This trip was supported by Spreewelten GmbH. As usual, our opinion remains uninfluenced by this, the article reflects our own experiences.
The “Spreewelten” are situated at the edge of the Spreewald in Lübbenau, only a stone’s throw away from Berlin. They advertise with the slogan “bathing with penguins” – and nowadays you can also stay overnight in the newly built hotel on the old adjoining estate. Did anybody say “penguins”? Of course we needed to see this! So we have Piet as our mascot, who now also belongs to our logo. And finally, the whole thing should also be wheelchair accessible. So we made our way to the nearby Spreewald and dived into the Spreewelten!
Hotel Spreewelten: Very close to the penguins
On Saturday afternoon we park in front of the hotel and check in. The entrance area looks cosy and rustic with regional details, there is even a library, a children’s playroom and a bar with fireplace. The receptionist will explain the area and the few little special features that wheelchair users have to pay attention to. Our apartment is located at the end of the corridor in the attic, which is connected to the manor house via a short roofed external corridor. The reception and the hotel bar are located in the manor house. We open the door and – surprise: The apartment is surprisingly spacious, bright and friendly designed and modern furnished. The box spring bed promises adequate sleeping comfort, the TV swings between the bed and sofa, and there is a small fully equipped kitchen on the side. Even the terrace is almost accessible without thresholds, and the bathroom not only has generous dimensions, but especially the roll-in shower in the Spreewald design is a real eye-catcher.
Talking to the hotel management, we learned that accessibility was taken into consideration right from the start – the newly built hotel complex opened at the beginning of 2019, and the concept seems logical and well thought-out to us. There is even alow mirror in the bathroom – in contrast to many other hotels. All areas of the hotel are accessible for wheelchair users, even a low area at the counter of the reception has been considered. The Spreewald motif runs through the entire design of the hotel, and fortunately our bathroom in the wheelchair-accessible room makes no exception – when showering we really feel like we are in the depths of the Spreewald. But before further explorations we quickly dress up, because the penguins are waiting for us next door, and we make our way to the neighbouring Spreewelten bath. Of course we dress in proper style in a bathrobe over the “bathrobe corridor“, which starts on the second floor and leads directly to the bath!
At the end of the “bathrobe walk” we take the elevator downwards and exit directly in the entrance area of the bath. In the changing area there is a separate, locked cabin for wheelchair userswith some lockers, next to it a cabin with toilet and shower for wheelchair users and an exit straight to the bath.
A swimming pool wheelchair is available for rent, but we want to look around first: we arrive in the hall next to the attendant, and we get a first view of the large indoor swimming pool landscape with a wave pool with a flat entrance, next to a whirlpool bath (the Weltentor) and the passage to the outside. To our left we discover two slides and a separate pool called Spreewald 360 degrees: a brine pool with plenty of warmth and massage jets within a panoramic view of the Spreewald. A door next to this basin leads to the outside at ground level – but be careful: it cannot be opened from the outside! Needless to say we stepped into this trap barefoot and only dressed with a bathrobe while 5 degrees Celsius in the outside, because we wanted to visit the penguins in their outside enclosure. Fortunately, a door close by leads back into the warmth via stairs, so at least pedestrians can hurry back into the bathroom and open the saving door…
The penguins can be observed in several places: on the one hand in the outdoor area, which is accessible at ground level, but at least in winter only invites you to stay for a short time. From the outdoor pool they can be watched swimming through the largest Plexiglas pane in Europe, and from the indoor area they can be admired in the dry playground. Unfortunately, this can only be reached via stairs, so that we missed one of the best known views from the Spreewelten. Perhaps solutions can still be found here…
Since we arrived on a cold Saturday afternoon on the first Advent weekend, the bath is as expected abundantly populated. Hundreds of children and parents romp around here, and because we as hotel guests still have access to the bathroom later in the evening, we decide to continue our exploration tour first and visit the huge sauna area. This is accessible via a separate door in the bistro area for wheelchair users.
We gonna visit the bath again after dinner – and we will experience a real miracle, because on our return we jump in a completely empty bath with no more than 20 people – an absolute insider tip for hotel guests!
Spreewelten – the sauna area
Behind the door we are greeted by cosy warmth and pleasant peace after the turbulent hustle and bustle in the bathing area. A large resting area welcomes us and behind there are many different saunas – the 45 degrees Celsius warm biosauna, an infrared cabin on 50 degrees and a steam bath, up to the 95 degrees hot professional sauna, where we amateurs would have reached their cooking point after only a few minutes. In addition various wellness treatments can be booked. The tranquillity here is extremely pleasant, and fortunately all cabins are wheelchair accessible. But there is another special feature of the Spreewelten that is really attracting us: the outdoor sauna village!
For us as wimps, the outside temperatures on this December weekend are hard to bear, even with a bathrobe, while we walk around the outdoor area together with obviously experienced and completely undressed sauna people. About ten different huts house different saunas with themes such as living room, salt sauna or even – complying the Spreewald theme, which runs completely through the Spreewald worlds – a cucumber sauna. In a small hut we stumble upon the “world’s smallest Christmas market“, which sells mulled wine and small Advent gifts on an extremely small area (mulled wine in the sauna also seems to be something for the hard-boiled sauna-goers…). In the adjoining barn we warm up at the tiled stove in the barn and make some plans for the rest of the day after taking about an hour to get an overview. We plunge into our wellness program and enjoy the day – and are delighted about the many possibilities for wheelchair users. In between we exchange Adina’s wheelchair against the showering chair of the bath in order to test it. However, Adina’s enthusiasm for the uncomfortable shower wheelchair is limited, so she soon changes back.
One particular detail we haven’t tested yet – the gastronomic offer of the Spreewelten. And there are plenty of them here: in the sauna, in the bathroom, and last but not least the hotel’s own restaurant. They all promise regional food in high quality.
Note on the following gallery: For understandable reasons, photography is prohibited in the sauna area. We therefore limit ourselves exceptionally to some symbolic press photos of the Spreewelten GmbH.
Gastronomic offer of the Spreewelten
For dinner and for breakfast the hotel’s own restaurant offers a rich buffet: a wide range of regional dishes, but also continental standards can be found appealing and fresh on the buffet. Here, too, the Spreewald comes into its own: the famous Spreewald cucumbers as well as products from regional producers such as mustard can be found everywhere. Both for dinner and breakfast we eat our way through and then leave the restaurant satisfied and satisfied.
Small snacks are available in the bistro in the swimming area as well as in the sauna area – Adina fought in vain against a huge plate with various Spreewald cucumbers and fresh bread with lard, while Timo just beat a salmon variation. “Small snacks”? The portions are almost breathtaking, especially for a bistro within a wellness area!
Most of the evening we spent within the almost empty bath, but we finally let it fade away at the hotel bar in the manor house. Holding a drink, we let ourselves warm up by the fireplace and lose ourselves looking into the flickering flames before we finally fall into bed and dream of penguins…
The research wasn’t easy. Especially with regard on the swimming area and the sauna, it is not possible to find out what wheelchair users can do there (and what not) – so we were all the more pleased about the wide range of possibilities we enjoyed in the Spreewelten even as a wheelchair user. The information about that is still a bit sparse. It’s clearly visible that the hotel was built and thought out from the beginning with wheelchair users in mind. In the bath as well as in the hotel we find some little problems and of course we encounter some hurdles. For example, the elevator at the end of the bathrobe corridor was actually broken at the end of the day – probably for the first time in history since its installation. Demo effect, of course, but to be true we had been rather amused because there is another way back to the hotel, namely the short walk across the courtyard. So we lost a little bit of comfort, but at least we could continue to use everything without major restrictions despite the broken elevator.
All in all, we had a short break after a quick drive from Berlin, and returned very rested. We appreciated a lot the helpfulness of the staff, which we experienced everywhere: whether in the hotel, in the bath or in the gastronomy, there was always someone at our side as soon as we had any difficulties. There is a small list of suggestions for improvement, but we can fully recommend the Spreewelten for wheelchair users!*
* We have visited the Spreewelten at the invitation of the operating company Spreewelten GmbH, see transparency information at the beginning of this article. However, our objectivity is not affected by this, and we have provided our partner with a list of small optimization suggestions.
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This post is also available in: German