In Germany, the Sunday sauna trip is practically a religion. No wonder then, that Germans are so obsessed with wellness – a sort of active relaxation where brisk mountain walks, dips in frigid water and fantastic but healthy meals are packed in alongside sinfully luxurious time in sauna and on the massage table. Of course, since this is Germany, the sauna bit is all done naked. Here are our favourite health resorts in Germany.
The Friesland Islands are like the Hamptons of Germany. Loads of old school resort hotels, untouched sand and refreshing North Sea water await those who want to take relaxation seriously. The Strandhotel Kurhaus Juist, affectionately known as the White Castle, has more than 900 sq.m set aside for wellness treatment and is also kid-friendly.
Villa Stéphanie Destination Spa Brenners Park-Hotel
Spa, Health Spa
Baden Baden is one of Germany’s oldest spa towns. Aristocrats would flock to the city in the summer months to recover from winters spent in damp and drafty castles. The Villa Stéphanie Destination Spa Brenners Park-Hotel has 15 treatment rooms with private balconies, doctors on-site to take care of any medical worries and personal trainers available until 2am. Absolute discretion and old school service set Villa Stephanie apart from the competition.
“The house of superlatives,” as the marketing material has it, Sonnenalp in Osterschwang, Bavaria is a pioneer when it comes to wellness vacations. With a 10,000 sq.m wellness area, indoors and out both incorporating Alpine elements, relaxing in the mountains is all but a done deal. The usual massage and skin care services are available as well as medical beauty and special anti-aging treatments. The view isn’t bad either.
Newly opened in 2015 just 150 meters from Elmau Castle, the Schloss Elbau Retreat aspires to be a luxury spa and cultural hideaway. 47 suites with floor to ceiling windows offer spectacular views of Wetterstein or Felchenbach mountains. Outside the rooms, three restaurants, a dedicated yoga pavilion and a 2000 sq.m Shantigiri Spa with separate adult and family areas awaits.
When you don’t have time for a full week immersion, try one of Germany’s small but full-service city spas. Neptunbad in Cologne is a gem. Built in chocolate, salt or honey peels in the steam room, a warm, Roman-inspired relaxation pool, saunas ranging from 65 to 90 degrees and the obligatory cold splash pool. The roof top terrace is ideal for lounging around naked in the sunshine with a good book.
As Germany’s most exclusive beach resort and winner of the German Gourmet magazine’s Hotel of the Year in 2016, Weissenhaus Grand Village Resort & Spa is at the top of the relaxation game. Considering how seriously Germans take their health, this is no throwaway accolade. The 16th-century property has 10 treatment rooms in a 1500 sq.m spa with hamam and is perched right on the beach in the resort town of Wangels.