Caldea, Andorra

Posted on February 11, 2016

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    outside caldeaPrelude

Years ago I found heaven. This is a retrospective blog post of my experience at the Caldea centre in Andorra. For those that don’t know what or where Andorra is (because I sure as hell didn’t), it’s a tiny nation nestled between France and Spain, in the Pyrenees mountains. I’m not sure how the Caldea itself has changed over the years but I do know they’ve added on another 1100 square metres since I was a visitor back in 2013. It’s hard to imagine more than what I experienced!

I’d been holidaying in Barcelona and my friend Steve knew some British blokes with an apartment in Andorra. So off we went — to the small tax-free land of skiing, snowboarding and, little did I know, the magical water wonderland that is Caldea.

This was the first time in my life I’d seen snow. When I arrived, I was the twit with my tongue sticking out, catching the slushy sleet in my mouth. Day one saw me on the snowfields for the first time. There was a quick 5 minute crash course in how to snow blade down a mountain without killing yourself followed by a trip down a steep slope marked for experienced skiers (didn’t see that sign!). I was utterly unprepared, wearing only leggings and a regular winter zip up Jacket. I owned no thermals, no waterproof gear. I’d borrowed a beanie and scarf. Hours passed and I’d fallen on my head multiple times, had frightened myself no end but was in my element. It was thrilling. Upon finishing up, I dried my wet bottom under the hand drier in the bathroom and onward I went in my damp clothes, ready to make some more snow angels.

I woke the next day unable to move my head from left to right. That was when Calvin said he knew exactly the cure. I’d just need some swimmers. But where to find a bathing suit in the snow? I managed to get a black singlet and some boy leg undies from a lingerie shop. Then onward. To fancy paradise. In my underwear.

caldea interior

 

The holy shit factor…

I almost peed my pants when I walked in.

I arrived at a large building and was guided to a labyrinth of change rooms and lockers. The immaculate lines of never-ending cubicles mesmerized me. Hundreds.

The thermoludic area was where I was headed. As a side note, thermoludic therapy, according to Caldea, has a focus on relaxation and well being from various water temperatures rather than the actual therapeutic properties of the thermal water itself. This thermoludic area at Caldea is a phenomenally huge aquatic paradise filled with various rooms and pools and water. It’s difficult to imagine how immense the place is and my first moment of entering the space deserved an orchestra. It was the sort of moment you see in films where the guys arrives to pick up the girl for their prom date and his jaw drops the sight of her as she descends the stairs. I was one of those guys. Caldea was my prom date.

There was the most colossal indoor pool I’ve ever seen — an oasis of warm blue water that wound its way off in all directions. It had martini-glass shaped spas emerging from the middle of it. Think something from a Bond film and you’d be on track. I entered the main pool and swam out to the stairs to climb up to one of three spas and that was just the beginning.

 

martini glass spa caldeacaldea light show

 

Being there makes you feel like a spoilt kid on Christmas Day — just as you think you’ve opened the last present there’s more. Caldea lays it on. There are so many water passages that lead into little nooks. Swimming though the plastic flaps in the wall of the lagoon area I was gob-smacked to find myself outside in a new aquatic space overlooking the snow-capped mountains, steam rising off the surface of the water into the crisp air.

There is more to Caldea that just the pools.

From the Turkish steam room burst fragrant eucalyptus vapour. And then there was the ice-cold plunge pool. When I say ice-cold I am being literal. This is actually bathing on the rocks. An ice Shute from above the pool drops ice into the small waist-deep pool below. Perhaps for only the daring or deranged. One toe in and I was out of there.

Close by, I discovered another area. A row of showers beckoned with different massage tempos to drill into muscles. Perfect for after a day on the slopes. Then there were the footbaths. You immerse your feet into small concrete twin foot-sized baths in the ground. One hot and the other cold. And when you get bored of that there’s the sandalwood infused relaxation room to duck into.

The relaxation room was like being in a small nightclub with deck chairs. The walls were black and lined with what appeared to be fluorescent UV strips. I later discover that this is actually ‘wood lighting’ to aid negative ions and promote relaxation and sleep. The room is constantly laced with a subtle sandalwood scent. The temperature in here aims to be just perfect, comfortable. Excellent for sleeping.

roman bath caldea

indo roman bath caldea

Just around the corner lurked the hot saunas and the Indo-Roman baths. The baths are exquisite; soft gentle half-light illuminated the area. I smartly took myself back and forth between warm and cold pools however my hosts, those British snowboarding guys, had a different philosophy to the process. They thought it was grand idea to out-do each other in the cold plunge pool. They sat in there for ages, each shivering, not wanting to be the first to get out. The dare here was to stay in as long as possible. ‘The first one out gets snowballed.’ Calvin announced to Steve and Paul. I watched from the warmth of my neighbouring pool. Later Paul would get royally snowballed in the street.

caldea_4

I’m sure there are parts I’ve forgotten and, with the expansion of the centre, (and I’m sure there are parts for me to explore when I go back… one day). I lost count of the hours I spent there. Such is love.

 

Facts…

Where:

Parc de la Mola, 10, AD700, Andorra

 

Getting to the spot:

Andorra is a tiny place. The address is above and there are cabs and most locals would be able to point you in the right direction.

 

About the spot:

Caldea currently covers 6000 (4900 square meters when I was last there) and has a multitude of other services including three restaurants, a treatment area and a guest club.

 

Accommodation:

It’s a tourist town with a variety of places to stay. The Caldea website does have package deals listed in combination with local hotels. I stayed with friends of a friend in an apartment with two British boys in one of the two bedrooms, two Argentinian renters in the other and I was on the lounge room floor.

 

Facilities:

You name it they have and their website will give you a run down of updates. Google will translate the site into English.

 

Dogs:

Not at this swimming spot!

 

Nearby towns:

France and Spain are close by. It would be worth jumping on a bus just to get to this place!

 

Nearby swimming spots:

None known at this stage.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in: Andorra