The Big Six: Spa town hotels

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Palace Merano, Espace Henri Chenot, Italy

Merano, a pretty little town in South Tyrol, became a health resort thanks to its curative mountain air, mild climate and thermal baths. This elegant neo-classical palace hotel and spa is in the foothills of the Dolomites and specialises in detox, de-stressing and weight loss programmes. The waters contain radon and are claimed to cure circulatory problems.

Palace Merano, Espace Henri Chenot, Via Cavour N°2, Merano, Italy (00 39 047327 1000; palace.it). Wellness packages start at €3,550 per person per week, including full board. Doubles start at €315, room only.

The Royal Crescent Hotel, England

Bath's gracious Grade I-listed 18th-century Royal Crescent Hotel has its own sleek spa. The Bath House occupies a converted coach house overlooking the manicured gardens. There are cool and tepid plunge tubs, sauna and steam rooms as well as a stylish pool. However, you can also combine a stay with a visit to Thermae Bath Spa where you can swim in the city's famed thermal mineral waters in the rooftop pool.

The Royal Crescent Hotel, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath (01225 823333; royalcrescent.co.uk). Doubles start at £220 including breakfast and use of the Bath House spa.

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Hungary

The Romans wallowed in Budapest's thermal springs, followed by Turkish rulers: the city was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost 150 years. The baths the Turks built – all cupolas and columns – are still some of the most ornate in the Hungarian capital. In the centre of the city, the luxurious art nouveau Gresham Palace has a top-floor spa inspired by Budapest's thermal spa heritage.

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Roosevelt Ter 5-6, Budapest, Hungary (00 36 268 6000; fourseasons.com/budapest). Doubles start at €265, including breakfast.

Aqua Aurelia Suitenhotel, Germany

The springs of Baden-Baden have indulged visitors since Roman times. The pretty spa town reached the height of its popularity in the 19th century, and boasts some of Europe's most opulent thermal baths. The Aqua Aurelia is built on the site of the old Roman public baths, with easy access to the Caracalla .

Aqua Aurelia Suitenhotel, Vincentistrasse 1, Baden-Baden, Germany (00 49 7221 18 330; aquaaurelia.de). Doubles start at €165, room only.

Grande Hotel and La Pace, Italy

The first baths in the Tuscan spa town of Montecatini Terme were built in 1530 and drinking the waters is said to cure all manner of complaints. The Grande, dating back to 1870, is all old-world elegance with a modern spa offering Rasul mud baths and hydro-massage.

Grand Hotel and La Pace, Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, Italy (00 39 0572 9240; grandhotellapace.com). Doubles start at €230, including breakfast.

Vidago Palace, Portugal

The luxurious Belle Epoque Vidago Palace reopened last June after a contemporary revamp. The hotel's striking new spa is surrounded by cedar and pine trees and an original 19th-century mineral water well stands within its grounds. There are 20 treatment rooms including hydro rooms, pool and sauna.

Vidago Palace Hotel, Parque de Vidago, Apartado 16, Vidago, Portugal (00 351 276 990 920; vidagopalace.com). Doubles start at €130, including breakfast.

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