Rejuvenate at a Spa Hotel in Luhacovice, Czechia
First and foremost this town became known for its curative qualities in the 18th century due to the abundance of mineral spring water in the area. It wasn’t until the 19th century that a whole cottage industry sprung up (pun intended) around this unique natural feature thus Wellness Spas became the rage. In 2001 the Czech Ministry of Culture applied to put Luhacovice on the Unesco World Heritage List tentatively. In the meantime, come visit to see what makes this town so special.
Swim in the Vodní nádrž Luhačovice
Our FAM group arrived at the Hotel Vyhlídka in Luhacovice one afternoon, hot, thirsty, tired and wanting to relax. This hotel fronts a natural swimming pool the size of a small reservoir. My room had a balcony view of the water which was enticing me for a swim. However our host, Dana Muller of the Zlinsko a Luhacovicko tourist board had something else in mind for us and that was to whisk us off to a spa experience at the elegant Alexandria Spa & Wellness Hotel . I was unfortunately too drained to make it but the rest of the people on our FAM trip did and said it was excellent.
Dine in a 5-star Restaurant
That evening we dined at the Alexandria restaurant adjacent to the hotel, enjoying such delicious, healthy meals as steak, fish, and salads. Our host ordered a steak which was cooked right at the dinner table! See the video:
Savor Freshly Brewed Gourmet Coffee
The next morning we met at the Lazenska Kava Coffee House for a tour on how this gourmet coffee is made. This is an awesome business start-up by a young entrepreneur. The demonstration he gave showing how he uses technical and precise formulations from raw coffee beans, roasted to perfection, resulting in the best tasting coffee in Luhacovice. No need for a Starbucks in this region when you have the Lazenska Kava.
Visit the Museum of Traditional Czech Folk Wear
After getting revved up on the delicious espresso coffee we headed off to the Museum of Luhačovické Zálesí There we discovered exquisitely made traditional costumes of the region. Our guide was a woman named Dr. Blanka Petrakova who had so much to share about her region’s history. Her daughter and a man who translated into English for us, also accompanied us on our morning walk along the Kolonada.
Stroll the Kolonada Pedestrian Walk with Charming Shops and Cafes
This is the main pedestrian avenue that is adorned with shops and cozy cafes. Stopping briefly to learn about historical figures at an outdoor water fountain we also got a quick snack of the large, flat, local wafer cookie called Oplatky, which smelled like freshly made ice cream cones! Delicious!
Drink Mineral Water in an Outdoor Fountain
Further down the avenue we stopped in the Spa Square to view the oldest preserved building built in 1795; the baroque Chapel of St. Elisabeth.
Finally we got to the first outdoor mineral water fountain and we all took a drink. The taste was just like baking soda! On the salty side, but not too bad. The Czech people in this region swear by its health benefits. These waters come from under the mountains in the area so the water is clean and fresh, yet full of minerals.
We then took a tour of the Dům Bedřicha Smetany This medical spa resort built in 1910 by the architect Emil Kralik and bearing the name of the world known Czech composer Bedrich Smetana is beautifully done in Art Noveau style. People come to stay here for weeks at a time to rejuvenate, rest and get well. The services of the health resort include drinking cures, inhalation, balneotherapeutic procedures, massages, peat procedures and locomotor rehabilitation, and thus allow the treatment of the respiratory and digestive tracts, metabolism disorders as well as dysfunctions of the locomotor system.
Meditate, Mellow-out, and Meander along the Trail Hike in this Spa Retreat
Then we walked over to the beautiful Wellness & spa hotel Augustiniánský dům where we were given a fabulous tour of the grounds. Later we had a special lunch, complete with dessert and espresso. This is an upscale resort, ideal for couples, or even as a wedding destination because there is a beautiful small chapel on the premises. The average price for 2 for a 1-week stay at this spa hotel is about 4500czk. An absolute bargain! And it includes breakfast and spa services.
There probably are more than 8 things you can do in Luhacovice but I’ve listed what I experienced and can recommend. Also keep in mind this town can be visited year-round as the weather is mostly temperate with heat in the summer and cold snow in the winter. There are special spa hotel packages for the holiday times too!
Ostrava; Great for Business conferences and tourists alike
This is a city with a history that shows the spirit of the Czech people in how they took something old and turned it into something new. Ostrava lies in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic, about 3 hours from the capital of Prague. Awarded town status in 1279 by Olomouc bishop Bruno, what was once small grew over the centuries into a huge industrial complex during and after World War II. That’s because of the natural resource of coal in the Dolni Vitovice area of Ostrava which eventually led to coal, iron, and steel factories springing up. The Soviets capitalized on the industry post WWII but during the velvet revolution of 1989 that all changed. By 1994 the remnants of Soviet rule were gone at last. What remained was a legacy of iron buildings and air pollution. This younger, newer proactive approach of Czech citizens came along and set out to change that lingering soviet after-effect. A campaign to revive and repurpose became a fruitful endeavor.
You wouldn’t know all that on the surface of a first-time visit to Ostrava. But as you wonder about the city and talk to the locals and research the history you will learn first hand how this city is changing its image. One such way of doing that was for Czech Tourism to offer a venue for the annual TBEX conference for travel bloggers. Insert 500+ bloggers into this city and other vicinities in the Czech Republic with eyes-on-the-ground to soak up new experiences, new adventures to share with the world and the outcome will prove to be far-reaching to show what Czechia can offer to the casual traveler, and the business visitor. I’m one such person to offer up my practical experience and perspective.
Here I am! #TBEXostrava2018 the official hashtag of the event
My journey here starts with my arrival out of Prague to the Ostrava hlavni nadrazi (main train station) via RegioJet train service.
Arriving at the Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Ostrava, Czech Republic was easy. As a single woman traveler I didn’t run into any issues as you can see from my other posts.
The Park Inn was a breeze to stay at, had all the amenities I needed/wanted including a comfortable bed, a room with a view, a large breakfast buffet a bargain at 300czk. I even tried dinner and lunch there on different days and found it to be quite adequate. There is a lovely outdoor seating area too that lends itself to a quieter vibe at night if you want to relax and chat with friends.
Staff is very attentive and helpful whether at the front desk, the restaurant, or the maid service. I didn’t try room service but it was available until midnight I think.
There is also a spa which I didn’t have time to try and free bikes to roam the nearby center of the city.
It’s not expensive, in fact it’s a bargain!
Beware of the ATMs from Euronet, however as they charge higher fees to withdraw cash. I was charged 75czk (USD3.30) to withdraw 400czk (USD17.65) There was one in the lobby of the Park Inn Hotel but I avoided it only after learning there was a better Czech bank ATM to use. And that was the Česká spořitelna which has ATMs pretty much everywhere in the Czech Republic. It was easy to withdraw lower amounts, say 200czk, rather than with other ATMs that might only give you the option to withdraw 1000, 2000, 5000czk which is not always a good thing because you might end up with more cash than you need.
Transportation in Ostrava
There is also a convenient bus stop right across the street from the hotel to get to anywhere to/from Ostrava. Easy navigation in an unfamiliar city is always a high checkpoint on my list and Ostrava met that mark. There was also easy taxi and Liftago service to/from the hotel. Liftago is the equivalent of Czech Uber as there is no Uber in Ostrava, only in Prague. The drawback to the Liftago app is that it wouldn’t accept American Credit Cards for some reason. So even though you could hail a driver, you would have to pay him in Czech cash (koruna). As a special offer to TBEX attendees some of us were treated to a free ride on the Silver Tesla which was seen zipping around town. I got a free ride with it!
Getting around town using the very inexpensive transportation system took a little getting used to as only part of it was in English. It became easier to memorize my stops in Czech and figure out how to change at the Namesky Republika which is the central tram/bus changeway. At first, I wasn’t sure to walk overground or underground as no signs were clearly pointing how to get from Point A to any all points beyond. I lost 20 minutes one morning trying to figure that out through trial-and-error. It turned out as I walked in the underground causeway, I stopped to ask 2 gentlemen, and the younger one fortunately spoke some English. When I said where I wanted to go they pointed to which rampway I had to walk to catch my bus. From then on it was easy. As I pointed out before, I found Czech people to be friendly and helpful even if they didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Czech.
Helpful Apps for Ostrava
I also recommend downloading these apps to your phone for helpful navigation; the IDOS which is operated by the Czech Ministry of Transport. It’s a handy timetable and schedule system to take you from point A to B. Another good app I found useful was the Ostrava!!! App which has a lot of information on events and activities and maps. It’s only available for iPhones however.
Ostrava City Hall and Tower
I headed to the Ostrava City Hall the next day to retrieve my TBEX badge. While there I took the elevator to the top to get a birds-eye view of the city during the day.
Afterwards I wandered behind the building to the canal where I found families cooling off in the oppressive European summer heat. A nice pathway to ride a bike or take a walk parallels the canal with towering pine trees overhead.
Later, I met up with my first group of travel bloggers for a day-trip to a suburb of Ostrava called Poruba. Afterwards me and another attendee had dinner at Bernie’s. I had a delicious steak with red wine and it all capped off a very busy but happy day!
Oh, and what do the 3 exclamation marks mean after the word Ostrava?
Rather than continue to use its old coat-of-arms symbol, the city of Ostrava decided in 2007 to create a competition for a new modern logo. Thus the Ostrava!!! Light blue symbol was born. Just one more thing this city has been doing to modernize its appeal to world travelers and business corporations. This leads me to tell you about another modernization which blew everybody away at the TBEX travel bloggers conference.
And that is The Gong…here is where the word re-purposing takes on a whole new level of meaning!!!
What and where is the Bata Region? Why is it called Bata?
This is what I wanted to know on my recent visit there in conjunction with our hosts of Czech Tourism and the Eastern Moravian Tourist Authority.
The Bata region is about a 3 1/2 hour train ride from Prague. This area lies in the Eastern Moravian region of the Czech Republic and is named after one of Czech’s most celebrated entrepreneurs, Tomas Bata. In Czech it is spelled Tomáš Baťa
The City of Zlin in Eastern Moravia
Tomas Bata was born in 1894 and capitalized on a need during World War I and that was to make shoes for the military. His shoe empire grew into making shoes for everybody. His employees were treated well with extra perks for housing, meals, education, and yes, shoe discounts for the entire family. Bata’s shoe industry was thriving in a town nestled in the countryside of Zlin.
Bata and his team made more important contributions to Czech society in the form of advanced film and animation features in the early 1920’s. Bata also travelled the world and brought home many artifacts and souvenirs. All of the history on Bata’s contributions can be found in the slick-looking Bata shoe museum in the city of Zlin. It’s a must see for the history of shoes alone!
But while in Zlin, don’t just stop at the Bata Museum. Head over to Building 21 which is the headquarters to the Bata empire. Tours are given straight up to the top to see a fantastic view of the surrounding city.
One of the most fascinating things you can find visiting the Building 21 is the Office Elevator that Bata created. When stepping inside it looks like a regular office complete with desk and chairs and telephone and window. Even a sink! The elevator attendant presses a button and the whole thing moves upward! Truly an amazing construction for 1937!
After surveying the top view, come back down to stroll through the quaint town of Zlin and visit its main city square where you can find a tourist information office, many cafes & restaurants, as well as an assortment of shops including a shopping mall. You can even visit one of the original Bata shoe stores and buy a pair to bring home!
This peaceful town belies some other interesting history worth noting. During World War II the Americans bombed the factories outside of Zlin as they were production centers for the Soviets. The Germans never invaded this city or its region during WWII. There are no signs of destruction as the Czechs are great at building and reconstruction. Instead you will find a bustling bourgeoisie going about their daily business unfettered by throngs of tourists. Put this town on your Check-out-Czech list as a stop on your way to all the other wonderful places to explore in this South East region of the Czech Republic
Where and What to Eat in Zlin
Try the Strapačky a noodle and meat dish.You can find hearty Czech meals at the
Koliba U Černého medvěda. Chalet=koliba, Black=Černeho, bear=medvěd, Wash it down with a great Czech Pilsner beer and you've got enough energy to go hunting!
If hunting lodge food is not your thing, then try the family restaurant La Farfalla in the town central square which serves Mediterranean food that is really delicious!
Where to Stay in Zlin?
One such offering is the Hotel Tomasov which is a 4-star private enclave up in the hills and offers a serene setting and amazing sunset views. See the lovely photos below.
You can still search out other places to stay in the region by clicking here
Click on first image to expand and scroll through
The Hotel Tomasov also is connected to the IVF Clinic where women who are having trouble conceiving can get an IVF treatment starting at $1900euro. Many women from around the world come here for that reason. The hotel offers a soothing spa decorated in a modern style, also a Yoga and Exercise room. The grounds are blooming with nature everywhere making for a peaceful setting.
For more information on visiting the Bata Region go to