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Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00

Poland: Spa and Wellness

Written by  Monika Bagan, Translated by Magda Mierowska

Europe-PolandRich in mineral water springs, Poland is a magnificent place for relaxation because of its numerous spa and wellness centers. Many of them are located in very picturesque surroundings, and they all provide high quality service. The treatment on offer is designed to bring relaxation, harmony and inner balance to clients.

There are many underground hot water springs in Poland: they can be found in three-quarters of Poland’s whole area. Poles appreciate the advantages coming from the construction of spa and wellness centers, as many towns are planning to design and build spas around their hot mineral water springs. The first historical mentions of hot water springs name villages in the Karkonosze Mountains, in southwest Poland, called Lower Silesia, such as Cieplice Slaskie (1137) and Ladek Zdrój (1241). In the 17th century, Polish Queen Marysienka, wife of John III Sobieski took baths there, and the radon water baths are said to have brought relief and warmth to the aching bones of the German Emperor, Wilhelm I.

A Spa for everyone
The number of spa centers is growing all the time, catching up with competition from all over the world. On offer are not only traditional baths and massages, but also many other kinds of treatments, so as not to be outdone by similar foreign health resorts. More and more hotels in Poland advertise spa treatment as their main attraction, and operate as destination spas, focusing on fitness, relaxation, weight loss and general physical regeneration. Hotel offers feature long- or short-stay holidays (a week, or longer) that encourage the client to take up a healthy lifestyle, which involves spa therapies, healthy eating regimes, quitting smoking tobacco or returning to fitness after childbirth. Polish spa and wellness specialists introduce many remarkable medical and care therapies and their ingenuity is really amazing. In most Polish spas you can enjoy ayurveda massages, shiatsu, and wellness treatments that apply exotic massaging equipment such as bamboo sticks or bowls, or herbal stamps. Such massages are on offer in spas in the south of Poland: Dwór Kombornia which is near Krosno, in the Bieszczady Mountains, or The Jawor Hotel in the Beskid Mountains).

Foreign tourists visiting Polish spas are impressed not only by exotic kinds of treatment that come from the most distant places in the world, but also by promotion of a lifestyle known as a return to nature, a kind of life in accordance with one’s own body and soul and the natural environment. Natural, local products that can be found on the menu in Polish spas are also used for care and beauty treatments: for example, you can relax in butter made of goat’s milk or in an infusion of flowers and mountain hay.

Medical spas are modern sanatoria of the 21st century. Such centers can be found in holiday resorts whose main advantages are good climate, mineral waters and therapeutic mud wraps. Their main aim is to provide complex medical care, combined with spa and wellness treatment, all in one place. In Poland such places include: Malinowe Hotel Medical Spas, one in Solec-Zdrój, and another of the same name in Swieradów-Zdrój, Arka Medical Spa in Kolobrzeg, Hotel Wellness Medical Spa “Unitral” in Mielno, or Villa Park Med & Spa in Ciechocinek.

In Poland you can also find ‘holistic spas’ - places where a human being is viewed as a whole, and where all possible care is taken to pamper his or her psychological and physical well-being. Such spas’ offerings often embrace Far East tradition and provide a whole gamut of therapies and programs designed to restore balance between the body, spirit and mind by means of all senses: yoga, meditation, music therapy or pilates. Of great importance is their location and picturesque landscape. The best examples include: Manor House Spa Palac Odrowazów in Chlewiska near Szydlowiec, Hotel Spa Dr. Irena Eris Wzgórza Dylewskie in the Mazurian Lakes region, or Bryza Resort & Spa in Jurata at the Baltic.

Another range of spas features exclusive spa clubs, open to club card holders. Usually they are combined with fitness clubs and golf courses. Some of them specialize in thalassotherapy, which means healing by the powers of the sea: spas in the Mera Hotel in Sopot and Lubicz in Ustka are by the seaside. Most of the treatments on offer are based on application of algae, seaweeds, and sea water, as well as thalassotherapeutic cosmetics and preparations. Still other places, like Palac Mierzecin (western Poland) or Gleboczek (near Torun), follow the idea of wine therapy based on wine and grapevine. Centers inspired by traditions of the Far East should also be mentioned: Japan (Sento Spa in Mlyn Klekotki), Indonesia (Dolina Charlotte), or India (Kinga Spa in Czorsztyn or the Sulislaw Palace in Grodków, Lower Silesia).

From the Tatra Mountains to the Baltic Sea
Until recently, Poles used to visit spas and aquaparks on the other side of the Tatras, in Slovakia. Now, they don’t have to. True, there are not as many thermal pools in Poland, but the ones that are in Poland are very modern. The biggest and most popular is called the Bukowina Termy in Bukowina Tatrzanska. It is tucked in a cozy valley surrounded by forests with the Tatras as a backdrop. Thermal complexes contain 12 pools with water at body temperature. Naturally, miscellaneous attractions are provided for children, such as slides and special pools. Another large and stylish place is the Bialka Termy in Bialka Tatrzanska. Due to its location, so close to the biggest skiing resort, the Bialka Termy is the most often visited aquapark at the foot of the Tatras. In Zakopane, the capital of the Tatras, there are two imposing aquaparks. One, situated on the slope of the Antalówka hill, has 4 large pools and very long slides. The other one is Szymoszkowa Baths on the slopes of the Gubalówka Mountain. It offers a magnificent view of the Giewont Peak.

About 125 miles from Warsaw, there is Ciechocinek, a legendary health resort offering relaxation. Aside from sanatoria built in the 20th century, this resort also includes more modern developments. One such modern hotel is located in the Spa Park and its main treasure is saline waters drawn straight from the Ciechocinek spring. Their curative powers bring relief in the muscoskeletal system and spine disorders. Rehabilitation programs offer body cleansing, and an immunity boost. A unique attraction is provided by The Aqua Salt Park: the only saline water pool in Poland with crystal clear water, artificial waves, counter currents and cascades where water treatment is complemented with sea algae and microelements.

A completely different kind of climate graces the Brodnica Lake District in northeast Kujawy-Pomerania. A modern complex, Gleboczek Vine Resort & Spa, has been built there, a luxurious, peaceful oasis and paradise for wine lovers. The area is surrounded by vineyards and the interiors reflect the style of south European villages. The whole spectrum of regeneration ideas is focused on vinotherapy: relaxing floats in a tank filled with wine, fruit wraps and grape seed peeling. Of beneficial influence are herbal and flower petal inhalations in Brodnica Baths. After treatment, one can join tasting sessions of wines from the world’s best wine regions. The hotel is situated in a beautiful lake area, surrounded by forests and a two-hectare vineyard. This spa is the first center in Poland to introduce full scale specialized body care based on active ingredients from grapes and grapevines. More active clients can enjoy raft and kayak excursions, Nordic walking and bicycle riding.

Western Pomerania and Wolin Island invite tourists to Marena Wellness Spa in picturesque Miedzywodzie that offers physical regeneration, interesting treatment and a spacious pool with the biggest Jacuzzi in the area. Nearby, there is an excellent golf course for dedicated golfers.
Visit www.poland.travel

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