A Touch of India in Germany's Moselle Valley

By Nichole Martinson, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Traben-Trarbach.

Overall rating:4.8 out of 5 (based on 8 votes)
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Recommended for:
Activity, Short Break, Spa, Expensive

East and West meet in Germany's tranquil Moselle River Valley, offering rest, relaxation and an unexpected taste of India at the Parkschlößchen Ayurvedic Spa

The piles of paperwork on your desk aren't getting any smaller. The telephone rings off the hook. Children need attending to, as do social and charitable obligations. Put simply, modern life is very, very stressful. At our frenetic pace, rarely do any of us take care of ourselves properly – let alone unplug and take a little "me-time". For some, the only way to do this is to leave their city, their state and even their country.

My little getaway took me to a remote spot nestled among the vineyards surrounding the Moselle River in western Germany – the Parkschlößchen Bad Wildstein, a former bathhouse turned Ayurveda hotel and spa in Traben-Trarbach, Rhineland-Palatinate. Unplugging, decompressing and revitalizing your health are not "optional" here. Relaxation starts even before you arrive, as the train glides along the banks of the tranquil river, one of the most beautiful landscapes Germany has to offer, carrying you to your peaceful destination. Tucked far away from big industry and social demands, you will relax; you will detox; you will feel better whether you want to or not! Oooommm… you are not in your normal world anymore.

A touch of India

German-owned and operated, the Parkschlößchen combines U.S. concepts of service and pampering with the German tradition of an annual health cure under the ancient Indian principles of Ayurveda – a branch of Indian medicine that treats the whole being by bringing mind, body and soul into harmony through detoxification, massage, diet and exercise programs such as yoga. The prime focus at the Parkschlößchen is the physical well-being of guests. Staff help you restore your sense of vigor and vitality using Ayurveda, while also providing you with the knowledge and tools needed to maintain the healthier, more relaxed you when you're back outside the spa walls.

Once inside the Art Nouveau building, you are given an appointment with the Vaidya Kumaran Rajsekhar – an Ayurveda expert from India, trained in diagnosis and healing. One technique he uses to examine the guests is Nadi Pariksa, or pulse diagnosis, placing three fingers from his right hand below the patient’s wrist on the radial artery. This is one of the Ayurvedic tools that helps determine a patient’s "Dosha" (physiology), as well as mental constitution by idenitifying Dosha imbalances, movements of toxins within the body, and degradation of tissue. Once the physical and mental diagnosis is complete, a prescription is issued – for massage, fantastic food and rest.

The power of massage

No massage treatment will be administered without the prior "prescription" of the Vaidya. My first therapy, the Abhyanga, was a synchronized total-body massage using sesame oil, intended to ground and relax the recipient while beginning the process of detoxification. Once completed, a minimum of 15 minutes' rest is required in the serene rest rooms of the Parkschlößchen, designed and decorated, as is the entire facility, using natural products and fabrics and soothing colors – all following Ayurvedic principles.

My second massage treatment, Shiro-Abhyan, was a partial head massage using coconut oil to cool or pacify one of the Doshas, Pitta. This was followed by Shirodhara – in which sesame oil is drizzled on the forehead and scalp for at least 20 minutes. It felt as if I was being gently caressed.  When the oil was poured over my "third eye", the chakra (or energy pattern) associated with the space between the eyes, I could feel the pressure of the headache that had been building slowly release its hold. The third day of treatment began with the Padabhyanga, a foot massage using ghee (clarified butter), intended to relax and revitalize the system, balancing mental and physical strength. After that, I definitely needed a nap.

Eating well

Further treatments include gourmet vegetarian meals prepared in a way suitable for all Dosha types. Should the Vaidya recommend a specific food regime to help a particular imbalance, the kitchen and head chef are alerted and special dishes are prepared, ensuring the cure is complete. Ayurvedic meals begin with something sweet and end with something savory so there is no need to leave room for a dessert. When ponying up to the bar and picking a poison, be forewarned; all the night's cocktails will be toxin-free, meaning no caffeine and no alcohol. However, all food, rest and no exercise makes for chubby but satisfied blobs. Within the half-timbered walls of the Parkschlößchen are ways to battle the bulge with Yoga and Pilates, a sauna and a crystal-blue pool with a larger-than-life Buddha surveying the progress of guests.

After a few days' rest visitors can’t help but start to feel healthy again – and, well, even relaxed. In fact, I was so relaxed after my time away from it all, I found it almost impossible to write this guide. What a way to get away! 

The cost of rejuvenation

Packages at the Parkschlößchen range from a one-day sampler to a two-week intensive detox program called Panchkarma. The one-day stay costs €240 and includes accommodation, a consultation with the Vaidya, all meals, use of the facilities and a massage. Three-, five-, seven- and ten-day packages are also available, tailored to specific aims such as beauty or wellness. Prices range from €380-€2,105, excluding accommodation (see room rates below).

For the not-so-faint-of-body-and-wallet, the Parkschlößchen offers a 14-day detoxification program including massages, steam baths, carefully-tailored purification meals, consultations, exercise and rest for €2,340, excluding accomodation.

Room rates range from €135 a night for a single room to €370 a night for a double occupancy suite, plus an extra €45 per night for full board. Prices include a consultation, lectures and access to the grounds and equipment, but massage therapies cost extra.  Early booking discounts of 5% on a stay of up to six nights, and 10% on a stay of seven nights or more are available on reservations made at least three months in advance.

Getting there

Reaching Nirvana can be an arduous chore. Thankfully, reaching the Parkschlößchen Bad Wildstein is slightly easier. Coming from outside of Germany, the closest airport is Frankfurt/Hahn, about 20 minutes by taxi from the spa. Ryan Air serves this airport but should your preferred carrier not, Frankfurt/Main (the Frankfurt you know) is about 90 minutes away and offers convenient train connections directly from the airport terminal to Traben-Trarbach. Other airport options are Düsseldorf, 90 minutes away; Cologne/Bonn, also about 90 minutes away and Luxemburg, which is about 70 minutes from the Parkschlößchen.

Coming from within Germany or some of its neighboring countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France, the best and most scenic option is the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) www.bahn.de. Coming from Southern Germany, passengers are treated to some of the loveliest and most romantic scenery Germany offers, particularly between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz. Train travelers should book with caution though. Since Traben-Trarbach is far removed from many of main service areas, getting there requires multiple train transfers. This means more opportunities to miss your connection if the transfer time is short and/or trains are late, which they very often are.

Not to worry, though. Should any difficulties arise, the next closest town is Bullay.  Pick-up can be arranged from there.  

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More information on A Touch of India in Germany's Moselle Valley:

Author:
Nichole Martinson
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
4.75
Average: 4.8 (8 votes)
Total views:
588
First uploaded:
2 December 2009
Last updated:
3 years 47 weeks 6 days 13 min 35 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Activity, Short Break, Spa
Budget level:
Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
spa, yoga, relaxation, Ayurveda, Germany, moselle, traben-trarbach, Parkschlößchen

Nichole recommends

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1. Parkschlößchen Bad Wildstein
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Community comments (9)

0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

price and discount information updated.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Thanks for the guide! I was looking for information about places like this and the text gave me a perfect idea.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I think this is finally that something different i've been looking for. What a perfect idea for these winter months. Thanks for the tip, and isn't it great to finally have a getaway offering high quality vegetarian cuisine.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Thanks for the guide!

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

The most important aspect of any travel article is that it gives you a feel for what it is like to be at that destination and makes you want to see it for yourself. After reading Nichole's article, I wanted to go there for myself. I thought she really conveyed a sense of relaxation, while providing the necessary info on prices. She also did a good job of explaining some of the techniques that many people might not be familiar with. If you can convince people to try something new, you have done a good job. Way to go, Nichole!

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

i would love to check this spa out next time i'm in germany. it sounds divine! thanks for the great info!

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

When I'm researching my next getaway, I like to have plenty of information at my fingertips. So I was very pleased at the amount of detail in this write-up - it gave me some very good insights as to what I could expect from a weekend (or a week?) at the spa.

The tone of voice was also refreshing. Topics like these can easily veer off into the esoteric...almost like you have to be part of the Zen/whatever club to know what's going on or appreciate what's being offered. This write-up stayed nice and grounded while telling me what the spa's guiding principles are.

The only thing I'd add to this review are specific travel details. (The Lonely Planet series calls this section "Getting There and Away"). This information might be available on the spa's Web page - or intrepid souls could try their luck with German Railways - but perhaps there's a shortcut, bus route, etc worth mentioning.

Overall - very nice guide! Thanks for sharing it with the community.
Vanessa

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This article made me feel as if I was actually at a spa. Surprised in Germany, a destination that most travelers would know about! Thank you for a new addition to the well or new traveler, a relaxing destination that all can enjoy. This article was obviously written with inspiration and knowledgeable experience.I look forward to additional articles from this writer/guide. Thank you again for bringing a little otherwise unknown place-Tracy

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Nichole, this guide grabbed my attention because it is so unusual – and as our Tag Cloud shows (click the link at the bottom this page and others), "relaxation" is one of the key qualities people are looking for when choosing a holiday break. You've done a great job of capturing the atmosphere and treatments on offer at the Parkschlößchen, and I feel certain Simonseeks users will want to book. I have rewritten your guide slightly, as some of it was a little heavy on jargon and slightly impenetrable for the general reader. Though you use humour effectively, an occasional note of wry scepticism might persuade people that you are an objective, trustworthy witness rather than an unquestioning New Age devotee. I'm not talking about outright mockery, just a slight modification of tone. Nevertheless, this is a nicely written guide about a truly intriguing place. Please just check that I have understood the package prices correctly; am I right you have to add room prices? I ask because I rephrased that bit to make it clearer.

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