Hotel Spa Imperial in Karlovy Vary (5 stars) : ultimate review | The traveling Lions
  • Carine Lion

Hotel Spa Imperial in Karlovy Vary (5 stars) : ultimate review

It's a fact: many people living in an anxiety-provoking society have a real need for healing. Health and well-being have become major collective concerns.

To meet the growing demand, many hotels offer relaxation and wellness stays. But not all offer comparable services and quality. It is therefore very important, in order to satisfy our personal requirements, to know how to distinguish leisure spas from those whose primary purpose is indeed wellness and health education.

With its century of experience and located in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), one of the "Major Spa Towns of Europe" candidates for fade UNESCO World Heritage list - with the cities of Spa (BE), Vichy (FR) and Bath (UK) among others - , the hotel Imperial, 5-star, can take advantage of a know-how and an exceptional geographical situation.

In this article, you will find an authentic review of the Spa Hotel Imperial, based on our own experience.


The Spa Hotel Imperial is located in Karlovy Vary, in West Bohemia, in the Czech Republic.

For travelers arriving by plane at Prague International Airport, it is easy and quick to reach the city of Karlovy Vary, capital of the Region. In a rental car, the trip takes about 1 hour 40 minutes and by bus, a little more than 2 hours. For visitors coming from Belgium or France who would like to go by car, here are some distances:

From Liège : 674 km

From Brussels : 763 km

From Paris : 947 km

You can learn the distance from your home/starting point by clicking on the interactive map.

From Hotel Imperial in 1912 till today: more than a hundred years of history

In the early twentieth century, a local banker, Alfred Schwalb, has the idea of ​​building a luxury hotel, in order to meet the very high demand in Karlovy Vary. The work is entrusted to the French engineer Ernst Hebrard - who has partially participated in the construction of the cities of Hanoi and Thessaloniki.

After two years of work, the building was inaugurated on June 18, 1912. Inside its elegant facade, the decor is art deco. Aristocracy, politicians, businessmen and famous artists are happy to stay here. Among these are Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, composer Richard Strauss, and some members of the Rothschild family - this famous family has had a considerable influence on the iron and steel development of the Republic and the Ostrava region in particular - , actor Douglas Fairbanks and several presidents of the Czech Republic.

The two world wars, as well as the emergence of seaside and alpine tourism, lead to a drastic decrease in visitors and the decline of thermal tourism. In 1948, all the spas are nationalized; the Hotel Imperial becomes then a state sanatorium.

In 2003, after extensive reconstruction work, the Imperial Hotel finally regains its former glory.

Arrival to Spa Hotel Imperial

When the minibus enters the Hotel's land, I can not hold back a "wow". The cream building with orange roof, elegant and monumental, appears in all its splendor.

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Reception and lobby

When I discover the lobby, I immediately feel the very special atmosphere of the grand historical hotels. The hotel Imperial impresses, first by the surface and volume of its lobby and then by the luxury of its materials, such as marble and mahogany. The red and gold Colors, other symbols of wealth, give the whole a very retro charm.

I would have liked more flowers for their warm, feminine and decorative feel - something that I always look for in every hotel I visit - but my eyes are soon off the floor and furniture.

Because what I particularly like in this kind of hotels - in addition to flowers - are the chandeliers, the stairs and the lifts: in short, light and movement. As light, I am delighted: the splendid chandelier of Bohemian glass indisputably attracts the eye, either from the ground floor or from the first floor.

As for the movement, it is beautifully orchestrated in the center of the hotel, by a double flight staircase and a glass elevator, both in Art Deco style.

On the first floor, a grandiose pièce of art stages another movement, which is an essential element to any spa treatment: the movement of water. The peculiarity is that the water available here comes directly from the hottest and most mineralized source of Karlovy Vary: Vridlo.


My room echoes the overall style of the hotel: it has a hall, a large marble bathroom and big storage space. It is spacious and very functional. But my favorite is outside.

A French window gives access to a beautiful balcony and a fantastic view of the valley, day and night.

Restaurants and bars

The Imperial Hotel has a buffet restaurant, Prague, and an à la carte restaurant, Paris. During my stay, I had the opportunity to experience Prague. I was able to enjoy the freshness and the dietary quality of the products. Everything is varied and very good. The same for breakfast.

At the back of the Café Vienna, a terrace allows you to enjoy sunny days. Who is ready to play Chess?

f you're interested, the Imperial Hotel also has a nightclub: the Club Imperial.


I like beautiful gardens, these pieces of nature that we tame, that we model with art and passion. I couldn't miss the topiary park at the entrance to the Imperial Hotel.

Sober and strong at the same time, he echoes the elegant and imposing facade of the Spa hotel. The choice of beech, here cut in bell, seems moreover obvious: its longevity and the refinement of its silhouette are so many symbols that marry perfectly with the architecture and the history of the hotel.

Tall and wide, perfectly aligned, the vegetable sculptures seem to play a double role: at first glance, they appear as tranquil and powerful guardians, like colossi watching over the Imperial Hotel; but if you turn your back on the building, they ostensibly guide the visitor's eye towards the valley, clearing it through woods and forests, invariably leading it to contemplate an exceptional panorama.

Spa and wellness : Hotel Imperial's assets

If one of the major assets of the Imperial hotel is undoubtedly its geographical position and its natural environment, we must not forget its raison d'être: offer traditional and complex spa treatments or wellness programs, with a personalized approach for each client.

The Imperial Hotel relies on 5 doctors and 45 members of the health staff team.

Winner, multiple times, of the prestigious World Travel Award and holder of the certificate of private health center, issued by the Czech association Medispa - association that aims to protect balneology, control and promote Spa services in the Czech Republic - it is based, among other things, on the properties of the mineral springs of Karlovy Vary and on the specificities of the Karlovy Vary Method.

The thermal springs of Karlovy Vary are famous for the treatment of diseases of the digestive system, metabolic (eg diabetes), oncology (cancer of the colon, liver, pancreas, breast cancer) and nerve (parkinson's or multiple sclerosis eg. ).

As for the Karlovy Vary Method, it combines local therapeutic resources, such as the drinking cure, with health education and leisure activities.

The hotel Imperial offers thermal treatments (3 to 4 weeks, including the use of local mineral water, therapeutic rehabilitation, a dietetic program, wellness treatments, ...), Medical Spa stays (a minimum of 6 days , combining the benefits of a traditional Spa with wellness treatments for a detox and anti-stress program) and wellness stays (a few days to relax). Children's programs are also available. For information on the cures and various programs of the hotel, click here.

As for me, I was enjoyed a professional massage called "partial classic", namely a massage of back and spine. This type of massage is supposed to improve blood circulation, digestion and metabolism.

Being used to Ayurvedic massages with an extraordinary therapist, I am still somewhat skeptical. Despite the language barrier, the therapist listened well and I must admit that twenty minutes of massage later, I came out of the wellness center totally relaxed, feeling no more pain in the back and neck. Verdict therefore : ultra-positive.

Hotel Imperial Tower and its amazing panorama

In the center of the hotel, a tower overlooks the entire roof. Accessible exceptionally and only on request, it offers a few rare lucky personé, the privilege of a 360 panorama.

So, feeling extremely privileged, I climbed the steps of a spiral staircase - feeling a bit, despite my age, like Princess Aurora climbing the tower of her castle - and reached the summit, a little out of breath.

And here the reward : the scenery is definetely amazing.

So easy: a private funicular

Located high up, in a wooded environment inspiring calm and serenity, the Hotel Imperial is also close to Karlovy Vary and its animation..

Indeed, a private funicular makes it possible to reach the city center in a few minutes..

Tours from the hotel

The Karlovy Vary region is rich in excursion possibilities. You will have the opportunity to discover some in my next article on the subject.

If you prefer to let your hotel organize the tour, the concierge of Hotel Imperial has about fifty alternatives for you: including the city of Karlovy Vary and the glass factory Moser, Kutna Hora, the richest old city from the Kingdom of Bohemia, Prague, Karlsteijn Castle, Loket Castle and Brewery, etc.


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To harmonize the evaluation method of hotels in Europe, some European countries have joined together to determine classification standards. The Imperial Hotel became in October 2017, a 5-star hotel. For more information, click here.  

In my opinion, it will appeal particularly to people who love the historical heritage and are looking for a room with a more classic decoration, to curists who appreciate walking in the footsteps of people who made History and finally, to those who wish a hotel located in the heart of nature but close to city centre.

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Thank you

My stay at the Imperial Hotel is part of a fam trip, made in the Spa Triangle of West Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. Its organization was jointly orchestrated by the Czech Tourism Board and the Karlovy Vary Tourism Board. I thank them very much, as well as Hotel Imperial, for giving me the opportunity to live this very beautiful experience.


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