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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 3, 2008
TOURISM
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New Year’s Break in Castles And Spas
December 3, 2008   
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In a tuxedo or knight's armor, in Brazilian feathers or a crinoline, in a castle or a hotel spa-there is still time to decide how and where to spend Christmas and celebrate the coming of the New Year.

For those who wish to spend the Christmas period relaxing and for biological renewal, the Magellan Hotel in Wolbórz near ŁódĽ is just the place.

The hotel's "Fruit Christmas" has proved to be a big hit with clients, who take honey and vanilla baths, undertake fruit-based cosmetic treatments, and participate in the Amber Ceremony. Children are well catered for too.

"We always strive to create a warm, homely and family atmosphere for people who spend Christmas with us and ensure that Santa Claus visits all our guests," says Ewa Wasilewska, the hotel's customer services expert.

Back to the Past
The Renaissance Castle in Krasiczyn and the Kliczków Castle, which recently added a modern spa, also organizes stays over Christmas. The restored ruins of both castles and luxury rooms create a unique atmosphere of bygone eras.

People interested in ancient Polish knights' customs should visit the town of Ryn, which is beautifully located on the isthmus of the Ołów and Ryńskie lakes on the Great Mazurian Lakes Trail. In the 14th-century Ryn Castle Hotel, the largest building of its type in Poland, guests can spend three days over the Christmas period in a medieval, knightly atmosphere. A carol concert and a meeting with the castle's curator follow the traditional Christmas Eve banquet. Planned entertainment for children includes making and painting Christmas decorations, pottery classes, a nativity play, medieval dance lessons, and a hunt for the Grand Commander's treasure-trove. The hotel's recreation center and gym, which is located in the armory, will be available for guests' use.

In the Royal Castle in Niepołomice guests will ring in the New Year during a magnificent banquet. Attractions include jousting and a performance by the Theater of Fire, complete with fire eaters. In the Czocha Castle, the largest in the Karkonosze Mountains, New Year's Eve guests will tour the dungeons, with just flame torches to light the way, accompanied by the resident ghost.

Poland's most popular ghost, the White Lady, haunts many castles on New Year's Eve. She is said to be either the ghost of a princess or a young lady who lived in the castle but met with a tragic death. Event organizers say they cannot reveal whose ghosts will be out and about on the night and where the haunting will be since that would spoil the surprise.

Boats, volcanoes and fireworks
New Year's Eve at the Magellan Hotel will be held in 1920s style to the sound of the charleston, spinning roulette wheel and the game of blackjack, accompanied by whisky tasting. Excellent food and an open bar will be available. The hotel has organized a huge fireworks display. The hotel's Spa and Wellness Center, the best-equipped center of its type in central Poland, will be open for guests' use. On New Year's Day guests will be able to taste traditional barbecued fare from Poland's southern mountainous region to the accompaniment of a local band.

Poland's seaside is popular all year round on account of the iodine-rich sea air. Thus some hotels are already fully booked for the New Year period. Located by the sea, the Dworek nad Reg± Hotel is organizing a New Year's Eve Ball with music from the 1960s, '70s and '80s and an excellent menu.

The Faltom Hotel & Spa in Rumia guarantees its guests not only an elegant New Year's Eve Ball but also spa treatments and a stay in a salt grotto. The Bryza Resort & Spa is offering a New Year bonfire on the beach, Nordic walking and spa treatments.

At the Senator Hotel in DĽwirzyno, this special night will be hosted by a well-known television presenter. "Our treatments also include baths in beer, which has a great effect on the skin and is popular not only among beer lovers," says marketing manager Krzysztof Kozaryn.

The Mazurian Lake District offers ice-fishing and attractive relaxation opportunities for Warsaw residents.

The Młyn Klekotki Hotel attracts New Year's Eve guests with its refined kitchen, elegant spa and its location in the middle of a forest. The Mazurian Anders Hotel is organizing a lively "Fiesta Brazil" evening. The Termy Medical Warmia Park Hotel near Olsztyn is organizing two events: a elegant dinner in the hotel and a crazy Hawaiian bash in the Aquapark. "This will be the only place in Poland where a volcano will erupt on New Year's Eve," says Sylwia Lewandowska, Warmia Park's marketing specialist.

Guests can expect a unique experience during New Year's Eve at the Ryn Castle in the Mazurian Lake District. The castle is putting on a costume ball in the style of 14th-century Venice with a refined Italian menu, music, fireworks display and competitions with prizes, among other attractions. During their stay, guests will be able to relax in the Recreation Center or use the bowling alley in the Armory, play billiards on two tables in the Hunting Room, and try their hand at archery in the Shooting Range, with the aid of a laser simulator. There will be a separate masked ball for children and a performance by a puppet theater about a dragon. Professional nannies will be on hand during the whole evening.

"We invite guests from Warsaw with their whole families," says Barbara Pawliczuk, the castle's marketing manager. "We are offering child-care facilities and many attractions for children, and for adults, an unforgettable, luxurious experience in the largest castle in the Mazurian region. Moreover, if you are lucky, you will see the ghost of Friedrich von Wallenrod."

The Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska region is a splendid place for relaxation and winter walks among rocks, the ruins of ancient castles and legendary caves. The Centuria Wellness & Spa Hotel, located in the Jurajski National Park, has two propositions for New Year's Eve: a Mexican Ball and an "ocean cruise" under the command of a captain and with a chance to win a pirates' treasure chest.

Guests at the Villa Verde Resort & Spa will spend New Year's Eve in "Rio de Janeiro" and be able to take advantage of the Spa and Wellness Center.

The Magic of Elements in Cracow
If it is the legendary and historic city of Cracow where you desire to spend New Year's Eve, then the Sheraton Hotel still has some places available.

"Spend this incredible evening with us at 'The Magic of Elements' night, when the power of fire will meet the power of water and earth will meet heaven," says Joanna Pajor, PR specialist at the Sheraton Hotel Kraków. "Join the spectacular, stylish and luxurious New Year's Eve Ball here. Let us surprise you with an extravagant, chic and amazing entertainment program mirroring the theme of the night. Ring in the New Year with a champagne toast while admiring our exclusive and private fireworks on the Atrium Glass Roof."

The celebration of the night would not be complete without spectacular cuisine with a wide selection of accompanying wines and spirits, Pajor says. Smoked duck magret, delicate New Zealand lamb baked in black sesame served with "hot" tandoori pink beef sirloin roasted on a bonfire and Atlantic St. Jacques' scallops are going to be part of "A Culinary Journey Through the Elements" at the Sheraton Hotel in Cracow.

Some of these hotels are still accepting reservations for their New Year's Eve events, encouraging travelers to explore more of Poland at this magical time of year.
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