After a long three month wait the day of our visit to Chodová Plána finally arrived. The reason for going to such a boring corner of the Czech Republic was the beer spa run by Chodovar, the local brewery.
After two hours by car, we made it to the hotel U Sladka. A nice building that looks recently renovated. Wanting to make the weekend a bit more special, my love and I had booked the romantic package called Pivní lázně z lásky (beer spa with love) that included accommodation for two nights with breakfast, beer spa, massage, brewery tour and a bottle of sekt with chocolates waiting for us in the room.
We had got there quite early, so we went to have a bite at Ve Skále, the brewery's restaurant. This massive hospoda is located deep into what used to be a granite mine that also holds the lagering cellars of the brewery. To get to the restaurant you have to walk a 30m long corridor that ends at a reception - gift shop, and then another 10m to the restaurant proper. We liked the atmosphere of the place from the very beginning, it is really special. After having a quick lunch we went to the neighbouring Mariánské Lázně.
nice looking but didn't make it for me
The food arrived, pečené vepřové koleno (roasted pork's knee) for me, and Svíčková na smetaně, for my dear, both really good and very well made. The meat on the knee simply fell off the bone and the skin, which many times has the consistence of rubber, almost melted in the mouth. The sauce of the Svíčková was darker than what we are used to, but it was very rich and had the right thickness, and the knedlíky were not too shabby either.
I'm sure that to set up something like the investment was massive. But they are really successful. We had originally planned in August last year to go in September, but we were told that they were fully booked at weekends until the end of November.
Back to our story....
We got up rather early because we wanted to have time for lunch. We had a feast, there were scrambled eggs, different kinds of ham, salami and cheese, pastries, different kinds of bread, honey, juice, coffee and home made blueberry and beer jam (delicious!). With a jolly belly, we went to what we had come and waited so long for, the Beer Spa.
I want to make something clear before continuing. This pivní lázně is not a marketing gimmick to attract drunkards. The people of Chodover have put together something serious and very professional. They consulted with balneologists from Karlovy Vary and Marianské Lázně. They wanted to bring together two of the most well regarded Czech traditions, beer and therapeutic baths.
The spa is located in the vaulted cellars of the hotel. Exposed bricks and the lovely smell of fresh beer already tune you up with what is waiting for you. One of the nurses told us to remove our clothes at the dressing room and gave us a crisp white sheet to cover ourselves. Once dressed as Roman senators, we were shown to our bathtub, which was being prepared. The bath consists of half specially brewed dark beer, half mineral water and herbs.
Just when going into it you are invaded by a delicious feeling that not only comes from the 34°C of the bath, but of the vapours emanating from it, lovely scents of malts and hops. The complimentary glass of lager you are given must have been one of the best I drank in my life, not so much for the beer itself, but for the effect of drinking it in that lovely and special warm bath. A couple of minutes, it is all it takes for your extremities to fully relax and start floating, while you feel that all your system has slowed down a couple of gears. It is an experience hard to describe, but just recalling it makes me feel better.
Oh! But that's not it. Just when we are beginning to slide into sleep, we are announced that the bath is over and that the next phase of the treatment is awaiting us.
Wrapped in our sheets we are shown to a very dimly lit room. We are told to lie on beds and we are promptly wrapped in a big towel, just like babies. All the lovely scents that we felt in the bath start to come back out from our skin. The feeling is like being in a sauna, but without the heat and humidity. The only thing that kept us awake during those 20 minutes was the second glass of beer that we slowly drank as we felt we were almost levitating.
After all that, we felt like new. We gladly followed the instruction of not showering for at least 4 hours (in fact, we didn't shower until the evening). And it was lovely to still feel the aroma of beer on our skins for the rest of the day.
Still ahead of us were a nice massage, lunch and the brewery tour, which with the exception of one really cool touch, doesn't give any surprise to those who have already visited a brewery.
Some pics of the brewery tour
The first step of the malting
The coolest tap in the world
My friends, start saving, pawn your dog, and with enough time ahead, book a weekend at Chodovar. After a pivní lázně treatment, your life will never be the same.
Meanwhile, I leave you with pics to increase your envy....
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