ Club’s health-promoting lifestyle, holistically conceived in order to address the overall wellbeing of its members.
At its core, TATOΪ Club’s comprehensive approach to wellness revolves around five interconnected aspects - fitness, nutrition, good health, contact with nature, and community - underpinned by the Club’s extensive facilities. Set in a beautifully landscaped 18-acre estate, the facilities include among other things 18 state-of-the-art tennis courts, plenty of indoor and outdoor training and leisure areas, a physiotherapy and nutrition centre, and a fully equipped spa as well as activity areas for children.
The Club is renowned for its stellar tennis facilities and services, which include a range of outdoor and indoor courts, both clay and turf, a team of professional tennis coaches, and total training support. In fact, they are of such high calibre that they not only function as an international training hub for international athletes such as Gael Monfils, Ymer Elias, and Maria Sakkaris but can also host major international tennis events such as last year’s Fed Cup EUROPE-AFRICA Group II, and the upcoming Davis Cup EUROPE GROUP III which in September.
Tennis aside, the Club offers members a wide range of activities and group classes from which they can create a personalized fitness program with the help of a team of fitness trainers. A fully equipped gym with both indoor and outdoor exercise areas is complemented by a running track that meanders across the grounds, a range of yoga and Pilates sessions that often take place outdoors next to the lake, and a heated, outdoor swimming pool where members can partake in personal training sessions.
The Club’s integrated fitness approach is backed up by a range of preventive treatments and restorative therapies aiming at overall wellbeing. From physiotherapy training and clinical Pilates, to pioneering cryotherapy treatments, to nutritional therapy, the goal is to evaluate, restore and maintain physical function, or, more to the point, to stay healthy. Coupled with an eclectic selection of facial and body wellness treatments and a variety of different massages, courtesy of the Club’s spa, there is little doubt that when it comes to relaxation and rejuvenation, the Club is at the top of its game.
While the aforementioned herb gardens add colour and texture to the landscaping, they are also an integral part of the Club’s dedication to healthy nutrition. From the snacks and nibbles that members can savour by the pool, to the breakfast menu and gourmet dishes served in the Club’s all-day restaurant, every culinary offering has been lovingly prepared in-house, in collaboration with the Club’s expert nutritionist, from seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients that have been sourced from local farmers as well as the Club’s own farm where vegetables, fruits and herbs are cultivated. By offering a balanced, as opposed to an abstinence-based diet, the Club’s aim is to instil a better way of eating as a step towards a better way of living in its members.
Learning to eat well is also the goal behind the Club’s cooking workshops that take place at the Cook House, a low-slung building situated amidst the pine trees, but it’s also part of a wide range of social activities which foster creativity and encourage social interactions. From calligraphy seminars to inspirational lectures and discussions, members not only have the opportunity to participate in events that interest them and nurture their hobbies, but they also develop closer ties with each other. A like-minded community is after all one of the basic aspects of wellness, which, as a private members club, TATOΪ Club is all about.
With such a variety of activities and amenities, which also include lounge and meetings areas, a beauty bar, a boutique and a conference centre, the Club aspires to be an integral part of its members’ everyday lives. Wellness after all is a holistic concept that defies a piecemeal approach or occasional involvement, which is why the Club also offers members the chance to stay overnight. Featuring two suites and six rooms hosting up to four guests each, the Guest House is the ideal place for Athenians seeking a break from the hectic rhythms of the city, as well as for foreign members who can decamp here for longer periods of time to enjoy both Greek hospitality and the Club’s services and facilities.
Passing by the Guest House’s private terrace during our tour of the grounds, we couldn’t help but wonder how utterly liberating it would be to live in such a lovely environment where every aspect of your well-being is taken care of. At the end of the day though, wellness only partly depends on mapping out a suitable health-promoting lifestyle of regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and mental stimulation. What is just as important is to be inspired and motivated to pursue it on a daily basis, which, more than anything else, defines TATOΪ Club ’s raison d'être.