By Emma Sword
A unique thermal spa experience has opened in the UK – and The Boutique Handbook were among the first to try it.
Set completely in candlelight, the capital’s newest spa is a subterranean sanctuary hidden beneath the bustling streets of London, moments from Trafalgar Square.
Inspired by Roman rituals, AIRE Ancient Baths London invites guests on an indulgent journey through seven thermal baths of varying temperatures to reach the ultimate in relaxation.
And did we mention their signature treatment sees you submerged in a bath of red wine?
AIRE Ancient Baths London is in the basement of an 18th century townhouse once home to Peter Pan creator, J.M. Barrie – and is unlike any spa I’ve been to in the UK.
The luxurious decor and scent of orange blossom as I entered took me back to some wonderful baths I’d visited in Cordoba, Andalucía a few years back.
In fact, the first AIRE thermal baths debuted in Seville in 2004. Since then, they have opened spas around the world including Almeria and Barcelona, New York and Chicago, Copenhagen, and now London.
On arrival at AIRE Ancient Baths London, I was given a comfy robe before being whisked away for a blissful 30-minute back massage with Greg. In a surprise nice touch, warmed rubber booties were put on my feet at the end of my treatment, giving me toastie toes.
Thoroughly relaxed, I returned to the spa to begin my journey through the thermal baths, set to the backdrop of flickering candlelight and soothing music.
I started with the warm waters of the Tepidarium and Caldarium, which at 36C and 40C felt like being in a giant hot bath.
Next up was the cold water baths, or rather plunge pools, known as the Frigidarium. With temperatures between 10C and 14C, I was only brave enough to dip a toe in.
If you like steam, The Vaporium steam bath is one of the steamiest I’ve ever been in. This was followed by the Balneum, called the Bath of a Thousand Jets for good reason.
I finished my thermal spa journey in the Flotarium, with a glorious body scrub and float in the salt bath, designed to replicate the weightlessness of the Dead Sea.
Feeling truly relaxed at the end of my two-hour session, I’m already planning my next visit to this beautiful spa so I can try out the Wine Ritual.
This exclusive treatment sees guests bathe in a Venetian Well bath full of antioxidant rich red wine made from Tempranillo grapes from the Ribera del Duero region, and includes a head and full body massage. But at £450pp it’s definitely one for a treat.
AIRE Ancient Baths London at 2-3 Robert St, London WC2N 6RL, is open every day from 10am-8pm and 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays
Prices start from £150pp for a two-hour experience, including a 30-minute massage
All photos courtesy of AIRE Ancient Baths London
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