Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lesser?


Bearing a similar fate to that of Vidago, Pedras Salgadas (13 km south) misses the opulence of it's northern sister. Constructed prior (1871 (?) or later; the casino dates from 1910), it is now on the verge of it's renovated completion; likewise finaced by it's owner Unicer. With beer in Unicer's portfolio, it's no surprise to see mineral water amongst it's assets and thrown into the mix are the thermal sites of the above Vidago and Pedras Salgadas.

Missing the grandeur of Vidago (both currently and formerly) it's quite fittingly that on the edges of the thermal park there is a small pool that sees many locals come for a swim, though the water is may not necesarily thermal in origin (?). 


Next to this crowded spot is a classic buvette which insists on having you sign a consent sheet before taking a free cup of mineral water.

 Buvette, outside and in


The complex is still in it's final throes of renovation, even though Wikipedia mentions:
'In 2010 the Portuguese beer and water company Unicer opened a brand new spa complex in the town'. 
But again it seems to attract even less guests and is certainly not welcoming. Or is it just me?

So what would it look like? According to Termasdeportugal
'In this temple of health and well-being, in addition to the massage and relaxation rooms, you may enjoy a heated indoor swimming pool with a walking lane, sauna, Turkish bath, hydro-massage, nozzle shower, Vichy shower and two relaxation rooms. The Spa has 14 treatment rooms, including 5 hydrotherapy rooms and 2 double rooms'.
 
The temple 

The Vila Termal de Pedras Salgadas has a very active Facebook page, though it's own website is known as Pedras Salgadas Spa & Nature Park. Oddly their own site is once again devoid of real people but does mention that a consult + registration fee equals 65€, the use of the swimming pool is 5€, but only during happy hour! It's also quite strict:
'Mandatory use of personal cap and slippers. Slippers not included. Registration limited'.
Does one soak with slippers on?
 
 
Enter or not?

 
Booking.com gives it the thumbs up, but that is based on just 2 reviews ...
Of recent (2012), in the park above the original buildings a number of eco bungalows have been established, prices starting at 150€ (for a mid June overnight stay) with the ability to house 6 persons.


Notes:
[1] Erfurt-Cooper, P., Cooper, M. (2009) Health and Wellness Tourism: Spas and Hot Springs. Aspects of Tourism 40. Channel View Publications, Bristol, United Kingdom.

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