One of London’s defining factors is its juxtaposition of old and new. With ancient cobbled streets housing cutting edge buildings, and historical landmarks still standing tall in a very modern world, it’s what makes this city so special. Honouring our capital’s way of life is Aire Ancient Baths, a spa retreat tucked away just behind the rather modern shops of The Strand.
Aire Ancient Baths boasts locations across Europe; the London site is an 18th-century, neo-classical building, once the home of Peter Pan writer J.M. Barrie. It’s the treatments that’ll be sending you to Neverland these days, though. Nestled underground in a restored building with looming columns, exposed bricks, and thermal baths, this spa is inspired by ancient Roman, Greek and Ottoman civilisations‘ bath rituals – with a visit here, you’ll truly transported back in time.
While Aire Ancient Spa boasts a plethora of massages, rituals, and thermal baths (including a red wine bath), their ‘spa-cation’ package with St Martin’s Lane Hotel entitles guests to one of the following treatments:
- Escape Together massage: 90-minute ancient relaxing massage for two with signature orange blossom oil;
- Ancient Argan massage: 75-minute massage with argan oil, and an argan facial massage;
- The Holistic Ritual: a full body lime and sugar scrub on hot marble stones, followed by a 60-minute lomi lomi style full body massage with green tea oil and a honey and propolis hair mask.
I opted for an Ancient Argan massage, and honestly, I’m struggling to organise my words properly to explain how good this experience was. This spa treatment was transformative. The masseuse uses argan oil, and massages the body in a clockwise motion from your toes to your head and back down again. The pressure was firm, but not too heavy, and the masseuse worked magic with their arms, elbows and hands. I almost drifted off to the soothing music. Complete and utter bliss.
I would have happily floated out of Aire Ancient Baths if that were all this ultimate London staycation included; however, there is more. Following your treatment, you get 90 minutes use of the thermal bath facilities. I cannot dispute the power of water therapy after this experience. The seven baths offer varying temperatures between a chilly 10-degree Frigidarium (I gave this one a wide berth) and a cosy 40 degrees in the Caldarium. The experience here starts with an informative tour led by the attentive staff, then you’re free to bathe as you wish.
Although the baths were deemed ‘busy’ on our visit, we were never with more than one or two other groups at any one time. I loved all the baths in equal measure, but if I had to highlight any, I’d say standouts were the most powerful jacuzzi ever, and the salt water-filled Floatarium. The way the water just lifted my body effortlessly, it was like floating on air.
At the sound of the bell, and end of my time, I headed to the changing rooms once again. I was thoroughly impressed by the range of hair products Aire Ancient Baths provides at the beautifying station. My curly hair bounced at the site of Cantu products and a diffuser for the hair dryer!
I cannot recommend a visit to Aire Ancient Baths enough; it is truly something magical. While you’ll leave feeling as light as a feather, your bank amount may well feel the same, as the price tag is pretty hefty – prices start at £115 – however, it’s one experience I’ll be saving up to do again for sure.
Aire Ancient Baths
Also published on Medium.