The best time to take a spa break is when the temperatures begin to rise. It is then that you can combine relaxation in the sauna with country walks in a landscape slowly awakening from its winter slumber. The outskirts of Berlin and the surrounding countryside contain some ideal short-break destinations, offering visitors in search of relaxation the ideal combination of natural beauty and attractive spas.
Want to take a cooling leap from sauna to lake? At the Fontane Therme at the Resort Mark Brandenburg in Neuruppin you can do just that. Located directly on the shore of the Ruppiner See, the Fontane Therme boasts one of Germany's largest floating saunas. The large plate glass windows look out directly over the lake. Indoors, three spa pools are fed from the Fontane Quelle spring. You can also swim laps in a fresh water pool. There is a sauna complex comprising a cooler and more humid "bio sauna", a Finnish sauna, and regular and herbal steam rooms. For visitors who want to turn their trip into a relaxing weekend, the attached hotel has 121 rooms and nine suites. Hotel and spa are connected by a glass walkway.
Not just a summertime destination, the Spreewald forest region with its narrow waterways is also well worth seeing in blossom during the spring. And if you want to warm up in the sauna after a springtime walk, the Spreewald Therme in Burg might be just the place. The mineral-rich waters come straight from the ground, and their vapors can be inhaled inside large pickle barrels. There is a sauna complex with steam room and a fitness center offering preventive exercise activities. Here too visitors can turn a trip to the baths into a spa break: the Spreewald Thermenhotel is connected to the spa by a "bathrobe corridor". The list of beauty treatments on offer reads like a menu of local culinary specialties: linseed oil and Spreewald algae are used, as are local pickled gherkins.
With just 20 modern and stylishly appointed rooms and suites, the Strandhaus boutique hotel in the town of Lübben (Spreewald) is an informal alternative. Lots of wood lends a cozy ambiance. Guests can enjoy a view of the river Spree either from the new modern garden lounge or from the sunbathing area in the hotel garden. The Strandhaus Spa comprises a sauna with panoramic views, massage showers and a relaxation room. In the massage and beauty lounge visitors can book treatments such as head massages and hot-stone massages. Diners on the terrace of the Spreewaldstube restaurant sit right by the water and enjoy views of the unique river landscape.
Bad Saarow was renowned as a health resort and meeting place for the stars of the Berlin film and art scenes as far back as the 1920s. The beginning of World War II put an abrupt end to those days, and it was only in 1998 that Bad Saarow regained its status as a thermal mineral and mud spa. Today the shore of lake Scharmützelsee houses one of the largest thermal mineral spas in Germany. Guests can swim in indoor and outdoor mineral pools fed by the Catharinenquelle spring. A sauna area comprises a steam room, Finnish sauna, and herbal and snow rooms. Visitors to the "salt oasis" inhale wholesome Himalayan salt vapors at a temperature of 22 degrees and high humidity.
If you want to spend more than a day in Bad Saarow, you might check into A-ROSA Scharmützelsee, which has a spa complex covering an area of 4200 square meters. Residents and non-residents can unwind in a relaxation pool with underwater music, various swimming pools, and a sauna area with a varying roster of herbal infusions. Massages and beauty treatments can also be booked.
Almost an insider tip is the Villa Contessa in Bad Saarow, a first-class multi-award-winning hotel with just eight rooms. It has a small spa with steam bath and whirlpool, from where guests can look out over the beautifully tended gardens and the lake. Just a few kilometers away is the Landhaus Alte Eichen hotel, with a spa offering massages, therapeutic baths and facial treatments for him and her. Guest rooms and suites have a romantic and rustic character.
The Gut Klostermühle was opened by architect and hotelier Walter Brune in 2008. Built by monks in the 14th century, this former watermill today operates as a hotel and has two restaurants, an equestrian center, a theater with a changing program and a spa with indoor and outdoor pools, various saunas, steam rooms and mineral baths. Six therapists pamper guests with conventional and alternative medical treatments. There is also a fitness studio offering movement classes. The house itself has been carefully restored and has a very special atmosphere.
It is also possible to take a relaxing spa break without venturing beyond Berlin's city limits. The Hotel Centrovital has made a name for itself as a conference and spa hotel. This four-star hotel with adjoining spa and gym and Ayurveda Center is located in a former Schultheis brewery near Lake Spandau. Day visitors or weekend residents can make use of a range of facilities. Many hotels in the city also open the doors of their spas to non-residents. Day visitors can look out over Berlin at the Hyatt at Potsdamer Platz, swim in the old vault of a Berlin bank at the Hotel de Rome or experience a "World’s Best Boutique Spa Resort" at the ONO Spa at the Mandala Hotel – in short, they can relax in the very finest style.
Pictures and picture credits:
01 The flotation pool at the Fontane Therme, Neuruppin (photo: Resort Mark Brandenburg)
02 Relaxation room at the Strandhaus in the Spreewald
03 Spa pool at the A-ROSA Scharmützelsee
04 The Gut Klostermühle in bloom