Nestled between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, small but mighty Slovenia boasts a bit of everything – a Mediterranean coastline, a foothold in the Alps, crystal clear lakes, and a fairy-tale island to boot. The entire country can be crossed by car in just over two hours, so it’s an ideal daytrip or weekend break if you’re staying in Italy’s north-eastern Veneto region, or are looking to extend your holiday in Austria, Hungary or Croatia.
While the summers are hot, expect cooler temperatures compared to the more southern-lying lands of Italy and Croatia, especially in the north of the country, where Slovenia nudges against central Europe’s Alpine region. Blessed with natural occurring thermal springs, its cooler year-round temperatures and gift for hospitality make Slovenia an ideal destination for a spa break.
Read on for five of the best Slovenia spa experiences in a selection of Slovenia’s best hotels, with a pleasantly impressive price-tag considering the quality and range of services.
1. Slovenia spa: Wellness Valens Augusta, Grand Hotel Primus, Ptuj
For a small country, Slovenia has a rather wild and spacious feel, especially in the north-eastern provinces, the oldest settled parts of the country. The town of Ptuj, equidistant from Austria and Hungary, was founded by the Romans, who made wine here and enjoyed bathing in its naturally occurring hot springs.
The Valens Augusta Wellness Centre, located at the four-star Sava Hotels & Resorts Grand Hotel Primus in Ptuj, is a great place for a traditional Slovenia spa experience. The hotel and the wellness centre recall the city’s Roman roots with a palatial, old-school resort that carries a touch of Caesars Palace. Day guests are welcome at the Valens Augusta, which can be accessed through the main lobby of the hotel.
You enter the spa through an imposing studded door, past oversized columns to access the wellness centre reception area, where bookings can be made for massages, treatments and private rooms, or you can simply pay a day ticket to experience the spa pools. Divided into three experiences – the Imperium of well-being, the Flavia thermal baths and saunas, and the Vespasianus pools, you’ll need to buy separate tickets to access all three.
The wellness centre Imperium, which is open every day from 9am until 10pm, is a labyrinth of treatment rooms and massage parlours, with themed rooms decorated in world styles – from Oriental through Indian and Egyptian – available for couples or small groups.
Even when April sends a sharp wind across the fields surrounding the town of Ptuj in eastern Slovenia, guests at the Grand Hotel Primus can warm up and relax in the fabulously grand wellness centre Valens Augusta. Private massage rooms and hot-tubs in different world styles contrast with the vast thermal pool, extending out into the green garden. #testaccina #termeptuj
I tried a 30 minute half-body massage, administered by an expert masseur in a private room. The space and the experience was very calming and of above-average quality. The swimming pool Vespasianus consists of a large, brightly lit hall with one main, curved pool that leads outside through a plastic curtain, as well as two hot, jacuzzi pools, and a pool for children. The play of lights and the airy feel of this huge hall makes for a relaxing and fun experience. Even during the winter, it can be fun to swim outside, whilst keeping warm in the water.
Finally, sauna world Flavia is a Roman-style underground system of pools and saunas with a gracious, elegant vibe in a low-lit stone chamber. Remember, it’s usual to dispense of any swimwear in saunas here so be grateful for the dim light as you surrender to the steam and the water!
Where to stay:
Rooms at the Sava Hotels & Resorts Grand Hotel Primus start at €110. This four star hotel boasts large, spacious rooms, a spa water tap in the bath, and views over Ptuj castle or towards the mountains at the rear of the hotel. For guests seeking healthy options, the hotel restaurant also offers a fitness menu.
2. Slovenia spa review: Sava Hotels & Resorts Hotel Golf, Bled
Bled, a picturesque town with just 4,500 permanent inhabitants is located on one of the most stunning lakes in Slovenia, which also features the only island belonging to the country. Bled fills with ski tourists in the winter and hikers, couples seeking a romantic retreat and families in love with its picture-perfect charm the rest of the year.
The recently renovated Hotel Golf boasts possibly the best spa facilities in town, making this a truly charming Slovenia spa experience. The wellness centre makes the most of its enviable position on relatively high ground, overlooking Lake Bled and enjoying views towards the town’s stunning medieval castle.
The large, indoor pool is flooded with light and features sunbeds on multiple levels, with a charming circular water slide, cascade areas, jets and hot tubs. Its spa facilities comprise a range of saunas, including a Turkish hammam, and an unforgettable outdoor hot tub with sensational views across the lake. For treatments and massages, discrete rooms staffed by experts make this a truly pleasurable stay.
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I tried a massage in a couple room, which allows you to chat to your friend or partner while you both enjoy treatments of the highest quality. Of all the spas in Slovenia that I tried, I think this was my favourite massage – administered by a really talented masseur and featuring a focused leg and foot massage. But the highlight of this Slovenia spa experience for me was watching the sunset over Lake Bled from the outdoor hot tub. Heaven!
Where to stay:
Sava Hotels & Resorts Hotel Golf in Bled has just been renovated and the rooms have been transformed with soft natural tones and dusky shades of rose that blend perfectly with its woodland location. You truly feel at one with nature in this exceptional hotel. With rooms starting from €122 and the exceptional spa facilities right on your doorstep, it’s hard to beat.
The intensely romantic five star Grand Hotel Toplice has been attracting VIPs for around a century, and its Presidential suite has seen royalty, world leaders and film stars choose its idyllic lakeside views. It’s also a great destination for gourmands or day guests celebrating special occasions. Don’t miss the waterfront Panorama Restaurant which enjoys breathtaking views across the lake, or the à la carte restaurant at night for an exceptional foodie experience. It also has a spa of its own for an alternative Slovenia spa experience, open to both overnight guests and day visitors. Rooms start at €162 per night.
You don’t have to be into camping to stay at Sava Hotels & Resorts’ sumptuous Glamping site on the shores of Lake Bled. 2-bed cottages start from €60, with optional private bathroom and in-hot tub dining. Order breakfast in a basket on your doorstep and breathe in that mountain air. And if you’re more than just two people, try Family Glamping, sensational woodland cottages for up to four people with a green vibe.
3. Slovenia spa review: The Paradise Spa, Grand Hotel Bernadin, Portoroz
I suppose the clue was in the name, but The Paradise Spa at the five star Grand Hotel Bernadin in Portoroz is perhaps the nearest I have ever been to glimpsing spa-heaven.
One of the best spas in Slovenia for breath-taking views, the lofty Paradise Spa in Grand Hotel Bernadin clings to a cliff with exceptional vistas across the Adriatic Sea to the Croatian coastline. Its outstanding seawater pool – cool enough for swimming and escaping the heat on a summer’s day – is located indoors but is flooded with such natural light that it feels at one with the crystal blue sea beyond the windows.
Equipped with expertly staffed massage and treatment rooms, there’s something for everyone including couple suites – ideal for a honeymoon or anniversary weekend – to specialised massages. The staff were exceptionally kind and professional here and the snug, relaxing spaces overlooking the sea echo the refined comforts of a luxury cruise liner. This was one of my favourite massages, with a wellness expert in calm surroundings, but the winning ticket here is the spa’s simply unforgettable seawater pool overlooking the Adriatic. Probably my favourite Slovenia spa experience.
Where to stay:
Grand Hotel Bernadin in Portoroz has been serving guests for several decades but this iconic structure manages to combine the best of stately tradition with modern comforts and attention to detail. The spacious rooms – some with sea views – encapsulate the hotel’s elegance and sophistication. Rooms start from just €130 per night, with wellness packages available. Its perfectly named Sunset Restaurant – with large windows, overlooking the sea – is one of the best restaurants in this part of the world with an immaculate kitchen serving the best best in local delicacies, from locally caught fish to the best of the region’s wines. A reason in itself for visiting this extraordinary hotel.
Lunch today in the iconic 5 star Grand Hotel Bernadin, located on Slovenia’s coastline in the resort of Portorosa. With enviable views across the Istrian strait to Croatia, it’s a refined haunt for the local jetset with a sensational wellness centre, the Paradise Spa. #testaccina #ifeelslovenia #grandhotelbernadin
4. Slovenia spa review: Terme & Wellness Centre, Portoroz
One of the biggest spa and wellness centres in Europe, covering more than 10,000 m2, the LifeClass Terme & Wellness Centre in Portoroz on the Adriatic coast is a sensational destination for anyone who loves spas. Rarely, for a coastal spa, it also features seawater pools for the ultimate luxury.
No Slovenia holiday would be complete without a dip in its jewel-like thermal pools, extensive massage and treatment centres, with an incredible range of spa experiences available, from Ayurvedic to Thai, Thalassotherapy to Turkish baths and steam rooms.
I tried an Ayurvedic massage experience here which was out of this world, and my first experience of this culture’s spa treatments. My masseur selected oils and recommended herbal teas for afterwards according to my likely dosha or body type. Ayurvedic therapists focus on clearing the energy channels in the body, moving and dislodging toxins, and balancing the chakras, performed here in original and exquisite Indian surroundings, administered by experts from southern India.
This is truly the largest spa centre I have ever experienced and would keep all members of your party happy with its unlimited treatment choices as far as Slovenia’s spas go.
Where to stay:
The five star LifeClass Mind Hotel Slovenija in Portoroz offers simple but sensational views from its balconies across the Adriatic Sea in modern, open-plan rooms. The hotel restaurant. Istrian Tapas, is a modern take on Spanish traditions of tapas, combining local dishes on small tasting plates. Rooms from €200. Excellent facilities and the room was stunning, but the staff could have been friendlier and more helpful in my opinion.
5. Slovenia spa review: Hotel St Daniel, Stanjel
The pretty town of Stanjel, just 20 minutes from Trieste, is a popular weekend destination for Italian daytrippers. No wonder – this gorgeous walled citadel still preserves and celebrates many of its ancient customs, including lacemaking, while entertaining visitors with traditional festivals,wine tastings and food shows.
The recently opened Hotel St. Daniel, a 20 minute drive from the centre of Stanjel, is a picture perfect rustic lodging combines five star luxury with creature comforts. Located right in the middle of Slovenia’s most fertile wine-growing territory, the former farmhouse lodge literally overlooks green fields of vines, stretching as far as the eye can see to the soft blue-grey mountains. The interior of the hotel reflects this rustic palate, in soft tones of blue, cream and lavender.
The spa facilities here are absolutely simple and rustic, yet curated in every detail, for an alternative Slovenia spa experience. Book a treatment or relax in the sauna, before heading out for a local wine-tasting or downstairs for a hearty, farmhouse supper. While they’re mostly used by hotel guests, day visitors can also experience the spa facilities, although booking ahead is recommended.
Essential spa moments at Hotel St. Daniel, Stanjel, a refined, brand new five-star hotel situated in a breathtaking rural location in Slovenia, just 20 minutes from Trieste. #testaccina #ifeelsLOVEnia
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Where to stay:
The beautifully understated five-star Hotel St Daniel in Stanjel combines impeccable service with laid, back, luxurious rooms, distinguished by shabby-chic Provencal furniture and an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. It’s also an ideal spot for lunch or dinner, serving day visitors curious about this stunning wine-growing region, as well as overnight hotel guests with exceptional, locally sourced ingredients.
Testaccina was a guest of Sava Hotels & Resorts, Grand Hotel Bernadin, Lifeclass Hotels and Hotel St. Daniel for selected hotel stays, spa experiences and meals, but was not paid to write this article.