The construction of the Imperial Spa according to the design of renowned Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer was approved by the municipal council in 1892. Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer had already created a number of outstanding buildings in Karlovy Vary adored until now. Imperial Spa was built in the style of French Renaissance.
Viennese architects were inspired by the Renaissance and classicist Baroque together with the concept of French Renaissance and Baroque chateaus. Overall visual and disposition are based on the spa and casino building in French spa town Vittel built by Charles Garnier in 1884.
The Imperial Spa was opened in 1895 and was considered a luxury prestigious spa facility with the most state of the art balneology department focused especially on peat baths for affluent clientele. Total cost of the building reached enormous sum of 1,000,000 gold coins.
Monumental building became the pride of Karlovy Vary and until now it belongs to the largest and artistically most valuable spa buildings in Karlovy Vary, Spa Triangle and Karlovy Vary region.
Disposition of the original balneology facility was unique and timeless. The wreath of spa cabins circulating the central atrium is situated in the semicircular rear wing. Thank to this sophisticated design the operational arrangement have not been changed since the opening. Besides 25 peat baths, 22 mineral baths and 4 carbonic baths there were steam and hot air spa, cold water spa, feet baths, sitting baths, electrotherapy, showers and separated bathrooms
The best known and most valuable spa bath is the Imperial Bath designed for important guests. The bath was equipped with the changing room and resting room with exquisite decorations. Imperial Bath interior was conceived in luxury Tudor Pseudo – Gothic style with wainscoting, colorful Art Noveau style stained glass and wall paintings.
Significant part of the interior is the Zander Hall where the gymnasium with mechanical exercise equipment for Swedish therapeutic gymnastics according to the method of Dr. Zander was located. The hall is generously decorated with the grain paneling with five wall paintings of Eduard Lebiedzky from Vienna. The paintings express the celebration of sport and health. The interior of whole building is generously decorated with artistic and craft elements.
The Imperial Spa was renamed to Lázně I after establishment of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. In 1926 there were carried out the first construction works, larger construction was carried out between 1948 and 1953.
The Imperial Spa had served balneology purpose until the end of 20th century. Due to the development of spa treatments, especially improving of the comfort for spa guests, almost all large sanatoriums and hotels provide spa treatment and procedures in their facilities. Mainly for this reason the central spa like the Imperial Spa completely lost their importance. The shabbiness of the spa facilities and overall dilapidation of the building also played a role in the ultimate closure.
In the end of 1990´s the building was cleared and all balneology equipment including baths was dismantled, but the extensive repair has never begun. The Imperial Spa had been rented as Casino which ceased its activities in 1994. Since then the building has been occasionally used for social events like International Film Festival Karlovy Vary, etc.