Written by su-lin on 08 Oct, 2004
After days of walking along St Malo's cobblestones with hard shoes on, my feet were very sore. There had also been ong days lugging around a heavy handbag, and, occasionally, my laptop was making my shoulders ache. It was time to check out the hotel's…Read More
After days of walking along St Malo's cobblestones with hard shoes on, my feet were very sore. There had also been ong days lugging around a heavy handbag, and, occasionally, my laptop was making my shoulders ache. It was time to check out the hotel's (Le Grand Hotel des Thermes - see separate entry) famous Aquatonic Maze. Thanks to a late checkout, the morning could be dedicated to this - the hotel's own invention.
Don't go expecting a proper maze - it's more of a large pool with various stations that you can attend with supposed benefits for different parts of the body. A pool-plan can be found on their website. The pool is also quite shallow - about 1.2m at most - and therefore can be used by swimmers and non-swimmers alike. As the hotel specialises in thalassotherapy (seawater treatments), this was the swimming medium. One of their brochures states that the water is pumped from the sea a little ways from the hotel.
What struck me first was the position of the pool - open for everyone to see! Anybody who walks by can see you splashing around. My self-consciousness crept up...and went away again when my feet first hit the warm, comforting water.
I followed the numbers in the proper order:
1. First, you walk along a short winding corridor where jets are places to hit various parts of your body - at the ankles, calves, and thighs. Pausing at each set of jets gives a lovely massage to the intended body part.
2. Seats are placed in the pool, with jets massaging the small of your back and your legs. Handles are provided, as the powerful jets can send you floating away!
3. A high-powered shower hits your neck and shoulders. This also turns out to be the main source of the noise level in the pool; it sounds like river rapids in there!
4. A separate pool filled with warmer water (I guess the temperate changes are supposed to be good?) with a number of jets of various heights; again to massage different parts of the body.
5. Again a separate pool of warm water with lots and lots of bubbles! This one was like a Jacuzzi and sitting on the seats, I was engulfed from neck to toes.
6. This one was my favourite and I returned to it after hitting all the workstations. Plastic loungers are placed in this very shallow part of the pool and jets are placed to hit your feet. This foot massage was very much needed after all the walking I did!
7. Another shower, but a gentle one this time, was available for the neck and shoulders. I think I was the only person who used this one! Personally, I couldn't take the strength of the previous jets for the neck, but I guess everybody else could!
8. This was another corridor with jets at varying heights.
9. This was nice - jets for the legs. You would float there while hanging on to the side of the pool and let the jets hit your legs from the bottom.
You leave feeling totally relaxed, with all your soreness gone. The only downside is that you cannot sleep as with a traditional massage!
And the cost for such a lovely experience? €15 for hotel guests and €21 for everyone else and there's no maximum time (though you are bounded by the opening and closing times!) A real bargain for a full body massage!