Bollants in the Park – a very two-faced spa resort experience
The Bollants in the Park is said to be one of the best Wellness Hotels in South West of Germany. I had heard so much about it and was really curious to visit for a long time. Now recently I have had a chance to stay a night, on my way travelling further West. Pretty interesting what I have observed, and in the end it was a very two-faced spa resort experience.
My first contact with the hotel
At first, I tried to contact the hotel’s marketing to inquire about a potential cooperation for the blog. Unfortunately I never received an answer (not even a friendly apology), so that I can only assume the hotel was not interested.
This is actually not unusual, there are many reasons why cooperations between businesses and bloggers never materialise. Nevertheless I do my spa reviews, which means sometimes I am happy pay for my experiences like any other guest.
So I contacted the hotel by email again for a reservation and was promptly told, that there were very limited room options available, as my desired date fell into a school holiday week in February. I narrowed the choices down to two options:
- a country style room
- or a spa suite.
The spa suites sounded super exiting. They are tiny cottages located within a few steps of the main building. In summer, they offer a private outdoor area with jacuzzi and shower, which I was interested in. However since the outside area of the spa suite is not available in winter, I decided to opt for the country style room. Big mistake!
The room was located in a remote building, some 5 minute car ride away from the main resort. The room was ok-ish, I did not appreciate dragging down my suitcase a super narrow and steep winding staircase. What I did like though was a cosy salon-like room downstairs for all the residents with a kitchenette for free coffee and tea.
distance to the hotel
The worst however was the distance to the hotel. It was too remote and lonely for me to walk back at night after dinner, so that I had to use the car to go for dinner. That is not my idea of a relaxing hotel dinner.
It really is a shame, as I had asked the reservationist prior to booking, which of the two options she would recommend. Her lame answer was that ‘both have their charme’. Although it said that the ‘country room building’ was not directly connected to the resort, I could not make out the real implication of that distance. Me booking as a single travelling women should have prompted the reservationist to recommend the option closer to the resort or at least highlight the distance.
Check in/out and Guest Relations
As I arrived at the hotel mid day, my room was not ready yet. Check In was quick and friendly, I handed over my luggage and headed to the spa. As I was very busy that afternoon, I did not get back to the hotel reception to receive my room key before 6 pm. Plenty of time to take my luggage to the room as promised.
Since the room was not within the main resort, I was escorted by car to my residence for the night, to find my suitcase not waiting for me. Of course it was delivered straight away, however those little hick-ups add up to lower overall satisfaction.
When I checked out at the hotel reception the next day, again the process was efficient and nothing to complain about. Yet while I was waiting for my bill to be printed, I realized that no one ever during my visit had called me by my name. I guess either single travellers or one-night-stays are not the main target.
How I was treated at the Spa Reception
I was definitely not happy with how I was treated at the spa reception. As said before, my room was not ready as yet on initial check-in, so I went to the spa reception to spend the afternoon in the spa. The spa receptionist was busy working on her computer when I arrived, and asked somehow mechanically ‘how can I help’ without looking up from her computer screen. I explained that I was a hotel guest, yet my room not ready yet, that I had a spa treatment booked and would like to participate in the afternoon yoga class. She did not react in any way to me for about a minute, just kept staring into her computer screen, hacking the keyboard. Finally she said in a kind of reproachful manner, that she had registered me for the yoga class and that I must present myself in the spa waiting area a few minutes prior to my treatment time. She then handed me a spa basket with robe, towels and slippers and no further explanation. When I double checked with her for the location of the yoga class, she almost lost her patience.
Which she actually did the next morning, when I went back to the spa after breakfast. I had returned my spa basket the previous night at the spa reception, as I assumed a basket with robe would await me in my hotel room. At least this is how I know the procedure from most Wellness Hotels. Yet since no robe or basket was available in my room, I asked for a replacement at the spa reception the next day. Oh boy, I was told off like a little girl, that I should have kept the stuff, since they can hardly manage to wash all those mountains of towels and robes every day. I apologised that I did not have a robe in room to bring along, which prompted her to blame me for not knowing that my particular room category did not offer robes…
Spa Wellness Sauna Pools
I found my way myself around the spa, figured the locks out in the changing room, walked around to familiarise myself, found everything and enjoyed the afternoon in the spa.
A variety of heat experiences, a lovely garden, a small rooftop pool, jacuzzi, sun decks for summer, a large heated outdoor lap pool… you name it.
What really stands out in this resort is the number and size of relaxation rooms, that offer cosy furniture and hundreds of coffee table books to browse.
My favourite experience: the Sauna inside a deer enclosure. Lovely company!
Due to the fact that I booked short notice and my time was very limited, I was not able to to receive the facial that I felt I was in desperate need. However there was space for a body treatment, and I opted for the “Asian Bath”, as the description reminded me of a hamam treatment. My dry, dull and pale winter skin needed a lift and glow, so this sounded just perfect.
My therapist Silvia greeting me in the waiting areas and escorted me to the room. She was very friendly and open, and made me feel comfortable at all times. I do not blame her for my dissatisfaction with the treatment design.
The Treatment Room was rather outdated and lacked all of the charme and design that the rest of the resort offers.
The treatment of an overall of 70 minutes started with Silvia explaining the plan of procedures to me. She then invited me to sit down in an old fashioned steam shower, where I was left for 10 to 15 minutes by myself. After rinsing of I was asked to lie on a hard surface bench where I was rubbed down with a peeling glove and soap, again for about 10 minutes. I rinsed off the soap in the shower again, and sat in a regular bath tub, that was rather small, so that my knees and shoulders were sticking out and were getting cold. After another 15 minutes in the tub, I had to lie down on a massage table, where my therapist applied body oil from toes to neck (excluding the head). This was more the application of a product than a massage and again took a mere 10 to 15 minutes. And that was it.
After the ‘treatment’ Silvia offered a cup of tea that I drank sitting right in front of the treatment room on a chair in the corridor. What a shame that none of those beautiful relax areas were nearby.
So why was I terribly disappointed with my treatment?
First there is the timing matter: out of the 70 minutes total, I reckon that 10 minutes were used for the explanation, the transiting between the different steps, and taking showers twice.
Which leaves us with 60 minutes treatment time, out of which I was left by myself for self administered elements (steam room and bath tub) for about 30 minutes. So the actual treatment time with a therapist was another mere 30 minutes. However those therapist elements were super basic in techniques. The hefty price tag of 100+ Euros for the treatment is pretty cheeky!
We sell time in spas, and personal attention by a qualified and skilled therapist. That is what I expect in a spa treatment, be it face or body treatment!
Fitness and Yoga
The resort is located near a river and within a park like area. Running and hiking and walking and cycling outdoors must be lovely in summer. However a spacious and well equipped gym is at hand, which I am sure guests patronise much in winter.
I attended a yoga class, in a lovely and airy yoga studio, with a gentle and friendly teacher. We were about 10 participants of very different yoga practice experiences. The class was very gentle and relaxing and well executed.
I had breakfast and dinner at the Villa Restaurant, both came with my room as package. I enjoyed both, the breakfast buffet offered everything you can possibly imagine, be it healthy options or continental. The villa restaurant serves dinner in a semi-buffet style, which was totally suitable. The food was excellent. My waitress at dinner was one of the nicest and friendliest member of staff I had come across my visit!
Wrap Up of my two-faced spa resort experience
- a 24 hour visit is too short to experience all offers
- the hotel is great for guests that truly want to unwind, detach, detox
- the spa is unique for their Felke therapy
- due to the size of the place, as a single traveler I felt rather anonymous in the mass of people. Hiding in the flock…
- the place has a lot more potential in summer than in winter
- the region is wine country, one should bring time for tastings
I loved: the numerous, spacious, comfortable, and cosy relaxation areas!
I would not go back for: the spa treatment!