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The principality of Andorra sits high in the Pyrenees Mountain range nestled between Spain and Southern France. It is currently a prosperous country mainly because of tourism and its status as a tax haven. But what interest does it hold for those of us interested in all things aquatics, very simply one of the most remarkable aquatic and relaxation facilities in the world. 

Caldea - Resort Spa

The Caldea is marketed as a "Paradise Spa Resort" and steps well outside the boundaries of our contemporary thinking and image of an aquatic recreation facility. It is Europe's largest mountain spa resort and in located in the unique setting of Andorra La Vella which is the capital and only large city in Andorra.

It truly is an aquatic water paradise where "the water welcomes you and you forget about your everyday worries"1. This is a pretty big call but after spending time in this amazing facility you begin to understand that what has been created is truly a very special aquatic experience.

The centre opened in March of 1994. The project - designed by the architect Jean-Michel Ruols - is fruit of the will of the community (town council) of Andorra La Vella to make use of the richness of the territory's thermal water. It has a philosophy different to that of traditional health resorts and embraces the concept of thermoludism. The concept was entirely innovative and avoids use of the therapeutic properties of thermal water. Thermoludism is the use of the properties and benefits of thermal water to rest, recuperate vitality and well-being. The water at different temperatures procures authentic gymnastic toning for the body, and the thermal water help psychic rebalance2."

 

 

 

 

Calda - Resort SpaFrom the moment you see the building from a distance until you enter the front door you are completely overcome by its aesthetic appeal and the building footprint in the middle of the small village. It is all glass and light and looks more like a contemporary Opera House or Hotel than an aquatic relaxation facility. The water is provided through nature's largesse and is bought into the facility at around 28oC and is chilled or has additional heating applied as each water body requires. There is nothing quite as inspiring as sitting in a beautiful outdoor spa and looking up at the snow capped mountains and city skyline.

There is a large lagoon pool which is maintained at 32oC to 34oC which links to and outdoor lagoon through a hydro-channel and contains footspas and bubble beds. Also inside there is a series of linked Jacuzzi that offer jets at different heights to provide relief for various muscle groups. The indoor area also as the most amazing computer controlled fountains and sprays that come on during the day and are accompanied by classical music. It is truly magical!

 

As you work you way through the facility in the way it has been designed you find yourself in the Indo-Roman Bath area which has two plunge pools with one maintained to 36oC and the other to 14oC. Staff are on hand to ensure you don't jump and in and out of these pools as they feel there could be a serious health risk associated with this activity. From the baths you then head to the Fitness area, but not a fitness area as we know it.

The Fitness area in the Caldea contains an Icelandic Bath designed to stimulate circulation, an aquamassage to tone up different part of the body, the Sirocco Bath which injects hot air into the room and a traditional sauna area. The last two areas are a real treat the Hammam and Vaporisation area where humid heat at 55oC and moisture assist breathing and inhalation. The Wood Lighting Zone or the chill out area was my favourite and it is where you lay in a darkened room on comfortable beds and relax with the infusion of negative ions and soft music. What a great way to end a strenuous couple of hours in an aquatic paradise.

The experience does not come cheap at 32 Euro for a three hour visit which equates to around $65 to $70 AUD but for a one off experience it was worth every cent. We wandered the upstairs restaurant and bars and looked into the massage and treatment areas where you can really pamper your body at a substantial cost to the wallet. If you have the opportunity to visit Andorra you must visit the Caldea for a once in a lifetime aquatic relaxation experience. Visit www.caldea.com for more information.

References from official promotional material from the Caldea.

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We provide support, professional development and networking opportunities for individuals in the aquatic industry throughout Western Australia.

  1. PO Box 726, Hillarys, WA 6923
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