Breza: Make Yourself at Home
Tucked away in a residential district of Slovenia’s capital city is the Breza wellness centre, a place to kick back, relax and feel thoroughly at home.
Šiška is a neat residential district of Ljubljana, extending from the Union Brewery towards the outskirts of the city. Among its pre-war villas are only a few places to while away free time. One of the most notable is Breza (Birch), a wellness centre with a small but varied range of services.
Breza’s services are centred on three areas: pool and saunas; fitness; and massages. As befits its location in Šiška, the approach of Breza is very much to make clients feel at home. An enchanting domestic atmosphere pervades the place. In the lobby, delicate lightning, soft ambient music, piles of art magazines, sun beds, lemonade, water, snacks and dried fruit all provide a relaxing welcome. Next to the reception are the centre’s three saunas: Finnish to relax and revive, Turkish (steam) to detox, and infrared to rejuvenate. Saunas are interesting places – both intimate and public, both private and social. Nonetheless, they are perfect places for complete relaxation; somewhere to let daily burdens and concerns evaporate.
The pool is kept at a constant 28 degrees Celsius and is spacious enough not only for a comfortable dip but also for swimming a few lengths. And of course Jacuzzi and massage streams are only few steps away.
In good hands
If you prefer to be massaged by highly qualified physiotherapists, Breza can offer that too. A wide set of techniques are used, from classical to stone massage to lomi-lomi. Massages are always tailored to individual customers’ needs, whether they are looking for just a single session or ongoing treatment.
The final aspect of Breza is fitness. As might be expected, its fitness room is anything but a basic facility with a few exercise bikes. Instead there are two separate gym rooms, both with the latest workout equipment. But the real added value comes with a personal trainer. Breza does not merely leave its clients on their own to figure out which machines are best for their fitness aims. Instead, each client can have customised and guided sessions led by the best trainers around. The team is led by renowned expert Dr Petra Zaletel. Each session is individual, constantly monitored by a trainer and is private. Besides, only two customers with the trainers are allowed in the gym room at the same time. The fitness programme can also be taken out into nature – after all, Tivoli Park is practically across the road.
A family business
The friendly, welcoming atmosphere of Breza is no doubt in large part to its status as a family business. It all began 30 years ago when Jurij Križnik set up a small spa in his house. Gradually, the business has expanded but it has never lost sight of what makes it special. A massive crowd has never been the target. Here the aim is to have a small number of highly satisfied customers who all feel at home the minute they step through the door.
The Magic House
As I stood outside a bourgeois house two traffic lights away from the main centre of Ljubljana I thought there must have been some mistake. The house I was looking at was supposedly the Breza wellness centre but I just could not reconcile the sight of this building with the website images of its interior. A check and recheck showed this was indeed the building and so I headed to the slightly-below-ground-level entrance. The door opens upon request only so I rang the doorbell and was personally welcomed to this playful house. The minute I stepped into the centre I knew there was no mistake. I was looking at a smartly rearranged building which comfortably housed all the facilities mentioned on Breza’s website.
The sauna session was just what I needed. A short but sweet sweat before the main act: an hour-long full-body massage, which is all a person with a predominantly office-based job could ever want after an exhausting day. The skilful physiotherapist, who paid attention to every single muscle, admitted that most of her clients are people with office jobs, keen to bid farewell to their physically and mentally stressful days.
The image that comes to mind when a fitness-pool-sauna-massage complex is mentioned is usually some big sports centre that smells of sweat and is populated by masculine guys who parade in front of all those mirrors. Such a facility corresponds to our shopping mall mentality and is widely available, but it is not the only kind there is. If you prefer something different, something elegant, quiet and discreet, Breza is an enchanting place in central Ljubljana waiting for you.