Spotlight On: Experiencing a German Spa

The indoor "cold" pool at the SchwabenQuellen

The indoor “cold” pool at the SchwabenQuellen

To borrow a line from Sex and the City, I did not grow up in a naked house.

And though I’d heard only good things about the spas in Germany, I wasn’t completely comfortable with the “textilfrei,” requirement that took away the option of bathing suits.   But, determined to make the most of my European experience, I decided that what I could handle was the “Ladies Day” at the spa – it was on a Tuesday and I went in the morning when all the women I knew would be at work. I figured it would be safe.

The outdoor hot springs pool

The outdoor hot springs pool

Remembering my first trip to the SchwabenQuellen, is almost comical because I was barely used to Germany itself which didn’t exactly help me and my comfort level in the spa. That’s really one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to go back because once I left I realized I didn’t do the exact thing the spa was meant for – to relax! Honestly, if you remove the big pink elephant that is all the nakedness, the spa is meant to rejuvenate and refresh you – I remembered this key fact as I prepared for my second trip back to the spa, this time taking John me on swimsuit day.

The Meditation Sauna room

The Meditation Sauna room

Should you choose to visit a spa, there are a couple of key items to remember: at least 2 towels (one for use during and one for drying off after), flip flops, a book (not an electronic reader – it’s pretty wet in there, and anything with a camera isn’t allowed), and soaps/shampoo for the showers when you leave.

Just even getting into the spa can be an adventure though. I was completely lost on my first visit until a very topless, yet friendly older woman literally took my hand and walked me around the locker room – helping me point my magnetic bracelet in the right direction to open my locker and where I could change if I wasn’t totally comfortable in the open bay area.

One of the cute, specialized sauna rooms inside the spa. Each sauna has a different theme.

One of the cute, specialized sauna rooms inside the spa. Each sauna has a different theme.

The feeling of being overwhelmed continued once I got into the main area – because the main area is huge! (And I actually think this is one of the smaller spas!) There are literally seven sauna areas, eight various spa areas, including a “salzgrotte” (salt grotto),  six relaxation areas and seven different bodies of water – including a warm “pool,” a cool pool and a giant hot tub. It’s amazing.

The giant outdoor hot tub

The giant outdoor hot tub

I spent so much time hopping from place to place the first time that I never sat in one place long enough to truly relax. I completely missed the salt grotto the first time around and failed to truly appreciate the amazingness of the warm pool area.

The Salt Grotto - they give you little shot glass sizes of salt for an exfoliant. Hurt a bit at first but the result was amazing!

The Salt Grotto – they give you little shot glass sizes of salt for an exfoliant. Hurt a bit at first but the result was amazing!

It was a bit more crowded with people during swim suit day, but it was MUCH more relaxing. John and I lounged as necessary in the various saunas, appreciating the meditation sauna the most, and once the initial salt-paper on skin went away realized the genius of the salt grotto. In other words, it was two hours of relaxing bliss and yet, I still don’t feel I have taken complete advantage of the spa.

I still haven’t had a glass of wine in between massages, or lounged on the beds with the heated lamps while reading a book in between trips in the hot tub or the saunas but there’s time – there are plenty of ladies days still available. As much as I love the spas…I don’t love them enough to do them with naked co-eds! 🙂

You could opt for your own tub if you aren't feeling the giant hot tub!

You could opt for your own tub if you aren’t feeling the giant hot tub!

Necessities: Two towels, shampoo and soap (for post-spa), flip flops, a book and an open mind

Time Needed: Don’t plan for anything less than two hours or you truly won’t enjoy the full

Quick Tip: Enter and exit the saunas as quickly as possible; other patrons will be less than happy if you let cold air in!

Pure, relaxing bliss! :-)

Pure, relaxing bliss! 🙂

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