Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thermal Bath 4: Gellert

Oh yes, I do like this one. It is one of the newer ones, opening (with the Gellert Hotel) in 1918, although the thermal spring on which it is built was well known by the Knights of St John (by all accounts an extremely clean order of men!) in the 13th century.  The décor is art nouveau splendour, with stained glass and colourful tiling throughout. It was damaged in the second world war (it was actually operating during the war!), but restored shortly after, and outdoor pools were added quite a bit later.
Outdoor wave pool in summer

Gellert Hotel

I remember having come here in 2004, just before Hungary joined the European Union, and it was a little more austere. There were women only days and men only days, women only pools and men only pools, and these were all a little faded glamour. The massage and treatment cubicles are tasteful and private (not like the stainless steel tables laid out in rows in one big room like a synchronized surgical unit that I have the good fortune to deal with).

As elsewhere, you get your Dick Tracy wristband (here it worked seamlessly but it might just be because I know the drill now) and use either a locker or a tiny change cabin. Again, as for the others, the water contains The water contains calcium, magnesium, hydrocarbonate, alkalis, chloride, sulfate and fluoride and serves to treat degenerative joint illnesses, spine problems, chronic and sub-acute joint inflammations, vertebral disk problems, neuralgia, vasoconstriction and circulatory disturbances, asthmas and chronic bronchitis. It's like reading my autobiography of ailments!

The mosaic floors and walls of the main entrance, hallways and surrounding the pools, were made by the famous Zsolnay factory, which I must admit I had never heard of, but further research indicates that yes, indeedy, it is a very famous factory indeed. It started to produce stoneware and other ceramics in 1853, but the son of the founder took it to the world by exhibiting at many world, including Paris in 1878, where the company won a Grand Prix (and where the newly completed head of the Statue of Liberty was also exhibited).  By 1914, Zsolnay was the largest company in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, although it was resigned to making insulators during the first world war, and after, during the Serbian occupation. The name changed along the way but changed back in 1982 when times started to get better. Still a vital concern, the company signed a huge contract with IKEA in 2008 to supply a whopping 5,000 tonnes of ceramics every year!

The Gellert baths are quite pricey, so it's good to have enough time to thoroughly enjoy them. And be honest. Can you look at these photos and not want to go there??
tile floor in the entrance hall

entrance hall

stained glass ceiling

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