BLUMAU, Austria -- Anyone who has ever wondered what it might be
like to live in one of Dr. Seuss' fantastical worlds can step into
such a setting at the Rogner-Bad Blumau resort and spa.
Sitting on the edge of the village here in southeastern Austria,
"the world's largest habitable work of art," as the resort is
billed, the property opened in May 1997. Juxtaposed against a
serene wooded backdrop are a cluster of buildings bejeweled in a
jumble of colors and textures with windows of all shapes and sizes
and topped with gold onion domes.
The project was designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich
Hundertwasser, who is best known for the Hundertwasser Haus, a
one-of-a-kind apartment house in Vienna, complete with his
signature onion domes, curious use of shapes and colors and lack of
Rogner-Bad Blumau doesn't exactly melt into the landscape, and
one has to wonder what local residents think of their new neighbor,
but people staying here will be amazed by the artistic detail given
to every wall, pillar and window -- no carbon copies here.
Living in Who-ville -- the town of Seuss' "The Grinch Who Stole
Christmas" -- takes a little getting used to, but once I adjusted
to being surrounded by funky architecture in Crayola colors and the
rolling walkways (I don't think the resort would have passed U.S.
building codes), staying in this fairy-tale setting turned into a
refreshing experience. If you need a break from crazy patterns and
colors, the large bedrooms are noticeably void of splashy decor,
instead bordering on spartan.
It does help that I was able to spend most of my time here
wandering around in a bathrobe and slippers. In fact, along the
sloping, snaking hallways, I met with guests of various ages,
shapes and sizes strolling to and from the spa and thermal baths in
terry-cloth robes. The only area of Rogner-Bad Blumau where guests
are required to don their everyday costumes is the main dining
The spa, or wellness center, offers an array of treatments for
the mind and spirit, including everything from a shiatsu massage to
musical meditation therapy, which is highly recommended. The
100,000-year-old thermal baths, which lured the resort's creators
here in the first place, are the Bad Blumau's crowning feature.
The maze of indoor and outdoor pools is fitted with jets that
sporadically shoot out geysers of water in different corners of the
pools. The scene of adults' chasing the rush of water around the
pool, while snowflakes flutter down from a black sky, is right out
of a storybook.
Address: 8283 Blumau 100, Styria, Austria.
Phone: (011) 43-33 835- 1000; Rogner International (011) 43-18
Fax: (011) 43-33 835-1009100.
E-mail: [email protected]
Sample rates: Doubles from $110. Breakfast included.
Location: In the Styria countryside, about 45 minutes' drive from
Graz; 90 minutes from Vienna. Some guests find the resort too
secluded; others welcome the quiet.
Rooms: 247 doubles; 24 apartments.
Raves: Very friendly and helpful staff; interesting spa treatments
and meditation options, beautifully designed thermal pools.
Rants: The mainly Austrian cuisine tends to be heavy on sauces and
salt. Slanting floors and winding passages are challenging for
those who are not always steady on their feet.