It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’ve got jet lag bad. No, I’ve never found a remedy for it except time. And I’ve tried everything. Right now I just rummaged through my cupboard to find some melatonin, the sleep hormone, and am waiting for it to kick in. If it kicks in. And while I wait I’ll just pretend I’m back in Switzerland at the European spa resort of Bad Ragaz, because I did not want to leave. And so I didn’t. Not for as long as I could.
So if you’ve ever asked the question, Where does a travel writer spend her money? (and I’m quite sure you have not), the answer is on European spa resorts. And if you’ve ever wondered why you should spend your money on European spa resorts, read on.
At the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, I took one look at the thermal pools, the spa facilities, the crystal chandelier over my tub, the Belle Époque swimming pool (okay, it was rebuilt, but still), the Alps, the hip new decor of the resort, and that was it. As far as European spa resorts go, this one had it all.
I handed over my credit card and said, “Book me in for three more days.”
Free travel is a slippery slope to spa excess
“You’re so lucky you get free trips!” People say this to me all the time. It’s true. It’s wonderful and I don’t take it for granted. But I also think giving a travel writer like me a free night or two at one of the best European spa resorts is like giving out free crack to create an addict. One hit of a good spa and I’m hooked.
Vacationing at European spa resorts
Mainly my own vacation dollars go towards staying at European spa resorts with thermal water, natural hot springs. This year it was a week at the spa resort of Montegrotto Terme, an Italian spa town. Last year it was five days at the Grand Hotel Pupp (my Czech friend, Lenka, swears it’s pronounced ‘poop’) in the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary, and before that I spent two weeks in Marianske Lazne, a historic spa town also in the Czech Republic. Oh, there was that week at the Grand Hotel Margitszigit in Budapest, as well. And that week in Heviz, a small Hungarian town with a whole thermal lake full of lilies and retired Germans.
Benefits of European spa resorts
I like the European tradition of spas as slow quiet healing places, often with gorgeous architecture, lovely landscape and fresh air. Not that I have anything against a week in Paris or New York, but I tend to want at least one quiet renewing vacation a year. Or ten. This is because most of my trips are for work and are crazy, with packed itineraries and lots of huge dinners and not a lot of exercise.
European spa resorts with thermal water
My first criteria for a spa vacation is thermal water or at least mineral water (spring water full of minerals but not necessarily hot, like at Mariansky Lazne). Other than that, cheaper is better, but I think the luxury spa of Bad Ragaz has spoiled me for life because now I want to live like an heiress on vacation for the rest of my life.
Ah, well. You can’t spa everyday (says who?) and if there are no more European spa resorts on my near horizon Toronto is a good place to be. Now if only I could sleep …
Read more about: Going to the Spa and Spa Travel