Czech Republic is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Eastern Europe. I realized this on my first visit to Prague, but even then, I was not totally aware of its full charm. Czech Republic’s amazing landscapes, fascinating history and architectural beauty captured my heart, but the country has even more to offer.
The West Bohemia lands are internationally famous for its spa tradition dating back hundreds of years. Its well deserved reputation as one of the best spa and wellness routes in the world has been forged over the centuries, with many famous visitors flocking to the West Bohemia spa triangle to find out about it for themselves. Thanks to Czech Tourism, I was recently able to discover this world of luxury spa houses, tranquil gardens, and high culture while experiencing the best regional specialties and traditions!
City of Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is one of the cities that make up the West Bohemia Spa Triangle and was the first stop on my trip. It is only a 90 minute drive from Prague and considered to be one of the largest and oldest spa towns in the Czech Republic. Around 1370, King Karel (Charles) IV started to give considerable regional privileges to Karlovy Vary, but the biggest boom in the town took place throughout the 18th century. During this period, there was a major importance in the development of balneology which is the study of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs.
Every first visit to Karlovy Vary should start at the colonnades in the downtown area. While walking along the Teplá River, visitors are able to admire all the arcades and have a drink from some of the thirteen mineral springs of which the most well-known is Vřídlo, a spring with the temperature of 73º C (163ºF). The spa centers use those healing hot waters in drinking treatments and mineral baths.
The natural surroundings in Karlovy Vary are absolutely stunning and are reason enough to visit these famous spa resorts. Among the hills above the Teplá river valley, you’ll discover numerous well-maintained paths. These beautiful paths offer viewpoints of the city for capturing the best scenery which compliment the spa procedures with fresh air and relaxation.
Hotel Imperial Spa & Health Club
Hotel Imperial is the precious jewel of Karlovy Vary, a majestic, comfortable and luxurious castle with more than a hundred years of spa tradition. It is also considered to be the most famous spa in Czech Republic, and I had the immense pleasure of staying there! Its stunning location on the top of a hill certainly helps it stand out, making it a dominant and remarkable sight in Karlovy Vary.
The Hotel Imperial is also a six-time winner of the Leading Spa Resort title in the Czech Republic. Although, its well-deserved prestige is not only due to the highest quality of spa services. The hotel offers 205 stylish rooms with charming views of Karlovy Vary.
One of the unique things about hotels in the West Bohemia region and, of course, at Hotel Imperial, is the existence of single rooms. This is not very common in hotels around the world but it certainly makes sense here. In a spa resort like this, it is understandable because the majority of the guests are patients whom come alone exclusively to receive the healing treatments that the hotel offers. I stayed in a single room which was incredibly cozy, inviting, and comfortable in every way. Modern amenities such as a minibar and fast Wi-Fi were very convenient, however, my favorite aspect was the view. From my room, I enjoyed a wonderful panoramic of the autumnal hills from my lovely terrace.
At the Hotel Imperial complex, you can find everything from spa treatment and wellness procedures to rehabilitation services. The spa programs are based on comprehensive, professionally supervised medical treatments and water therapies, using the irreplaceable natural healing sources of Karlovy Vary: thermo-mineral water, gases, peat and mud. Hotel Imperial also has an impressive team of 7 doctors and 45 health-care staff. If that’s not great service, I don’t know what is!
In addition to all these excellent services, the hotel has a 15 square meters swimming pool with massage jets and water shoots, as well as a beauty center and Sport Centrum Imperial which offers a wide variety of sports activities and exercise classes.
For a lovely afternoon meal in between treatments and activities, you have the historical and remarkable Café Vienna. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place for you thanks to the deliciously fresh and rich desserts from the hotel master confectioner. If the weather is nice, you can dine outside on their summer terrace.
During the evening, in the Imperial Club, it is possible to enjoy jazz evening sessions, live music, gastro nights, dance classes and even a karaoke show. Boredom is something you will not experience at the Hotel Imperial!
Hotel Imperial also has Restaurant Paris, a luxurious a la carte restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the form of a beautiful buffet counter. There’s also Restaurant Prague which has an open kitchen concept. I really enjoyed seeing the food prepared right in front of me! They offer the best selection of Czech and international cuisines.
City of Mariánské Lázně
Another place I was delighted to visit was Mariánské Lázně. This city is famous for its natural healing resources with more than 100 mineral springs found in the local area and around 40 springs within the town itself. Unlike Karlovy Vary, all the springs in this area are cold mineral waters with temperatures ranging from 7ºC (45ºF) to 10ºC (50ºF). Noticeable differences in the chemical composition of each spring helps identify their properties and the range of treatments they are utilized for.
Few places in the world today can offer the opportunity to take care of your health in an environment steeped in unique history and preserved in architectural beauty which amazes visitors like me. I learned that natural therapies have been available in this town since 1808 when Dr. Johann Josef Nehr founded the town.
Thanks to the architect Josef Schaffer, Mariánské Lázně displays such stunning buildings that reside perfectly alongside beautiful city gardens. In the middle of those blossom-filled gardens, you can find The Singing Fountain, which is the most well-known landmark of the city. The fountain was completed in 1986 and, nowadays, it operates from May until October every odd hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. During these outstanding performances, the water springs come out in sequences and are mixed with colored lights to the rhythm of the music. I highly recommend timing your trip just right in order to see this wonderful display!
Danubius Health Spa Resort Hvězda
With historic architecture and an idyllic forest location, guests find themselves in a very special environment at Danubius Health Spa Resort. This incredible resort offers a wide choice of spa treatments using the local natural resources of Mariánské Lázně, while providing luxurious accommodation and services.
This resort is formed by the spa hotels Nové Lázně, Centrální Lázně and Maria Spa that connect with Neapol Spa Center, Imperial and Hvězda. As a labyrinth, the extensive network of corridors and covered promenades make the internal communication between all the buildings possible. Thanks to this unique connection, guests can enjoy all spa facilities and services in each hotel without walking on to the street.
I stayed at Hvězda, one of Mariánské Lázně’s most recognizable icons! Its amazing exterior architecture charmed me from the moment I saw it and I enjoyed its perfect location overlooking Goethe Square and the Colonnade of the town, while sitting atop the beautiful spa resort.
The hotel offers comfortable accommodation in 154 rooms, with modern amenities and furnishings. I relaxed and enjoyed my time in a Superior Plus Single Room, a very tastefully decorated bedroom.
All rooms are en-suite at Hvězda and come with a television and Wi-Fi if you want to keep in touch with the outside world. However, admiring the beautiful view was more than enough for me!
Before trying a treatment from one of the tempting spa packages, make sure that you schedule a facial at the Beauty Comfort Zone. The professionalism and delicacy of the staff will make you feel in a state of total relaxation while your skin is subjected to a rejuvenating and refreshing procedure.
All hotels have their own medical team of specialists and health care staff as well who provide spa care treatments only using natural medicinal sources such as mineral springs, unique natural CO₂ gas and peat. The CO₂ gas treatments at Maria Spa are very famous and unique. In addition, the authentic Roman Bath at Nové Lázně Hotel is one of the most beautiful attractions of the complex. Hvězda Hotel also offers the largest hotel swimming pool in town (1.615 sqft) in its Aqua Wellness Center.
The stylized and healthy environment also extends to gastronomy. In a rather exclusive ambiance, the Hvězda Hotel’s Franz Joseph Restaurant offers many specialties from Czech and international cuisine, along with a range of light meals to meet special dietary requirements. Breakfast and dinner are served in a buffet style and for lunch, you can choose between three course menus and a salad bar. You can spend your evenings in the Imperial Café with a glass of champagne. There’s also the Casino to visit which is where you can also enjoy classical music concerts!
If you are planning a trip to Czech Republic, I highly recommend exploring outside of beautiful, but touristy Prague. West Bohemia is the perfect place to unwind and treat yourself to some of the best spa and wellness treatments in the world.