Spring Break

Taking Spring Break as an adult is so different than it was when I was a teen or in my early 20s… Instead of heading to the nearest beach we take time to get in a mini trip in to see family. ✈️ This season of our lives is so busy that it’s really not even feasible to take more than 3 days to go anywhere, so when we get the opportunity we want nothing more than to spend quality time with each other, or the ones dearest to us. Last week we finally got the chance to meet our sweet new niece and go back to the place my husband proposed. ❤️ We had dinner at our favorite restaurant and enjoyed the cityscape where he popped the question 7 years ago. 💒

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An Expat’s Review of Chodovar Beer & Wellness Spa in Plana Czech Republic

For Valentine’s day weekend this year my husband took me on a totally work-free, romantic-couple-time, no-stress-allowed spa date! I’m so excited to share specifics about where we went because it was an amazing experience for a phenomenal price. This is my first official ‘review’ of anywhere I’ve traveled and let me just say now, If you’re an expat living in Germany, you’ll definitely want to add the Chodovar Beer & Wellness Spa in Plana, Czech Republic to your list of places to go before PCS-ing back to the States!

Valentine treats in the hotel suite

{Pictured above, snapshots of the ‘Romantic Decorations’ package and treats my husband brought along as a surprise for our suite}

If you live near Grafenwoehr or Vilseck (as so many expats in Germany do) you’ll be excited to hear the Chodovar spa is even closer than Prague! The parking when you arrive is in a gated courtyard belonging to the spa and cost only 2 euro per night. Everything (including restaurants) are within walking distance to the suites. Once we parked we didn’t use the car again till we were leaving.

Our entire 72 hour weekend only cost about $500 — that included meals, treatments and a shopping trip! You could do everything we did in 1 day instead of 3 and save money on the room if you wanted.

plana, czech republic beer wellness spa

Our weekend (Feb. 13th – 15th) included:

  • 2 nights in the U Sladka hotel
  • 4, 50 minute massages (2 hot stone and 2 full body)
  • Large buffet style breakfast (included in room price – Saturday & Sunday)
  • 40 minute couple’s beer bath treatment
  • 45 minute brewery tour
  • 3 multiple-course dinners (with drinks – Fri, Sat, & Sun nights)
  • 2 lunches (Saturday & Sunday)
  • 6 full sized bottles of assorted beer cosmetics made in the brewery
  • 30 assorted Chodovar bottled beers to take home
  • 12 bottles of flavored mineral water from the near by mineral springs to take home
  • 3 decorative, locally crafted, hand-painted ceramic pieces
  • A trip to a local grocery shop on our way back to Germany to pick up our favorite Czech foods!

 

When you first arrive you’ll check in and be given your room cards, then you can drive around the main hotel building and park in the courtyard. There is an entrance back into the hotel from the courtyard. The courtyard has sun bathing areas and a mini golf course (for use during warmer months) and lies between the main hotel and a separate building where hot stone massages and beer baths are administered.

Chodovar Beer & Wellness Spa

The pool area features a kneipp foot bath which we enjoyed for about 20 minutes after our hot stone massages. The pool room also has a warmer whirling portion closest to the windows and a steam room (sauna) that you can reserve (at least an hour before you want to use it) for free if you are staying in the hotel over night.

Plana, Czech Republic Chodovar Beer Spa & Wellness Center Details

{Above collage featuring photographs from the Chodovar website showing the pool area, dining hall, couple’s beer bath and beer cosmetics}

About 10 minutes before your scheduled treatments are ready to begin just go down to the front desk and they will tell you where to go for each one.

There was nothing I didn’t like about any of the treatments. I will have to say though, it was very European in nature… i.e. the treatments were all done completely in the nude (you of course had towels during the massages) and it was somewhat unsettling at first! However the therapists seemed to be very unconcerned and I realized it’s just one of those ‘European’ things that is so different from American’s view of nudity. In (most of) Europe nudity doesn’t automatically equate sexuality. I didn’t mind after the first 2 minutes but be warned it could ruin the whole point of relaxing if this bothers you.

A few notes about the beer bath (because these were questions I had going into it): 1. Yes, you have your own private area sectioned off with curtains, so even though you can hear other guests chatting in their baths, no one is staring at each other. 2. My skin has never felt so hydrated or soft the way it did after getting out of the bath. 3. You don’t smell at all after getting out. I thought it would be a gross beer smell but there’s literally no smell at all. You can rinse off if you like in the locker rooms after a 20 minute rest after the beer bath (your body needs time to soak up the effects).

The rooms were very clean, the staff amazingly friendly and sweet, and the treatments done in elegant, clean settings with very professional masseurs and staff. I still can’t get over the professional quality of everything for the price we paid.

Plana, Czech Republic Chodovar Brewery Tour Snapshots

{Photos above taken with my camera phone during the brewery tour}

The brewery tour was about 45 minutes long, and even though the speaking portion was in German, we were handed printed copies of the entire speech in English, so it really didn’t matter. The factory doesn’t run on Saturdays, hence no people in any of the work rooms.

The best part about the whole weekend was the fact that it was very much like any another spa except that it was all centered around the beer — so it truly was the perfect couples date because we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Don’t be deterred by the amount we chose to spend for this weekend. You can easily enjoy the spa without spending as much time or money. It would be a tight squeeze time wise, but you could drive down from the Grafenwoehr area (about 45 minutes) in time for a 10am hot stone massage, followed by a beer bath, then a full body massage and take the tour at 2pm followed by dinner at the hotel restaurant. This way your total cost would not include the 3 night hotel stay, or additional meals, thus cutting about $200 from the trip. You could cut out even more spending by not bringing home the amount of (or any) extra souvenirs we chose to purchase.

Everything in Czech is priced like you’re in the 80s. They seriously have name brand bottles of wine and spirits for $5 or things like Monster Energy drinks at their grocery store for less than $1. We spent maybe $30 on food on our way back, stopping at the Penny Market for an embarrassing amount of chocolates and wine, and a pizza lunch in a little town about 4 miles from the spa.

Chodovar U Sladka Beer & Wellness Spa Czech Republic

{Above – More camera phone snapshots during our stay}

In all I would give the experience a 4.5 out of 5 stars for the quality and price. The only downside were the food options on site. Although delicious, it was a bit overwhelming to eat such hearty Czech food for 5 meals in a row. But I’m a pretty picky eater so it may have just been me. They did have a good selection of menu choices but it was all one type of food… meats, breads and countless ways to serve potatoes.

I hope this review gave you some insight if you’re living in Germany and want to plan an inexpensive unique weekend trip. It was definitely worth it and I would certainly go again.

4 Days in Paris Part 1

This weekend I’ll be in Paris for a few days and have been reflecting the past week how much I’ve learned about travelling efficiently so I thought I’d share a few tips for those of you who rarely fly or are perhaps taking your first International flight!
It can happen to anyone: whether you’re a veteran or a novice if you get behind schedule on your way to the airport there’s just ONE thing that hangs like a storm cloud over every traveler’s heart… Security. Truthfully; I cannot count how many times I’ve been through security of some kind. They’re everywhere in my life. But there are a few tricks I’ve discovered to truly breezing through that will have everyone in line behind you thinking you’re the most cosmopolitan person on earth!
Going through security in the UK or America always takes longer than anywhere else because they still make you take your shoes off. Everywhere else is either not at all or only if you’re wearing tall boots. Which brings me to rule #1.
 
1. Wear slip on shoes. NEVER ANY OTHER KIND. I am willing to bet you have as many pairs of slip ons as other types. I even have boots that are slip on/off without any zippers.
2. Rule #1 applies to this one as well. WEAR SLIP ON CLOTHES. i.e. don’t wear clothes that have a lot of buckle/ties. If you’re wearing jeans make sure they’re fitted around the waist so you don’t have to wear a belt with a metal buckle. If your outfit must be belted opt for a fabric tie or scarf.
3. DO NOT WEAR JEWELRY PRIOR TO SECURITY. Except for my watch I keep all the jewelry I’m planning to wear that day in my handbag so I can put it on AFTER security. That way it saves me time taking it off before I go through.
4. Make sure your camera/laptop/iPad/iPod/iPhone are at the TOP / MOST EASILY ACCESSIBLE AREA of your carry on so you can get to those quickly and put them on the conveyer belt.
5. While you’re waiting in line to go through go ahead and take off your jacket or scarf and whatever other accessories you might have on like a hat or sunglasses and have them ready to put into the trays. Also keep your passport and boarding pass out and put them in the tray last.
6. Use common courtesy: If you wouldn’t want to be stuck behing that slow, frustrating person in the security line, DON’T BE THAT PERSON! 
 
Are you a frequent traveller? What tips would you add to this list for making your journey easier? 
Leave me a comment below!
Thank you for stopping by!
XO Rachel