Welcome to the first ever “Boutique & Unique” hotel review on Urban Travel Blog. With this series of posts we aim to create a stunning portfolio of unique accommodation for our readers to visit around the world…
In A Nutshell
Balneari Prats is a historic spa hotel in Caldes de Malavella, the home of millennia old Roman baths and just over an hour away from Barcelona by train (and 15 minutes from Girona).
What Makes It Special?
Housed in a century old building, along with a modern annex, the resort’s key feature is its thermal swimming pool that allows guests to bathe in mineral-rich 34 celsius degrees waters throughout the year. On top of that the wide range of intriguing spa treatments at reasonable prices, the best of which (that we experienced at least) was the Gerunda Fuga, which was as much a flight of fantasy as a massage. A sonorous voice sets a mythical tone by recalling the legend of a Catalan shepherd and his love story with a sea-dwelling siren, before mellifluous music lulls us deeper into legend. Meanwhile the scents of local flora are wafted in front of our noses, our feet are doused in cleansing warm water, and nutrient rich creams are massaged into our grateful skin with firm hands that proceed to soothe our bodies into a deep state of relaxation. Pure bliss.
We stayed two days in the “Suite Prats” during a sunny November weekend, and I’d highly recommend splashing out for the same room if you can. Split over two floors, you get your own private sun deck with outdoor jacuzzi, upstairs bedroom with ensuite, and downstairs luxury lounge with a second much larger bathroom (including hydromassage bath). The spiral staircase is very narrow however so possibly hazardous for older guests and/or alcoholics.
Our suite, the Gerunda Fuga massage, the pool, the restaurant, free bike rental, being treated like royalty by all the staff… and of course the resident parrot. Although he wasn’t so talkative.
We’re Not So Sure About…
The rooms where we received our water therapy treatments had a subtle aura of Soviet interrogation chamber, which made trying to relax whilst water was mechanically pumped at various parts of your body kind of tricky.
In The Neighbourhood
The local town Caldes de Malavella doesn’t hold too much in the way of entertainment, but is good for a stroll. The Roman baths are of course the highlight, whilst there are some nice private villas from the town’s history as a bourgeois spa resort, and you can also hike/bike through the pleasant wooded hills to several nearby points of interest, such as a small castle and hermitage.
Mostly well-to-do Catalan oldies, with a few younger couples including the occasional avant garde foreign adventurers who somehow found out about the hotel in a guidebook somewhere.
It’s Perfect For
A two day detox after overdoing it in Barcelona. If you were visiting the area over two weekends, this could be the perfect way to relax on your way out so you don’t get back to work more tired than when you left. Proximity to Girona means you could possibly hop on a cheap Ryanair flight back to the UK.
A Final Word of Advice
Look out for package offers on their website that include accommodation and treatments together… there are some great weekend deals.
If you’re combining a visit to Balneari Prats with a visit to Barcelona then be sure to check out our weekend break guide to the Catalan capital, as well as this two day itinerary.