It doesn’t take much and you don’t need to go that far to unwind. Taking time out for yourself can literally be right around the corner and during your lunch hour if you need it. DestinationIman editor’s spent time in the middle of their hectic day at Aire Ancient Bath House in NYC. Here’s their take, along with some other great spa options in a city near you!
Tucked away within an unassuming storefront in TriBeCa is a magical place called Aire. It was 8AM on a cold wet Sunday and the only moment we had to schedule a 1-2 hour retreat. We had made an appointment at the Aire Ancient Baths, somewhat skeptical about what we were in for.
Upon entering this lobby we were greeted by the friendly staff and offered some warm mint tea. A quick change into our swimwear, cozy robes and slippers; we met the other early risers outside of the locker rooms for a quick tour of the baths. First important note: some people might have winter swimsuit anxiety, don’t worry one bit about that at Aire, the entire experience is dimly lit with candles.
We descend into the baths down the candle-lined steps, the place is honestly breathtaking! You are immediately transported to another land, a land of baths, candles, steam, salts & spas. The Aire staff will walk you through the entire facility explaining about each bath, its temperature, recommended uses and benefits. We felt instantly at ease in the unfamiliar setting. Over the course of an hour you move from bath to bath ranging from tepid to hot to freezing cold. Cold? What? Why?
Lets start with tepid, a lovely pool tucked in the rear of the spa is where you start. As you enter you start to feel your stress float away, this is a place to meditate and unwind. Next we moved into the hot bath, at first you might feel it’s a bit warm for you. Your muscles start to relax and any lingering stress and drama is gone. We eyed the cold plunge pool for a while, nervous yet curious. The colder pool has ice cubes floating in it. Now why on earth would anyone want to jump into that? On tour they said the cold plunge helps tighten and invigorate the skin, we were thinking the cold plunge was simply a form of medieval torture. After eying the cold plunge for about 10 minutes we decides to give it a try. We jumped in…@&*$&!*$ and we were out. We are all about the unfiltered truth here at Destination Iman, so the truth on cold plunge Round 1 was just pure shock. That pool woke you up, that’s for sure. It actually wasn’t until entering the tepid pool after the cold shocker that we “got it”. The blood runs through your body, your adrenaline spikes and all of a sudden you reach a new level of calm. Our take on this is that you sometimes need to smack that stress out of your body instead of politely coercing it to go away. It works! After a few rounds from tepid to hot to shockingly freezing, we ventured over to the Floatarium – a salt water bath. You are instantly weightless, similar to that of the Dead Sea. After some relaxing salty weightless floating, a quick rinse off and into the eucalyptus steam room. Nothing beats a good steam to open your pores and give you a healthy glow. Next stop was the hot tub style bath, the jets are strong enough to kneed those kinks from your back. Tea and water are available while you are enjoying the magical land of Aire. An optional addition is a massage for 15, 30, 45 minutes or an hour. Another important note is that Aire is actually very affordable, for under $100 you can have a day spa experience.
It’s now 9:30AM and we feel like we have just had a week long vacation in a distant land. Aire Ancient Baths is one of our personal best secrets to restore your mind, body and soul.
While there may not be a Aire in your hometown, the most important thing is to be open to trying something new or unique at your local spa.
Other Destination Iman approved spas:
Trump Soho Spa
The Spa at The Crescent
Le Spa at the Sofitel Hotel