Annas, Latvia

Photo: Annas Hotel

You haven’t slept this well in, well, you really can’t remember when. That’s sad. You’re restless when you first go to bed. Noise on the street wakes you as soon as the sun starts to rise. Forget about sleeping in. So the last few days have felt blissful.

Maybe it’s the pine trees that fill the Forest Park. You’ve been taking long walks around them on mist-covered paths. Maybe it’s the hot springs hidden at the foot of the hills. You’ve been bathing in the warm spring water. Maybe it’s the relaxing spa. You’ve been spending every afternoon by the floor-to-ceiling windows near the marble swimming pool with herbal tea. Or maybe it’s the perfect combination of all three.

Annas Hotel is supposed to be a true escape. It’s located one hour northeast of Riga. Little lakes and stone ruins soon replace the capital’s tall buildings as you leave the city. By the time you reached Annas, you felt like you were in the middle of nowhere. It’s set in a mid-18th-century manor house. The property was originally a gift from Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Then it was renovated and turned into a hotel 10 years ago. Contemporary art and modern amenities were combined with historic furniture.

Photo: Annas Hotel

Given its history, you were surprised by how welcoming the hotel felt when you arrived. Annas seemed to perfectly blend the old with the new. Logs were stacked next to a fireplace on the first floor. Cozy beds and freestanding tubs filled nine apartments. A jacuzzi, a sauna, and a steam room first tempted you to the Vannas Spa. Plus the former refectory is now Kannas, a restaurant that’s part of the Slow Food movement.

Most of Kannas’ meals are served on the terrace this time of year. It was the ideal setting to begin immersing yourself in your peaceful surroundings and Latvian ingredients. Cured fish—topped with cucumber and sorrel—and chilled tomato consommé were among the starters the first night. Organic poultry, sturgeon, and venison were your entrée options. While a taste of coconut and lime ended the meal on a fresh, light note. It’s not surprising that sleep has come so easily.

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