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What comes to mind when you think of Romania? Wellness might not be top of the list, but between the country’s wealth of mineral hot springs, mountain-fresh air, dense forests and a sprawling Thermae spa complex in Bucharest, this country has developed something of a reputation for holistic travel. Whether you’re looking for steamy sauna sessions, elaborate spa rituals or just some time in nature, check out these – the best wellness retreats in Romania – to get some serious pampering.
Not far from Bucharest on the shores of Lake Snagov, this medi-spa has more to offer than just relaxing massages. Expert-designed nutrition plans, personalised therapy programmes and unique treatments – ranging from hydrotherapy to psychotherapy – aim to get you feeling your best and learning how to stay that way. Don’t think it’s sterile though – bedrooms, restaurants and public spaces have a relaxed, homely feel with classically upmarket furnishings.
If your idea of wellness is a day at the beach, look no further than Arena Regia, perched by creamy sands mere steps from the Black Sea. Catch rays, then cool off in one of the pools – a small outdoor one lined in loungers, or a larger indoor number with Romanesque columns – before making for the spa. Skin-softening hammams; synchronised four hands massages and contouring Elemis facials leave you feeling refreshed, ready for another big day at the beach.
Nestled in northern Romania – a region better known as Transylvania – among forested hills, this regal resort feels miles from big-city living (and yet, the charming city of Cluj-Napoca is just a 30-minute drive away). SunGarden is as big on activities – including tennis, football, cycling, fishing and golf – as it is spa time, making this place ideal for busy couples who can’t sit still. With an array of pools, hammams and saunas, the thermal spa has enough to occupy a full afternoon of relaxation, perfect following a long day’s hiking.
Just an hour south of medieval Brasov – a Transylvanian city with rainbow-painted buildings and cobbled alleyways – Lux Garden brings a dose of the modern spa lifestyle to this historic region. A ski lodge atmosphere prevails, which is appropriate given Lux Garden’s location adjacent to the slopes. The wealth of spa treatments and pools, as well as a modern fitness centre, make this a luxurious place to spend a few days. Rooms are classic in feel, dressed in burgundy and green, and a piano bar is on hand for an indulgent evening nightcap before hitting the sheets.
Home to wolves, brown bears and wild boars, the wild vistas of the Carpathian mountains – specifically, the rugged Rodnei Mountains National Park – are at your fingertips when you check into Nord Hotel. Spend your days breathing in the fresh air and unwinding in the epic natural surrounds, hiking past glacial lakes or horseback riding on spectacular trails. Return to lap around the pool, sweat it out in the steam room or relax in a salt chamber.
With moody lighting, furry throws and panelled wood floors, the bedrooms at Balvanyos have a cosy, glamorous lodge vibe, making this resort feel just as lovely under a blanket of snow as it does in high summer. With four-bedroom apartments on offer, it’s a great pick for families or groups of friends looking to take advantage of the 2,000sqm (21,500sqft) spa – complete with hydromassage pools, salt room and relaxation areas (plus a dedicated kids pool).
This place takes its greenery seriously. Not only is Forest Retreat & spa set amid the Romanian countryside, four hours west of Bucharest, but it fetches the outdoors inside with a garden relaxation area, complete with living wall and forest aromas. The rest of the spa is just as epic, with pools, thermal suites and reiki energy healing, while the bedrooms, designed for couples, feature their own spin on the great outdoors with lime-hued throw pillows and blankets.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Roxana Coman.