The spa centres of Bohemia
Karlovy Vary (or Carlsbad in English) is the most important spa city in Bohemia boasting some eighty hot springs with water at between 30°C and 73°C. The best known is Vřídlo, from which water gushes at a temperature of 73°C with sufficient force to reach a height of 12 metres. Today water from about fifteen springs is collected and channelled to various spa centres. One of these, Hotel Kriváň, was the first of the spa hotels run by the company Bohemia-Lázně and is located in Sadovà Street, opposite one of the famous colonnades under which visitors can stroll while sipping the waters. Sadovà Street has a remarkable history. Against many people’s advice, in 1860 the Swiss banker Schwalbe purchased an inhospitable, swampy ravine on what was then the edge of the city (Karlovy Vary is located in a narrow wooded valley of the river Teplà), and between 1872 and 1890 converted it into a luxury district with villas, hotels and churches. It so happened that the first building constructed there was the current Spa Hotel Kriváň, which has preserved the unique charm of its original architectural layout. This brief history of its origins perhaps explains the unusual problem that Bohemia-Lázně faced in 2007, as its director Jiří Sluka explained. When carrying out the renovation project for the wellness & spa area (the static section of which had been developed by the engineer Mr Zapletal from the local company Larumo), the site workers came upon a large section of rock traversed by cracks liable to cause sections of rock to become partially detached. The unstable parts had to be removed and the remaining rocky mass reinforced by injecting material at 110 points to a depth of eight metres. The reinforced mass has a length of 45 metres and a height of between 18 and 25 metres. As the removal of debris had freed up usable space, the original project was modified, setting aside around 850 square metres on the ground floor of the main building for classic balneotherapy and a further 240 square metres for a previously unplanned indoor pool. Spring water maintained at a constant temperature of 31°C flows into the twelve-by-five-metre pool. The floor of the pool was clad entirely with glass mosaic for a specific reason: the Karlovy Vary spring water has a very high mineral content (around 6.4 grams per litre) and leaves copious sediment on everything it flows over with the exception of glass. The rest of the reinforced concrete structure was entirely clad with ceramic tiles. In particular, strips of Four Seasons degradé porcelain mosaic from Supergres punctuate the uniform expanse of large-format tiles on the walls to create a splendid cascade effect. It should be mentioned that following the untimely death of Mr Zapletal, the entire project (with the exception the static section) of the wellness & spa centre was re-elaborated by Jiří Sluka with consulting from BWT for the technical systems.
Supergres, Four Seasons
Degrade' (Spring, Autumn, Winter)
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA - GLA - GHA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant