One day at the Katara spa in 2015

One day at the Katara spa in 2015

We have passed a little day at the Katara spa in Belsele, in Belgium, in January 2015. It is a modern and mixed spa complex. Nudity is obligatory for the activities every day except from Wednesday, the swimsuit day. Children are accepted from 8 years old.

Getting there

Belsele is a part of the town Sint-Niklaas. It is located in the province East Flanders, almost in the middle of the region Flanders. We are 33 minutes away from Antwerp (28 km), 32 minutes from Ghent (33 km), 56 minutes from Brussels (50 km) and 1 hour 15 from Lille (98 km).
Les thermes Katara sont faciles à trouver et disposent d'un grand parking gratuit.

The check in

We have been welcomed in Dutch and in French (we are a bilingual family !).Like always in Belgium, you can buy flip-flop sandals and rent bathrobes and towels, if you don't have them with you.
You will get an "electronic" bracelet to open and to close your locker in the changing room. Your consumptions at the bar-restaurant are also recorded on it. You will pay everything at the end of your visit.

The changing rooms

The changing rooms are modern, clean, mixed and collective.

The swimming pool

We arrived too late for the activity of 2 p.m. After a good shower, we have started with the swimming pool. It is an outdoor pool, nicely heated, profound and big enough for a spa pool. Because of the cold due to the winter, steam hovered above the pool, which created a very pleasant atmosphere.

The activity steam bath

At 3:30 p.m., we took place before the entrance of the steam bath for our first activity. The animator arrived shortly after us.
She distributed to the persons who were waiting a plastic cup. This cup was not for drinking. It was like our entry ticket for the activity. In fact, the steam bath counts 4 ranks with 6 places, so 24 places all together.
At 3:35 p.m., all the cups were distributed and the activity was full. We understood why it is said to be there 20 minutes before the start of the activity.

At 4 p.m. the animator has cleaned the benches with a jet of water and a scraper, and explained the activity.
For the beginners, we remind that you don't bring your towel in the steam bath, because it would be completely soaked !
But, and contrary to our habits, the animator asked us to keep our sandals for safety reasons !

Once nicely installed in the steam bath, we started the activity with a scrub. She handed out coarse salt to rub the skin of our body (not the face).

After a shower, the second part consisted in a scrub based on a mixture of salt, argan oil and lime.

Another shower, and then we have put a cream with bamboo and other elements on our body and a purifying mask on our face (not on the forehead to protect our eyes). We waited a short time outside so that the applications could produce effect. A last shower, drying.

To finish, she has applied a spray on the entire body. This served to restore the PH protection of the skin. We were asked to do nothing for 5 minutes and to wait at least 20 minutes before going to the infrared sauna.

The activity has lasted about one hour. It is the longest and most complete steam bath activity that we had ever done. It was absolutely fabulous.
Note, that the explanations were only in Dutch. So if you don't speak this language, do like the other participants and remember these two things : nothing on the forehead and a break of 20 minutes after the activity.

The activity in the Thai sauna

At 6 p.m. the sauna activity took place in the Thai sauna. This sauna is located in the garden and the biggest of the sauna complex. The activity was based on warmth and breathing. The animator has put ice with essential oils on the burning stones.

In this sauna, there were 3 ranks of benches. The higher you sit, the warmer it is. Normal, because hot air goes up !

When he entered, the animator has recalled the two golden rules of the sauna :
The first rule : in a sauna, you sit on one end of your towel and you put your feet on the other end of your towel. So your body must not touch the wood for evident hygienic reasons.
The second rule : in a sauna, you need to respect the silence. "In the sauna, behave as in the church", say the Finn.

During the first part, the temperature raises gradually. The smell of the essential oils perfumes the entire sauna. After 15 minutes, we leave to eat a wedge of orange. Then we return inside the sauna for another 15 minutes.
At the end, the animator, has passed round a bucket of ice cubes. You take two of them to pass them on your body from your feet towards your heart. It is so hot, that they melt very quickly. This sauna activity has lasted about forty minutes.

The restaurant

At 7 p.m. we went to the restaurant. It is like the other parts of the complex, modern and spacious. The menu (in Dutch) is very rich.
There were three plates for children under 12. Our son of 8 has chosen vol-au-vent with French fries.
We have taken the « Viking Burger ». A plate with a big burger (special bread, home breaded fried fish fillets, a slice of beetroot), potatoes in their jacket fried in the oven, a salad and a little pot with a beetroot dressing.
The service and the food were excellent. Note, that it was the plate of the "Viking" week. So, it is probably not always available.

The Finn sauna

At 8 p.m. it was the last activity for us, the Finn sauna.

Our opinion

The thermen Katara is without any doubt the kind of sauna complex I like. It is modern, clean and very well-conceived. The staff is very friendly and professional. Maybe, a pity for the French speaking that the activities are not bilingual like in other Flemish saunas.

The activities are tremendous with a special mention for the steam bath activity that excelled in length and in content.

The restaurant is nice and good.

In fact, you can go to thermen Katara with your eyes shut. You won't be disappointed.


Thermen Katara
Nieuwe Baan 66
9111 Belsele (Sint-Niklaas)