Banya therapy is for the bravehearts
JUL 6, 2016 | By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Did you know that the Russians, renowned for their tough disposition, are also masters of relaxation? Taking a leaf out of their ancient rituals, South Kensington Club, London has introduced a bathhouse where natural elements are combined with the age old Russian practice of Banya (which literally means “a place to socialise and relax”).
The owner Luca Del Bono, a Russophile, specially travelled to Siberia to find the right expert and seek advice on the project. With the help of a local interior consultant and art director Sussy Cazalet, he finally built the space using wood, fire, ceramics, terracotta pots, Mediterranean plants and stone. Not for the weak hearted, the treatment is known to detoxify the body at an enhanced pace. Customers are made to sit through a toasty temperature of 75°C to help open pores and after intervals of 15 minutes, they can either shower in cold water or take a dip in the ice cold plunge pool. This is done three times as the sudden change boosts blood circulation.
The second highlight of the spa is the Watsu pool, constructed with tiles made from lava obtained from the base of Mount Etna in Italy, filled with seawater specially imported from Sicily. The property houses a reception, beauty salon, yoga studio, pilates space, gym, consultation room, juice bar and a sauna. Two colonial style private suites dotted with greenery have a dedicated therapist to tailor the experience. A mosaic lined hammam or Turkish bath is also available. For people who don’t live in London can choose to take an overseas membership to organise meetings, meet friends or use the gym and spa here.