The holiday season is known to be somewhat stressful for most people, from exams to family get-togethers.. it can all be a little too much. Why not treat yourself to a little rest and relaxation at Thermae Grimbergen ? It’s also a great way to pamper your significant other seeing as the holiday of love was just around the corner. No need to worry if you’re single, it’s also perfect for a girls (or boys) getaway, just as Eline and I did. (If you prefer reading this review in dutch, you can do it here.)
Grimbergen is situated in Flemish Brabant, near Brussels and easily accessible from Antwerp but also the entire country. At 10 am every day they give a tour of the thermal baths to first time visitors but if you arrive later the friendly receptionists will be more than happy to give you additional information about the different saunas and wellness facilities.
Seeing as it wasn’t too cold outside we decided to take a dip in the outside pool and enjoy the out- and inside jacuzzi first.
Our first sauna was the Terra Cotta Sauna with temperatures fluctuating between 70°C. Its dimly litted atmosphere really focuses your senses to warming up and was extremely enjoyable. I should note that both Eline and I sometimes have trouble catching our breath so saunas can be a little hard on our lungs but we didn’t have any issues here. After the sauna we took a quick cold shower and a little walk outside to cool off and after one last dip in the outside pool we headed over to our hotel to drop off our bags and get ready for our Colombian wooden massage.
This massage was by far the high point of our weekend. The hour long massage was perfect in every way, and I’m not even exaggerating ! Both of our masseurs really tackled our own pressure points and any areas that were feeling sore. The combination of the cool, but not cold, wooden tools and their warm hands was amazing.
After the wonderful massage we got a special facial treatment with collagen masks, based on vegetable stem cells to reinforce and protect our skin. Starting off with a cleansing milk and lotion and a soft peeling with lavender and lemon, we then enjoyed a relaxing facial massage with a rich cream consisting of cucumber and aloe vera, a collagen mask with cotton wool wipes dipped in rosewater placed on our eyelids, a firming neck gel and a gentle head massage. Perfectly ending with a vitamin A hydrating day cream.
We were both pretty out of it after that super relaxing massage so we decided to stay in our bathrobes and have a small bite to eat at the restaurant in the thermal baths. Don’t expect any gourmet meals just some good wholesome belgian food. We enjoyed some tomato and mozzarella toast as an appetizer first, then Eline had a steak tartare and I had a goat cheese salad. I should note, you don’t have to lug around your wallet or anything here as they work with a badge system that keeps track of everything you order.
Afterwards we went back to the thermal baths, enjoyed the hammam and tried out the Mediterranean Sauna which was a bit too heavy for us at first because there were a few more people in there than the Terra Cotta Sauna. It does reach temperatures of 90°C so that explains it, but later at night we were alone and had no issues then. These saunas can be found in Sabai which is the bathing suit area. Aquarius is the nude part of the thermal baths, which is a little bit bigger but both parts are equally great.
In the afternoon and the evening they also organize daily aufguss sessions in the thermal baths. Aufguss means “pouring”, a blend of water and delicate oils is poured onto the hot stones in the sauna which causes the temperature and humidity in the sauna to rise sharply. The sauna attendant who takes care of the aufguss will spread the warmth around the area with a damp towel and as a result, you will perspire more and the fragrances will help you relax more easily.
The staff at the reception told us the thermal baths are open until 12 pm but we were a bit disappointed when we couldn’t even get a last drink or dessert around 10 pm. When we found out the kitchen closes at 10, we figured it was a misunderstanding.
Aside from the lack of communication from the bar staff, the rest of the service was perfect. The masseurs were incredibly sweet and the reception was as helpful as possible. Our bed was very cosy and the extensive breakfast was just what we needed to start our day.
If you would like to enjoy a relaxation weekend of your own, book your trip on Relaxy now !
This is a Belgian website where you can find a wide array of spa, beauty and wellness centers all over the country. Their search tool is straight forward and practical: either you search by location or by the kind of experience you’re looking for. Every venue has a page with pictures, descriptions, customer references and discounted arrangements, which makes choosing a lot easier.
lots of love, l.
pictures by Eline Ros.