Asturias is a rural part of Spain relatively unknown to Brits, yet its capital, Oviedo, is well worth a visit. Las Caldas, situated in beautiful countryside, just outside the city, first opened its doors way back in 1776. People having been coming for its healing waters ever since, attracted by the high standard of service and the peaceful surroundings.
On the outside it looks like a stuffy traditional spa resort but it’s moved with the times and is bang up to date. Completely revamped in 2009, it works well for families as there are glorious indoor and outdoor pools, and a range of outdoor activities including canoeing, cycling and hiking.
In fact there are two separate establishments, on either side of the road, connected by an indoor bridge. The Las Caldas Grand Hotel is the historic part while the Las Caldas Enclave was completed in 2011 and offers all mod cons. Both have around 80 spacious rooms and you can choose between classic or contemporary style.
It’s the same with the spa facilities – in the Grand, there’s the historic spa El Manantial, in the 1776 old Bath House, with swimming pools, saunas, steam baths, and relaxation areas. For something more intimate there’s the Columns Hall, built to resemble a Roman villa, where you can relax with your family or small group of friends.
The Wellness Clinic is focussed on rebalancing body and mind using nutrition, physical exercise and natural therapies. But don’t worry – you can just enjoy a relaxing massage.
Across the road, next to the Enclave, is the new Sci-Fi Aquana spa complex.
It’s housed in a flying saucer shaped bunker, sculpted into the natural landscape, and features an indoor pool covered by a 15m high dome.
At regular intervals, there’s a sound and light show with fountains shooting up to the roof. It’s pretty impressive but there’s also a huge heated outdoor pool, perfect for sun bathing, surrounded by nature and mountains.
Water is a feature here and the Stella River runs right past the hotel, where you can hire kayaks. Along the banks there are isolated beaches where you pull up and picnic. Don’t forget to take advantage of one of the natural bathing pools for a refreshing dip.
If you fancy venturing further afield, then borrow a bike, but don’t forget the GPS route planners. A popular trip follows the route of an old railway line, bringing you to the centre of Oviedo in less than an hour. Visit the 13th century Cathedral, surrounded by a charming network of medieval streets with shops, restaurants and a huge covered market.
The “Bear’s Trail” goes in the other direction, through a landscape of green hills and steep valleys. Just past Tuñón, you’ll find Cercado Osero, home to three rescued female Cantabrian brown bears – Paca, Tola and Molina. A children’s delight.
On two feet, rather than two wheels, get a hiking map and venture into the surrounding hills. If that’s too much then, 10 minutes away, is the Municipal Golf Course. It opened in 2000, has 18 holes and covers a distance of over 5 kms.
After all these activities you’ll be hungry. The Viator Restaurant serves high class traditional cuisine in a classic setting. In line with the wellness theme, all products are 100% organic, seasonal and natural. Be aware that meals are served on Spanish time, later than you’d expect in the UK. If you’re feeling peckish then a coffee shop, near reception, serves burgers, salads and sandwiches all day
And after the children have gone to bed, you’ll find a classy bar, located in the Grand Hotel, modelled on an English pub. This is the place to unwind, over a custom cocktail, and enjoy Saturday night’s piano sessions. Just don’t request “Y Viva España” – it’s a Belgium song.
Tell me more about Las Caldas
Las Caldas, 33174 Oviedo, Asturias
Tel: +34 985 798 787
Rooms from 146€.
Turismo Asturias has information about the region.