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Hotel Helvetia Thermal SPA 4.0

Porretta Terme, Province of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

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Review Summary

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  • Classy spa hotel occupying a grand, elegant building
  • Set in the heart of Porretta Terme opposite the train station
  • Outstanding spa facilities including mineral-infused pool
  • Rooftop hot tub with panoramic mountain vista
  • Most rooms have French windows with scenic views
  • Restaurant with healthy-eating menu
  • Elegant lounges and reading room
  • Free Wi-Fi and Internet corner    


  • Room decor underwhelming
  • Spa treatments are pricey
  • Restaurant lacking natural light

Bottom Line

The Hotel Helvetia Thermal SPA is an upscale 48-room hotel set in an elegant and classical villa-style property in the center of Porretta Terme. Its spa facilities are particularly outstanding with a wide range of water- and steam-based therapies and treatments on offer -- though these can be a little pricey. Rooms are adequate with lovely views and modern bathrooms, but feel a touch spare, from the tile floors to the patterned bedspreads. This is certainly one of the more expensive hotels in town (due to its superb spa); for a cheaper option check out Hotel Santoli on the edge of town where rates are less than half the price. 

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Classic spa hotel with the occasional modern flourish

A grand entrance ushers guests along a red carpet and under an elegant neo-classical villa to a central courtyard where a stone staircase leads up to the stately and impeccably-presented building that houses Hotel Helvetia and its thermal spa. First opened in 1904, this hotel underwent a total renovation in 2006 and relaunched itself as its present incarnation while retaining much of its original period charm. Inside, the lobby marries sharp, contemporary styling with modern art and terra-cotta tiling that leads into the hotel's high-ceilinged lounges featuring ornate coving, period oil paintings, and gilt-framed mirrors. The mood is classy and classical with the occasional modern flourish, attracting the more well-heeled breed of tourist checking-in to check out the hotel's signature spa offerings. 


Set in the center of Porretta Terme spa town surrounded by the picturesque Apennines

The Helvetia Thermal SPA is located in the center of the spa town of Porretta Terme in the province of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy. The town dates back to the 14th century and is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and woodland threaded with hundreds of miles of hiking trails. The city of Bologna is around 40 miles away, or an hour and a half by car via the A1. Alternatively, the Porretta Terme railway station is a just across the river opposite the hotel and connects directly to Bologna in around an hour. 


Rooms with French windows and lovely mountain views

The hotel has 45 rooms and three suites, all of which are decorated with tiled floors, floral-themed artworks, and striped drapery. While clean and well-maintained, decor is generally a little lackluster. Rooms are air-conditioned and provide free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minibars, while pleasant bathrooms have hair dryers and walk-in showers. French windows open up to superb views over the hotel courtyard and surrounding mountains in most, but not all, rooms. 


Outstanding Ayurvedic treatments and spa facilities cut into rock foundations

The spa facilities at this hotel are really quite special, much of it occupying a former World War II bomb shelter cut out of the hotel's rock foundations. Various hydro-massage spa pools, saunas, steam baths, and a mineral-infused swimming pool make up this impressive wellness complex. A wide range of Ayurvedic treatments and programs are also available -- although they're not cheap. A hot tub on the terrace solarium on the top floor also provides a superb panoramic view over the town and scenic surrounds. A buffet breakfast is served each morning in the hotel restaurant (included in the rate) while lunch and dinner menus offer Italian cooking with an emphasis on healthy eating -- though lack of natural light makes the space feel a little oppressive. 

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Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 11, Porretta Terme, Province of Bologna 40046, Italy

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