Outdoor whirlpools!

Wellness (almost) in Rotterdam

Witte de Withstraat is the most famous street for going out to dinner and party in Rotterdam. But wellness and fitness travel is a relatively unknown concept for a weekend trip to Rotterdam. So to provide proof by contradition that it exists, let us check out wellness opportunities in the vicinity of the city. We take a look at Thermen Holiday in Schiedam outside of Rotterdam. Upon arrival in the little neighbourhood Schiedam it is apparent that the wellness center is situated well away from the center, with a 15 minute train ride and 10 minutes by tram, the spa is conveniently located outside the city, yet not far enough to make it feel cumbersome to reach. Alternatively put, you will not just stumble upon this spa as you walk around in the city.

This facility offers sauna and a range of massages, from sport massage to Lomi Lomi massage, also known as Hawaiian massage, as well as Finnish massage. For the ladies there are beauty treatments such as manicure, pedicure, body treatments and hair removal treatments. I’m not sure it’s only for women though as the place seemed to be full of metrosexual dudes and dudettes. Without hesitation I instantly made my way to the outdoor whirlpool, as much because I wanted to chill in a bubble bath outdoors as I wanted to leave the Baywatch-inspired crowd next to the indoor sauna. Although this was in the beginning of April, the weather was warm enough to take a bath outdoors. On a sunny day like the one I was there, the memories of a dreary winter faded away within minutes.

Outdoor Whirlpool Fun
Outdoor Whirlpool Fun
Thermen Holiday seems to hold swimming pools in high regard with no less than five different types of them scattered about. You have your ordinary indoor swimmingpool for relaxation and the outside pools for splashing about. But how about a footbath with beautiful statues inspired by Greek mythology nearby or the Spice Temple Bath, a herbal bath with aromatic oils? And then of course there is the outdoor whirlpool. It was sure different from plunging into the swimming pool at any given hotel by the Mediterranean on a summer day.

Saunas for Fantasy Fans

For those that think they have tried it all there is the Hobbit Sauna. Designed like a Hobbit house it features infrared light inside. I’m not sure what infrared light and Hobbits have in common but Thermen Holiday certainly have staked out a niche that should be fairly untapped.
There are no less than three smaller swimming pools inside, featuring no bubbles or other fancy effects. This is where most visitors tend to cluster, chatting away and chilling the way one can only do in a wellness center. There is also a foot bath and the sight of some people sitting around that little pool with their feet in the water reminded me more of a lake and a pier on a sunny day than this wellness center.

There are several indoor saunas, ranging from the hard core 90C sauna (appropriately named the ‘Die Hard’ sauna for the proper sauna lovers). I stayed away from that one as my intention was to relax, not prove my endurance skills in a sauna, as if in a competition. While the name of the sauna brought on associations to the action movie series to mind, there were other saunas with just as imaginative names, such as the music sauna and the cinema sauna, offering exactly the specified entertainment forms while you sweat away. I can’t see who would sweat it while watching a 90 minute movie, though. Nevertheless, if you’re in for a different type of wellness retreat, imagine telling your friends you went to the Spice Temple Bath before you listened to some music in the music sauna. Thermen Holiday has succeeded to some extent in creating a hip spa, which is definitely an adjective that is not commonly associated with spas.

How To Get There

Take a Sprinter train from Rotterdam Central Station to Schiedam Central Station. From there take a tram or taxi to Prinses Beatrixlaan 10.

When To Go

I arrived at opening at 10:00 on a Thursday. By then there was already a queue to the entrance and after my sports massage an hour later the place was filling up with visitors, mainly locals judging by the spoken Dutch everywhere around me.


The wellness center charges extra for a bathrobe, towel and slippers. Although only a few euros, the money is better spent on a proper meal when you return to central Rotterdam.

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