Piešťany spa directors to focus on attracting more westerners

First mentioned as having healing powers as early as 1551, Piešťany spas have long attracted visitors to their hot thermal springs and sulphurous mud. When Ľudovít Winter built Thermia Palace on the banks of the Váh and Rameno Váhu rivers in 1912, he envisioned the resort as a getaway for those seeking a relaxing weekend or medical treatment for ailments ranging from nervous system disorder to tendon and ligament trouble.
Were Winter alive today, he would find his vision a reality. Since the building of Thermia Palace, five other spas have opened on what is now referred to as 'Spa Island' in Piešťany and all of them have traditionally been a popular vacation getaway for foreigners and Slovaks alike. A glimpse at the pages of Thermia Palace's guest book shows visits by celebrities ranging from Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr and German super model and highway ribbon-cutter Claudia Schiffer to Slovak opera star Peter Dvorský and the infamous Vladimír Mečiar.


Therapeutic spa treatments like hot springs baths have attracted thousands of guests to Piešťany's Thermia Palace.
foto: Jana Obertová

First mentioned as having healing powers as early as 1551, Piešťany spas have long attracted visitors to their hot thermal springs and sulphurous mud. When Ľudovít Winter built Thermia Palace on the banks of the Váh and Rameno Váhu rivers in 1912, he envisioned the resort as a getaway for those seeking a relaxing weekend or medical treatment for ailments ranging from nervous system disorder to tendon and ligament trouble.

Were Winter alive today, he would find his vision a reality. Since the building of Thermia Palace, five other spas have opened on what is now referred to as 'Spa Island' in Piešťany and all of them have traditionally been a popular vacation getaway for foreigners and Slovaks alike. A glimpse at the pages of Thermia Palace's guest book shows visits by celebrities ranging from Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr and German super model and highway ribbon-cutter Claudia Schiffer to Slovak opera star Peter Dvorský and the infamous Vladimír Mečiar.

But so far this year, the number of foreign visitors to Slovakia has decreased - bad news for an industry that says 60% of its clientele are foreign. In fact, according to spa representatives, not even their celebrated history has been able to steer the Piešťany Spas clear of a 10% decrease in visitors so far this year.

However, Zdenko Raušlo, Thermia Palace Director, says he is not worried about the drop in the long term. According to Raušlo, the decline in foreign visitors is a result of negative publicity related to the war in Kosovo.The combination of an altered marketing scheme and the end of the conflict, he said, will soon have the spas enjoying their old numbers.

"Foreign visitors are a little bit down, and we had some cancellations from places like the United States and Egypt, specifically because of the war," Raušlo said. "We had a group come from Florida and they said that some of their friends cancelled their trips because they were afraid."

As a result, Piešťany Spa's Public Relations Director Jana Obertová said, the spa would change their business strategy in order to "target new areas" abroad.

Raušlo said that one of the changes would be to focus on Austrians, currently the second most common foreign nationality to visit the spas behind Germany. Austria's close proximity to Slovakia makes it an intelligent target, Raušlo said.

"We need more visitors from Austria because they are our neighbour country," he said. "For other visitors, there is a transportation problem where they have to fly for eight or ten hours and then still get to Piešťany from Bratislava. But with Austrians it's different."

As the spa tries to focus on their neighbour, one American said that visitors from any country would be pleased with a visit to the Piešťany Spas. Marjorie Lewis, an American from Harlem, said that she has been visiting Thermia Palace almost every year for thirty years since she had been diagnosed with arthritis.

"My mother had always performed what they now call 'alternative medicine' on us kids at the beach," she said, explaining that she had been buried in wet sand as therapy for ailments such as sore muscles. "When I was diagnosed, I didn't want to take cortisone and a Russian friend of mine told me about Piešťany, so I came... and I've been coming."

Lewis playfully balked at the idea of printing her age, but said that the spa "kept her looking young" with its relaxing mud baths renowned to possess healing powers. "Look, whether or not it's true [about the healing powers], I love the place and that's why I've always come here," she said. "I'm very comfortable."

The six most common foreign visitors to the spas are from, in order, Germany, Austria, Israel, the United States, Arabic countries and the Netherlands, Raušlo said.

Top stories

Experts propose another week of lockdown and one new measure

The coronavirus situation in Slovakia has not improved.


9 h
Kino Lumiére often screens gems of the Slovak cinematography.

No popcorn here! Bratislava’s well-known cinema has been on the scene for a decade

Being welcoming towards minorities or disadvantaged groups is a given for the cinema.


30. nov
Trenčín covered in Christmas lights on November 29, 2021.

Weekend: Ježiško's Christmas Post Office is open, expecting letters from around the world

Make yourself comfortable and explore what has been going on in Slovakia in the past days.


3. dec
New markings for parking places in Petržalka.

Bratislava launches registration for regulated parking scheme

The city-wide parking policy will start in the first three zones on January 10, 2022.


3. dec
Skryť Close ad