Spas are so effeminate, only a people as hardened as the Russians could man them up to respectability: first with pain, then with vodka. For traditional Russian "relaxation" minus the traditional Slavic spa grunge, try Okeanos. Though opened only recently, the Big O has already become the preferred retreat for NHL players, and many Russians who've gotten rich not playing hockey. There are frilly, Russo-themed regimens (including the dreaded "caviar wrap"), but the hardcore deal is the "Banya and Platza":
- Meet your B/P master, Sergey, a gleefully sadistic beast grown in the same lab as Ivan Drago.
- Ten minutes in the hottest sauna in the universe.
- A normal shower.
- Back to the sauna, where Sergey mercilessly beats your back with a bundle of scalding birch leaves.
- An abnormal shower, where Sergey sluices you with frigid water for fifteen long seconds. Screaming's not uncommon.
- Into the sauna again, so Sergey can punish your chest.
- Another icy rinse, then off to the lounge to enjoy tea, coffee, and a clarity only achieved through getting very hot, very cold, and being assaulted with a plant.
The lounge is equipped with WiFi, two HD TVs, and a bar, where you'll revive with the stuff that's helped Russians survive even crueler tyrants than Sergey. The bartender doles out occasional free shots, but the smart move is to BYOB, as they'll chill your bottles, and pour refills whenever memories of invigorating torture bubble up. If you find a manlier treatment than Okeanos' Banya and Platza, you're in a gulag.