After only a month into the new year, we had transformed into Zombie-mode (being tired, gloomy and walking in a weird twitching way) – and desperate times calls for desperate measures. My (Yasmin’s) favorite spa is located in the heart of Riga, on the 6th floor of Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija to be exact. I have a yearly tradition to go there with two of my closest friends to get rid of all kinds of ache and misery, and it works like a charm. Since we got a deluxe cruise from Tallink Silja when we won the Newcomers 2016-award, we decided to use it to go to Riga for a quick spa weekend, and I was super pumped to show Espa Riga to my little sister.
The boat tripMany people have opinions about cruises. Sheida and I have grown up with cruise ships because of our Finnish background. Growing up, we took either Viking Line or Silja Line to Finland at least once a year to visit our relatives on our mother’s side. The ships have therefore never been associated with partying for us, rather a opportunity to spend time with our family, eat buffet dinners (I’m known as the Shrimp girl because of my massive portions), hang out at the deck if the weather allows it, and do some tax free shopping.So, this was exactly what we did at Tallink Silja Isabelle – we ate long breakfasts and buffet dinners, brought takeaway tea to our cabin and talked for hours, and went to bed early. We also got super confused about the different time zones, and woke up at 05.00 two days in a row (zombie mode just leveled up) – the good thing was that we got some work done in the mornings, plus we were the first ones to the breakfast. Tallink's followers were also able to follow us throughout our trip since we did an Instagram-takeover for them - we hope they enjoyed it!
As soon as we got off the boat in Riga, we walked by foot to Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija – an approximately 40 minute walk. I’ve been at the award-winning spa many times before (our usual setup is two nights at the hotel that traditionally begins with a shot of Riga Balzam at the hotel’s sky bar when arriving on Friday evening), so it felt great to be back. Espa Hotel has two floors, the general relax area on floor 2 with a pool, jacuzzi and two saunas, and floor 6 where the real magic happens.
After we had changed into our swimming clothes, robes and slippers, we took the elevator to the 6th floor. This is where you get escorted if you have scheduled a treatment. Guests usually are allowed to hang out at the 6th floor area for 1-2 hours and the hotel keep a limited amount of persons in the area in order to maintain peace and quiet.In the area guests can alternate between a warm outdoor-pool, plenty of different saunas, from herbal and steam saunas to the classical Finnish saunas, and a relaxation area with a fireplace and refreshments. The treatments are wonderful (we truly recommend the massage), and afterwards you’re led into another relax room where you can drink water, tea and eat some snacks while recovering.
The spa offers high quality products that make you feel like a new person, and they even have hair straighteners in the changing rooms - such a HUGE PLUS for people with fluffy hair, like myself!
Relax area (a.k.a “Mother’s uterus”)One of the real highlights is going into what I call “Mother’s uterus” (Sheida doesn't approve of the expression but it's my way of trying to explain how comfortable it is), see photo below. Sink into one of those adjustable chairs, put on some classical music in the earphones and close your eyes - it didn't take more than a blink of an eye until I was asleep.
World's best warm chocolateI was determined to show another favorite spot in Riga to Sheida; the Rienzi Café, formerly known as Emil Gustavo Café, a chocolate heaven with hot chocolate to die for. It's located in the old town (a short walk from Radisson Blu Hotel) on Apsizijas bulvaris 24. Seriously, I’m not even that into chocolate, but still I come back for this warm chocolate, year after year. Don't miss this!!
That's all from our Riga trip this time - but stay tuned, because a new trip to Espa Riga awaits in November. Let us know if you have any Riga tips, or suggestions on other spas worth a visit in Europe (Zombie-mode is never too far away...).//Yasmin