Winter has arrived in Brussels, or at least the grey, wet, windy kind of winter that Brussels gets. The parks that are flooded with picnickers during the few sunny days are now only frequented by dog walkers. As the weather gets gloomier by the day, the options for spending a day out get more limited. But no weather, not even Belgium’s, is gloomy enough to ruin a day at the spa. And Thermae Grimbergen, just outside Brussels, promises the perfect relaxing day out.
Set on the estate of a renovated manor, just a few steps in already transport you to a different world, outside of the mundane. With opening times from 10:30 am to 11 pm (and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays), Thermae Grimbergen gives you more than 12 hours a day to make full use of all the facilities and extensive wellness treatments available.
Each day, an array of scrubs, aufguss and relaxation sessions are available, both in the Sabai (swimsuit area) and Aquarius (nude area). While all the sessions are available every day, my personal favourite being the salt scrub in the Roman steam bath, on Wednesdays, the programme gets even better, with 4 additional Mindful Moments sessions, led by Zen master, Nil.
Starting off the programme is the Breathe & Relax session, taking place in the Aquarius relaxation room at 12 pm. Throughout the session, Nil will guide you through several yoga poses, but, most importantly, he will ensure you are breathing correctly, at the right time, for the right length, which will guarantee a relaxing session and, as your muscles get more relaxes, your range of motions will also increase. Having the Breath & Relax at the beginning of the programme, will also play in handy during the following sauna sessions of the day, as you will learn the best postures, and, of course, breathing patterns, to use while in the sauna as well as during the cooldown periods.
After a few scrub sessions and halo therapy in a salt chamber, Nil will take you on an aromatherapy journey in the Tibet sauna. Using essential oils that are diffused throughout the room, as well as fresh herbs from the garden, the scents Nil chooses differ from day to day, but he will tell you every time what plants you’re smelling, what their benefits are and how you can later use them at home.
Next on the mindfulness agenda is a sound healing session with Tibetan singing bowls, again in the Aquarius relaxation room. Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries during meditation sessions in the Himalayas, where people believe the bowls have healing powers, as their sound makes all the cells in the body resonate in harmony.
Wrapping up the mindfulness sessions is a tea and smoke ritual, where Nil guides you through a quiet and relaxing tea tasting and meditation session, while using scented smoke to complement the aroma of the tea and deepen the relaxing atmosphere. Nil choses different tea blends and scents every day, so each experience is unique.
If you want to make up your own day, without taking into account the programmed sessions, in the Sabai, you will find no less than 3 saunas, a Turkish steam bath, a large heated pool split between the inside and outside, two more heated pools outside, a floating saltwater pool, a cold plunge pool and two relaxation areas, one inside and one outside. The Aquarius offers an even wider array of facilities, with 8 saunas, a Roman steam bath, two jacuzzis, one inside, one outside, a large heated pool, again, both on the inside and outside, a Tepidarium with a heated footbath, a garden bar, two relaxation areas and, maybe only for the bold in this weather, an outside swimming pond.
Until 1 December, a special package is available for booking for yourself or gifting to a friend. Besides access to all the facilities and sessions, the Veronica package also includes a back massage and facial treatment, as well as the bathrobe, towel and slippers, so all you have to do is show up and be ready to relax. If this isn’t exactly your cup of tea, there are plenty of promotions and packages to choose from, not just for treatments, but some also including overnight stays at the Thermae Grimbergen Hotel for the ultimate relaxing weekend.