Ensana is a brand within the Danubius Hotels Group (DHG), one of Europe’s leading spa managing hotel chains. Their portfolio includes 26 Ensana hotels that embody the slogan mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body. The Ensana centre in Slovakia is the largest thermal spa resort in the country, located in Piešťany. Although renowned as a balenological and health centre, Piešťany is a regional cultural, educational and sports centre. The thermal island with a tidy park is home to Hotel Esplanade, possibly the most modern and guest-friendly hotel within the hotel group that greets guests with open arms. The thermal resort of Piešťany is famed for mud baths, electrotherapy and other health treatments. Spa tourism is well-developed here, adds value and attracts numerous event organisers whose events are co-organised by seasoned hotel professionals.
A well-maintained motorway leads to Piešťany from Bratislava, which is ninety kilometres away. Most guests arriving by plane opt for the airport in Vienna or Bratislava. Considering Vienna Airport offers excellent connections globally, even guests from far away will have no problem reaching Piešťany. Regardless of the vastness of the thermal resort, there are enough parking spots and even charging stations for EVs. Guests can rent bicycles or stroll through a tranquil park to reach the charming city centre. Piešťany is a known recreational centre, also home to a golf course.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
The hotel was constructed in a modern architectural style, featuring a minimalist facade with clean lines. White marble gives the exterior its unmistakable character. Even though on the outside, the hotel appears outdated in places, we found it aesthetic and thought-out. It blends harmoniously with the neighbouring park and does not interfere with the look of the entire complex. As several brutalist buildings are scattered in the area, the hotel is a sight for sore eyes. That, however, cannot be said for the interior, where various renovations mix into an eclectic whole. Guests can thus observe everything from a cavernous lobby to a retro seventies-like bar. In a way, staying in the hotel is a journey through decades full of intriguing surprises. Architecture-wise, you are bound to find something you appreciate in the hotel. Frankly, travelling through the architectural history of the complex is a compelling odyssey.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
The personnel in such a vast establishment range from kind to utterly professional. At the reception, guests can observe the resourceful staff, who are no strangers to stressful situations. Service is, likewise, very professional. The hotel breakfast was satisfactory; however, it did not meet our expectations when staying at a hotel of this category. There is room to improve, and, luckily, the staff is eager to cater to the needs of demanding guests. They proved their excellence with catering that can be ranked as superb. Had they proudly represented their local cuisine, wines and authentic stories, they would have made an even greater impact. Alas, resorting to tried-and-tested universal culinary dishes can be slightly disappointing. Our experience with the experienced team in charge of events and marketing was outstanding.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
The hotel rooms were renovated in 2016 and 2017. Their spaciousness is evident in a large balcony overlooking the park. A combination of elegant wooden furniture in walnut shades, pastel flooring and pleasant wallpaper characterise the room. The excellent mattress ensures a good night’s sleep. With the renovation, the rooms also acquired numerous charging ports. Decorative lamps, photos of Piešťany and a corner with two elegant loungers contribute to a general feeling of wellbeing. The bathroom is praiseworthy and boasts sandy shades. As expected of a spa hotel, the cosmetics are excellent. The renovated rooms are undoubtedly the highlight of the offer.
The conference centre with ten halls is the largest in Piešťany. Suitable for both receptions and medium-sized events, the Palace Ballroom can capacitate 350 attendees. It is complemented by five smaller meeting rooms and four halls ideal for events with 100 participants.
One of its core advantages is the Spa Island Congress Centre, directly connected to the hotel. What makes the hotel stand out from the competition is the possibility of combining different styles and services by selecting various halls. The nearby Thermalia Palace has the best congress capacities in the area. You cannot find a similar holistic offer for events anywhere else in Slovakia.
DESSERT – The extras
The park stretches 22 hectares of surface and is ideal for a slew of teambuilding activities that range from yoga and sports to tailor-made programs for attendees. We were intrigued by the idea of organising a secret dinner, which the hotel has executed several times. By exploring culinary stations, attendees get acquainted with the secrets of Spa Island.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
As is practised in spa and healing centres, congress and spa guests mix, and if you are fussy, you might find this a disappointment. In addition, the prices are among the highest in Slovakia because the hotel is booked year-round. Hence, if you want to stay at Hotel Esplanade in 2023, plan ahead.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
We were impressed by the vastness of the renovated Balnea Health Spa. The centre is directly connected with Hotel Esplanade and has earned itself the title of the most modern and largest centre for balneotherapy and rehabilitation in Central Europe. When organising events, meeting planners can thus mix work with pleasure. Balnea Health Spa was thoroughly renovated in 2014.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Finding something extraordinary and authentic in the category of four-star meeting hotels, where there are countless hotels alike, is challenging. Hotels appeal to the emotions of event organisers by highlighting their spaciousness, culinary offer, technological equipment and professional staff. Only a handful of hotels add something extra to the table. The dimensions of the hotel complex with an enormous park will not leave you cold, nor will the exceptional spa service, unparalleled in Central and Eastern Europe. Likewise, the hotel offer seems diverse enough to cater to the needs of any meeting planner. Hotel Esplanade represents a healthy balance, and its services satisfy guests. The hotel can still improve its gastronomic offer, particularly breakfast, and create personalised services where the guest is not just another number. Barring such irrelevant remarks, Hotel Esplanade is an excellent meeting hotel with an outstanding additional offer. If that is not your cup of tea, one of the most iconic establishments in Slovakia, Ensana’s flagship five-star hotel, Hotel Thermia Palace, is just 600 metres away.
FINAL GRADE: 4.75 SILVER Resort Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60