Highly popular with Chinese families and business groups, this 198-room hotel showcases the country’s public bathing culture in its extreme. More than 70 public pools congregate in an immense, outdoor hot spring zone, each with a different theme, from the TCM pond to the Turkish Doctor Fish pond to the sizzling Volcano pond.
While city hopping around Shanghai, we decided to take a day or two off and enjoy it in some hot springs as soon as we found out there’s an entire part based around hot springs. We spend a couple of hours finding the right one, some of them are super luxurious and in that case also very expensive. But we found EA Springs, they offer a wide variety of baths for a fair price.
What are hot springs?
A hot spring is a spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust. While some of these springs contain water that is a safe temperature for bathing, others are so hot that immersion can result in injury or death. However Hot springs are a very regularly visited sight in Asia, the warmth of the water of different degrees is supposed to be good for you health and your skin. There are different types of hot springs, man made baths like EA spring or natural pools as you have them in Iceland.
汤山温泉度假区 Tangshan Hot Spring
Tangshan Hot Spring is the No. 1 of the China Four Major Spas. It is the only hot spring that has obtained double certification from European & Japanese hot spring water quality. Tangshan got its name because of the hot spring. It was regarded as the “Holy Spring” by the emperor of the Southern Dynasty since more than 1500 years ago and was well-received by the officials and literati.
Adress: No. 8 Wenquan Road, Tangshan Town, Jiangning District
江宁区汤山街道温泉路8号; +86 25 51190666;
Price: Nightly rate from RMB 580 (US$93.2) plus 15 percent,
RMB 100 ($16) per person to enter the hot springs zone for hotel guests,
RMB 218 ($35) for outside guests; official website http://nj.ea-spring.com
We booked the room online at booking.com as we always do with any trip we go on. We booked a room in the hotel but when we arrived we were upgraded for the same price of to a small almost private hut on the grounds with our own private pool. As we were visiting the springs in the fall (oktober) it was fairly quiet in the entire hotel. We noticed right away that the springs and the hotel are separate but you pay less for the visit when you stay in the hotel. We already got our moneys worth with our own hot pool in the backyard. We got shown around the room, it had shutter doors which gave it a really chinese feel. The Aji (cleaning lady) showed us in but after we came back to agree to the upgrade the first very well stocked mini fridge was now completely empty. But we still got some complimentary drinks! The small shop in the hotel had only some chips, soft drinks and instant lamian to buy.. and a lot of swim suits of course. But we bought some chips and soda’s since we’d been carrying around our own bottles since they’re super cheap at the chinese carrefour.
Please be aware when you visit this hotel, bring your own food and drinks unless you’re okay with eating Chinese dinner and breakfast or want a snack or alcoholic beverage while in your room!
When we were settled we filled our pool, which was impressive as it pumped really hard and filled up the deep tub in about 5 minutes with scorching hot water. There really is nothing better than sitting outside, looking at the sky and the vegetation around you while sitting in a hot bath, with a cold drink and good company. Just this made me relax beyond believe. We must have sat in it (on and off) for about three hours. (With the sounds of a couple a couple of doors over getting some loving on……..) We let them know however that we could hear the entire thing and it got quiet!
Afterwards we went to get a bite to eat, people around us we’re in their bathrobes and with wet hair and it just felt really good and relaxed. We picked a hot pot type situation with some vegetables supposedly being cauliflower, however when it came instead of cauliflower it was cabbage. We added the cold meat we ordered separately and ate until we were full. We came back to our room after checking our messages in the lobby, Wifi isn’t working in the hut rooms. Then we sat in the pool for 2 or 3 more hours after refilling it with hot steaming water. We hit the beds after and slept until the sun came up, the beds were comfortable and you could hear birds and the wind around you since we hadn’t fully closed the windows as the weather was good outside.
When the morning came we got ready and had some food to eat, the typical Chinese breakfast. fried rice, meat, pork buns, sweet buns, rice porridge, eggs and more. But after 2 weeks we were really used to it and ate a lot, took some yoghurt cups for later and soon enough got our 24h tickets to the springs and when we went in we were blown away, granted it ended up being two rainy days.
EA springs has around 50 pools and then the 30 private spring pool huts. Every pool has a different temperature and different herbs or ‘flavours’. We got to sit in red wine and coconut milk. They also have a turkish dr fish pool. Which was scary at first because as soon as you step into it what looks like 100s of fish come swimming towards you and start nibbling on your skin. But by the time I was used to the nipping feeling I sat there for almost an hour being eaten alive.
They have 1 large Leisure pool and a couple of mud, salt or heated sand ‘baths’ but you pay extra for these. The staff brings you warm tea every 10 or 20 minutes and you can buy some food. Foods like hot bath boiled eggs and peanuts. When you’re done with the bath they have roman style warm marble floors you can lay on to dry off and they have a relaxing room where you can buy a few more snacks while relaxing in amazing chairs. If you do you have to change into a snazzy silk outfit.
I give this hotel and it’s facilities a 8 out of 10 because, as we were there during a down season, there weren’t many people around. We could take our time and relax completely. The staff besides not speaking english is absolutely friendly and help out with everything. However, there is not much to do around the hotel, no shops or restaurants or even people. There are supposed to be some caves but we had no idea how to find them by foot. Though if you want a relaxed day or two give this hotel a shot. Enjoy any of the 50 baths and if you can upgrade to the private pool hut so you can enjoy the water until the middle of the night.