Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Szechenyi Baths in Budapest Turns 100

Happy Birthday Szechenyi Baths! Also known as the City Baths the Neo-Baroque and modern Renaissance style baths were completed in 1913. Located on Pest side of Budapest these are the largest medical spa baths in Europe.
The popular tourist destination has 15 indoor baths and 3 grand pools outside making it a must see attraction.
When I visited in 2007 I was extremely eager to check it out yet I was actually quite nervous about visiting the baths as I had read many horror stories on the online review sites. The accounts went from the staff being rude to attendants stealing guest's clothes and forcing them to hand over any valuables in return for their clothing. Yeah......

So I came up with this plan:
  • Wore swim suit underneath my clothes (that way that can't leave me in the buff!)
  • No jewelry (no valuables to hand over)
  • Took cash only – enough for taxi there and back and the entrance fee
  • Took  plastic laundry bag and towel from the hotel (towels are extra and there are never enough)
  • Took underwater camera – left good one in the hotel
How did my plan work?
  • Cashiers at the entrance were grumpy and made no attempt to explain the process – so study the Szechenyi Baths website before you go.
  • After the grumps at the front a somewhat nice attendant opened a tiny cubicle and waited outside.
  • Now this wasn't the cleanest place (remember they are 100 now!) so bring some flip flops in your laundry bag.
  • I  took off my outer clothes stuffed them in the bag and alerted the attendant. He locked the door and gave me a key to pin on my swimsuit and off I went!
  • Oh and don’t worry about how you look – trust me there are ALL kinds of people there!!
  • It was cool outside (October) and it was misting and it was glorious!
  • Men were playing chess in the pool.
  • I never went inside – outside was great and no need to venture in for a treatment.
  • The lap pool is cold.
  • One of the pools is medium warm – not hot.
  • The other main pool is super hot and super relaxing – I never wanted to leave it!

It was a fabulous experience and I enjoyed it immensely!!!

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