Spa Review: Felsentherme – The Thermal Waters of Bad Gastein
Bad Gastein – also called the Monte Carlo in the Alps – is one of 3 towns in the Gasteiner Valley in the midst of National Park Hohe Tauern, in the heart of the Salzburg province.
The beautiful belle epoque town, located on steep hills above 1000 m above sea level is surrounded by fresh pure mountain air. This Austrian spa town of world renown offers the Gastein cure, based on three pillars of thermal water, vapour bath and healing cave, supported by the alpine altitude of Gastein.
Out of the two hot spring spas in the Gasteiner valley, I have visited the Felsentherme Bad Gastein, which calls itself ‘an alpine island for wellbeing’ and promises: ‘Felsentherme thermal spring spa resort in Salzburger Land offers you a wide variety of exclusive wellness and beauty amenities.’
The Felsentherme has no dedicated parking, however a large and free public car park not too remote was in reach after having been instructed by a friendly police officer.
The check in area is small yet efficient, the staff friendly yet short in communication. I was sold my ticket (upfront payment day pass) and that was that. No further explanation on the facilities or instructions.
The clean and tidy changing area was self explanatory, the wristband – that also serves for cashless payment throughout the visit – locks the locker which I was free to chose.
I started my tour in the indoor area which was not crowed that day due to good weather.
The water that flows through all pools at the Felsentherme Bad Gastein is natural hot spring water enriched with valuable minerals after a thousands of years long journey through the rocks of the Hohe Tauern mountains.
The power of Gastein’s natural hot spring water is said to be revitalising tired cells and relaxing tired muscles, as well as harmonising body functions and stimulating circulation.
Water features such as water fall or bubbles are timed, however I was not able to figure out the schedule.
So I took the advantage of joining the daily offered water gymnastics class, that was patronised by about 8 women. The instructor switched on some old fashioned music and started her speechless pantomime, demonstrating the moves. The 15 minute class was a pathetic line of individual ‘moves’ (hard to call them exercises), had no flow, no concept, no philosophy. What a shame!
Thus I moved on to the outdoor area, which was similarly disappointing as it resembled an open air fun pool.
Sunny weather and high temperatures on this weekday had brought many families with children to the Felsentherme, pick nicking on the small lawn.
All sun beds in the few outdoor places like a sun terrace were taken.
Even in the lap pool with colder water temperatures and a lane dedicated for swimmers was swimming near impossible due to playing children.
So I went upstairs through an additional gate to the so called wellness area, a nude area offering saunas, steam rooms, relaxation area, a massage room and a cold dip pool inside.
Although the steam room was rather functional by design and little innovative, I enjoyed the experience as the temperature was great and sufficient steam produced.
Sauna experiences, such as infusions or salt / or yoghurt / or almond peelings, are offered on a daily basis six times a day.
My favourite heat experience however was the Saline Grotto at 40 C, promoting blood circulation and boosting the respiratory system. Only the lighting in the Grotto was very clinical and did not make for a relaxing atmosphere.
The only treatments offered are massages, and since I had not pre-booked, I was not able to receive a treatment on short notice. My fault.
What I liked though is the fact that the 150 m2 gym (not included in the day pass) can be visited without access to pools and wellness.
The jewel of the Felsentherme is certainly the outdoor sun terrace located above the indoor heat experiences.
Two additional saunas and a small pool can only to be reached by crossing the sun deck, which offered sufficient sun beds.
Best feature: great views on the Gastein mountains!
The check out process was supposed to be easy and fast, however the process does not seem to work flawlessly, that is why a second receptionist had to assist guests leaving the facility.
I have not found the promised ‘exclusive wellness and beauty amenities’ and ‘pampering of a lifetime’ in the Felsentherme.
Offers and facilities that I have found were nice but rather basic, the minimum I would expect from a spa located in a world renowned spa town. I certainly missed a ‘wow effect’.
Bad Gastein however is absolutely worth the visit. A quaint town centre, the breathtaking water fall running right through town, stunning buildings, shops, restaurant and a Casino make the trip worth wile.
If you happen to be in the area, pay the Gasteiner valley a visit or stay for a few days by booking a several day/week lasting cure.
Personally I would not travel to the Gasteiner valley only for a spa day at the Felsentherme. There are nicer spas in Austria to do so, check out my spa reviews.
However a full package with nice accommodation, enjoying the outdoors, a several day spa cure is likely to be worth the money!
Hope you are having a great summer!
PS: my extra tip: try dinner at Ginger & Gin in Bad Gastein. Very entertaining, nice service, good food! Belle Epoque in the Alps meets Asia!
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