FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow’s Quantum Spa

by Kristy Alpert

Dec 1, 2016
December 2016

It wasn’t even cold in Moscow when I made my way back to the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow that night, the temperature only lazily falling below 70 degrees Fahrenheit as the setting sun disappeared into the crimson skyline of cathedrals and the Kremlin.

I had spent two weeks touring around the country with Travel All Russia, gaining exclusive access to the museums of St. Petersburg and enjoying insider tips from the guides as they whisked the group back to Moscow on the high-speed Sapsan train. But now I was alone in Moscow and ready to turn up the heat on my solo adventure in the city.

Literally.

The entire trip I heard teases about the amazing health benefits of a Russian banya. “It will detoxify your body inside and out,” one guide told me. “It takes years off your complexion,” a cosmopolitan Russian added. “It leaves your skin as smooth as stone,” yet another said. “The whipping with branches doesn’t hurt that bad,” an eager passerby threw out.

I had no idea what the process entailed. I only knew I was intrigued and wanted to see what all the buzz was about for myself, so I booked a two-hour treatment at one of the city’s best spas, inside the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow.

Two doormen met me at the grand entrance of the hotel, ushering me with a smile toward two stunning Russian women holding out trays of cold towels and welcome drinks. Despite the hotel’s American branding, an Armenian-Russian family owns the Ararat Park Hyatt, and the property beautifully reflects its lineage with traditional Russian opulence and exotically stunning Armenian touches throughout.

My bellman guided me through the lobby to my guestroom (one of 208 in the hotel, including 29 suites), passing by the lobby bar and a tempting Fueguia 1833 boutique on the way to my floor. He smiled with pride while describing the hotel’s coolest features, like its chapel on the ninth floor and the panoramic views from the hotel’s rooftop bar; but when I mentioned I was there for the banya experience, all I got was a smirk and a questioning look.

“Do you know what banya is, madame?” he politely prodded.

“Not even in the slightest,” I replied.

“Ah, well you’re in for a real Russian experience then,” he added sincerely as he opened the door to my deluxe room overlooking the Bolshoi Theatre.

I paused in my room only long enough to drop my bags off and quickly look down on the busy streets below before I made my way to the Quantum Spa & Health Club to begin my “real Russian experience.”

Quantum Spa banya © ARARAT PARK HYATT MOSCOW

Quantum Spa banya © ARARAT PARK HYATT
MOSCOW

A Russian banya is similar to a Turkish sauna, a hammam or a bathhouse, only the temperature, humidity and rituals vary slightly. Almost every summer country house (dacha) in Russia has its own banya, traditionally a free-standing structure made of wood containing a small room for tea and a separate sauna space holding a furnace that can heat the interior to temperatures of more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The tradition is meant as a social experience, where close friends spend time chatting and detoxing in the heat before heading to dinner. Traditionally, men go with men and women with women, but in places like Siberia, it’s become more of a family bonding time.

In big cities like Moscow the experience has been elevated as a private retreat, and that’s the environment I stepped into when I entered my private banya room at the spa. The lights were dimmed, and in front of me sat a corner sofa with a table set with tea and homemade cookies. The only other features in the room were the wood sauna itself; an expansive rain shower; and a deep but narrow, black-bottomed plunge pool filled with cold water. My therapist and I were the only two in the room, and she guided me through the entire process, starting with the importance of wearing the traditional Russian sauna hat made of felt. The bell-shaped hat helps protect the head from the extreme heat and prevent any headaches or dizziness while in the sauna. So with her guidance, I took my first step of my banya experience by disrobing and entering the sauna clothed only in my felt cap.

The ritual came in three parts. I spent 10 minutes in the sauna to heat up before jumping in to the plunge pool and moving to the massage table to enjoy a detoxifying sugar scrub and massage in the main room. I then returned to the sauna for 15 minutes, and my therapist left me to shower and sip some mint tea in the quiet serenity of my private room. When she returned, she ushered me back to the sauna to apply a honey mask to my skin to remove the toxins, gently patting my body with soft, soaked eucalyptus branches. Another shower and peaceful moment with my tea, and she brought me back to the massage table for a relaxing eucalyptus soap massage.

She set a fresh cup of tea on the table and left me to relax and enjoy the room for the rest of my scheduled time. I felt completely detoxed, my complexion was glowing, my skin was smoother than stone, and believe it or not, the branch whipping was actually pleasant and didn’t hurt at all. It turned out everything I had been told about the experience was true.

With my new trust in Russian advice, I headed back to change in the locker room so I could test out my bellman’s tip on experiencing a sunset on that panoramic rooftop terrace.

QUANTUM SPA & HEALTH CLUB

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
4 Neglinnaya St.
Moscow, Russia 125009
tel 7 495 783 1234
moscow.park.hyatt.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
May 20, 2024

Viking Discovers Penguin Discovery

Cruising is always an adventure and, in addition to uncovering new culinary traditions and cultural experiences, lucky guests sometimes get to witness actual scientific discoveries. During a recent sailing of Viking Octantis to the waters of the Antarctic, Viking’s onboard expedition team participated in the discovery of a new colony of chinstrap penguins, identifiable partly by a distinctive facial marking that resembles a strap running beneath their beak from one side of their face to the other, as though holding down a hat.

Why Buy Annual Travel Insurance?

One affordable plan can protect an entire year of trips: business or pleasure, short or long, domestic or international.

Leisure Lifestyle 2024
May 20, 2024

Blending Business with Leisure Gives Rise to New Travel Opportunities

In short, bleisure travel is on the rise. A blend of business and leisure travel, this modern mode of travel transforms how people explore the world, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. From tacking on a few days before or after a business trip to requesting to work remotely for an allocated amount of time, bleisure is flexible, dynamic and exciting.

Daily
May 20, 2024

Summer Meetings and Events Offers from Thompson Hotels, Dream Hotels

Two of Hyatt’s signature lifestyle brands, Thompson Hotels and Dream Hotels, offer special meetings and events promotions this summer.

L’Ermitage Beverly Hills: A Discreet Hideaway Awaits

Nestled between the palm-lined boulevards of residential Beverly Hills, L'Ermitage evokes a sense of refined elegance and unparalleled service. This Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond haven continues to captivate discerning travelers and Angelenos with its unwavering dedication to personalized hospitality.

Slideshow
May 20, 2024

7 Reasons to Put Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with us.

Daily
May 16, 2024

This Anguilla Resort Announces New, Exclusive Wine Labels to Mark 40th Anniversary

Later this year, Malliouhana in Anguilla celebrates its 40th anniversary. To commemorate, Malliouhana partnered with Tansy Wines, James Beard award-winning Sommelier Shelley Lindgren and marketing specialist Kitty Oestlien to produce an exclusive private label Vermentino and Rosé. Both sustainably grown and harvested in Northern California, these bottles embody Malliouhana’s newly launched wine program led by Lindgren and Anguilla’s first sommelier, Albert Lake.

A New Perspective on Incentive Travel

Incentive travel has long been a way for organizations to drive sales and reward employees with opulent trips to exotic destinations. Today it encompasses even more.

Daily
May 16, 2024

Norwegian Cruise Line Debuts New Culinary Experiences on “Norwegian Aqua”

Norwegian Cruise Line recently debuted the culinary and beverage experiences debuting on its new Norwegian Aqua, which sets sail in April 2025. The ship will boast three new offerings: Sukhothai, the cruise line’s first Thai restaurant; Swirl Wine Bar; and Planterie, Norwegian’s first dedicated eatery with a plant-based menu.