German Spas: Need to know
Published 05/02/2012 | 06:00
From Dublin, there are five daily flights to Frankfurt's main airport with Aer Lingus (0818 365 000; aerlingus.com) and Lufthansa (01-844 5544; lufthansa.com).
Trains to both Wiesbaden (40 minutes) and Baden-Baden (90 minutes) leave from here. See bahn.com. Ryanair (0818 303 030; ryanair.com) flies from London Stansted to Karlsruhe airport, about 12km west of Baden Baden.
Baden Baden: The Dorint Maison Messer (dorint.com) is in walking distance of the Kurhaus, Trinkhalle, spas, museums and theatre.
It is built on the site of the grand old Maison Messer, which was the favoured residence of European royalty when they visited Baden-Baden in the 19th and early 20th century.
It features an extensive spa and beauty salon. From €159 for a single room or €213 for a double.
Wiesbaden: Hotel Nassauer Hof (nassauer-hof.de) is set in the centre of Wiesbaden opposite the Kurhaus. It is built on the site of a thermal spring so its spa on the top floor has pure spring water in the pool.
The late-night piano bar permits smoking and there are two excellent restaurants, including the Michelin-star Ente restaurant. There is also an Ente bistro for more casual dining.
Oberstaufen: Hotel Allgäu Sonne (allgaeu-sonne.de) is Oberstaufen's top hotel and has excellent hotel spa facilities. The food is of exceptional standard and the view from the outdoor pool is of the snow-capped Alps to the south. Prices start at €108pp and there is no single room supplement.
FIVE GREAT THINGS TO DO
Get your kit off! It's not just spas such as the Roman-Irish Baths where nude bathing is the norm. Bathing suits are often banned from the sauna area of hotel spas.
Be at least prepared for the sight of naked men and women wandering through the spa area.
Eat your daily bread German bread has a taste and texture of its own. Bakers use rye, spelt and wholemeal flower combined with seeds and nuts to create a tasty, healthy offering.
Most hotels have a range of loaves on the bread board at the breakfast buffet.
Sample the wine Germany is best known for its white wines, but it also produces good dry reds. They can be somewhat strange to an Irish palette used to young, new world wines, but they definitely expand your wine-tasting experience.
Try your luck Roulette, poker and black jack are the traditional offerings. Chips start at €2 and dress code is slightly formal.
Men have to wear a tie, but if you forget they will supply one for you.
Ladieswear can be less formal or range up to evening dresses, worn by those determined to recapture 19th-century elegance
Check out the art Both Baden-Baden and Wiesbaden have considerable cultural offerings in the area of visual art.
The Frieder Burda museum in Baden-Baden was established by Frieder Burda, whose mother built a business from cut-out sewing patterns.