An Estonian Winter Retreat: Spices, Spa & Sauna

Trip Start Mar 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Estonia  ,
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As I was traveling to a country devoted to its sauna traditions (similar to Finland), a spa resort seemed like an excellent option. Due to its easy access from Tallinn, promotional package and good reviews, I selected a Winter Spices package at Viimsi Spa Hotel. Its facilities included a beauty and wellness spa, sauna facilities, fitness centre, 25 m swimming pool, restaurant, and more.

On my journey to Tallinn, I met an Estonian who had a membership for its fitness & sauna facilities; I was happy to learn that it was frequented by locals, and not overrun by gullible tourists.

Room with a View
My room was on the 7th floor with a scenic wintry view - better appreciated from a cozy distance! Not having tv at home, it was nice to surf among the 4 or 5 channels with at least partially English programming. Rihanna's Diamonds reigned the music video airwaves, and CBC's Being Erica episodes re-aired on Estonian networks (way to go Canadian tv!).

Sauna Centre
The sauna centre is definitely a highlight. It includes a Finnish sauna, steam rooms (one with a salt scrub station), a juniper wood sauna, and a salt brick sauna. Unlimited access to the sauna centre is included for all guests, and everyone wears bathing suits. The Finnish sauna has an adjacent outdoor cold pool for a nice shock to the system, but I found the cold bucket of water shower easier to handle.

On some nights, staff perform ritual ceremonies. I attended the traditional Finnish sauna experience.  Although I didn't understand the Estonian-speaking attendant wearing a Viking hat, I could definitely feel the waves of heat when he fanned us. As I was dying of heat (these people don't know when to stop pouring water on the rocks!!!), I waited for my turn to be hit with the birch branch and then escaped.

There is also a really nice relaxation area with seating and shallow pool. Vertical garden walls and nature videos projected on the wall are a nice touch. I also really liked the pool's massaging jets, waterfalls and rainshower.

There are photos in the Viimsi spa gallery.

Spa Treatments

As part of my package, I had three spa treatments (so nice to be pampered!):
  • Massage with warm ginger oil (60 min)
  • Cleopatra milk bath (15 min)
  • Hemp and bamboo moisturizing facial (60 min)
Fitness Centre
My package also included two fitness classes. I chose CxWorx (using bands and weights) and BodyBalance (yoga-ish). While I imitated the others (since I didn't understand the Estonian instructions), I realized nearly everyone was wearing hot pink. Clearly, I was the foreigner :) Since the pool and gym were also included, I also swam lengths and sweated on the exercise bike.

The included breakfast buffet was substantial, but mostly unappetizing. I ended up sticking to the porridge and fresh fruit. Except for sushi one night (with extremely watered down soya sauce), I bought most of my food from the grocery store across the street.
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