A taste of Rome in Prague

The Prague Post

Newly restored spa opened its doors to the public in January

Off busy Senovážné námestí, near the main train station, is an oasis of peace and calming beauty.

The newly opened Spa Experience, tucked into the basement of the Boscolo Hotel Carlo IV, offers tranquility and serenity in a fresh, simple space.

“The concept of the spa is 100 percent natural,” explains Kristina Peres, the spa’s manager. “We want the environment to be as natural as possible.”

The hotel achieved its goal with a combination of basic materials, soft lighting and relaxing music. While the spa’s pool and reception area were already part of the building, the treatment rooms and gym were formally one big meeting space. After about a month of reconstruction, Spa Experience opened to the general public in January.

The hotel outsourced the project to Spa Experience, an Italian company that operates similar facilities at three other Boscolo hotels in Europe. Most of the furniture was imported from Italy. The design was also handled by an Italian studio.

Nothing about the spa is particularly eye-catching. However, it is obvious that everything was thoughtfully chosen to reflect a very specific tone and experience the spa hopes guests will enjoy during their visit. Take the lighting, for example. As Peres explains, its placement and brightness is carefully controlled.

“All the lights are kept dim,” she explains. “We want people to forget the time. It could be day or night.”

The lights throughout are fairly simple. In the treatment rooms, wall sconces with tulip-shaped shades combine with corner stainless steel floor lamps for a relaxing glow. The hallways sport suspended steel row lighting. Each has three bulbs, aimed toward the walls, to avoid the glare of harsh overhead lights.

The pool area offers vaulted ceilings and silver-framed recessed lights. There are no lights above the pool, only in it. Reflections from the lights cast elegant shadows on the pool’s surface.
The most notable light comes disguised as the reception counter. Imported Italian marble is lit from within, giving off a warm welcoming glow.

The lighting provides a flattering backdrop to the spa’s basic furnishings.

“We used simple and natural materials — wood, glass — to recreate a simple and natural atmosphere,” Peres says.

Wood floors are found in the treatment rooms, while stone flooring to recreate the Roman-spa look is laid in the public areas. Frosted glass doors lead you into each treatment room. Dark brown rattan and wood furnishings are used, and yellow cushions are the major source of color. The massage tables are made from a golden wood, and crisp white linens and porcelain all support the natural look. Two of the rooms offer Zen gardens, complete with stones, bamboo and golden branches.
The bamboo look is recreated elsewhere as well. Reeds are etched into the hallway’s walls and frosted onto the long window enclosing the pool area.

Mosaics play an important part in the spa’s design, too. In the pool area, blue mosaics dominate glittery golds and browns. In keeping with the Roman spa-stone motif, the pool’s tiling is shades of brown with white outlines. In the Turkish bath, the sparkly blue and gold mosaics include white tiles scattered throughout to represent the nighttime sky.

The generous pool area is one of Peres’ favorite areas.

“The water and air temperature, combined with the look of the mosaic and the lighting, gives everyone a good feeling,” she says.

The pool itself — 9 meters (29.5 feet) wide and 17 meters long — sports two whirlpools at either end. Pillars stretching from pool floor to ceiling offer a surprising bit of privacy to the two areas. The two center pillars have flat gold “shelves” that produce a rushing stream of water. Rattan furniture, palm trees and succulent plants complete the simple look. Off to the left is where the Turkish bath as well as a dry sauna can be found. There is also a cooling pool, a place to take a dip and cool your heat-soaked skin following time spent in either the wet or dry sauna.

“It’s deep and narrow — steep to get in and out,” Peres explains. “It’s just like at the original Roman spas.”

The Turkish bath displays a tall, two-tiered bowl fountain, which spouts healing waters. And the dry sauna offers the basic wood-paneled floor, ceiling and benches. A replica “coal cart” (really an electric heater) supplies the heat.

Designers kept the rest of the hotel’s look in mind when styling the spa. Dark woods and furniture can be found in the lobby’s brown-leather club chairs, as well as the massive doorframes of the treatment rooms and gym.

Overall, Spa Experience offers its guests an unassuming place to rejuvenate and pamper themselves.