On the last day of our wellness weekend in Karlovy Vary, I had the chance to visit the Castle Spa (Zámecké Lázně).
The entrance fee for a two-hour “Wellness” visit was 800 CZK - and rental of a bathrobe, towel and sheet cost an additional 150 CZK (for a total of about €38). This package offered a complete relaxation experience in itself, but the three-hour “Wellness Superior” program, which includes a partial massage and a mineral or pearl bath would also be a good introduction to their one-day spa experience.
After donning a bathing suit in a private cabin and showering, I entered the main hall and dipped into the swimming pool. It was early morning, and I had the 12 x 6 meter pool to myself. Floating in the water comprised of 40% mineral water, I felt myself spontaneously stretch and release tension; I began to observe more mindfully the natural rock structures and a relief carved at the other end of the hall, lit up with shades of golden green and orange.
The Kneipp pool for the feet, with alternating hot and cold sections felt invigorating. Afterwards, I went up the stairs to the first landing. I rested in the inhalation room, which had a few wooden chairs in a natural grotto, with mineral water misting into the chamber. Subtle and refreshing.
Further up the staircase is a floor with private cabins that can be booked for baths and other treatments. I returned to the main hall below and waded into the acupressure pool, my feet happy to get another massage from walking on large smooth stones on the floor of the pool. After a visit to the saunas, followed by a brisk cold shower, there was the final ceremony to attend to: drinking the mineral water.
The Lower Castle Spring II (Spring No. 3b) is just for Castle Spa clients. The drinking stand is enhanced by a relief of the Spirit of the Springs carved into the sinter (mineral deposit around hot springs). This is the thermal water I tasted in Karlovy Vary, and it was warm and refreshing, without any particularly strong flavor.
As I sipped the mineral water facing the relief, I reflected on the legend of the Spirit of the Springs, the story of the town’s mystical and ancient protector, who reposes inside the rock and manages the elements of fire, water, and wind -- so the natural resources are not depleted and the town does not fall into decay or destruction. The Spirit’s mastery of the elements (and intentions of order and balance) promote well-being and peace in the spa town. And this reflection can be seen as a reminder, to take care of our own natural resources so that we do not feel depleted: a skill to learn and master in daily practice. ❂