Taking the Waters in Marianske Lazne « Baltic Travel Company
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Baltic Travel Blog

Taking the Waters in Marianske Lazne

Posted on February 11th, 2015.

Taking the Waters in Marianske Lazne

 

Marianska1

I have always wanted a traditional spa experience, so when the opportunity came up to visit one of the great spa towns, courtesy of our friends at Danubius Hotels, we were in the car and off as quickly as we could.

The tradition of taking the waters may have died out in favour of pampering and facials but for many there is still great romance in the names of Baden Baden so good that, like New York, they named it twice and Baden bei Wien. Daniel Deronda first glimpsed Gwendolen Harleth at the spa town of Leubronn. So much more evocative than Cheltenham, Leamington and even Bath, Pump Room and all.

Marienbad

Marianske Lazne, or Marienbad as the Germans would have it, has only truly existed for two hundred years, though the springs were first told of in 1341. It was through the efforts of Dr Josef Nehr, the local abbey’s physician, that Marienbad became established as a watering-hole in 1818. The 19th century saw a rapid increase in popularity and the town has played host to Mark Twain, Chopin, Strauss, Edison and our own King Edward VII, who opened the towns first golf course. Goethe and Kafka fell in love here with somewhat unfortunate results.

Originally a mainly German town, this changed with the expulsion of the Germans in 1945 and the town was cut off from foreign visitors during the period of communist rule. Since the return of democracy we always say that as if it is an unreservedly good thing – great efforts have been made to restore the town to its former glory.

The efforts were certainly worthwhile. From the moment you descend into the valley from the snowy mountains surrounding Marianske, you realise that someone, possibly the good Dr Nehr, told some rather fine architects to create a Neo-Baroque town and that is exactly what they did, using all the skills at their disposal. Nearby Karlovy Vary may be a little more famous and the scene for James Bond action, but for us Marianske wins hands down. No swish designer shops or fast cars: just a beautiful spa town with a delightful view at every turn. At this time of year, the town is covered in snow and this provides some truly magical scenes and walks.

Marienbad3

We were fortunate enough to stay at Nove Lazne, the flagship hotel for the Danubius Group, which has nine hotels in Marianske catering for every budget and taste. Nove Lazne is connected to three other hotels along the same road by a series of underground tunnels and glassed walkways so whether your taste is for pampering in beauty salons; sweating in gyms or enormous swimming pools you have free run of this impressive complex without stepping outside or changing from your dressing gown.

For us and maybe, hopefully, for you the true essence of the traditional spa town of Europe with steam and sauna rooms; massages; mineral baths and health treatments to send you home healthier as well as spoilt.

Marienbad4

 

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Marianske specialises in certain, specific diseases with doctors and nurses on site 24 hours a day. They have treated, for many generations, people suffering from mobility issues; respiratory difficulties; skin diseases; fertility problems and diabetes. The average stay is 11 days and the standard offer includes a full consultation with a doctor and recommended treatments to suit your individual situation. We did not stay long enough to benefit from this personalised service but there are certainly many people who would testify to the efficacy of Marianske’s unique health-giving properties.

Marienska Lazne 6

Marienska Lazne 7

Even if you are not suffering, but just need the batteries re-charging, lying in a steam or sauna bath and then swimming in the wonderfully over the top architectural pools will send you home refreshed and ready for whatever life holds. Be warned, there is a certain contest between those who prefer their saunas naked and those who favour a degree of modesty. You are likely to encounter the unclothed when you are in a swim suit or conversely be embarrassed, as only the British can be, by finding yourself the only covered body in a sea of nakedness.

The mineral baths are wonderful with the same equipment being used as in the 19th century. Again these are taken without clothing, though the marvellous ladies that look after this section do not leave one any choice. After twenty minutes in your individual bath, you are then cocooned in towels and left to rest for a further ten minutes in an almost surreal swathed environment.

You can even enjoy King Edward VII’s own cabin decorated in a suitably hedonistic, oriental style.

Marienska Lazne8

Marienska Lazne9
Massages are intense and relaxing at the same time and the swimming pools are heated to a civilised level. We did not have the time to research all the spa places in Marianske but suffice to say you could spend many weeks here and never run out of facilities to visit.

This is a place to improve your health and feel well. This is not a place for fine dining or extravagant night life. Food is mostly in a buffet format and the town tends to slow to a soporific pace at about 10.00. However, there are a number of restaurants in the town with good varied menus.

The entertainment is of a fairly old-fashioned nature though we enjoyed a jazz three piece with singer. Be prepared for East German couples dancing to an Elvis impersonator or the sort of James Last musak that has me reaching for an Uzi.

The staff are unreservedly welcoming and helpful. Though the level of English is mixed, everyone will greet you with an enthusiastic ˜dobry den” and mean it. Food and alcohol are exceptionally good value and the price differential for treatments is significant. There is cosmetic surgery available with experts brought in but most people seemed just happy with the way they looked. No divas, prima donna or just plain loud guests. Peace, tranquillity, rest: the Nove Lazne at Marianske Lazne has it all in bucketfuls, which, if you ask nicely, they will even pour over you.

So, if you are tempted by the thought of romantic walks across snow-filled parks while the moonlight twinkles over vast colonnades and some of the best Baroque buildings this humble soul has seen, after a day of activities that genuinely improve your wellness, then this is for you.

Talk to us for more details and we will take you there.

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Marienska Lazne 11

The writer was the guest of Danubius Hotels.

Baltic Travel: +44 (0) 208 233 2875
Website: baltictravelcompany.com

Email: [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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