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Massages and mudbaths are on the menu at these Transylvanian spa hotels, ideal for exploring Romania’s rural reaches.
Targu Mures is characterised by toy-town spires and swirling domes – a charming base in Transylvania, that storied, fairy-tale stretch of rural Romania, known for the vampiric Bran Castle. Hotels put you front and centre to explore picturesque fortresses, palaces and churches, not to mention taking hikes around the sweeping Transylvanian Basin – and these spa hotels promise to soothe even the most murderous of marauding Counts. After all, if anyone needs a massage, it’s Dracula.
This historic hotel in the centre of town has a pretty wedding-cake exterior, but thoroughly modern facilities, including a sultry urban spa with a volcanic-stone sauna, plus a hair and beauty salon; a stylish bar and patio; and unfussy rooms with crisp white bedding and polished woods. This is the sort of hotel with a full concierge, 24-hour luggage storage and reception, great if you need help arranging local tours or you’re arriving at an awkward time.
This sprawling spa hotel taps into Transylvania’s wellness heritage. Thanks to its mineral-rich mud and healing salt water, it’s been a pampering hotspot in the region for centuries. Soak in vast outdoor thermal pools, or swim laps in the indoor pool, then retreat to deeper, iodine rich salt baths that soothe skin conditions and other ailments. Rooms come in modern (apple green and pine wood) or traditional (red carpets and darker woods) versions.
This modernist building is close to the centre of Targu Mures, and boasts minimalist, light-flooded rooms and wall-size windows. The highlight is the hotel’s sun-kissed terrace restaurant – a lovely spot for a coffee or aperitif – but there’s also a medium-size spa with a gym, jacuzzi, saunas (both Finnish and infrared), and a massage room. Check out the rooms in the hotel’s fanciful, century-old Villa Csonka for more historic flourishes and a contrast to the sleekly modern main event.
A huge indoor pool characterises this traditional spa hotel, home to carved-wood furniture and marbled bathrooms. The cavernous spa has exposed-rock walls, thundering water features and relaxation beds under a faux starry sky. History lovers will love the hotel restaurant, too, with its heritage-packed stone walls, wood beams and medieval design touches.
This smart, modern hotel does what it says on the tin, providing clean and crisp rooms for business travellers. But it’s great value for holidaymakers, too. Snuggly faux-fur rugs and colour-pop furniture and curtains brighten up the surroundings, which range from basic business rooms to huge suites with separate living rooms. There’s also a large spa with an indoor pool, a mosaic-tiled steam room and a whirlpool tub to unwind in.
This 17th-century mansion-turned-hotel is close to the Mures river, and is set in pretty manicured gardens with statues and a driveway. Rooms are as palatial as you’d expect, with heavy Persian rugs, ornate wooden bed frames and vintage furniture, but the real treat here – aside from a fully equipped spa with pool, sauna and massages – is the fine dining, with a swish restaurant and wine cellar nourishing post-treatment guests with local soups, salads and meaty specialities.
This rural retreat in Cund, a small village outside of Targu Mures, is a restaurant with rooms that’s made for exploring the countryside. You can head out truffle-hunting with sniffer dogs, then come back to eat your treasure grated into a risotto; attend gourmet weekends of cooking workshops and wine-pairing dinners; or just relax into rustic, chalet-style rooms set in old cottages and stables. But the wellness doesn’t start and end with the menu: there are also massages and yoga classes to compliment chef Jonas Schäfer’s healthy, natural food.