I’m in dire need of a shower and some pampering. It’s Day 26 of our epic 50 day campervan trip. My back is aching for a plump mattress in a dark quiet room that isn’t stuffy and won’t have me worrying about incoming mosquitos.
Luckily for me, we’ve strategically booked a one-night stay and spa treatment in Lithuania. Specifically, we’re at SPA Vilnius in the town of Druskininkai. In the late 18th century, it was believed that the waters in the Druskininkai area held healing properties. Further promoted by a Lithuanian professor, Druskininkai soon became known as a holiday resort for the people of Vilnius.
These days, it seems that the area attracts Lithuanians, holidaying Poles across the border and two scruffy Australians. SPA Vilnius is a wellness centre that sits among pinewoods and lakes. The resort features a hotel, restaurant and its extensive list of treatment programmes. We’ve decided to go with a 90-minutes Balinese Hot Stone Massage.
I wrap myself in a white fluffy robe, white slippers and pad downstairs to level 2. We follow the signs to “SPA”. Bold signs at the entrance request spa guests not to bring in mobile phones and iPads. Good to start the detox and relaxation from the entrance. The receptionist greets us warmly, taking our names and room number before leading us through the glass doors. I’m offered a choice of water with lemon or water with kiwifruit and asked to sit down in a small circular waiting room. The décor and ambiance reminds me of a first-class lounge at an airport. A short while later, my name is called by a tall, slender gentleman who will clearly be administering my treatment. I’ll admit, I am quite surprised that I’ll have a male masseuse. Not that it bothers me as I don’t consider myself prudish about my body or nudity but I had thought that it would be a company policy to check with the clientele as other females may not feel as comfortable.
My massage therapist speaks eloquent English. He has a gentle, warm smile. I’m led into a room with a massage table, a sink and several bottles of oils lined neatly in a row. He doesn’t muck about. He opens the lids of three bottles and dabs a little of each oil on my wrists, asking me to choose between Restoration, Relaxation and Energise. I find the scent of the first two quite overpowering so opt for the third. After a few sleepless nights in the campervan, I think I need to be re-energised as much as possible! I’m then handed a disposable paper g-string and asked to de-robe before lying facedown on the massage table. Before I know it, I’m being covered with a thin white sheet and asked to breathe deeply into the aromas of a bowl of a liquid. I’m quite certain that the heady scent contains a whiff of peppermint.
The massage therapist asks if I have a nut allergy to which I reply I’m allergic to peanuts. He rattles off the list of oil ingredients including almonds but it’s no problem and he proceeds to lather me rather generously with the energy oil. First, the right side of my body is rubbed with oil and then the Balinese stones follow. The first several strokes of the stones feel rather hot on the skin but soon, I become used to the sensation, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. The left side of my body follows and just as I’m focusing on listening to the English lyrics of the acoustic music playing, I’m asked to flip over and lie on my back. I’ve lost track of time but it doesn’t feel like 90 minutes have passed so I shouldn’t have been surprised that my front muscles would receive the same treatment. A towel is placed carefully over my breasts and another lightly on my eyes and I’m massaged again with copious amounts of oil.
Admittedly, I feel dubious throughout most of the treatment. I firmly remind myself that the Spa is a professional place and that I would have to exercise my trust in this trained therapist, despite being a member of the opposite sex. I’m glad to say that my massage therapist remained very professional throughout the entire treatment and I did not feel violated or inappropriately touched at any point. Soon after, the 90 minutes are finished. I’m asked to don my fluffy white robe and exit the treatment room once I’m ready. My therapist is there patiently waiting outside the door and then offers me tea. I am feeling quite thirsty and will hardly ever turn down a cuppa so I happily accept and follow his quick gait. I’m shown to a resting room and I’m completely floored.
As I enter the room, I’m greeted by ceiling to floor windows. The view isn’t much with a pebble garden and some potted plants but the natural light is wonderfully calming. It’s decorated with black and white wicker furniture with square cushions and fluffy blankets. Reclining chairs and a selection of magazines are also available if you wish to linger a little longer. I take a seat and am soon brought a large cup of unsweetened tea. With one last warm smile, my therapist bids me goodbye. I’m in the room with one older gentlemen who has clearly already forgotten the no mobile phones rule and ignores me as he reads his small screen intently.
I don’t mind. I take a few deep breaths and sip on my tea, listening to the same melodic calming music. The light is soft and I imagine how soothing and relaxing it would be to take breakfast in this room with the warm morning light streaming in. After a few minutes, I take one last gulp and pad downstairs. I feel super relaxed and properly pampered. I’m trying not to think about going back to sleeping in the campervan tomorrow so I’m going to jump into the hotel bed now and stay there for as long as I can.