I stepped out into the first tunnel, where the air was misty with moisture. The heavy glass door to the steam room had just been closed and there was a mist so dense you could feel it like a cloak on your shoulders as you meandered past. Candles flickered all around us as my hands grazed the exposed brick walls for balance in these new surroundings. The faint smell of orange blossoms and the relaxing sounds of lapping water so warm and inviting that, for just a moment, I forgot where I was. It felt as if I had entered some secret series of underground tunnels where London’s elite come to escape the world above. And why wouldn’t they? The world above this oasis is Covent Garden, a place constantly abuzz with tourists and locals alike. Yet here, in the new AIRE Ancient baths of London, you would never know the world above was carrying on without any knowledge of what was going on below.
For those that have visited AIRE Ancient baths before (in NYC, Chicago, Copenhagen & Spain), you will be well versed in the offerings of this healing oasis. If this is your first exposure, however, you might find yourself, like me, completely in disbelief at how magical this whole experience is from start to finish.
Located on Robert Street, just off the Strand, the entrance to AIRE Ancient Baths is discreet. In fact, I do belief one would easily walk right past perhaps thinking this was a posh member’s club or elite society townhome and not give it another moment in your mind. Dear reader, do please make space in your mind and calendar for these majestic waters.
For my afternoon at AIRE, I slipped off my London daywear and wriggled into a swimsuit I had brought just for the occasion. Lockers in the changing rooms also provide slippers, robes and towels for visitors. After locking away my valuables in the locker provided, I made my way out to explore the baths on offer.
AIRE Ancient Baths intend to relax both your mind and your body through a series of different experiences, all involving water and all based on the healing rituals of ancient civilisations. There are six bath experiences in total on your tour of the underground pools. They include:
Caldarium (Hot Bath /40ºC)
Frigidarium (Cold Bath / 14ºC and Ice Bath 10ºC)
Tepidarium (Warm Bath / 36ºC)
Balneum (Bath of Thousand Jets)
Vaporium (Steam Bath)
Flotarium (Salt Bath)
For £90 per person, you are given 90 minutes to rotate in and out of the baths as you see fit to match your desired outcome. From the Caldarium to the Vaporium, I sampled them all, dipping myself in and out of warm to freezing cold water. But, I saved the best for last. The Flotarium. This is the salt bath. The water is salted perfectly so that you float, light as air, without a care in the world. Music is piped in around you, playing softly as you feel the weight of your body, and the world, drift away. I could have floated here, in this golden lit room for hours. Forget psychology. This float healed me in ways no medical science will ever be able to touch. Call me converted.
I truly cannot recommend this enough as a much deserved London treat for yourself. There is no way for me to capture, in words, how simply spectacular this whole experience was for my mental and physical health.
Who knows… maybe we’ll float by one another one day in the Flotarium. If so, please remember we’re both there to ‘heal’ and let’s resume the conversation when we both return to the real world above!
For more information or to book online visit: AIRE Ancient Baths London