We consider ourselves to be quite savvy when it comes to travelling. When it comes to spa breaks or wellness retreats, we’d always find ourselves recommending a getaway in South East Asia to readers and friends. But if you live in London, getting to that part of the world isn’t easy (or cheap) and luxurious spa getaways in Europe usually cost the world! The solution?
The tiny little spa town of Jurmala in Latvia, less than a two hour flight from London, is home to some of the most lavish and affordable spa getaways in Europe. I must admit, I can’t take credit for this recommendation. It was a chance conversation with a Russian friend that first introduced me to Jurmala. She told me about the curative mineral-enriched waters of Jurmala, which are popular amongst Russian tourists for their curative properties. Latvia is just a hop, skip, and jump away from London, so this had me intrigued.
That was how Jurmala came to be a pit-stop on our epic road trip of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Baltic Beach Hotel and Spa has won several accolades for being the best spa hotel in the area, so it was an obvious choice. We stayed in a superior room overlooking the garden – rooms at the hotel are spacious and well-equipped but don’t particularly stand out. The same goes for the beach – it’s nice to find a white sand beach in this part of the world, but it doesn’t come close to the beaches of Spain, Greece, or Italy. Besides, parasols need to be rented at an additional cost, which is a bit of a bummer.
The pièce de résistance here, without a doubt, is the sprawling three-storeyed spa – three floors choc-a-block with therapy rooms of all sorts. In addition to medicinal clay baths, healing water beds, and relaxing massage rooms, we also spotted a dental clinic, well-equipped gym, yoga centre, and a large swimming pool filled with Jurmala’s famous sea water, enriched with naturally-occurring minerals. Everything from massages and cosmetic treatments to dental treatments and yoga consultations are on offer, so it’s easy to spend entire days in here.
But that’s not all. The spa has a secret up its sleeve – the uber luxurious Garden Experience. The Garden at Baltic Beach hotel is a day long pampering experience that comprises of four different kinds of saunas followed by a clay body mask. The Amber Sauna began the decadent experience. This was a sauna fragranced with mandarin oil. It was our first time experiencing a fragranced sauna and we loved it. The fragrance seemed to alleviate the moisture-laden air of the sauna. A traditional Old Wood Sauna followed. Then the Hammam Sauna, which reminded us of our skirmishes with spas in Morocco. Here guests get a bucket full of bath foam and exfoliating mittens, perfect for a thorough cleanse. This entire exercise is followed by a clay body mask. Jurmala’s local warming clay was slathered all over our bodies and we were wrapped in plastic. We hung around getting a tad antsy as the clay dried. A quick shower later, we felt like new people. But we weren’t quite ready to leave just yet. So we spent the rest of the afternoon in the private pool with a rejuvenating massager.
The Garden is done up in white and gold and the luxurious colour-scheme is complemented by opulent chandeliers. While The Garden is more flamboyant, they also have a rustic Russian sauna aka Banja, which has a pool with sea water, an incredibly hot sauna, and an ice-room with eucalyptus leaves. Alternating between extreme temperatures at the Banja is a bit of a Russian tradition, but I’m not brave enough to do it!
The other highlight of our stay at Baltic Beach Hotel was dining. In addition to the regular suspects (breads, pastries, cold-cuts, cheeses), there was a large variety of moorish nibbles and drinks at breakfast, including champagne (yep!). But it’s their Italian Restaurant Il Sol that stole my heart. From the flower-laden outdoor seating area to the nuanced Italian dishes on the menu, everything here screams delectable. We tried their house salad, pan-fried fish, squid-ink pasta, and the indulgent tiramisu. In true Latvian style, all dishes were ornamented with edible flowers and wild berries which made them look like works of art, almost too good to eat – I say almost because it was hard to stop ourselves after the first mouthful 😉
After devouring all that food, we’d invariably head to the cute town centre of Jurmala for a saunter. Indulgent food, spa treatments, and long walks – the recipe for a perfect vacation eh?!
- The Latvian sea-side town is just a 20 minute drive from Riga Airport. Return flights from London to Riga start at £120
- The town of Jurmala is known for its mineral-enriched healing waters.
- Baltic Beach Hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway or pampering weekend away with your girlfriends. Prices start at £70/night. More information on www.balticbeach.lv.
- Make sure you book ahead if you’re visiting Jurmala during summer months as it can get very busy
- The Garden at Baltic Beach Hotel can be reserved for a couple or a group. That way you’ll have the whole place to yourselves 🙂
- Try to opt for a package that includes accommodation and plenty of spa treatments when you stay at the Baltic Beach Hotel. Their packages are cost effective and you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
- Jurmala is famous for its white beach and mild climate. However the beach can get quite cold and windy at the beach between September & May. But this is, according to us, the best time to visit if you intend to spend most of your holiday getting pampered at the spa. You can avoid the crowds and get good deals – who needs the beach when there is a three-storeyed spa at hand? 😉
- Jurmala is the perfect base for exploring the rest of Latvia – Riga and Kemeri National Park are both a short drive away.
Have more time at hand? Combine your break in Jurmala with a Road Trip in the Baltics
Need help packing? Check out our Lookbook from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia
Read our Guide to Riga, Latvia for tips and information about offbeat gems in the city
We were guests of Baltic Beach Hotel in Jurmala, Latvia. We are two extremely opinionated and well-travelled ninjas – so all views (hyperbolic, good, and bad) are entirely our own. Click on to read our full Disclosure Policy