Nature can be cruel and nature can be kind, and at Moravske Toplice village in Slovenia nature is showing its nicest face. Fifty-five years ago while drilling in the hope of finding oil, black gold of another sort was discovered one and a half kilometres underground: health-giving black thermal mineral water. It led to the creation of the holiday complex Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice, now grown into one of the largest thermal spas in the country. Here, just over the border from Lenti in Hungary, visitors come from all around to rest aching ageing bodies or just generally enjoy a family break from everyday rigours.

In those 55 years Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice has boomed from nothing into a sort of fully fledged fun and fitness “factory” – the human raw material enters stiff and sore at one end, and, hopefully, the finished product emerges stimulated and smiling at the other end. Well, the guests certainly should, because everything is set up for them.

This is a large complex housing three interconnecting hotels with a total of 409 rooms and 29 swimming pools plus the adjoining Terme 3000 Thermal Park, one of the largest water parks in Slovenia. There is further accommodation at the adjacent Prekmurska vas Apartment Village, made up of a cluster of houses giving the impression of a typical village in Prekmurje, this easternmost region of Slovenia. Each house has a fully appointed kitchen, so guests can be somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle of the hotels if they wish.

There is a campsite too and right alongside it all is an 18-hole golf course with the longest fairway in the country (the ninth hole: 596 metres). Beyond are the endless meadows of this restful area.

Moravske Toplice is handily placed between Budapest, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Vienna and Munich, and thus attracts visitors from some 500 kilometres around, who mostly come by bus and car. Last year the entire site recorded 400,000 overnight stays. About half the guests are Slovene, and most of the rest come from the German-speaking countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The remaining 5% are made up of Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and so on.

Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice is indeed a wellness wonderland. Many of the guests are retired, in their 60s and 70s, there to take advantage of the beneficial Moravci thermal water, which is good for the bones, joints and skin, easing a number of health problems. The black gold comes out of the ground at 74 Celsius and has to be cooled to half that. Its heat and rich chemical composition give an instant feeling of warmth that penetrates to the deepest tissues.

Some guests apparently have been coming for 30 years, three or four times a year, so it must be doing them good. Many of the visitors spend much of their stay in white bath robes or swimming costumes, on their way here and there to soak in the black thermal mineral water, see a physician for an examination, experience the energy of therapeutic rocks, take part in a medico-wellness program or simply have an invigorating swim or massage. They also find Thai massage, Nordic walking, water gymnastics, Tibetan rituals, hikes to a wine cellar or chocolate factory, a Crystal Path for energy, gyms, taping therapy, chromotherapy, Ayurveda, barefoot path, aromatherapy, relaxation programs, cycling, saunas, steam bath, ice-cold pool and more. The Terme 3000 Health Centre and the Thermalium Medico-Wellness Centre offer a full range of services for guests’ well-being.

The three hotels are Hotel Livada Prestige, the only five-star in Prekmurje and containing 121 rooms, and Hotel Ajda (157 rooms) and Hotel Termal (131 rooms), both four-stars. From the top, fifth floor of the Livada, the view is straight down to the hotel’s open-air pools, two of them with bright blue tiles and in between a circular one with black water. Sun beds and umbrellas provide rest and shelter when not taking a dip, and there are tables and chairs on a terrace outside the aperitif bar. There is almost no noise apart from the constant burbling of the water in the pools, the occasional distinctive thump of a golf club hitting a ball on the fairways and greens, and birdsong. Way off in the distance in the meadows is the only road to be seen, too far to hear.

Just down the way, and handy for all three hotels, the apartment village and the campsite is the Terme 3000 Thermal Park, offering an abundance of aquatic adventures on two levels. The lower level is intended for lively and active guests and is also suitable for families, while the upper level with its relaxation spots and saunas is perfect for those who seek relaxation. Admission is free for hotel guests and the renovated indoor and outdoor facilities include thermal, swimming and children's swimming pools, with playground equipment, adrenaline and family waterslides plus trampolines and a zipline that runs over the pools. Established trees offer plenty of natural shade for everyone.

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Each hotel has its own pools of filtered and unfiltered (natural) black thermal mineral water, and Hotel Livada Prestige allows you to experience the rich blackness of the Moravci springs in your very own room, in a special bathtub. It is apparently the only five-star in Europe that does so. Our suite had four rooms: bedroom; living area with sofa, TV, work desk and minibar; bathroom with shower and toilet; and the second bathroom with “black gold”.

Guests at Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice can choose bed and breakfast, half-board or full-board. Meals in Livada Prestige are buffet-style with sea bass, trout, squid risotto, millet soufflé, pork goulash with strudel, veal fillet and more. A la carte is also available, with regional cuisine such as Dődőli (“impossible to translate”, we were told, but containing plenty of potato), bograc (a kind of goulash) and Prekmurska Gibanica (a layered dessert with apples and nuts). There are Slovenian wines from the regions of Podravje, in this northeastern part of the country, and Primorska, over at the other end by the Adriatic. Imported tipples come from Australia, France, Croatia, Italy, Portugal and South Africa.

“Ajda” means buckwheat in the Slovene language, and Hotel Ajda’s visual identity is marked by this local grain after which it was named. Buckwheat has been growing in Prekmurje soil for 500 years and it is the cornerstone of the hotel’s offer. Guests will encounter it at every step – in pillows made of buckwheat husks, which are natural antioxidants that adapt to the head, soothe, offer a micro-massage and regulate body heat, contributing to deep, peaceful sleep; in gastronomy, where it enriches the flavour of dishes; and everywhere in the hotel, from the stories and depictions of the plant in the hotel lobby to the Buckwheat lounge.

Hotel Ajda has covered heated walkways leading to the resort’s wellness and health centres. Massage pools adjoin the main large pool. There is an aromatherapy relaxation room and two new Finnish saunas with either darkened or bright relaxation rooms.

Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice is owned by Sava Hotels & Resorts, which operates its Ambassador Loyalty Programme to earn free overnight stays. The hotels are open all year.

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Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice

Kranjčeva ulica 12, 9226 Moravske Toplice, Slovenija

Reception: +386 2 512 50 50

info@terme3000.si

Reservations: +386 2 512 22 00

info.shr@sava.si

www.sava-hotels-resorts.com

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