Best Hotel With A Sauna : A few years back, I found an antidote for my dread of the upcoming workweek. It was a simple solution: I would lock myself in a basement 150-degree box at my YMCA. I would go mad, nude, red, and then miraculously emerge just nude and green an hour later.
Although my anxiety has subsided, I still enjoy going to the sauna weekly. I sometimes read or stretch, but I mostly let my mind wander and seem empty through my pores. This is a remarkable feat, considering how much time I spend on a meditation mat. It will take me through every wrong that has happened to me. I don’t have my phone, so I am as far away as ever. I also usually have the space to myself, except for the septuagenarian, who is very comfortable in the locker area. (My future!) It’s, in my opinion, the only worthwhile winter activity.
The American community’s sauna culture is sadly lacking compared to other countries. Finland, with its 3.3 million saunas, is consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world. However, you can and should also enjoy the sauna culture in America at Russian banyas and Korean spas.
A 2016 study showed that regular sauna use could reduce the risk of developing dementia. Private saunas are now a popular option in the wellness industry. This piqued me, and I decided to check out some in New York City. They all claim to have various benefits, from detoxing to calorie-burning to clearer skin to increasing your energy, but my only concern was being alone and feeling very sweaty.
HigherDose Best Hotel With A Sauna
HigherDose was my first stop. It is located on the third level of a SoHo hotel. Here visitors can book their sauna rooms for one hour. It was a bit like checking into a 24-hour sex motel, except that there was an indoor sauna instead of a bed of questionable cleanliness. They emit infrared light rather than heated air and tend to be lower in temperature than traditional saunas.
HigherDose suggested I take off my clothes and go inside the sauna for 45 mins. Then, I use the 15 minutes left to shower and enjoy the free Malin + Goetz products. Finally, get dressed. As I was soaking in my sweat, HigherDose encouraged me to watch TV, play music, and program the sauna to glow the desired colour. I chose orange and then laid down to listen to the default music.
This included EDM tracks like “Riders on the Storm”, but I also had the opportunity to enjoy a sparkling coconut water beverage provided by the room’s mini fridge. Around minute 30, I felt the distinct sensation of “this feels like… the future… but the cool future,” which is what I will attribute to the extended heat exposure.
ShapeHouse Best Hotel With A Sauna
ShapeHouse was a slightly dystopian alternative to my previous sauna experience. Before it was expanded to New York City, the business was based in Los Angeles. I visited the one in Dumbo, Brooklyn. A loose, grey uniform was given to me to wear. I was then taken to my private area in a larger space separated by a curtain. Then, I was taken to an infrared sauna and placed on a flatscreen TV, much like a Hot Pocket filling.
One hand was free for accessing bottled water, my Roku remote, and a help button. I was halfway through a Curb Your Enthusiasm binge-watch and decided to flip on an episode. It wasn’t the most relaxing experience, but it allowed me to access a water bottle and my Roku remote. 45 minutes into the episode, someone placed a lavender ice towel on my forehead.
It kept sliding off and then started dripping water onto my neck. I guess that’s why the help button exists. After getting out of my sweat cocoon, I was taken into a relaxation area to cool off. I was given tea and some chilled orange slices. I was also encouraged not to shower for several hours. ShapeHouse was the best place to sweat, but it was also beneficial.
Cost: $65 for 55 minutes
CityWell Best Hotel With A Sauna
One of my favourite ways to spend a Tuesday afternoon was by trying out CityWell’s Cabin Detox. It is a hidden gem in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighbourhood. Before I could even get to the sauna, I was told to take a cold bath, visit the steam room, and then take another cold water shower. Afterwards, I would spend some time in the outdoor hot tub before taking another cold one. Liz Tortolani, the owner, led me to the “Cabin”, a large outdoor sauna equipped with an infrared sauna blanket and a massage table. (A sauna squared if you will.)
After thoroughly drying, she massaged my entire body with hot and cold stones. To encourage deeper sweat, she wrapped me in banana leaves and blankets. As I emerged, I was greeted with water, tea and berries, oranges and almonds. In short, I felt like a child emperor.
Two hours at $250, but CityWell also offers communal bathing hours for $25-$45.
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