Located on the edge of Čeladná, in the Beskid mountains of the Czech Republic, sits the funky and ultra-modern Miura Hotel. Recently, while exploring this region of the country, we had the opportunity to pop in for a few hours and see what they had to offer. Little did I know prior to arrival, was how rewarding it would be.
Although we try to stay as active as possible while on the road, sometimes we still find ourselves slightly underprepared. Hiking nine kilometres up the side of a mountain was one of these times. Upon reaching the summit late in the afternoon, we had little time to recover before an early rise the following morning.
Though gravity was on our side for the march down from the peak of Lisa Hora, my body was screaming from the previous days climb. Upon reaching the base of the mountain, I sat down on the bus and fought to stay awake. It had been a whirlwind of a week. I needed to stop. My body needed to stop; as did my mind.
Thankfully, the Miura Hotel was gracious enough to let us visit their property for a few hours and spend a little time in their glorious spa.
The Spas of Miura Hotel
This isn’t a typical hotel spa I’m talking about, no pedicures or mediocre oil rub-downs here. This is all about simple relaxation, the natural way, using a combination of pools, beds, aromatherapy and six different styles of saunas of varying temperatures.
Aromatherapy and a Mineral Sauna
First, you ease yourself into things with some aromatherapy. Just slightly above room temperature, this entry sauna is perfumed with the subtle smell of lemon and herbs. Given the relative lack of heat, I’d hesitate to call this one a sauna, though it still gets the process started. The dark room and the refreshing scent in the air quickly calm and set the mind at ease.
From here, one moves to door number two. This one referred to as the salt sauna. Again, the physical temperature is rather low in the sense of calling it a sauna. However, upon the first breath, the effects of the room are felt immediately. Although I’m not exactly sure how it works, the air is incredibly mineralized. It can be felt in the nose, mouth and back of the throat, ever so slightly, that tingle of salt. It’s almost like that feeling you have on your skin when air drying after stepping out of the sea. I’m sure the salt and minerals have some fantastic benefits for the lungs and skin, but I was here for physical relief. It was time to sweat!
Sweating it Out with more Traditional Saunas
Within the Miura Hotel Spa, are three separate hot saunas. One steam room, one dry and one classic sauna, a combination of the first two.
Of the three, I spent the least amount of time in the dry sauna, which was also had the least amount of heat. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just personal preference. I like my saunas as hot as possible. The majority of my time in the hot saunas were spent between the thick, wet air of the steam room and the more traditional style.
The steam room was like any steam room you’d see most anywhere else. Steam was pumped inside the tile-lined room at a constant rate, which condensed on your skin and mixed with my pouring sweat. The thick air takes a few seconds to adjust to breathing, but within seconds you’re heating from the inside and out.
The classic sauna was my favourite and the hottest of all. A large cast-iron oven held scorching hot rocks at temperature, while an automated pouring system regularly doused the stones. The resulting steam would quickly spread and dissipate, keeping the wooden room at a consistent temperature. It was easy to lose plenty of time in this fantastic sauna, laying back on the benches while taking in that unmistakable smell of cedar.
As expected in the Finnish style of sauna-ing (I think I just made that word up), there is one crucial step involved. Once you’ve gotten yourself nice and hot, you must cool down as quickly as possible. It’s the back and fourth of hot and cold that provide the best results for aching muscles.
At the spas of the Miura hotel, they’ve thought of that too.
Again, much like the heat, you’ve got several options to cool yourself down. The simplest is a cooling shower. Nothing fancy here, it’s just a basic shower with slightly cool water. The second option, and probably the best for a quick shock to the system, is the bucket.
Overhead, a steel bucket on a pulley system sits filled with frigid water. Simply pull the attached chain and the entire pail, several gallons of it, douse you immediately from head to toe. Though it feels incredible, on the first try it does come as a bit of a surprise. You could tell by the short-winded howls whenever someone gave this one a go!
If cold showers and buckets of ice cold water aren’t enough for you, don’t worry, they’ve got a sauna for that.
Canada in Czechia
I use the term Sauna loosely here. It’s more reminiscent of a mild day in the depths of a Canadian December.
Watch your first steps, as the thick heaps of snow can become a little slippery near the doorway. Stand in awe, for as long as you can handle, as snow falls seemingly out of nowhere. I mean, real, actual snow, over a foot deep in places. Although the frosty air is a comfortable cold – for a Canuck like myself anyway – the snow under our bare feet was nearly unbearably frigid.
Without question, this was the most unique “sauna” I’d ever experienced!
Relax in the Pool or Waterbed
When you’ve had enough of, or simply need a break from the saunas, kick back in the pool, or the waterbeds. I’d recommend them in that order personally. The pool is in the main room, right upon entering and appears to be a creatively designed hot-tub. The water itself is the temperature of a regular pool, just slightly warmer than the body, but all the jets (plus a few dozen more) that you’d normally expect in a jacuzzi are there.
From here, I grabbed a cup of cool herbal iced tea, perfectly refreshing and much-needs after all that sweating, and made my way to the waterbeds. Housed in a dark room with only minimal light and acoustic dampeners to maintain near silence, are several single waterbeds. While the concept is the same, these are not to be confused with the blob-like monstrosities of the 1980’s.
I didn’t inspect the design entirely, I was too busy fighting the urge to drift into a long, deep sleep. The mattresses are filled with water, yet remain tight when laid upon. There is just the perfect amount of flex and give, almost like a thick, memory foam, only more comfortable – and warmer.
Following a few more rounds of the steam and ice treatments, the time had come to move on. Luckily for us, however, we weren’t done with the hotel just yet.
It was time for lunch.
The Dining Room of Hotel Miura
So as former chefs, food is always a focus while on the road. Whether binging on street food or treating ourselves to a Michelin-starred lunch, we eat pretty well as we travel. Though we’d only been in the Czech Republic for a little over a week, during our time in Ostrava, we had a wonderful tease of the local cuisine.
That being said, in no way was I prepared for what I was about to eat. This was one of the best, proper dining experiences I’d had in a very long time
The group of us sat back and ordered a few drinks while the first course on the set menu was being prepared. I sat there, sipping on my pinot gris, while looking around the second-floor dining room. Aside from the wonderful views of the fairways and greens of Prosper golf resort, the walls – and ceiling – were adorned with beautiful artwork. Several local artists were featured, though the only one I recognize was the legendary David Černy. His unique style adorned several spots around the property; including a shiny, cubic, and very Trainspotting-esque baby crawling across the ceiling.
Before I had time to contemplate what it would be like to have such a wildly artistic mind like his, the food arrives.
The Best Mushroom Soup Ever?
To get things started, a not-so-classic wild mushroom soup. Although the general concept was the same, it was the finesse that made all the difference.
A quenelle of sautéed and finely chopped wild mushroom duxelles accompanied a sous vide egg yolk – the mystifying method of cooking while retaining the raw texture. One of the silkiest veloutés I’ve tasted in years was poured into the bowl table-side. Stirring everything together yielded the appearance of a classic mushroom cream soup, yet the flavours were beyond outstanding.
Chicken is an Added Bonus
Our main course was a little more traditional, yet the flavours were still so well balanced. The feature was a pan-seared chicken breast, with that perfectly seasoned and crispy layer of skin. The bird itself was delicious, however, personally, it was the rest of the plate that was the star.
I’m a sucker for spätzle, those perfect little egg noodles, a love-child of a dumpling and pasta. I spent a year working at a German restaurant when I was younger and ate the stuff nearly every day.
Beneath the chicken was a spinach spätzle tossed with the slightest bit of cheese and crispy bacon lardons. This part was so delicious it could have been a stand-alone dish, the chicken was a delightful and tasty bonus.
I Don’t Always Eat Dessert, but…
I’m not a dessert person, never really have been. It isn’t that I don’t like them, I’d just rather go with another option to complete a meal – a cheese plate and a glass of port for example.
Now, there are some sweet treats that I simply love; and it’s as though the people at Miura somehow dug into my mind while I was Zenning out in their spa. They didn’t serve chocolate mousse, pots de créme, or some fancy soufflé or artisanal tart. They served what is quite possibly my absolute favourite dessert: Creme brûlée.
The only concern I had here, was the flavouring. They chose orange. I’ve had plenty of classic vanilla, and I love a good coffee flavour, but orange was new to me. It’s so easy to overdo, to the point of ruining a custard, with additional flavours. To my pleasant surprise, the crew in the back nailed it. With just a subtle hint of orange, this silky snack was the perfect ending to not only a fantastic meal but an outstanding experience.
I don’t remember the ride back to Ostrava. Between the wild treatments of the spa and the best meal I’d eaten in weeks, I slept like a baby.
The only unfortunate part of the whole experience was that time constraints prevented us from actually spending a night at the Miura Hotel. That being said, based on the few hours we had, it’s evident that this hotel is truly one of the best spots we’ve seen in the country, and cannot wait to return!