After a lengthy four-hour train journey from Prague, we arrived in Karlovy Vary and were shocked to arrive in such a run down and old looking train station. Was this really what welcomed visitors into a royal spa town? Despite being able to speak some Czech we must have had tourist written all over us as a taxi driver took us to our hotel less than 2km from the station and charged us a whooping 350kc for a journey that should of only cost 150kc. Be warned. Also, it is probably faster and cheaper to take a Student Agency bus from the city instead (So we found out later!)
Before I begin reviewing the actual hotel let me start by saying it is in a wonderful location and it is beautiful. We were greeted with a smile and lead to reception where we check in and were shown around the property and facilities and taken to our room.
Bright and clean we found our room to be of a good standard for an above entry level room in a five star. It was nicely decorated and furnished. The Easter gift was a nice touch and the room was spacious enough however we found the bed to be incredibly uncomfortable for a 5-star hotel and the shower in our room looked like it had taken a beating. Other than that the room was lovely. The floor also creaked awfully as did the floor above. It sounded like elephants were upstairs.
Hotel Savoy Westend’s Spa Facilities
We had a little trouble booking our spa treatments since they didn’t speak English (only Czech & Russian here) which was a little frustrating but we got by. Subsequently, there was no information on the treatments or what they were going to be like which was a little disappointing. The spa pool area is lovely and warm and relaxing, however, I found the downstairs sauna, steam room, and plunge pool areas to be very clinical and not relaxing at all.
We had a mint bath on our first evening. While the experience was not awful it was not satisfactory. The woman was kind enough and spoke little English. The bath was already run when I got in although it was cold after 5 minutes. The room was cold and clinical, not relaxing at all. The timer went off at 20 minutes (ruining the little relaxation you have) and I was expecting the lady to come back in. However, a different lady barged in while I was dressing telling me to leave so she could clean.
Our evening buffet Easter dinner was lovely. They had a great selection of food of meat and vegetables, salads, and deserts. The staff was attentive and we had a pleasant evening.
The following morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast which also was very healthy with a wide selection. I headed to the spa to book a medical treatment (Non-invasive Lipo) however was disappointed to be given a leaflet with a small amount of information about what the treatment entailed and was unable to ask any questions. Luckily the treatment went fine and I was able to ask some questions to the doctor who understood some English.
I was however deeply deeply disappointed with my chocolate massage. In fact it was probably the worst spa experience of my life (and I have been to quite a few international spas). Firstly let me start by repeating, this place is incredibly clinical almost hospital like, and not relaxing at all. The massage room was bright and the woman directed me to undress and lie on the bed. I was cold and uncomfortable. The chocolate massage was pleasant although lasting 10 minutes. She then covered me with blankets and disappeared for the rest of the time. The music playing was Czech folk music (awful) hardly relaxing and the whole time I could hear her banging around, making tea and general noise. After half an hour of lying there wondering what on earth was happening she comes in, takes the towels off and directs me to a corner shower in the adjoining room (what can only be described as a staff changing room) and begins to shower me down. Again I was cold, the water was cold, it was humiliating. She then says “you wash” and disappears. Once I exit the shower I dry off and enter the room where I was before and she says “leave now”. I pick up my clothes and leave feeling cold, disappointed, unrelaxed and a little angry.
The Hotel Savoy Westend is a five-star hotel in a well-known spa town. I expected so much more in terms of spa service. Perhaps this is how Czech spas run in Karlovy Vary. It was incredibly un-personal, clinical and at times rude because we didn’t speak Czech or Russian.
Which brings me to my final point. This hotel, spa, and town is tailored made and pampers to Russians. I have no problem with them. However I found some of the Russian in this hotel to be obnoxious, rude and inconsiderate (pushing past you in the lift, looking down at you in the spa, pushing in front at the buffet etc…) and I felt like a second grade visitor subsequently at this resort because I didn’t speak Russian. It spoilt the experience for me and my partner, and it was an experience we paid quite a lot for considering the spa prices etc…..