The Terme Šmarješke Toplice spa is located in a tranquil corner of the Dolenjska region. It is entirely surrounded by green parkland and is ideal for a complete switch-off from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
My visit at the end of April coincided with unusually late-spring snowfall so it really was a tale of two halves. The first day was very cold and snowy, whilst, by the second day, the sun had made a welcome comeback and I was able to see the area in (almost) its full glory. It was, however, sad to see the destruction that the late-spring snow caused to the surrounding vineyards and forests. A reminder of the power of nature.
This was the view from my room when I arrived.
And this was the view an hour or so later! I know which I prefer! How about you?
I stayed at the four-star superior Hotel Vitarium, which has modern well-appointed rooms. The resort also comprises two 4-star hotels – Hotel Šmarjeta and Hotel Toplice.
Shortly after arrival, and seeeking sanctuary from the blizzard raging outside, I headed to the fitness centre, which I was delighted to find is modern and well-equipped and even includes an altitude training chamber.
The warmth of the sauna also looked rather inviting on such a chilly day! The Sauna World comprises Finnish, Turkish, Roman, and herbal saunas.
The first medical wellness centre in Slovenia was founded at Smarjeske Toplice over 20 years ago. The centre specialises in the rehabilitation of heart conditions and problems with veins, as well as a full complement of other services. These days, however, it is also home to the very modern Vitarium Spa & Clinique which offers a comprehensive range of beauty and pampering treatments.
I opted for the Vitarium massage which uses grape seed oil.
The Vitarium Premium Selection slimming and detox programmes are particularly popular amongst guests, many of whom return every year for an annual detox (or two!). There are 7, 10, or 14 night programmes, which include a very comprehensive range of services such as a medical check-up, tissue structure analysis, consultations with a nutritionist and personal trainer, massages, Fango mud wraps, detox treatments, Pilates and other exercise sessions, as well as a whole host of other services designed to make you leave feeling fitter and lighter.
For obvious reasons the outdoor pool complex wasn’t open during the time of my visit, however, the outdoor pool at the Vitarium Aqua centre was open as well as the indoor pools and whirlpools, all filled with thermal water.
The next day, wrapped up well, I ventured out to explore the surroundings. Šmarješke Toplice set up one of the first Nordic walking centres in Slovenia. There are daily guided Nordic walks, or, like me, you can just borrow a pair of Nordic hiking poles and head off on a journey of discovery! There are 9 well-marked routes, which start directly from the resort, ranging in length from 2.5 – 12 kilometres.
Less than a 10 minute walk from the resort you can pay a visit to the beekeeper Stane Gorenc, who will be delighted to show you his hives, small museum and shop selling honey and honey products.
The hotel has several restaurants. Those on full or halfboard, and not on a specific medical programme, dine in the Fontana restaurant, which was modern, bright and the food was delicious. Unlike most of the spas I have visited, where half or full board meals are buffet-style, here the starters and desserts are buffet-style, whilst guests can choose a main course from a choice of five daily menus. The focus throughout is on locally produced food, with as few food miles involved as possible. This locally-produced cheese was a nice touch.
Getting there: By far the easiest way to reach Šmarješke Toplice is by car. If, however, you are reliant on public transport then the nearest major hub is the city of Novo Mesto, from where there are a few buses per day.
Find more information about Šmarješke Toplice here – http://www.terme-krka.com/us/en/destinations/smarjeske-toplice/
© Spas in Slovenia 2016