Bathe in Spanish reds at AIRE Ancient Baths.
London’s first wine spa may have gone the way of the dinosaurs (RIP, Ella Di Rocco), but luckily another has emerged to fill this void. So, we now introduce you to AIRE Ancient Baths, a deluxe new spa that’s just opened just off the Strand. And whilst the tranquil candlelit baths and Himalayan salt treatments sound just grand, it’s ‘The Wine Ritual’ that has us most intrigued, as guests will be submerged in a historical tub, filled with red wine.
AIRE Ancient Baths have expanded across the world since their first opening in Sevilla – just look at their stunning Copenhagen branch, found inside an old Carlsberg brewery – but this marks their first excursion into the UK. The London site will be found on Robert Street, between the Strand and Embankment, and since AIRE only choose historic buildings for their spas, you know you’re in for a treat. The London site is an 18th-century neo-classical building, built by architect siblings the Adam brothers, who given their name to the nearby street on which the fake 10 Downing Street can be found.
The spa building was once the home of Peter Pan writer J.M. Barrie, but it’s the treatments that’ll be sending you to Neverland these days. The baths are inspired by Greek, Roman, and Ottoman antiquity, and use thermal baths in a modern fashion to provide relaxation through immersion. There’ll be a series of thermal baths all with varying temperatures, so you’ll be able to pool-hop and find the right one for you, whether that’s the balmy Caldarium (heated to 40º) or the chilly Frigidarium (down at a bracing 14º). Further highlights include a steam bath (Vaporium), the bath of thousand jets(!) (Balneum), and the salt bath, know as the Flotarium.
Massage treatments can also be tailored to suit you, with the Himalayan Salt Experience an early winner: it features a circuit of the baths, a Himalayan body scrub, and a 60-minute massage with hot Himalayan salt stones. Obviously, we’re heading straight for The Wine Ritual, where guests are submerged into a tub of red wine (it’s a Spanish tempranillo from the Ribero del Duero, for those oenophiles who’d like to know), a grape seed oil massage, and a spell in a non-wine bath. Mind you, at £450 per person, we’ll be saving up our pennies first.
The spa is lit throughout with candles, and uses the scent of orange blossom to transport guests to Sevilla. Understandably, the prospect of bathing in wine and then popping off to see the nearby tourist sites is likely to prove a tantalising one, so you can expect AIRE Ancient Baths to be in high demand. Worth it though – especially since it gives a whole new meaning to “skin contact wine”…
Find it at 2-3 Robert Street, WC2N 6BH. Nearest stations are Charing Cross and Embankment. More info on their website.
Also published on Medium.