Note: The hotel location in the map is for orientation.
I tried to get 2 twin-rooms, but the hotel was fully booked, so we took a daytour from Torrevieja (around 75 min drive each way). We did not stay at the hotel, but visited the thermal bath, Piscanes thermales de Leana. My "children" (18, 16 and 16) was not trilled about going on by car far in the mountains to this quiet place, but they loved it! It was so quiet and relaxing. The large pool was heated to 36 degrees celcius, and the other was "only" 30,5 degrees celcius. - Price €11 per person, and no discount for e.g. children, youths and retired persons. - Mandatory with a swim-cap. - Smart to arrive around 12-13 o'clock due to start of siesta, and there are almost no people left in the pool area.
We were 2 couples on a day trip from Playa Flamenca using the thermal Baths. The village of Fortuna is a short drive northeast of Murcia and the thermal baths a mile or so outside the village. The water was very comfortable, tempratures in the main pool between 33 and 37 C. A minor pool at 28 C. Natural spring water and Natural temerature makes it a pleasant experience. You will need a swimming cap (gorro) which you may buy in the ticket office for 3 E. Entrance fee 10 E. 1 - 2 hours drive from the Costa Blanca holiday Places, why not try. You wont regret it!
Spent the afternoon at Leanne Balneario (Hotel Victoria, Los Baños Fortuna) spa with my family. Relaxing in the thermal baths, though one was out of order the other two were good. We enjoyed the steam room, the sauna with its special stone feature and the wonderful infused showers. We felt thoroughly cleansed and didn't want the time to end. Later in the afternoon we went across the road to the outdoor public thermal swimming pool. There was two thermal swimming pools which were very clean and warm. With the swimming pools being outdoor we had the added bonus of the Spanish sunshine bearing down on us, making it a truly tropical afternoon which was most appealing. Around the swimming pools were sun lounges and parasols which were very much needed when you require some shading. We're all looking forward to a return visit.
Dave Bull and photographer Mark Welton visited one of the regions oldest, and prettiest, hotels, the Hotel Balneario in Fortuna and discovered that things haven’t always checked out well for the historic complex. Having been used by Romans and Moors as a spa, (not the supermarket…) Fortuna was left abandoned until 1860 when along came Juan Cascales Font with an idea to build a hotel on the site of the hot springs, the hotel was Hotel Balneario and it is much the same today, Victorian in its style and quality, as it was when it opened 150 years ago. The first building built on the site was just 16 metres x 50 metres and was situated on top of the thermal springs and which is now called the Gran Hotel. However in 1874 it went up in flames and particularly on the upper floor meaning two years’ worth of repairs before it could reopen and fourteen years later, in 1888, the Gran Hotel was extended and more buildings were added in modern designs (for the time) which included three hotels, the Hotel Balneario, Hotel Victoria and Hotel España and the Casino. All of the buildings were designed to complement one another, which you’ll see if you go along there, and the facade of the main hotel, painted pink, highlights the wide balconies and the main entrance with its very classical frontage. According to the owners own history on the place the restaurant, which was restored in 1910, was inspired by the restaurant of the Titanic (I wouldn’t ask for ice…)and a glass cabinet inside contains some of the curious objects from the Royal gallery including golden miniature crowns and precious stones of all the Royal Houses at its inauguration. ALONG CAME THE WAR Around the turn of the century road layouts were changed and access improved to turn the resort into one of the busiest and eye-catching of the time and things ticked along quite nicely, thank you until the civil war when the hotel was requisitioned by the republicans to serve as a field hospital. However, once the war was over the hotel fell into disrepair and one of the region’s most popular and beautiful resorts before the war began to slowly fall apart. The state of hotel, and how far it had fallen, was highlighted in the 1960’s when a movie was partly filmed there but it took another 30 years for the place to start getting a well-deserved revamp which began in the 1990’s when the Cascales family, the original owners, spent a small fortune restoring the place to its original glory and opening it up, once again, for people to enjoy its therapeutic waters and the host of other treatments available there now too. TREADING THE BOARDS The original theatre is there too, and performing artists still come to entertain on the stage. The Café Teatro has been restored using original and where necessary, matching materials to give visitors an idea of its ambience all those years ago. For the men, the original equipment used (projectors and stuff – that’s all I know…) are on display and you can even climb the stairs to enjoy a drink on the original upper balcony. Although Carol, the café manageress assures me that these days they won’t charge extra for sitting upstairs, but it really does give you a feel for how an evening at the theatre might have been in Victorian Spain (and how blooming short they must have been!). Anyway, to balance things up (the men have the projectors) for the ladies, the café does some of the most delicious looking cakes and goodies, and eating them out on the terrace overlooking the warm springs isn’t a bad way of piling on a few (necessary) pounds in time for winter… If you like old buildings, hot springs, a bit of history or just really want a decent cake it’s worth a trip out to the Hotel Leana complex, not only for the therapeutic springs or just to appreciate the quality of the Victorian architecture on display inside and out of all the buildings which are all still owned by the Cascales family. No…just go there with the idea of having a really nice cake and how better to justify it than chomping it down at a health spa?
Wanting to spend a week in a warmer climate than the Norwegian November I found this hotel boasting about its thermal baths, and a variety of SPA-treatments. Forty-something minutes by rental car from Alicante airport, northwest in the Murcia region of Spain, it was quite easy to locate. We had reserved a room with balcony, and were given one directly over the reception area. In a quiet village like this that caused none of the problems a busy town would have (party noise, smoking, taxis or buses loading or unloading etc.), and it even provided us with lots of sun hours during the day. The room had a decent king size bed, a large wardrobe including drawers and a small safe, but sadly no refrigerator or minibar that could have kept the beverages cold during the day. The bathroom was quite spacious but had the toilet strangely close to a sidewall, and the smallest shower cabinet I´ve ever encountered! It is most certainly roomy enough for any Milan fashion model size 0, but for the rest of us? Almost claustrophobically! The water from the taps is non-drinkable. Especially the first few second of it running it had a strange odour of sulphur, almost like sewage, a phenomena that could be related to the old plumbing system, combined with the high content of minerals in the water. Breakfast consisted of a rich selection of tea, coffee, some diluted canned fruit juices (in an area overgrown with orange, lemon and other citrus trees!), white bread, some sweet buns (pre packed), lame jam of red (maybe strawberry) or orange colour (could have been from oranges or peaches), ham and cheese. And that was it! Continental style, ok, but a bit boring after a few days. The reception left a lot to be desired. Firstly, most receptionists mastered Spanish, and Spanish only! Any attempt in English, German or French was met with an array of words in their native language. One had to call a workmate, another discovered a translation program on her PC, and were able to have some basic communication with us through that. Enter Seniorita Gonzales: Fluent in English she could recommend us restaurants, scenic routs, places to shop and so on. Wonderful! Please bring the rest of the reception staff up to her service- and knowledge level! As the only one we saw she also multitasked, keeping the line in front of the reception as short as possible. Sadly that was an issue with most others. They where on the phone, on the computer or engaged in a conversation regarding something with one guest at the time, making all others wait ¬– more or less patiently. The hotel however, is quiet, peaceful, located in a safe area, and definitely has its charm. And as guests of the hotel we had free access to the tranquillity of the outdoor thermal pool ninety steps down the street. Superb! Open from 10:00 to 23:00 it gave us the pleasure of a morning, midday and evening bath in Thermal spring water holding 36 degrees C (97 F) no matter the weather condition. Yes, we will definitely revisit the hotel, sometime soon!
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