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Reviewed 29 June 2011

I confess to a certain eccentricity that most probably comes with age and my stating that Mrs Brainiac and I enjoyed our stay immensely at Thermotel could probably be construed as the ravings of an eccentric madman. But there are reasons for our opinion.

Dax is known throughout France (and Germany, and Italy, etc.) as the center for therapeutic thermal baths and treatments and, to be blunt, there did not seem to us to be much more to recommend the town as a stop during our two-week drive around the southwest region. But we were driving our way from the Dordogne Valley to Bayonne and Biarritz, and having read of the hot mud baths and hot thermal baths, and also because we got started on the road pretty late, we found ourselves within view of Dax and in need of a hotel. Driving through Dax and around the circular inner route, we looked up and saw the Thermotel sign. So we stopped.

Thermotel is an inexpensive hotel. Our room cost 55 euros. It is a no-frills hotel with high speed internet, functional rooms that are more like dormitories with small kitchens, an urban ambience, and two things that make it a hidden gem.

The first is the staff. Mrs B and I have never ever been treated with the kindness, charm and hospitality shown by the Thermotel staff: all of them. In particular, Annie at the front desk welcomed us and spent the next 90 minutes explaining the rooms and the available treatments. So that we could be accommodated at the spa, she called the head nurse at home to ensure we could be taken for treatment the next day. She even took up a position on the street to wave off cars from parking in front of the hotel as I attempted to move our car closer in. All this took her over an hour past her shift. Also credit is due to Joseé, the head nurse, who took both of us under her wing and escorted us the next day through hot mud baths and various water treatments that one can only imagine. We left wondering how we could ever repay the kindness we were shown: a feeling we have never felt when leaving a hotel.

The second is the spa itself, which is located in space connected to the hotel. The spa is typically used by Europeans by the week and is paid for by the various European socialized medicine systems. In other words, if you get a doctor’s prescription for the spa, your government pays for it. Day visitors are not the norm, but Annie and Joseé saw to it that we could experience it. A hot mud pack and wrap (if your own nudity bothers you, forget it) with a hose down, and two massage pools in thermal water set us back $30 euros each and it was worth every last centime.

As one might expect, thermal treatments and hot mud seems to appeal more to the elderly set and gray hair is on display in the lobby at Thermotel. Even so, because we enjoy slipping into cultures other than our own, we had a wonderful time here experiencing a slice of European life that few American tourists would bother with or see the charm in. Now I just need to check to see if Medicare would pay for a three week treatment for my rheumatism.

Thermotel is not your typical tourist destination, but well worth a visit for those who want to experience a slice of French life.

Date of stay: May 2011
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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7  Thank TheBrainiac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2020
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Date of stay: August 2020
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2020 via mobile
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Date of stay: August 2020
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2020
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Date of stay: March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginie Berot, Propriétaire at Thermotel, responded to this reviewResponded 7 March 2020
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Reviewed 8 January 2020
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Date of stay: November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginie Berot, Propriétaire at Thermotel, responded to this reviewResponded 7 March 2020
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