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2017.09.22 - What makes a 5-star bath?

What makes a 5-star bath?

No matter why you go to a spa, be it relaxing or curing an illness, you like to feel comfortable and safe. One likes to feel that the people who created and operate the bath are taking care of everything, that there are no disturbing factors when we are about to have a good time. This is why you pay an entry fee. If there is litter on the floor, if the tiles are slippery or the staff are rude, your spa experience suffers, but each clean changing room, well-working entrance gate and well-placed information sign reassures us: it was a good decision to choose that bath.   

Magyar Fürdőszövetség

Baths and swimming pools must comply with many health and other regulations. Otherwise they wouldn’t be granted a permission to open. However, these are minimum requirements only and if they aren’t met, the authorities will close the spa or impose a fine on its operators. For the guests it is completely normal to have the necessary technological and health conditions in a bath, but in most cases they would also like to know in which spa they can feel comfortable and be served well. There are several certification systems in Hungary, which attest that a bath offers quality service. For instance the best beaches at Lake Balaton are rewarded with the Blue Wave Flag by the Balaton Association. The most prestigious certification system was established by the Ministry for National Economy in 2013 and it is run by the Hungarian Bath Association. This certification system is called the National Certification Trademark. Let’s summarise it briefly what visitors can count on when spending time at a 5-star bath or swimming pool.  


Baths can earn the certification in five different categories, which are independent from each other: spa, experience bath, wellness bath, swimming pool, sports swimming pool. If a place has got 5 stars in the spa category, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it also has a 5-star sports swimming pool section. Obviously, the best service is offered by those baths which have acquired 5 stars in the most categories. Generally spas are proud to advertise on their websites or at the entrance if they have the National Certification Trademark, but one can also find the list of certified baths and swimming pools on the website of the National Bath Association. 

Rudas fürdő Rudas Thermal Bath

What do the judges pay attention to?

The creators of the certification scheme have laid down the evaluation criteria and the number of points which can be awarded, therefore the system gives an objective evaluation and each criterion focuses on the comfort of guests. The judges examine how big the noise is around the bath or how easily it can be reached via public transport or by car. They test how clean the bath is, check whether there is grass, trees and paved walking paths, the quality and number of changing and toilet rooms, give extra points if the staff speak foreign languages, test workers’ professional skills and evaluate their clothing. The judges even examine to what extent the building is child-friendly, what the cafés and snack bars are like, not to mention the quality of the water.   

Lukács fürdő

Lukács Thermal Bath

On a voluntary basis

It is important to note that the baths that have earned the 5 stars are allowed to use them for 5 years only, after that they need to ask for a review. It is also important that if a bath or swimming pool has no star at all, that doesn’t mean it offers low quality services because baths ask to be certified on a voluntary basis. If they decide so, they may still get only 3 or 4 stars in the first year. For instance in the first year of the certification scheme only the most prestigious Budapest baths and spas had been able to acquire 5 stars, but in the last few years the spas located in other parts of Hungary also did well. The fact that a growing number of baths and swimming pools are asking to be certified indicates that in recent years it has become an important goal of spas to get the National Certification Trademark. Why? Because these days guests don’t make do with mediocre services.