Once reserved for emperors and nobility; today Europe’s opulent royal spas welcome all international guests desiring a traditional holistic holiday.
Spas have a long history rooted in ancient European healing traditions. In fact, the term spa first came into use after the town of Spa, Belgium, home of the Aquae Spadanae. Traditionally, the royal spas of Europe were reserved exclusively for nobles, kings and statesmen.
The Early Royal Spas
Greece is the birthplace of spas and public baths. The early baths and spa towns that emerged around natural mineral springs were shaped by Greek mythology as much as health practices and athletics. In later years, the Romans emulated many of these bathing and holistic healing practices. However, the early Romans surpassed the Greeks in the size and complexity of their baths. Toward the Renaissance years, as European countries flourished and expanded, so did their spas.
The early Royal Spas of Europe included a number of ancient spas such as Bath in England that were popular in the 16th century as facilities sought out for medicinal bathing. Early Celtic kings are credited with discovering the hot springs at Bath. As travel by the wealthy classes became increasingly common, most large cities boasted royal spas.
Locating Today’s Royal European Spas
Today, ten European towns in eight countries have spas recognized as the Royal Spas of Europe. The Royal Spas Group only accepts spas with a certified royal linkage and an extremely high quality spa and hotel.
Towns With Royal European Spas include:
The Spa Hotel & Resort Balneario de Archena is a huge thermal Mediterranean complex located in the Murcia province of Spain. The Spa at Archena is situated in Valle del Ricote, a privileged natural enclave. The resort is a leading establishment for health tourism in Spain, following the latest trends in preventive medicine, wellness, healing and hydrotherapy. It is ideal for a spa break, health spa holidays or a luxurious spa weekend offer.
The complex includes three hotels and a spa where balneotherapic treatments and an assortment of other health and beauty treatments are used. Mineral-medicinal water spa treatments that employ seawater are one its popular attraction. Archena was chosen as a Royal European Spa on the basis of its facilities as well as the quality of its medical, aesthetic and hotel services.
The German city of Baden-Baden founded in 1838 is a famous spa town with a vast assortment of thermal and holistic spas, grand hotels, apartments, pensions and spa resorts. Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden is recognized as a Royal European Spa and offers a Royal Spa Escape Package. Visitors to Baden-Baden, which is surrounded by the Rhine plains and the Black Forest, can also find suitable accommodations in any price range and spend the day at the Caracalla Spa (www.caracalla.de) and their evenings taking in the sights, touring the vineyards, or glimpsing the Baden-Baden Casino.
Recognized as one of the finest spas in Germany with water supplied by the Augusta Spring, Bad Neuenahr includes services at the Steigenberger Hotel and the Ahr Resort. The Royal Spa package includes herbal and mud treatments, rejuvenating facial and massage treatments, and access to the saunas and medical fitness studios of the Ahr Resort. The spring water is known as Apollinaris mineral water after its patron, Saint Apollinare.
Germany’s Lohengrin Therme Spa in Bayreuth offers many holistic therapies in a luxurious setting. Bayreuth is situated in Bavaria’s Franconia region and is celebrated as the home of the composer Richard Wagner. Each year guests from around the world visit Bayreuth for their wellness holidays and to enjoy the Wagner Music Festival.
At the Marianske Lazne and Danubius Health Spa Resort Nove Lozne in the Czech Republic, guests can luxuriate in a true spa experience. The Royal Spa Package in Marienbad includes a medical consultation, candle-lit dinner, massage, body wrap, mineral baths, dry carbon gas baths, and entrance to the unique complex of the Roman baths with 3 relaxation pools, samarium, sauna and Kneipp therapies.
In Finland, the gorgeous seaside Naantali Spa, Resort, and Conference Center is celebrated for its Aqua Therapies, including a Roman bath, sitz baths, thermal springs, saunas, mud baths (from Lake Luolalanjarvi) and swimming pools. The spring water in Naantali has a high sulfur content that makes it beneficial for skin ailments as well as joint pain. The spa offers aromatherapy massage, Indian relaxation, reflexology, peat therapy, milk and honey baths, and caviar facials. Exercise and dance classes, nature trips, and an array of restaurants make this Finland’s best conference center and resort. In addition, in the floating hotel, the Sunborn Princess, the luxurious Royal Suites include a private sauna and Jacuzzi and a unique view from the bow of the yacht.
Located in Western Hungary, The Spirit Hotel Thermal Spa in Sarvar with its large thermal complex and medical spa facilities (Vital Med Hotel Sarvar) is one of the Royal European Spas. Designated a Royal European Spa in 2004, Sarvar is the newest addition to the Royal Spa Consortium.