True wellness enthusiasts, Caroline Gemis and Stéphane Olivier, who are partners in life and at work, have always wanted to open their own center dedicated to well-being in the Liège region. Since February 2, their dream has come true in Awans, where a former thermal baths farmhouse has been transformed. Discovery of this place dedicated to well-being.
The project germinated in the couple’s head several years ago. Their niece Justine Hankart, who now holds the position of wellness manager and is Caroline’s right-hand man, was still studying aesthetics when her aunt asked her to take part in the adventure. “They had fallen in love with this farmhouse which they regularly passed with their children, and wanted to buy it to transform it into a spa centre”, explains the young woman. “They immediately offered me to join the team. I was super excited about the project. The problem is that it had to be put on hiatus due to the pandemic.“
More than just wellness
It all came together two years ago, when the renovation and fitting-out work began. Initially, Caroline and Stéphane only planned to open a wellness center like there are dozens, private or not, in the Liège region. “As the project took shape, we considered offering other services. First messages and treatments, then a restaurant to allow customers to have a drink and eat during their day at the thermal baths. And finally, we said to ourselves that we were going to offer rooms”, explains Justine. “More than just a thermal center, we offer a real domain dedicated to well-being.”
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At the Domaine des Thermes, there is a swimming pool, jacuzzis, a hammam, an infrared cabin, rest rooms, but also five saunas, each with different temperatures and functions. “Which is quite rare”, comments the beautician. In addition to the spa area, the estate has seven rooms with different themes. Three of them are suites with their own balneotherapy bathtub.
Since its opening, the center has never been empty and is often fully booked. A feat, when you know that the Domaine des Thermes opened its doors barely a month ago. “We absolutely did not expect such a success”, confides Justine. “We started with a small team, but we are already forced to recruit staff, both in the kitchen, at reception, and for care.”
According to the young woman, the ideal location, less than two minutes from the E42 motorway and close to the center of Liège, but also the financial accessibility of the place are major assets which explain the dazzling success of the estate. “I think people were really expecting a thermal estate in the region at normal prices,” she says. “Let’s be clear, it’s still a luxury, but it’s more accessible than other areas.”
Or? Rue Noël Heine 36, 4340 Awans (Liège).
When? The wellness is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The restaurant is only accessible to wellness customers.
How much? Wellness day/evening: between 35 and 45 euros. Night in a room with breakfast and access to the thermal baths: between 201 and 273 euros, to which you can add a three-course meal and/or treatments.
What we thought
The Domaine des Thermes is a warm and welcoming place. As soon as we enter, we feel filled with an instant feeling of well-being, and seeing customers in bathrobes crossing the lobby to go from the wellness area to the restaurant, and vice versa, immediately makes us want to put on our bathing suits, let go and enjoy a suspended moment, far from the worries of everyday life.
After donning proper attire, we headed to the wellness area, where we were greeted by the trickle of a small waterfall that immediately immersed us in the bath (no pun intended). The main pool is all in all classic, with a pleasant detail, however: buttons allow swimmers to operate water jets and whirlpools as they wish. A little extra when you want to enjoy the hot tubs, but these are already occupied.
After enjoying the water heated to 31°C, head to the various saunas, hammams and other cold caves. Special mention for the kelo sauna, where an average temperature of 85°C prevails, and for the hammam, which are certainly the spaces in which I spent the most time. The three rest rooms are also a plus when you want to take a break between two dipping or hammam sessions.
On the bedroom side, we had the chance to sleep in the Champagne suite, with its sober but elegant decoration, and its spa bath. The only downside, the window and the terrace look directly onto the estate’s car park, which somewhat spoils the intimate aspect sought after in this type of stay. But we quickly forget this detail when we close the curtains.
Finally, in the evening, we went to eat at the restaurant on the estate. It offers unpretentious bistronomic cuisine, with generous platters (which is rather rare) and classic but inventive starters. The dishes were good, but did not totally convince us. Overall, the experience was still very pleasant. And if you pass by, I advise you to taste the cocktail of the estate.
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