Kesküla, Pädaste, 94716 Saare maakond, Estonia / 17 марта 2017
Let’s drive there from Riga (although it’s closer from Tallinn, but who cares?). Let’s go there in autumn.
Past Saulkrasti, Pärnu, some half-forgotten empty villages and towns. The sea is flashing through the pine trees and old ladies are picking up mushrooms. There are fields of lingonberries, and the heather is blossoming, setting the horizon on fire and creating a sort of purple haze beneath the pines. The more we move North, the brighter is the orange flame of the trees, though birches are still green, and the lemon color bursts here and there; it’s bright. The sun is low, we take a ferry, 20 minutes of the always cold sea; it’s windy, woods again, country road (this year it’s got paved), Muhu island, woods. And there’s no one in the woods.
Suddenly, there appears an orange (no, of carrot color) crossing barrier with a color barcode. The combination of colors, size/composition of the stripes and the overall awkwardness of the very fact that this art object is here make you understand on the subconscious level that further on everything’s going to be all right.
In short, this is one of the best places on earth.
No more, no less: “either believe me, or just go check it”.
Come on, you won’t call it a hotel. It’s totally wrong to name it this way. It’s more like you pay a visit to someone who’s got a perfect taste, sufficient funds and time.
This is a renovated mansion located in the dense woods. It’s all about the details. Whether it is the electronic locks with a chomping sound, which function in advance as soon as you bring up your card. Or the wooden floors from Belgium, from some ancient houses, 300-year old wide boards, turned into semi-stone, which make you wanna walk barefoot. Overall, the design: bathroom mirrors, inclined from the wall at 10 degrees, with matte, warm, circular light, make you feel good about your reflection in them; wildflowers intertwine with tree branches into some timid shadow-bouquets in each vase; the staff has good posture and speaks Elvish Estonian language. They serve breakfast on the multilevel porcelain in the orangery. Outside there are some 16-storey ash trees and spindles. And from inside your windows always overlook the woods. And memories are all around, sometimes talking even about the future.
There you fucking feel like crying because of this unbearable northern beauty and all that has happened to you on this island and will happen again since you did manage to reach it.
It’s physically impossible not to return.
Besides, the best in the world (I’m not joking) Nordic spa. Everything’s based on herbs and smells. Leshy (local forest deity) should be called up. There’s a sauna with a cold tub on the terrace above a pond and a hot tub on the coast. Then comes the bay, the boat, the woods and infinite reeds, blackberry, sea buckthorns, Mayday tree, owls, again a mixture of flowers; and there’s something in the air… sort of glassy as if after the autumn, right tomorrow, there would be spring again.
And they have the #1 restaurant in Estonia, holding this title for the past 5 years.
There’s no menu, but a set of 3-5-7 courses. Each day the set is different, from Monday to Sunday.
Slow cooking, duckweed from the marshes, vacuum, petals and hot stones for blueberry bread – all this had been invented right here, long time ago, long before it all became fashionable.
And you always precisely know what’s ahead of you: there’ll be a long, drunk, fucking-tasty™ night with huge stars hanging above those super-trees, laughter and the chattering of a robot lawn mower with semi-blind LED, a cigarette for some reason, and kisses on the neck.
Haven’t you been there yet? I’m jealous.
UPD: sep’17 – I haven’t been here for a year. It hasn’t become any worse. The new chef slightly “simplified” the food, made it less “foamy”, but did leave it as perfect as it used to be. Each dish became more thoroughly though out, sort of there’s nothing accidental in any plate.
Their minimalism became more radical: the 5-course menu never changes, the 3-course one is new each day, the 7-course set is to be ordered in advance, 24 hours before excluding Monday and Tuesday (hello!) and is served on the new chef’s table in the main hall.
However, you can order an extra dish from the 5-course menu. They have room service and a “tent” near the bay so you won’t die of hunger. And I have to repeat, it’s perfectly delicious.
Among the new stuff there are some fucking great dishes like red cabbage juice, tartare and barely smoked eel, ice cream, made of some creamy-silk mustard seeds and cabbage foam on top. Besides, there’s the gastro-bomb, poor looking but various in temperature (cool/really cold) – fois gras pâté with ginger and additives. It’s incredibly delicious.