It's a new month on the blog today, and here in Andalucia we're struggling to start the week after a four-day weekend (to celebrate the anniversary of the region gaining its status as an autonous community of Spain). The weather here is not fabulous at the moment, with cold, wind and rain all over the country, reaching even beyond the Peninsula to the normally temperate Canary Islands. It actually snowed in northern Seville province last week, in the Sierra Norte, cutting off the town closest to the border with Extremadura.
We spend the puente (bank holiday) on the Cadiz coast, in a relatively new development called Costa Ballena, which is between the seaside towns of Chipiona and Rota. The nearest well-known tourism destinations are Sanlucar de Barrameda, famous for its prawns and manzanilla sherry, and historic Cadiz, which we recently visited to experience the Carnaval.
As I knew the forecast was iffy, I was delighted to see the hotel where were staying had a thalasso spa, which uses sea water - the only such one in Cadiz province. Children were allowed in during specific hours, so we visited on Saturday morning at the start of their allotted time. The pool was huge, with different areas to sit and lie in, as well as various vertical or angled water jets, and a channel with a strong current - my son loved being swept along and then swimming back round to have another go. We didn't go in the jacuzzi (left of photo), as the water was a bit too hot.
We sat in the warm, bubbly water, while our necks, backs, legs and feet - and everything in between - were massaged, and looked out at the rain running down the windows - always a great feeling. Then we tried out the heated wooden beds, ergonomically shaped so they're super-comfortable to lie down on.
To continue with our "thermal circuit", as it's called, we tried out the Terma Romana (Roman thermal bath) briefly, which seemed to be a less extreme version of a steam bath - pleasantly warm. By then wrinkly digits and rumbling tummies told us it was lunch time. We didn't even get to try the hammam (steam bath), sauna, ice cabin (brrr), or various special showers including a pediluvio (foot and leg shower). Let alone all the seaweep wraps, massages and other wonderful treatments.
The thalasso spa is at the Hotel Elba Costa Ballena, a four-star which is handily located a few minutes' walk from the beach. The hotel is also next to the resort's golf course, making it a great his'n'hers destination - but not one for him and the other for her. A round with sea views, followed by some indulgent pummelling by healthy salt water, and then soaking up some sun (if you have better luck with the weather than us!). And if you don't want children spoiling your bubbles, you'll be pleased to hear they're not allowed in after 4pm.