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Romania has a third of Europe's thermal and mineral springs, used in 34 resorts throughout the country
Romania has a third of Europe's thermal and mineral springs. They are used in 34 spa resorts throughout the country, where the visitors enjoy the medical benefits of the springs, as well as of medicinal mud and salt mines used for therapeutic purposes. Most of the spas have seen significant investments, such as four or five star hotels, and have expanded the range of services into the area of wellness. In Baile Olanesti, also known as the Golden Springs, five million Euros have been invested in a wellness center that provides a variety of spa services: swimming pools, play pools, outdoor jacuzzi, kids' pools, water slides, saunas, steam baths, salt mine treatment, as well as play areas.
Calimanesti Caciulata, 140 km away from the capital, has seen investments in hotels with indoor swimming pools and outdoor thermal pools. In Sovata, a resort in Mures County that has been used for over 150 years for treatment with medicinal mud and salt springs, a Hungarian company invested over 20 million Euros in renovating hotels and villas that now can accommodate over 4000. Baile Govora, famous for treating respiratory and rheumatic conditions, is in Valcea County, in the sub-Carpathian area, in the north of the region of Oltenia, 20 km away from Ramnicu Valcea. Mihai Handolescu, director of SC Baile Govora, told us about the investments here.
Mihai Handolescu: "The resort of Govora has fully benefited from European Commission grants. Both the Govora company and the local administration have invested in restoring the general tourism infrastructure, as well as the specific infrastructure. If we are talking about the local administration, we must say that the central park of the resort has been completely restored, and 7 km of alleys have been laid out. We have made the biggest investment, using grants, worth over 4 million Euro. We improved a hotel, bringing it from one star to four stars. This is the Palas Hotel, an architecture monument. In addition to the accommodation and traditional spa infrastructure, we have built a spa center. The resort looks much better, the offer is diverse, and that has attracted 20% more tourists per year. We plan to apply for financing to improve the old spa pavilion, which is not functional at the moment, and also a multi-functional spa. We also plan to restore the large public outdoor pool, to improve accommodation conditions, and we also plan to install solar panels to heat the water."
Baile Felix, a resort 8 km away from Oradea, is the largest spa in the country that works year round. Millions of Euros have been invested over the last few years, turning the resort into a booming business. Two years ago, it opened the only five star spa complex in Romania, according to Cristian Tautu, marketing expert with SC Turism Felix:
"This is a project that started in 2006 and was completed in 2015, with an investment worth 32 million Euro. The former Lotus Hotel was rebuilt as a spa complex. It now has 180 rooms, accommodating 262 tourists. We have great apartments, also special apartments, a VIP apartment, and, as a novelty, we have the water park next to the hotel. It is called Aquaparc Felixarium, with 14 indoor and outdoor pools with re-circulated thermal water, jacuzzi, caves, waterfalls, two water slides, dining areas, a beach volleyball court, a wellness and spa center with three types of sauna, and an ice room. In order to maintain Baile Felix's good reputation, we also built a treatment base at the hotel, the biggest spa treatment center in Romania. It is called Nelumbo Med-Spa and is perfectly connected with the five star hotel. It uses the latest generation technology for treatment, unique in the northwestern region, Tecar therapy."
The spa company, one of the ten largest in the hotel industry in Romania, also runs 6 other hotels and two large public outdoor pools, according to Cristian Tautu:
"The hotels are undergoing constant renovation and modernization. The latest investment in these hotels was 680,000 Euros, to which you can add 260,000 Euros in maintenance work. 87% of our rooms are completely renovated, we are talking about 846 rooms. In recognition of our work, but also as a confirmation that the work was not pointless, our company has received many awards. The Lotus Therm five star spa complex has recently got its finalist certificate in the 2017 Spa Innovation Award, an international competition for wellness and spa innovation. Also recently we were happy to find out that we got an award from the 2017 Top Hotel Awards in the Hotel of the Year spa tourism category."
As much as 350 million Euros have been invested over the last few years, mostly from private sources, but some investments were made with European and government provided funds, according to the Romanian Spa Tourism Employers' Association. Official statistics show that in 2016 less than 10% of tourists in Romanian spas were from a foreign country.
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