If you’re looking for a glamourous weekend with a difference in Italy, here’s an idea. Hotel Terme Preistoriche in the picturesque spa town of Montegrotto Terme is just 15 minutes from the centre of Padua or Padova, in Italy’s Veneto region, but light-years away from the modern, bustling city, offering incredible spa pools in a huge green garden at the foot of ancient hill.
First of all, when I say prehistoric spa, I should explain – Terme Preistoriche isn’t a hotel with a Flintstones theme. You’re not expected to roll a boulder back to get in your room or suite and there’s no more than the usual amount of animal prints round the pool.
The name of the hotel actually relates to the geological past of this area, settled by the ancient people the Euganei, who discovered its incredible resource of naturally occurring hot springs located at the foot of an extraordinary group of high, green wooden hills. The Euganean hills are actually part of the biggest thermal basin in Europe, and this cluster of extinct volcanoes is quite a spectacular sight, especially when you’re not expecting it.
Today, Montegrotto Terme is a quiet resort distinguished by spa hotels, which enjoyed a real renaissance 100 years ago when the vogue for this kind of recreational pursuit arguably hit its peak. In fact, Hotel Terme Preistoriche is a real jewel of an art deco villa, right down to the beautiful lettering high on the front of the hotel.
It’s easy to feel like you’re been transported back into a chic world of flappers and vintage cocktails here. Hotel Terme Preistoriche’s clean, bright and modern rooms offer the right amount of comfort, balanced by the beautifully maintained older fixtures in the corridors of the hotel.
The two huge spa pools filled with naturally saline, thermal water cover a vast area of around 780 m2, maintained at different temperatures. In total, there are 56 hydromassage booths, seven hydromassage beds and six waterfalls providing natural shoulder massages. A full range of treatments are available.
By the pool, the cute restaurant, dubbed Preistorichino, serves healthy salads and tempting starters, first courses and second courses at lunch. Expect fresh fish, including scampi and scallops, as well as light but tasty pasta dishes.
On summer evenings, hotel guests can stay in the pool until midnight, enjoying the ambiance after dark and even the series of poolside concerts. Since 2009, Hotel Terme Preistoriche has been organising a charming summer festival of music, called Jazz by the Pool, which gathers local and international names from the world of jazz, big band, soul and swing for a series of friday night gigs.
Jazz by the Pool is also open to external guests, at a cost of €13 per person, with a drink thrown in for free – a real bargain. If you want to take a dip in the pool as well after 19.00, the total ticket price is only €23. For a full day in the pool, concert ticket and a dinner, expect to pay a very reasonable €55. If you’re in the area, or have simply picked the right weekend to visit Montegrotto Terme and have chosen to stay at Hotel Terme Preistoriche, guests can simply book their table for dinner and enjoy the music.
To find out the rest of this year’s concerts, click here.
To book a room at Hotel Terme Preistoriche, click here.
Testaccina was a guest of Hotel Terme Preistoriche in July 2017, on the occasion of Matteo Brancaleoni’s Jazz by the Pool concert