Alright, it's winter. There's no denying it and it sucks. However, when the weather is at it's worst, it is actually a great time to head to one of my super favourite solo-dates. Thermëa is certainly not without its flaws (many of which I think might be due to its own success) but it is definitely the best thing that I can think of to do alone on a cold, crappy day. Also, considering you can spend as much time there as you wish, it's a pretty economical staycation in an hourly sense, particularly if you can make it out on a weekday when the rates are reduced.
So, the cons of this one are oft-cited, so I'll just confirm that some of the legends are true: be prepared to wait forever to check in. Even the so-called 'fast lane' for those of us who book massage appointments and such are entitled too moves at a snail's pace and, if you need your receipt for insurance purposes, be prepared to wait again (for some reason) after your appointment. All this, of course, is a best-case scenario; if you try to go on a holiday or particularly nice weekend and they are at capacity, the wait-list is literally four hours long. Since I mentioned massage appointments, I'll just mention here that such services are not required to enjoy the spa and in fact I wouldn't even recommend it, to keep your costs down. The discount they offer on the 'thermal experience' is comical considering the cost of their services. But my back is what professionals refer to as 'permanently f*cked' so I opt to get a deep-tissue massage whenever one is available.
Come prepared with your own bathrobe and sandals since these are not provided and renting/purchasing them is just further raising your costs unnecessarily. The towels are also stupid tiny, so you might want to bring one of your own if you want to wrap yourself up in it. Maybe bring an extra bathrobe if you've got it since yours will inevitable get wet and that's not super comfortable all the time. Final pro-tip: memorize your locker number; the sharpie they use to write it on your wrist band will wear off approximately 36 seconds after you enter the spa. It's almost useless that they do it.
Now, back to the reasons why, despite the minor annoyances listed above, I think Thermëa is the greatest solo-date: you move through at your own pace and (when they're actually enforcing) the silence policy means that conversation isn't even an option. Basically, in my opinion, it's designed to be done on your own. I mean, I suppose if you've got a partner that you don't mind snuggling in public, this could be a place to do that, but apart from that I can't think of any other reason that going alone is not the optimal experience.
|Silly Thermëa, Vegan Farmers are called 'gardeners.'|
If you do use the restaurant, be prepared once again for some signature, Thermëa-style waiting. Seating can take forever, especially since the entry to the restaurant is in an awkward spot for staff to see who's waiting for service. While there are no pants required in the restaurant, it can be a bit chilly in a thin, wet robe, so you might want to bring a change of clothes or that extra, dry towel I recommended earlier. The slow service once seated isn't super noticeable since the staff is supremely friendly and you really shouldn't be rushing off anywhere anyhow. If you did book a spa service, maybe do that before visiting the restaurant so you done have to sprint off. The menu is alright, but I feel it could use more nibbles; I'm not really looking for a full meal after spending all day in a steam-room.
I got soup because it's the thing to have in the winter. It was nothing special but I am never really super moved by tomato-based soups, so maybe that was it; I find them boring. Cheese was the only really snacky-thing that appealed to me, so I went with that. There were two smoked cheeses out of three, which I thought was a poor choice, but it smoked Gorgonzola was pretty awesome, so it made up for the lack of variety. The baked brie was tasty but could have been hotter; it wasn't gooey all the way through as one might have hoped.
|They don't allow phones in the spa,|
so you'll just have to be content with
this pic full of chocolate.
Desserts aren't usually my thing, but if you're going to be here all day, you might find the time to try a couple. The rhubarb platz was super delicious ans super huge, so my super kind server boxed it for me and kept it in the fridge until I was ready to go *hearts and flowers*. The lockers are pretty tiny here, so that was appreciated. A much less portable but definitely more fun choice is the chocolate fondue; how much fun is it to have your own little burner at the table? Speaking of fun, they used to offer sippy cups so that you could take a cocktail outside. But when I asked about this, the server informed me that you can't take them to the pools or pavilions so... I don't really know what the point is. I'm 80% sure you could take them to the hot tubs in the recent past. I assume things got irresponsible and now it's been ruined for the rest of us. I can't imagine walking around in the cold in a robe drinking a mimosa would be fun, but that's just me.
So yes, it's true, there are a few things about this place that are less than perfect BUT if you actually want to do something by yourself for the day, as opposed to just sitting around a restaurant lounge, this is your best potion in the city. That I have found so far. I'm totally open to suggestions.
Rating: ** ½