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Bringing Up Poland

By: Felicia Brown
Posted: December 31, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
The spa at the Hotel Malinowy Zdrój

At the spa at the Hotel Malinowy Zdrój in Solec Zdrój, Poland, spa clients can experience body treatments, wraps, facials and offerings that include natural mineral spring water and peat.

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Among the offerings there are body wraps; facials; various types of massage, including mechanical and underwater; saunas; local cryotherapy; individual and group physiology treatments; and therapies that incorporate the area’s natural elements of water and peat. Prices for treatments can typically range from 30–300 Polish złoty (zł), the Polish form of currency that has an exchange rate of $100 U.S. to about zł33.44. However, a selection of two treatments from a special menu are included as part of a two-week stay at the facility at no additional price.

According to Robert Węglarz, general manager of Malinowy, there has been a significant increase of interest in Polish spas among foreign tourists. Poland is well-known for its cuisine and incredible hospitality, and this culture is quickly translating into the spa setting. These qualities, combined with various long-term healing programs, work well in the hotel and spa setting, often at a better price than their European counterparts.

As a guest of the hotel, I experienced the best of both traditional food and the aforementioned hospitality, making for a lovely getaway. I also got to sample some traditional Polish spa treatments during my stay, including the crio-sauna, salt cave, inhalation therapy and, of course, pool and water therapies, which are quite popular nationally and help ease muscle and joint pain, manage stress and improve circulation.

From the inside out

So what does the future hold for Poland’s spa industry? Raoul Andrews, president of Aspen Resorts International and a fellow speaker at the SPA Quality and Wellness Forum, suggests the changes and trends in Poland are the same as in most Eastern European states: moving from a thermal kur spa concept of pools, water therapy and mineral springs to a more modern view of health and wellness while still retaining some of its traditional approaches.

Andrews believes that in the next few years, Poland will see more spas with an Asian influence, more holistic and medically oriented spas, and a variety of leisure and pleasure-oriented destinations that include esthetics and fitness. The trend for hotels to add spa services will also continue as will the development of new niches, such as spas for men and club-based spas. Personally, I expect to see more day spas popping up, as well as those that blend a variety of healing traditions, such as ayurveda and energy healing techniques.