While I was trying to figure out what to do with my single day in Bucharest and avoid the winter, I got a recommendation at the hostel to visit a wellness spa called Therme Bucuresti. Jovani, who suggested the place, said it was paradise and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be too mad if this is what life after death looks like.
How to Reach the Therme
If you don’t have a car at your disposal, you can get to the Therme using their free shuttle bus from Piata Romana. The trip from the city center to the wellness spa takes about 30 minutes. For timetable and directions click here.
As convenient as the complimentary transportation may be, Piata Romana is a huge and busy square, with several bus stops and, since the Therme website doesn’t provide any specific directions, it’s a bit confusing. Besides, it’s impossible to ask for details over the phone, as they only have an automated menu that leads back to their website.
To make it easier for you, if you decide to stop by the Therme, I took this photo – the bus stop is right across from the Stefanel shop, in front of this building:
Excellent Facilities, Sub-Par Management
Right off the bus, it’s obvious that a lot of resources have been invested in the Therme. There is a large car park up front, and the building that houses the wellness spa itself looks pretty fancy – a lit up glass structure, with an interior palm forest peeking from inside.
Regardless of how well a place looks, I always find that the way you are treated there is what matters most. I’ve had great experiences and didn’t want to leave places that were falling apart, just because the people there were friendly and made me feel at home. At the same time, there are other places, like the Therme in Bucharest, that are really well-made, but the grumpy staff leave a bad taste in your mouth. Entering the Therme, you have to go through one of the reception desks. I was greeted by Daniela’s big frown, who was pretty rude to both myself and the people before and after me.
It then turned out that they had run out of towels, bathrobes, and slippers. In my eyes, this is unacceptable for a place that is trying to be a bit upscale. Luckily, sometimes being a woman has its perks – the Israeli guy before me, who had gotten the last towel, turned out to be a gentleman and gave it to me instead.
Motivated by the shuttle bus schedule back to Bucharest, I got the 4:30-hour ticket for the Therme wellness spa, and opted for access to the whole area (you can see all the prices here). If I had more time in Bucharest though I would definitely spend an entire day at the Therme – fluttering from the mineral water pool to the awesome saunas and back. A light lunch at the restaurant, a few freshly squeezed juices or smoothies, and it’s a perfect spa day 🙂
Showers and Changing Rooms
Before entering the little piece of heaven that is this wellness spa, you first have to find your way through a few long, uniform corridors. The walls are covered in white lockers, indistinguishable from one another, which made me think of what the world would be like when we colonize Mars and the white “room” from “Almighty Bruce”. I was also a bit perplexed by the fact that there are no changing rooms, separated by gender. The small cubicles, in the middle of the lockers, are where you can change. For whatever reason, the doors don’t lock.
The showers were also different from anything I’d seen before – instead of in a separate space, they were huddled in the corners of the long corridors and were open, so you couldn’t really take a shower without your swimsuit on, which I didn’t find to be particularly comfortable, especially when I wanted to wash the sweat and chlorine away, before leaving the Therme.
After a while, I was finally able to get out of the white maze and into the heart of the Therme. The first floor features several warm mineral pools and a water park, while the second floor is dedicated to the saunas. I took a quick look at the water park but felt more like chilling, and headed straight to the wellness area.
Mineral Pools and the Best Saunas I’ve Ever Seen
There are several indoor mineral pools, set among a lush indoor jungle, sprinkled with cozy white rattan loungers. The temperature in the pools is about 35 ⁰ Celsius and there is a different mineral added to each. Signs near the pools inform you of each one’s healing properties. There are also two outdoor mineral pools but my 4:30 hours were not enough to go there as well and besides, it was way too cold outside, so I opted for spending more time at the Therme’s saunas instead.
Not that I am the biggest wellness expert, but recently I’ve acquired a taste for treating myself to the spa every now and again. Compared to other facilities I’ve used around the world, the saunas at the Therme are absolutely amazing. I felt like my money was well spent even just for saunas and the ambiance.
On the second floor of the wellness center, apart from a bar, a restaurant, and a relax area with a panoramic view over the mineral pools and the surrounding lush vegetation, there are also 6 themed saunas, at a temperature between 40-90 ⁰ Celsius.
What I enjoyed most was that the saunas at the Therme had a schedule with healing practices – something I hadn’t seen before. Wellness professionals create an intense 15-minute experience, complemented by sounds, aromas, and hot air circulation. I went to 3 of those – by accident to the first one and loved it so much that I kept checking the clock so I wouldn’t miss the other two.
The wellness practices at the Therme follow each sauna’s theme. For instance, the first one I went to was at The Amazon Sauna – a spacious area, with a glass wall overlooking the Therme’s indoor jungle. So, during the practice, the music combined natural tropical sounds and indigenous motifs, which reminded me of my wilderness trips in South America and Southeast Asia. The ceremonies are carried out by the staff (I have no clue what the exact job title would be), who tear through the hot air with towels, in dance-like motions. This way, the scent of essential oils and fresh herbs reaches every corner of the sauna and makes for an experience much deeper than relaxation. As long as you are willing to go with it, this seems like a good way to gain some perspective and look deep inside your soul. It felt almost like a modern take on the South American Temazcal ceremonies.
The wellness staff begin by explaining what the practice is going to be like, in both Romanian and English. Once they begin, it’s almost like they are floating around the space, their movements are harmonious and refined. It felt like everyone in the sauna was getting a bit of а personalized treatment. To avoid disturbing others, it’s recommended that you don’t speak during the ceremony. It’s also not allowed to go in once the healing practice has begun, although you can, of course, go out if it gets too much. In the end, you get small refreshments, like ginger tea and pieces of fruit, which I thought was a nice touch.
If you decide to pay the Therme a visit, I would definitely recommend attending at least one of the healing practices.
My second-favorite in the Therme was The Hollywood Sauna, where you can watch the Planet Earth documentary, at a toasty 60 ⁰ Celsius. Never has it occurred to me how nice it is to watch penguins go about their business while you are unwinding in the sauna.
Are the Therme Worth the Time and Money?
Overall, I absolutely loved the Therme and definitely think the place is worth at least an afternoon in Bucharest. Yet I didn’t really enjoy feeling like the center was made for mass consumption, with no consideration for the individual client. Apart from the grumpy staff at reception, the lack of towels, and the underwhelming organization of the changing rooms and showers, I also thought that a few small details, such as the bottled water they sell at the Therme, were not well thought-out. The only option was a small bottle for 11 lei, while the enhanced water (full of sugar) was 12 lei – even airport water costs less and I thought this was a bit annoying. At a wellness spa, where it’s crucial to stay hydrated, water should not be a way to squeeze every last penny out of your clients. It would make more sense to me if the entrance fee was higher, but there were more options for staying hydrated.
If you’re leaving the wellness center by shuttle bus, remember to get to the stop a bit earlier. I was going to catch the bus at 10:10 PM, which actually left for Bucharest at 10:00 PM. Had I not gone literally 2 minutes earlier, I would have had to wait an hour for the next bus or paid around 60 lei for a taxi back into town.
Still, at the end of the day, the experience was worth it. I understand that it’s hard to create such a huge space and get all the details perfect. Even though several elements made a poor impression, the Therme still has the best wellness spa facilities I‘ve ever seen.
If you’ve already been to the Therme in Bucharest and would like to share your experience, or know other awesome wellness spa spots around the world, please comment below 🙂
If you want to know more about the cool experiences that can fill your weekend in Bucharest, read here. And if you’re looking for some info on how to get in and out of the city, check out this article.
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