If you haven't tried a Turkish bath before, I highly recommend this place as a starting point. Housed in a listed 30s building, it has been rated one of the top baths in the country. I went here with my mother a few years ago and had no idea what to expect. Well, actually, my expectations were lots of naked bodies and sitting on an unsuspecting stranger's lap due to limited visibility.
Luckily, these baths mostly alternate their days to be all male or all female. so they'll be no embarrassing faux pas, and you can feel free to strip off if your swimsuit is one too many layers to bear.
There are 3 hot rooms, one steam room and an icy plunge pool. Apparently research has shown that alternating your body temperature is very good for the circulation and skin, and this is especially true if you choose to have a professional body scrub or massage.
My favourite part - lying on the marble slab. My least favourite part - the ice plunge pool! Prepare to feel very woozy but extraordinarily relaxed after 3 hours here. For £7.70 it's well worth it.
Tuesdays and each alternate day are for women, and vice versa throughout the week. Mondays are mixed if you don't mind getting up close and personal with a stranger or perhaps if you want to go as a pair.
This is a great place to go with the girls for some relaxation.
Basically a series of rooms with a cold plunge pool, steam room and different temperature saunas. You can also use the lap pool while you're here.
Details can be found on their website:
Nakedness rules on non-mixed days. So you can come in your bathing suit but you'll feel pretty silly since you will likely be the only one. So be sure that your companions are cool with nakedness, other people's as well as yours. Be prepared to see not only lots of nakedness but as Seinfeld says "bad naked". Women will be stretching, squatting, scrubbing. Luckily having grown up a swimmer this did not faze me at all.
Also, do spend the extra £5 deposit and get a towel. Otherwise be sure to bring at least 2 of your own - one to wear/cover up with that will get all soaked with your sweat, plus one to dry off with afterwards.
And if you get the opportunity spend another £5-10 (can't remember exact pricing) to get the scrubdown. While you lie naked a woman will scrub down your entire body with a special brush - exfoliating you all over, and I mean all over. Your skin will be so soft afterwards and you will get to enjoy the sight of all your dead skin being washed away.
For the price you can't really do better. But keep in mind that is is run by the local council so it's pretty basic. No fancy aromatherapy or zen decor here.
Located just a few minutes from Old Street station, this place is great: it offers a gym, pilates and yoga classes, as well as two swimming pools, a sauna and Turkish baths where you can get professional body scrubs and massages.
My favourite is their Wednesday water-aerobics classes with a great teacher named Sara. Rates range from £4 to 6, depending on whether you drop in at peak or off-peak hours. They also have memberships to match your own requirements.
This is the best alternative to other better known wellbeing franchises.
As one of the older public baths around, this one is a little different. It's a listed 30's building with high ceilings, making for a lovely airy place to swim. Like most baths it can be overrun with school kids during the holidays, but at other times it's a nice relaxed place to put in some serious lengths. It's also a little quirky. Besides the standard gym, sun beds, sauna and snack machines in the lobby, this place also boasts a laundrette and Turkish baths with massages and scrubs available, both open since it was first built. Another quirk is the pool itself: rather than the standard 25m public bath or 50m Olympic length pool, the pool here is 30.5metres long! I like it, it's nice to be able to go a little further before each turn, but don't forget to take it into account if you are used to swimming lengths of a standard pool!
This rating is for the swim lessons. The facilities are very good for a council baths. I gave them 4 stars for the facilities. Unfortunately I am unhappy with the swim lessons. Maybe my expectations were too high but I expected my children to be able to at least swim to the side of the pool after 12 sessions. All they seem to do is jump up and down, splash each other and use the floats. There are 6-10 children per class so thr learn hardly anything. I could do this without a teacher and spending £55 per child.
Yea, this is a great pool. This is really the only aspect of the complex that I feel qualified to review. Basically, I'm a dedicated lane-swimmer - from one lane-swimmer to any others - this is a good long pool to swim lengths. Plus, if have similar unfortunate circumstances as myself of not having working washing machine -you can wash your clothes in the launderette while you take swim. Two birds one stone. Great
A really relaxing place to spend the afternoon. Go with friends, or take your mum for a special treat. Enjoy the range of hot and cold pools and then sit and chill out in the relaxation rooms. The only annoying thing is that it is men's only on a saturday, so that does limit somewhat the times you can go.
I thought I would also add to all the reviews here that apart from being a leisure centre with turkish baths, this place also has a laundrette!
When my kitchen was being fitted, I had to come here with my dirty washing to get it all scrubbed up. The laundrette is just to the left of reception and has a number of large washing machines, dryers and 4 huge roller ironing machines. You have to pre-book your slot, which can be done online, and then pay at reception for a token.
While you wait, there is a TV (the reception was always pretty bad) or you can go and sample the delights of.. Old Street?
As Laundrettes go, this one is brilliant because a) it's so large and b) they have the roller irons, which make ironing a breeze!
wonderfully relaxing turkish baths, with 3 hot rooms increasing in temperature, and a hard to handle steam room-rewarding though if you can bear it.
Body scrubs from £8 and massages from £12 and a free relaxation room with beds and sun loungers. Its not a massive place so try not to go when its too busy, and there is only 1 day when men and women can go at the same time- so its a single sex event mainly, which makes for quite a nice atmosphere.
Many women go naked, but swimming costumes are also worn.
Generally a beautifully relaxing place, time to read or daydream or relax as you wish. allow yourself 2hours to fully relax and then slowly recover- getting dressed seems a trial after all the lying down.
(great vietnames restaurants near by on kinglsland road too to finish off the cheap, relaxing day)
I am currently on a cheap corporate membership which makes this amazing value, but I don't think I can afford to renew as this is a premium gym at £50 a month otherwise.
There is a cardio room on the first floor with rows of treadmills which is often boiling hot and poorly ventilated this is a big negative for me so I rarely use it.
Upstairs, the main gym has treadmills and steppers etc they aren't the newest ones where you can plug in your iPod, like they were in the Camden branch. They have radio/TV connectors of which about half work. It also annoys me that you can't pre-program intervals onto them, except intervals of incline. Row of TV channels at the front. It's pretty standard. Usually not too busy I've never had to wait for a machine.
Round the sides are some mats for stretching and free weights these areas are quite cramped as they are literally down the sides of the gym, so there's not a proper mat area.
The other side has a cardio bike place, that I've not tried, and all the big weights machines.
I don't go to classes here, but I've heard their quality varies.
For a premium gym, I would hope to find a Powerplate or more modern machines. It's a gorgeous light airy building, but the gym feels like an after-thought. Will report back soon on the spa.
Lovely staff, basic but clean and cheap. They have a tv and books, cheap drinks and simple snacks.
Very hostile and racist atmosphere though. I went on a Friday which is ladies only and enjoyed the steam room, a treatment and relaxing on a lounger until I was shouted at by another customer for sitting on "her bed" despite it being unoccupied for at least half an hour. The regulars lay their towels out like the Germans do on sun loungers and think they own the place. She followed me round shouting until I asked her if she had a problem with me being there. I couldn't relax and the experience was ruined. I will never visit again and wouldn't advise going there if you're a white person.
I visited the Sanctuary in Covent Garden which is much more expensive but has a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere where I felt much more comfortable.
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