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The Svata Katerina Resort possibly seems out of place in the country that has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. But when you factor in that the Czech Republic also has some of the best spas in Europe, it totally makes sense. It also made sense that I had to visit the spa myself while I was in the country to learn just how good the Czechs are at relaxing.
The Czech Republic readily boasts the fact that they drink more beer than any other country in the world – over 42 gallons of beer a year. That’s an average of a pint a day, but that’s also averaged out among every citizen in the country, babies and grannies included. When I first heard that the Czech Republic was big on wellness centers, I thought that was a joke considering their drinking habits. Then again, if you drink a lot and like to relax, why not visit a spa as well? Of course, many spas in the country combine drinking and relaxation in their beer and wine spas, where you actually bathe in a tub of fermented barley or grapes.
What is the Svata Katerina Resort
Svata Katerina Resort doesn’t have a beer or wine spa, but they have just about everything else. Located about an hour and a half southeast of Prague, the resort covers several acres of rolling hills and forests. Also contained on the grounds are horseback riding facilities, seven different gyms, tennis courts, sports fields and a golf course. But those pale in comparison to the actual facilities of the spa.
Centuries ago, a spa was built around the Saint Katerina spring after the healing properties of the water were discovered. Over the years, the spa has flourished and expanded. There are now several dozen staff delivering massages and manning the three hotels, a restaurant and two cafes. Others groom the grounds, offer yoga classes and pilates, and generally make one’s stay as pleasant as possible. The resort even has a salon where you can get manicures and pedicures.
There are many treatments and packages offered by the Svata Katerina Resort. You can either order à la carte, choosing which massages, meals, activities and accommodations suit your fancy, or you can pick one of the dozens of packages. Many of the packages are for two or three days, perfect for a weekend break, and include yoga, massages, healthy meals and fitness activities.
My First Time Going Horse Swimming
This is a bit of a tangent since it’s not something actually offered at the Sveta Katerina Resort. On the way there, a fellow blogger and I were asked if we wanted to go horse swimming. Of course we said yes. After dropping off our bags and having a quick lunch, we went to one of the nearby lakes where two horses had been brought to swim in the water and escape from the blistering heatwave the Czech Republic was experiencing.
After taking some time to get photos and videos of the two horse handlers swimming around with the horses, and then a brief indoctrination, we were given a chance to try out horse swimming for ourselves. Now, just to clarify, this was bareback riding and we had to launch ourselves out of the water onto the back of the horse. With nothing to hold onto but the reins, we took the horses into the center of the lake where the water is deeper than the horse.
There’s a magical feeling when the horse suddenly becomes weightless beneath you and you realize that you’re actually swimming through the water with the horse swimming beneath you. The trick is to keep yourself positioned just right over the horse for when he gets his footing and comes up beneath you. It didn’t last nearly long enough, and soon we were headed back to the spa for our first day for our entrance consultation.
Checking Into the Svata Katerina Resort
The Svata Katerina Resort puts relaxation above luxury. You won’t find the crystal chandeliers, gold handrails and lapis lazuli tile floors you might expect in a 12-star resort. Instead, the simple, elegant decorations promote calmness and peace of mind. Then again, you don’t need all the fancy decorations when you’re surrounded by beautiful forests and fields, sunbathing on one of the patios, or swimming in the ponds.
There are several classes of rooms available, from standard to superior. Sticking to my lifestyle, I had a simple, standard room. It’s what I expected to see at a yoga retreat – a bed, bathroom, closet, and a table to work at. I’m always happy to find rooms without a TV. Why would you want to waste time watching shows when you’re at a resort?
The staff was very accommodating, ensuring the stay was as comfortable as possible. Although this is the Czech Republic, I didn’t have trouble conversing with them in English. If I did run into a staff member who didn’t speak my language (which was rare), they were quick to get someone who did.
Along with my room key, I was also given a yoga mat, yoga roll and a hot water thermos to use during my stay. In the room, a bathrobe and slippers were neatly packaged for me, and there were plenty of towels to use throughout the day, whether I wanted to go swimming, visit the fitness center or clean up after some sports.
The Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Program
Among the many packages offered are five Ayurvedic treatments. I’d heard references of Ayurvedic massage through friends visiting resorts in India and Bali, but I’d never experienced one myself. Perhaps it’s a little strange that I should pick a resort in the Czech Republic to get my first Ayurvedic massage, but Svata Katerina hires all their Ayurvedic staff directly from Kerala, India where they are trained by the Kairali Group, one of the leading Ayurvedic centers in the world.
The Ayurvedic packages offered are for weight loss, back pain, yoga detox, rejuvenation and panchakarma (a five-fold detox program). The rejuvenation program has packages for 4, 6 or 8 days, while the other packages start at 8 days and go up to 22 days. Accommodations and meals are provided in the Ayurvedic packages, the latter created by Kairali-trained chef Rahul. Ayurvedic meals are vegetarian and are made without oil (except coconut oil) and very little dairy. Plenty of Indian spices and herbs are used, and the meals are simply delicious.
The rejuvenation program that I took was tailored for three days but included most of the regular package. I had my intro and outgoing consultations, an hour yoga class, an hour lecture on what ayurvedic massage is, and four massages – two Abhyanga and two Shirodhara. I enjoyed both of them, as unique as they were. It was particularly interesting receiving the Shirodhara massage, which started off with warm oil getting slowly dripped on my forehead.
Read my article on What is Ayurvedic Massage for the rest of the details about my Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Program.
Meals at the Svata Katerina Resort
I have a confession to make. I didn’t stick to the Ayurvedic menu for the whole weekend. Don’t get me wrong – I ate every meal they served me, but I had some additional meals!
In the morning, there was a large breakfast buffet available to all guests. Among the selection were pastries, meats and cheeses, fruits and vegetables, bread, hard-boiled eggs and homemade yogurts. At the end of the buffet was a cooking station where Palacinky (Czech crepes) were prepared on request and topped with powdered sugar, fresh cream and berry jam. These are one of the most common breakfasts in the country, and I’ll admit I had one each morning I was at the resort.
Another treat that the other blogger at the resort and I shared was the grilled teriyaki salmon steak with fennel salad, radishes and fresh basil. The Czech Republic is a landlocked country, and I assumed that they used frozen fish shipped in from the Nordic countries. Our grilled salmon steak certainly didn’t taste like that though. Maybe a nearby salmon farm? I didn’t bother to ask.
On my final evening at the resort, I went for the 1/2 lb beef steak with baby leaf salad and cherry tomatoes, and a side of potato puree. I’m not usually a big fan of steaks, especially when the meat is too chewy. This one was anything but. I followed it with the chocolate fondant with raspberry sauce and coconut-chocolate ice cream. Can you say decadent?
Book Now at the Svata Katerina Resort
The Svata Katerina Resort is open year round, and some of the more beautiful packages are available during the winter when everything is covered in snow, and ice skating is available on the pond. The prices at the resort are fair. The Czech Republic is one of the cheaper countries in Europe, so don’t expect to spend a month’s rent for a weekend of relaxation.
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Are you visiting Ostrava and looking for more activities? Here are some other articles to help you out.
- A Traveler’s Guide of Things to Do and See in Ostrava, Czech Republic
- Excursions from Ostrava: Exploring the Jeseniky Mountains
- Excursions from Ostrava: Hiking in the Beskydy Mountains
- Excursions from Ostrava: Unleashing the Inner Child at Heipark
- The Colours of Ostrava is So Much More than a Music Festival
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.