Does this dreary winter weather have anybody else just like…UGH? It’s been so cold for so long here in Germany that my mind is just frozen (which is just like fried, but the cold version). With a beach vacation a little unrealistic with budget and time constraints, the next best thing I could think of to get over these winter blues was a spa weekend.
I was determined to pamper myself but keep costs low, so I booked a two day, one night vacation to Mariánské Lázně (known as Marienbad in German).
Mariánské Lázně is a charming spa town in the Czech Republic renowned for it’s natural mineral water, lovely parks, distinct 19th century architecture, and romantic charm.
I’ll tell you all about the hotel, spa, beautiful town, and what the total cost of my trip was. It was lower than I thought it would be!
I booked my hotel online three days in advance of the trip, and hotels in the area were as cheap as $20, and at most over $100. I filtered my results to find a hotel that had a spa onsite, a swimming pool, and was in walking distance of the central park where the colonnades are. After reading reviews and comparing prices, I chose the Olympia Spa Hotel.
The hotel turned out to be a great choice. The location was near the town’s parks, the staff was wonderful, and my room was clean and updated. As you can see, Rascal made himself at home right away! I would definitely recommend this hotel to others.
After checking in I booked some spa treatments, got my robe on, and headed down to the spa to start unwinding. Take a look at my tips at the bottom of the post on booking treatments, bringing the right stuff, and spa etiquette.
My first stop was the Relax Room, which is a quiet spot with lounge chairs, a soothing water feature, showers, and two saunas attached. If you’re not comfortable going nude in the saunas, this is the place to be. You can keep your robe on and veg out on a lounge chair and, as the name implies, relax!
There are two saunas available, a traditional (Finnish) one, and a steam sauna, that you can use. You shower before using the sauna, stay in for about 10-15 minutes, then shower after and let your body come back to normal temperature in the relax room. It’s a very soothing experience.
After the saunas, I took a quick dip in the pool. It’s on the smaller side so it’s not meant for laps, but on one end it has ‘seats’ with jets you can turn on to get a little water massage.
The next part of my day was an aromatic full body massage, and let me tell you I never wanted it to end! But once it did, I decided to explore the town.
Besides the spas, the highlight of Mariánské Lázně is the central park with its colonnades and fountains.
If you’re wondering what a colonnade is, it is basically a really pretty building where you can sip some of the region’s famous mineral water. Back in the day monarchs and famous figures (Czar Nicholas II, Mark Twain, and Thomas Edison, to name a few) would come to the town for spa retreats, so these gorgeous buildings were made to impress visitors and compliment the natural springs. So when you visit, you’re basically a celebrity 😉
Be sure to either buy a souvenir ceramic mug or bring your own bottle to collect the water from the colonnades and give it a taste.
If you visit in the warmer months you can enjoy the water features of the park, particularly the Singing Fountain. Since it was too cold for that, Rascal and I enjoyed our nice stroll through the park. The snow made it into a little winter wonderland, and many families were sledding on the small hills throughout.
The best surprise of the park was a vendor was selling my favorite Czech pastry- the trdelnik! Rascal was hoping for a piece, too.
If you don’t like trdelniks (you would have to be crazy not to!), you can also get a flavored wafer from a local shop as a tasty treat. It’s perfect for munching on as you admire the architecture of the city.
After my full day of checking in, spa treatments, and exploring the town, I had dinner at the hotel and got to bed. The next day I enjoyed the hotel breakfast and had two final spa treatments, a pedicure and face massage. After that it was time to check out!
When all was said and done, I couldn’t believe the price of the whole trip! Here’s the total cost of everything:
- Hotel (to include 10€ parking and a 10€ dog fee): 79.55€
- Spa Treatments (full body massage, pedicure, and facial massage) : 80€
- Cappuccino (at a local shop): 1.40€
- Souvenirs (2 Bottles of Wine): 10€
- Dinner: (buffet and glass of prosecco) 17.69€
- Total: $203.46 or 188.64€
For two days and one night in a hotel, three spa treatments, two full meals and my souvenirs, my weekend in Mariánské Lázně cost just over $200.
My goal was to keep it under $250, so my bank account and I were very happy with the trip.
I’d actually love to go back to Mariánské Lázně in the spring or summer when the Singing Fountain is running and I could explore some of the other things in the area, like the miniature Park Boheminium or hiking to the Hamelika Lookout Tower.
Visiting Mariánské Lázně for the spas is a great, affordable trip idea for a girls weekend or kid-free couple’s weekend. You can make the trip even cheaper by sharing a hotel room, and depending on which route you use to get there you don’t even need to buy a vignette to drive there. If you’d like to travel with your family, I’d suggest going in the warmer months when it would be easier to enjoy some of the other outdoor activities in the area mentioned above.
A note on dogs: I brought my Aussie, Rascal, with me on the trip, as the hotel information on Expedia said they were allowed with a pet fee and deposit. Upon arriving, the hotel informed me that they recently changed their policies and dogs weren’t allowed. The hotel honored their previous pet policy, as it was incorrectly listed on Expedia, but for future reference pets can’t be brought to the hotel. Dogs also cannot be brought inside the colonnades where the mineral water is, so unless one person will wait outside the colonnade with the pup while the others drink and then switch, don’t bring your dogs out and about if you’d like to drink the mineral water.
Tips for spas
- Book spa treatments in advance: You’re more likely to get the treatments you want at convenient times if you book before you arrive. I emailed the hotel to try and make my reservations, but thought I never received a response (I did only book the hotel a few days before the trip). When I mentioned that at the spa reception, she told me she did reply, and when I checked her response was in my spam folder! So really two tips here, book the spa stuff early AND check your spam for their response.
- Pack shower shoes: Yes, the hotel had those cute terry cloth slippers, but they quickly soak through when walking through saunas and by pools. Rubber flip flops are better.
- Bring paperback books: The whole point of a spa trip is to unwind and calm your mind, so you probably don’t want to bring your phone into the relax room, by the pool, or the sauna where alerts and emails can ruin the vibe, and your device can possible get stolen or damaged. Instead, opt for some paperback books so that it isn’t a big deal if they get wet, and you’re still enjoying your ‘me time.’
- Remember you’re at a European spa: So, yea, the saunas are co-ed and swimsuits are prohibited in them. If you’re not used to it then it can be somewhat shocking, but honestly no one cares, and everyone is just there to relax! If you’re really worried about it, try and get there early. When I went at 8 AM to take some pictures, no one was there. You can always hang out in the relax room or by the pool with your robe or swimsuit on.
Be sure to check out my post on Karlovy Vary, another spa town in Czech!
Have you ever done a budget spa weekend? Where did you go and what tips do you have for other travellers?
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