Spa wars

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

Lyn heads to Hanover for some ‘me’ time

Tightly clutching my towel around me, I tiptoed past all the naked bodies. I was expecting it, but I wasn’t prepared for such openness. After all, I’m British! Anyway, let’s back-track.

Stansted Airport’s Security is very slow. A lot of travellers only have hand-luggage, and the staff seemed determined to completely search the lot. I queued, waiting for my bag amongst the backlog, or packlog, while they unpacked all the neatly-ironed t-shirts, shorts, etc and ran their machines round the bags to check for exploding underpants.

Finally I reached the Traveller Lounge and gratefully tucked in to a bacon butty and a cup of tea, followed by a Danish. When I’ve been searching for somewhere to go on holiday, I’ve never given Germany a thought. I don’t know why. But now I was off to the Hanover region to visit several spa towns and sample the treatments.

Germanwings is a budget airline, but very professional. I shall try and fly with them again. We were met at Hanover airport by Melanie, our guide, and taken to the Hotel Loccumer Hof. All the rooms are individually designed, and completely different.
My room was the best. It was lemon, pale blue and lime green. Two chairs hung from the ceiling on chains, and the artwork was based around fairies and butterflies.

We ate at the Brauhaus Ernst August. They brew their own beer in huge copper vats. Hops cover the ceiling. It’s a very popular venue. The menu was small, but the portions weren’t! Everything was fresh and varied. In the afternoon we had a tour of Hanover. It’s a very green city, with lots of parkland, plus shops and restaurants. A great place for a city break. Everywhere is modern as the Allies completely flattened the whole town. All that was left was the partly-destroyed Cathedral and the Town Hall. A bomb landed in the historical Town Hall, but they picked it up and threw it out again before it exploded.

Hanover's town hall

Hanover's town hall

 

There’s also the burnt-out shell of a church left standing as a monument. In the Town Centre, copies of the Medieval wooden houses have been rebuilt. Stand on the stone circle and you can see four churches; one in each direction. At the end of the road, there is a fountain with a gold ring in the railings surrounding it. It’s said that if you twiddle the ring right round and make a wish, it will come true. But you mustn’t tell anyone what you wished for!

I twiddled it, but nothing’s happened yet. I don’t know how long I have to wait for. We were taken to the Aspria Spa & Sport Club, on the shore of the Maschsee. It’s a lake that around 3,000 men dug out by hand for the Nazis in the 1930s. Yachts and pleasure boats sail on it, curious swans come very near to the shore, and there are giant carp. The biggest is called Hugo! The listed buildings have recently been renovated. Part of the beach is for public use, and the rest is a private club.

Aspria

We were given a tour, followed by a wonderful massage, then left to use the facilities. Hence my tip-toeing past all the naked members! I chickened out of the sauna and its pool. I’m embarrassed about my wobbly stomach, let alone the rest of me! But I had a lovely swim in the main pool.

The evening temperature was perfect, so we ate outside. As the sun set, a deep red, we could see nude families wading into the lake together and lying around on the loungers.

In the morning, after a good buffet breakfast, we were transported to Bad Pyrmont. I fell in love with the town as we pulled up outside the Steigenberger Hotel. We ate on the veranda and admired the view of the perfect landscaped gardens. In the afternoon our guide escorted us around the small town. The architecture is very similar to Tunbridge Wells in places. Both towns were popular at the same time, thanks to King George the Whatever (the guide and I disagreed about which George it was.)

There are several different types of springs, and the water is bottled. With the CO2 treatment, the patient sits in a box with their head out. The knowledge of the springs’ healing power dates back to Roman times, and possibly longer. The hotel has its own spa. Again we had a wonderful massage. Swimming in the pool was amazing. It was like bathing in Space Dust! Every time I touched my skin, it fizzed. It was a lovely sensation and kept me amused for ages.

Hotel Bergkurpark

 

In the evening, we walked to the Hotel Bergkurpark for dinner. We felt as though we were sitting in the middle of a forest. So relaxing. Each course was cooked in a different type of spring water; a good concept, and everything was visually superb, but I wasn’t impressed with most of it. The mushrooms in jelly was horrible. The fillet steak was boiled, which was a brave thing to do. It was very tender, but overcooked, which was a shame. We walked back through the town. Waiters were packing away all the chairs and tables, although it was early. A few people were finishing their drinks .The town was deserted.

Breakfast was top-quality, with plenty of choice. I had the largest, juicest strawberries I’ve ever had! Off we went to the next spa town. We stopped briefly in Hamlin, outside the museum. I didn’t see any rats. But I didn’t see any children either!

Bad Nenndorf

 

Bad Nenndorf was next. We were greeted by our next guides. The lady was in full National costume, despite the heat. I found the tour quite boring. There wasn’t much to talk about. Although the park’s mansions from the 1600s have been renovated, the rest of the town was modern. We were taken to the treatment centre. They have a selection of therapies. There are salt water baths, and a very complex mud treatment with huge pipes and vats in the cellar that resembles a brewery!

In Germany, doctors can recommend treatments for a wide range of ailments, from asthma to arthritis. Much more enjoyable than medication! We walked to the club. Again I chickened out of the sauna. Clothes are banned. I swam in the salt pool. My feet kept rising to the surface!

Hotel Harms

In the evening we arrived at the Hotel Harms. Again, they have their own treatment area and a pool. The chef was a hunter. There were stuffed animals everywhere; bears, a goat, and trophy heads on the walls. We were given the choice of a beer bath or a water bed. I chose the water bed. I was covered in cream, then wrapped in plastic and left to float and cook for 20 minutes, trying to stay awake. Then I swam in the pool. The evening meal was our favourite, and beautifully displayed. We all went to bed early as we had a very early start. The hotel’s owner packed each of us a bag-full of breakfast to eat in the airport.

At Hanover airport, all the staff were very, friendly, helpful, and more laid-back than the English airport staff. Apart from a few short showers, the weather was hot. The food was all good, natural, and beautifully displayed. The Germans are very particular about their food and health. Everyone was pleasant and polite wherever we went. Everywhere was immaculate and well-maintained, with lots of sculptures and artwork. I was very impressed. I’ve fallen in love with Germany. But if I go again, I’m still keeping my cossie on!

Need to know

Hotel Loccumer Hof
Single room €70,00 – €99,00
Double room €85,00 – €125,00
www.loccumerhof.com

Wellness treatment at Aspria Club
Aspria Well Being Massage €55 (45 minutes)
www.aspria-hannover.de

Bad Pyrmont
Steigenberger Hotel Bad Pyrmont
Single room
€150,00
Double room €250,00
Wellness treatment at Steigenberger Hotel
Ginger back massage €35.00
Short foot massage €19,50
Normal back massage €35.00
Total body peel €25.00

There are no special packages for English speaking guests or transfer days in Bad Pyrmont. Nevertheless it is very easy to reach Bad Pyrmont by train: you just have to enter the ‘S 5’ at Hannover airport and approximately an hour and 20 minutes later you will arrive at Bad Pyrmont main station. Many hotels in Bad Pyrmont offer a transfer service from Bad Pyrmont main station to the hotel and back; public buses and taxis are available as well.

Bad Nenndorf
Hotel Harms
Single room: €69,00 – €74,00
Double room: €119,00
Treatment at Hotel Harms
Beer bath €35,00

Hotel Harms offers wellness arrangements including overnight stay and treatment, but the description is only available in German language:
http://www.hotel-harms.de/images/stories/Well_Vital.pdf

The tourist information in Bad Nenndorf offers transport from Hannover Airport to Bad Nenndorf, costs €28,00 per person. They will be happy to work out special offers in English on request!

Further information about public transport

Hanover airport

There is a direct connection by train from Hanover Airport to Hanover main railway station (HBF). Takes 17 minutes, trains leave every 30 minutes and cost €3,00 for adults (one way).

– Hotel Loccumer Hof is in walking distance from the main railway station (takes approx five minutes).
– Aspria Club is reachable either by taxi (easiest way) or by tram no. 1, 2 or 8 in direction Laatzen/Sarstedt/Messe Nord. Get off at ‘Döhrener Turm’, walking distance to Aspria: 600m
– Bad Nenndorf reachable from Hanover HBF by train. Every 30 minutes and takes 44 minutes, direct connection. Costs € 3,70 one way. Walking distance to Hotel Harms: 700m
– Bad Pyrmont reachable by train Hanover Airport (direct connection). Leaving every 30 minutes and takes one hour 20 minutes. Costs € 13,90 one way.

From Bad Nenndorf to Bad Pyrmont there is another connection by train with one change in Weetzen. Takes an hour and a quarter and leaves every hour and costs € 13,90.

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