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By Elizabeth Nicholas

Contributor


Large, round mirror in a room inside the spa, with windows facing the street.

It has been said that the cure to anything is water: tears, sweat or sea. And indeed, something about immersing yourself in water of any sort feels a bit like rebirth.

But nowhere is this more true than the country of Hungary, where the water is said to have special healing properties. Two thousand years ago, Hungarians discovered the curative properties of their water, which stems in part from the fact that the earth’s crust in Hungary is thinner than almost anywhere else, particularly in Budapest, which has more thermal water sources than any other city in the world. In the millennia since, Hungarians have built over 1,000 baths, and the country’s doctors have a rich tradition of prescribing thermal water treatments for a wide array of ailments, with different baths for different conditions, complemented by various combinations of minerals.

Of all 1,000 baths, perhaps none is so special as the Omorovicza Institute in Budapest. Housed in a beautiful 19th-century building on Andrassy Avenue, the Institute is helmed by the cult-favorite Hungarian skin-care line Omorovicza, which combines its beloved products with the classic curative culture of the Budapest baths.

Unlike many destination spas, visitors to the Omorovicza Institute don’t need to choose between getting their fill of culture and getting their rest and relaxation. The Institute itself is a part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is in the same building as Budapest’s most famous 19th-century coffee shop — the Japan Kavehaz — where the Hungarian literati used to gather. Its façade is in the same grand old-world style as the nearby Opera House and other local landmarks on the street. And inside the Institute itself, Omorovicza partnered with local craftsmen and artisans on exquisite ironwork, joinery and bespoke earthen tiles, all inspired by the Racz — another bath that the Omorovicza family built in the 1800s.  

Circular seating area, wooden doors leading to a treatment room, marble sink with water flowing into it.The Omorovicza Institute. Courtesy of the Omorovicza Institute.

“Visitors to our Institute can expect to not only experience amazing treatments, but also have all of their skin-care questions and concerns addressed by our experts through bespoke prescriptions,” says the Institute’s co-founder Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza. A raft of treatments is available for both the body and the face. Several facials involve the application of gold and diamonds, while massages and body wraps are specifically designed to draw impurities out of the body using the special properties of Budapest’s waters.

​​Indeed, part of what makes the Institute so special is how visitors are able to experience its marriage of tradition and cutting-edge science. “We reimagine the curative culture of the Budapest baths through our Institute and patented Healing Concentrate,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says. “Both celebrate the duality of heritage and innovation.” 

The company’s Healing Concentrate is a complex that captures the healing powers of the potent minerals found in Budapest’s thermal baths and delivers them deep into the epidermis. “Budapest’s thermal waters are rich in a unique mix of minerals and trace elements that have skin-healing properties” de Heinrich de Omorovicza continues. “However, because these minerals aren’t bioavailable, they cannot be absorbed into the skin.” 

This is where the Healing Concentrate comes in. The Healing Concentrate is a result of the transformation that occurs during a lengthy bio-fermentation, which changes the molecular structure of these minerals to transform them into bioavailable compounds that can be absorbed by the skin. 
Circular seating area within the spa.The Omorovicza Institute. Courtesy of the Omorovicza Institute.

“The Institute combines centuries of beauty wisdom with a glamorous, joyful perspective and a belief that beauty is in your hands with the right treatments and prescriptions,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says. And if visitors would like to follow their visit to the Institute with a trip to a thermal bath, her team is delighted to arrange the experience.

And when it’s time to explore the city beyond the Institute’s doorstep, de Heinrich de Omorovicza has plenty of recommendations for that as well. “We love staying at either the Four Seasons Hotel or Brody House,” she says. “Our favorite restaurants are Café Kor, Menza, Enso, Spago, Qui and the excellent tasting table at Taste Hungary, to name just a few.” She also recommends the Opera House, which has been recently refurbished, and offers a stunning backdrop for photographs and operas alike. And one of the most important attractions also on her agenda? A visit to a thermal bath, of course, to soak in all the rest and restoration from the Institute, and water-cure out anything left that might possibly ail you.

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