Note: This is the third of a multi-part series on Czech Spas.
My first town during last December’s spa tour wasKarlovy Vary (a.k.a. Carlsbad), the Grand Dame of Czech Spas Towns. It’s about a two-hour scenic ride from Prague.
K.V. is loaded with hot springs (12 to be exact — the mineral waters range from 110° F to 162° F) and feature cool architecture. So cool, in fact, that many of the stunning location shots for the new James Bond movie “Casino Royale” were filmed here. The town is lined with gorgeous 20th-century Art Nouveau buildings, and is the perfect size for meandering. It nestles right up to the Slavkov Forest if you’re up for more strenuous hiking.
Many Europeans still come annually for “taking the waters” where one either drinks or bathes in the hot springs to cure a myriad of disorders. It’s quite funny to see everyone in town carrying “the cup” like some badge of honor. These strange-looking mugs have a built-in curved straw running through the handle, so the rotten-egg smelling mineral water goes to the back of your throat and won’t stain your teeth!
K.V.’s Spa Scene
You can experience the spas on a daily basis by just walking in for a swim or a massage — however, the real deal comes when you sign up for the whole shebang — which usually is for a minimum of one week and includes room, full board, and complete spa therapy regimen; special deals can be found for about $50 to $100 per person per day, depending on the time of year and where you stay. So even with airfare (at times as low as $300 RT) added in, it’s still an unbelievable deal. With about 100 spas to choose from, you’ll find something for every budget and taste.
Although it’s over 300 years old, a stay at the prestigious Grandhotel Pupp is still the final word in luxury, yet spa packages can often be found on their Website for as little as $100/day, which include lodging, treatments and meals. The elegant dining room served some of the countries best food.
Hotel Carlsbad Plaza
This new five-star hotel supposedly has some really good restaurants: La Boheme — French cuisine (and a French chef!!) and even a Japanese restaurant. The hotel features a “Wasserplatz” – with a thermidarium (kind of a pre-heating room), two pools with a whirlpool and thermal water, and a large swimming pool with a counter flow jet. The special sauna area offers seven kinds of sauna in the “saunadorf,” thai massages, and includes a garden with heated sun beds and relaxing music.