Health through water

Health through water

by Nicole Rice
Stripes Europe

Believe it or not, taking a holiday or a little time for oneself isn’t a modern concept. The Romans often took time out to mend wounds they received in battle. When they discovered that thermal waters helped heal their ailments, they built bathhouses around the springs (Sanus per aquam, or “health through water” — hence the name spa) and often spent extended periods of time regenerating in the waters. So why not do as the Romans did? Take a few days, or at least just an afternoon, to rejuvenate.

Wiesbaden “meadow baths”

Part of the charm of living in Germany is the history you can find around every corner, even at the spa. Wiesbaden is considered one of the oldest and most popular spa towns in Europe. Visitors of the city’s thermal springs can be documented to the Roman Empire, whose cavalry utilized the warm waters for themselves and their horses.

Bathhouses became an important industry in Wiesbaden toward the end of the Middle Ages. Between the late 1300s and early 1900s, their popularity grew and Wiesbaden became home to more millionaires than any other city in Germany. At one time, the city boasted 26 active bathhouses.

Though the number of active springs in the city is slightly lower today — 14 still flowing — the bathhouses have been updated and new spas and services developed to meet today’s standards of modern luxury. Take some time for yourself; while you’re in the area, relax and refresh in one of these fabulous spas.

Schwarzer Bock Hotel:  You won’t find a more historic bathhouse than Das Badhaus at the Schwarzer Bock Hotel in Wiesbaden (part of the Raddison Blu hotel chain). Set inside what is considered one of the oldest luxury hotels in Germany — an estimated 527 years old — the bathhouse is fed by the Kochbrunnen spring and offers luxurious spa services such as the thermal pool, sauna, aroma steam bath and a variety of massages and other treatments. A unique assortment of aquatic fitness classes are also taught in the thermal pool and provide both relaxation and health benefits to participants. For more details, call +49(0) 611 155 38 50.

Nassauer Hof Therme:  The contemporary feel of the Nassauer Hof Therme takes a modern look at health and wellness. Along with a thermal pool, the facility offers a spacious state-of-the-art fitness center and certified trainers to help you achieve a healthy balance of exercise and relaxation. Registered therapists in physiotherapy and rehabilitation are also available to help treat and prevent injuries and impairments. The saunas, thermal pool (pictured above, courtesy of and beauty center also offer all of the luxurious pampering you come to expect from a high-end spa. For more information on their facilities and services, call +49(0) 611 1330.

Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme:  Built on the foundation of an ancient Roman steam room, the Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme has been carefully preserved to reflect the feel of the Irish-Roman bath, popular during the Wilhelminian era. The colors and ornaments throughout the bathhouse have been intricately restored to their original beauty, creating an atmosphere of historical spa luxury.

The spa features nearly every amenity you could ask for. Along with a thermal spring sitting pool, the tepidium, sudatorium, Finnish sauna and Russian banya (heated by stones) offer a variety of ways to sweat it out; the cold-water dipping bath, swimming pool and tropical ice rain shower will cool you back down. Another unique offering is the lumenarium relaxation room. The slowly changing colored lights projected onto the vaulted ceiling in this room create an atmosphere ideal for comfort and relaxation. Other services include Oriental steam baths with therapeutic muds, a sand bath, various types of massage, and other cosmetic treatments. For details, call +49(0)611 31 70 60.

Thermalbad Aukammtal:  Along with 4,400 square meters of thermal bathing with massage jets, Jacuzzi and other relaxation areas, the Thermalbad Aukammtal offers an action pool with aqua workouts and gymnastic class activities.
While many spas are designated for those 16 years old and older, here most areas are open for the entire family to enjoy.* In fact, every first Saturday of the month, children 5 years old and up are permitted in the sauna section with an accompanying adult. In addition to the baths and saunas, the Thermalbad Aukammtal offers modern cosmetic treatments and both medical massage therapy and relaxing spa massage techniques. Call +49(0)611 31 70 80.

*Note: Children are allowed, but those under the age of 2 must wear a swim diaper.

Bad Homburg

Kur-Royal – Spa Gardens in Bad Homburg von der Höhe:  On the grounds of the Bad Homburg Spa Park sits the Kaiser Wilhelm Bad — originally constructed in the late 1800s — where many emperors, kings and princes once bathed with the healing clay from local mineral springs. Inside Kaiser Wilhelm Bad, the Kur-Royal Day Spa has been refurbished into a center of “medical wellness” that focuses on relaxation and recuperation along with preventive healthcare, medical treatment and rejuvenation.

Ten different facilities offer pampering, such as saltwater relaxation, fragrant herbal vapor baths, sand light bath, mineral baths, rasul, or soap brush massages, as well as other traditional or oriental massages. There are also several rest zones, including a refreshment area and an outdoor garden. Call +49(0)61 72 178 3 178.


Wellness Weekends in Mainz:  The spas in downtown Mainz’s largest hotels, such as the Atrium, Dorint, Favorite Parkhotel and the Hyatt Regency, offer “Wellness Weekends.” These weekends can be booked by calling the Tourist Service Center hotline +49(0)61 31 286 21 26. For more about each hotel and spa, visit:

Atrium Hotel Mainz 
Favorite Parkhotel 
Hyatt Regency 

The Taubertsberg Bath:  The entire family can enjoy the nearly 2,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor water fun at the Tauberstberg Bath. Adults can relax in the saunas and steam baths, while the kids can enjoy the pools and slides. If you can’t get away during the day, the pools are open later than most, and on Fridays the saunas are open until 2:00 a.m. Call +49 (0)6131 584460 for more details.


Titus Thermal Baths (Titus Themen): A combination of sport and relaxation can be found at the Titus Thermal Baths. A bathing area of more than 5,000 square meters allows for plenty of swimming, exercise and rest for the whole family. The kids can enjoy the large water slide and stone grotto with waterfall, and even the smallest tots can splash away in the baby bath. The sauna area stretches 3 floors and a modern fitness studio can be found in the basement. Contact the facility at or call +49(0)69 27 10 89 12 00 for more info.

Many hotels in Frankfurt have luxurious spas that offer a quiet retreat from the bustle of the city. As reviewed in Elite Traveler magazine, some of the top spas in Frankfurt include:

Villa Kennedy Spa
Phone: +49 6971 712 1160

Roomers Spa
Phone: +49 692 713 420

Ascara Spa
Phone: +49 617 490 9100

Rama Day Spa
+49 696 062 7976

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