Most people can agree that one of the most disappointing things to happen while traveling, short of losing all of your money and identification, is to get sick. Travel is a luxury and an investment and being in bed sick is such a waste of essential time and dampers the enjoyable experience. So, when I got sick with a flu that had me in bed for about a week, I was understandably quite disappointed. I was even more disappointed because I had a trip to Frankfurt planned and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to go because I was feeling too sick for the 5 hour drive from Berlin. Luckily for me, I was starting to feel better the day before my scheduled departure.
Upon my arrival into Frankfurt my friend, who had also been sick, assured me that she would get us better quickly; her solution? A Wellness Tage (a day of wellness) at Miramar Bath House. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but having heard so much about European bath houses, I figured it would be a good experience to add to my European travels.
The reality of this experience exceeded all of my expectations. There are about a dozen different pools and hot tubs. Being that we partook of this experience in the winter, every pool was heated to a cozy 34 degrees or higher. The, let’s call it an ‘amusement spa’, was divided into themed locations: thermal pools, salts and crystals oasis, sauna paradise, and the wave pool and water slides section. This is precisely why I’m calling it an ‘amusement spa,’ it was a water park meets spa and was uniquely interesting.
We entered the spa and first took a nice leisurely swim in the central thermal pool. It was languid and relaxing, but I also took this opportunity to actually swim and therefore be a little bit active. We then decided to head outside to the hot tubs. We sat emerged in bubbling hot water with steam cascading all around us, and….wait for it…..SNOW falling lightly on our heads. The juxtaposition almost made me giddy. I’m sure I looked childish as I reached out to catch the large flakes fluttering gracefully down towards us, but I had never sat outside in the snow in my bikini before. In my opinion the best moments are experienced with childlike fascination and glee anyway.
After the hot tubs we moved on to the waterslides. This is apparently where you get your workout, since you have to carry large tubes up what feels like never-ending staircases, but the thrill of the slides makes it completely worth it. After we had our fill of plummeting into the topsy-turvy unknown, and being buffeted back and forth in the wave pool, we headed towards the salts, minerals, and crystals area for our much needed R&R. Again we found ourselves in a thermal pool that headed outside. We languidly swam amidst steam and strangers.
We then headed back indoors to relax on recliners in a heated room in front of a beautiful gas fireplace.
The entire crystal room is decorated with crystals and Amethysts. The constant sound of waterfalls, the glow of the fireplace, and the glittering from every corner of the room makes you feel like you are relaxing in the lap of luxury. Even the hot tub in this room is designed in a way that you feel like you are sitting directly in the middle of an Amethyst.
After much relaxation and swimming, we then partook in some much needed and thoroughly enjoyed aromatherapy massages and then relaxed in the Sole Relax Raum, which was a heated room of therapeutic tranquility: the floor was covered in bath salts which perfumed the air and the room remained disruption free for a 20 minute period where an attendant created tranquil music with gongs and other serene and soothing instruments. The space was meant to be an oasis for quiet contemplation and mediation. The yogi in me was impressed and excited about the idea of being able to focus on the wellness of mind as well as body.
After many more hours of swimming and relaxing in all of the various areas, we reposed in the sauna paradise and walked the grounds. I will admit that my North American mentalities made this a slightly uncomfortable experience for me since in Sauna Paradise clothing is optional. However, despite this momentary angst, the entire experience throughout the whole day was so unbelievably relaxing and exhilarating that I left on a wellness-high.
Ultimately I was thoroughly impressed with my first European bath house experience. Miramar combines fun with relaxation and in turn really has something to offer everyone; whether you are there to have fun on the waterslides and in the wave pool, or to relax and unwind in the salt baths and thermal pools, Miramar really has something for the whole family.
In the end, my misfortune of getting sick worked out to allow for an exceptional experience. The getting sick is no fun, but the getting better can be! The Europeans really know how to relax and enjoy life when it counts and they really know how to get better in style. All I can think of now is….how on earth am I going to get better from colds and flues when I’m back in Canada? Somehow sipping Neocitran in bed just doesn’t have the same appeal as a European bathhouse.
Photos taken from Miramar Website: http://www.miramar-bad.de/therme/
Published in Fusia magazine, February 2015