Finding a normal sauna in London is close to impossible

It is rainy in England, foggy and cold – you would think that these people love spending time in saunas more than anything. Well, they don’t.

The website of the only "normal" sauna in London.

As a German I am used to having a more or less fancy Nordic sauna with every public swimming pool.

It feels natural to me to lie there, feel the heat, hear the crackling of the hot stones on the oven and just relax.

English people, or at least Londoners, have a different idea of saunas:

Either they encourage sexual intercourse (hetero- and more often homosexual) or they are attached to a fitness club where you have to be a member in order to use them.

In the latter kind of sauna everyone has to wear swim wear – an idea that I personally cannot stand.

So the quest was to find a normal sauna where no swim suit was required and no shady business was going on.

That seemed impossible

But then – when I already wanted to give up – I came across the “Elixir of Life Health Club” – a naturist sauna.

Ok, to be honest: I didn’t know anything about naturists before. What I know now: They like being naked.

Somewhere in Wood Green behind a shop-window is this little health club. And I can tell you after seeing one too many sex-sites I was really sceptical.

A look at the price list deepened my confusion: “Single men £15, Mixed Couples £5 each, Single women £3” is said there.

“That is because we do not want single men to come here who have sexual intentions,” the receptionist told me. That calmed me down a little.

The Elixir of Life

The facilities are small but really nice. A Nordic sauna, a steam room and a jacuzzi can be used for the whole day.

The place is clean and most of the staff are really friendly.

Also, you get your own locker and as many towels as you want. Water, tea, coffee and biscuits are free, too. In both showers you find shower gel – so you don’t really have to bring anything with you.

After two minutes I found myself shaking a lot of naked people’s hands – I met Bob and Dave and René. All very friendly and nice.

Once in a while a naturist (that means naked) masseuse would collect one of them for a massage. Those are rather pricey but supposed to be very good.

Downside

But there are some small things that could be improved.

There are no clocks in the sauna so you have to guess how long you’ve been in there (which usually makes you leave too early).

There is no cleaning device in the steam room so you can’t really clean the sitting area before you sit down (urgh).

There are no chairs or loungers to sit down on and relax in between the sauna/ steam room sessions.

Only a small wooden bench that’s big enough for three people, uncomfortable and right across the jacuzzi which forces you to constantly talk to the people in there.

Still the best option

However, the Elixir is the closest I’ll get to German saunas in London and therefore I’ll be willing to overlook some of these shortcomings.

Does that make me a naturist? I don’t think so.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Findings, Puzzles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Finding a normal sauna in London is close to impossible

  1. Sebastian says:

    If you ask me, their prices are the equivalent to night clubs offering free entry to women on Ladies’ Nights. The statement about deterring single men with £15 admission would only make sense if couples had to pay £6.

    Personally, I prefer gender-segregated saunas – it just avoids all complications.

  2. Alex says:

    Thank you for this great article – the first two paragraphs describe exactly my experience over the last couple of weeks! Might try the club you mention later – still sceptical after my recent experiences, but worth a shot. Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Alex,

      thanks for leaving your comment.

      Yeah, I found it pretty frustrating too look for an acceptable place, too.

      But I can asure you: this club was absolutely friendly, non-dodgy and clean.

      Please do share your experience afterwards, if you like.
      Would really appreciate it. 🙂

      Have a good time!
      Stef

  3. Guy says:

    Hi … I often go to Elixir and I just find it a very friendly relaxed place to go and chill. Never found it to be anything other than that and 100% above board. Guy

    • Hi Guy,

      thanks for your comment.
      I can only agree – I didn’t feel uncomfortable or weirdly looked at or anything. But it was far from easy to find one place like this in London.

      Best,
      Stef

  4. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the informative article. Like yourself, I have struggled to find a sauna in the London area that has not been used as a pretext for sexual activities. It is great to know that a genuine Sauna exists and I am interested in visiting.

    Having said that, I do not like the idea of using a steam room when you are unable to clean it before you sit down. I am therefore wondering whether the owners have taken on any of the suggestions that you mentioned in your “downside,” paragraph, and consequently whether they have found a solution.

    In addition, the difference in pricing structure between men and women is not something that I have ever experienced when using Sauna’s in mainland Europe. This suggests to me that very few women visit this club. Personally, I would feel uncomfortable being the only woman visiting, due to previous Sauna experiences in the UK, and so I was wondering whether on your visits there have been any other women present.

    Lastly, although it is not in London, there does seem to be a Sauna facility in the UK that more accurately represents the European Sauna expereince, namely Clover Spa in Birmingham. I have read some positive things about it on the Internet and the website presents a well mainainted Sauna. I am curious as to whether you are aware of this place and if you have visited. If you have visited, I would really appreciate it if you could share your experience.

    • Hello Sarah,

      thanks so much for your interesting comment.

      To be honest, I don’t know if the owner ever even read my article on the place… But I do hope that they figured out the “cleaning the steam room bit” for themselves by now…

      When I visited I wasn’t the only woman (but I was also always in the company of my boyfriend which made it easier for me). With that place it really very much depends on what time on what day you visit. Weekends and evening were supposed to be very busy – which means then your chances are higher to not be the only woman, but also the place is really small and if it gets crowded it would certainly take away from the relaxing experience.

      Another solution that I found for myself was those little Chinese health shops. Some of them have a sauna that you can rent for an hour or longer and then you have it entirely to yourself (there is a nice one at Westhampsted Thamselink).

      I have to admit that I haven’t been to Birmingham yet so I don’t have information on the place you mentioned – sorry. But I guess, if it has such a good reputation it is always worth a try. Though I wouldn’t go alone still. Ususally I don’t have problems with that, but with the weird atmosphere that seems to surround most of the British saunas I wouldn’t take a chance. 🙂

      I hope you have a nice and relaxing weekend and find a nice saune soon. (If you do, will you let me know? :))

      Best wishes,
      Stef

      • Sarah says:

        Thanks for replying so quickly Stef. As it was a bank holiday, and I was in the area, I decided to visit Clover Spa (in Birmingham.) Having read the overwhelmingly positive reviews on site’s such as tripadvisor I was sceptical, but fortunately it did not disappoint. Although nothing compared to the German facilities such as Therme Erding or Schwabenquellen, it is certainly the best that I have experienced in the UK

        After paying at reception, £15 for a 4 hour entry, you enter a mixed changing room which has bathrooms attached. In addition you can take as many towels as you like and footwear. From there you enter the main area which has shower posts to the side. There is a Sauna, a Steam room and 3 hot loungers, with one double for couples. In addition there is a foot bath and a plunge pool. Outside there is a hot tub and a garden, which I am told, has sun loungers to use during warmer weather.

        The best part of the spa is the large lounge area which includes a seating area, a bar and a dining area. They have newspapers and naturist magazines (like Elixir it is primarily marketed at the naturist community, but recently they have been getting more non-naturists who simply like the idea of a sauna without the inconvenience of swimwear.) From the bar you can order a variety of drinks and snacks and after 5 o’clock a meal.

        Next to the lounge are the therapy rooms which are fortunately conducted by clothed staff. Personally I find it strange that at Elixir the staff are naked, this I have never seen in Europe before. As you suggested yourself, from the outside you could be forgiven for thinking that Elixir was just another “sauna,” and the fact that the staff are naked surely does nothing to dispel that logic. One assumes therefore that Elixir must attract men seeking more than just relaxation.

        Anyway I digress, back to Clover Spa, the facilities are clean and the staff are friendly and attentive. In terms of the patrons, approximately two thirds visit as part of a couple, so I do not feel you would be uncomfortable visiting as a woman, moreover as you visit the sauna with your boyfriend you will be like most of the other visitors. When I visited it was busy enough not to feel sterile but not so busy as to feel that your personal space was being compromised. To give an example, there was always room to lie down flat in the sauna if you so wished.

        In terms of the negatives, the steam room has to be turned on by a member of staff, and then you have to wait a while for it to warm up. The plunge pool I feel is not cold enough, and I would prefer it if the shower area could have privacy curtains, it is open plan. To be honest though I am clutching at straws here, and compared to other sauna’s in the UK, swimwear use or not, this is a good facility to try if you are ever in the area.

        Thanks for the suggestion of the Chinese health shops, as I had not considered that option. I like the idea of a private sauna, as you do not have to listen other people talking, it seems to be a staple of the British sauna experience. I have previously booked a private sauna session at the Finnish Church Sauna in Rotherithe, which is basic but clean and affordable at £18 a session for as many people as possible. There are female only sessions on a Thursday and Saturday afternoon, but as you visit the Sauna with your boyfriend you would only be able to book a private session as this sauna is fully sex segregated.

        If you don’t mind me asking, could you please say why you no longer visit Elixir, although I fully understand if you do not wish to disclose such information. I ask, as there are still some things that concern me about Elixir, and as I do not currently have a boyfriend to act as a shield when visiting 😉 , I would be visiting with female friends who also share my concerns.

        I would like to visit this sauna, as it is the closest to me, apart from the Chinese health shop that you mentioned in West Hampstead, that allows you to use without swimwear.
        If there were other women who are following this blog post, then we could arrange to meet at a mutually preferable time and create an unofficial ladies time. Better still, we could try and convince the owners that it would be financially viable to have a time set aside for female use of the facilities with perhaps allowances made for men who are coming as part of a couple. I am speaking slightly tongue in cheek of course, but it would be nice if it were to happen.

        Lastly I apologise for the length of this post, but I believe that Clover Spa did warrant the attention given. It is a shame that there is not a facility of the same standard with a fair balance of women and men in the London area.

      • Hi Sarah,

        sorry that it took me quite a while to reply this time.
        I was thrilled when I saw how much time you took to describe the spa here. Thanks a lot for that! Really added value to conversation and will give people another idea where to find relaxation.

        If you should find any more places like that, please tell us about them.

        I would honestly have liked to visit some of these places together with you some time. But by now I have moved back to Germany and only am in London now and then. But should you ever come here, I’d be happy to have a day of wellness relaxation together with you.

        Hope you get to visit one of these relaxing places again soon!
        Have a great week.

        Best,
        Stef

  5. Louise says:

    Stefanie, thanks for reviewing Elixir, as you addressed the positives, but also some things that the sauna needs to work on. Although I no longer work there, I was a therapist between October 2010 and May 2011, I will always have a strong connection with the establishment.

    I was interested to read Sarah’s concern about the fact that the staff are nude and whether as a result this encourages those who may be there for the wrong reasons. I can honestly say that I never encountered anyone asking for “extras,” or was ever in a situation where I was made to feel uncomfortable. Like yourself Stephanie, I was not, and do not consider myself a naturist, so it took some some getting used to to have to work without clothing. Having said that, like yourself, I come from a country where having a sauna naked is considered normal and hygienic, so that made it easier for me.

    One of the things that I most enjoyed about working there was how friendly everybody was, and there was always a group of regulars. As a result, I believe it is a welcoming atmosphere no matter whether you are visiting with friends, a partner, or by yourself.

    Stephanie, as with yourself, I am on the look out for sauna’s that permit nude bathing, but that do not allow or encourage sexual activity. Whilst it is nice to be able to visit Elixir, I am also keen to try out different places. Aside from the Chinese Health Shop sauna that you can privately rent out, are there any other facilities that you would recommend. If it is not asking too much, it would be fantastic if you could write a brief review of another facility, assuming there is one that you would recommend.

    • Hi Louise,

      thanks so much for your comment – I am really glad that someone who actually worked there joined the discussion here. Really adds a new perspective.

      I have to say that I wasn’t used to staff being naked either. In Germany – where I come from – staff is never naked in saunas. That is also because they do a lot of ceremonies where they heat the place with swirling towels and stuff, so them being covered ads some comfort for everyone 😉

      But I can by no means say that the staff at Elixir was anything but friendly and decent. I enjoyed going there.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find any other saunas apart from Elixir or the Chinese health shop where being naked was just for the sake of it and not sexual. However, I think Sarah found an amazing spot there – even though it’s a bit away from London. Louise, if you should find any more places, please do share them with us.

      By now I have moved back to Germany and only visit London occasionally. Therefore I get to enjoy German saunas again!

      Hope u have a wonderful and relaxed day!

      Best,
      Stef

  6. Tom says:

    Hey Stef, I often go to Elixir and I find it a very friendly relaxed place to go and chill. Never found it to be anything other than that and 100% above board. Tom

  7. D says:

    Hi all,

    Thought I would chip in as I visit Elixir reasonably regularly.

    Firstly, it is a totally legitimate place with no sexual undertones whatsoever. I think it’s because it’s a naturist place that all the staff are naked (except the receptionist) and in my experience the staff being naked also helps women relax in the atmosphere.

    Which brings me on to the subject of female customers. There’s no denying they’re rare. On the upside this probably stops single blokes going along just to ogle (it would be a massive waste of money) but on the downside, of course it’s a vicious circle as the lack of female customers leads to women being even more reluctant to visit so it becomes even more male orientated.

    That said, however, there are couples who go and the odd mixed group of men and women or groups of women. Personally, I would much rather it was more mixed as I find all male company a bit tedious. I’ve never noticed any problem with men following women or acting inappropriately around them.

    If any women are thinking about going I wouldn’t worry about being vulnerable there as it’s totally fine, but obviously it depends if you’re ok with being naked around men.

    Also, you can stay wrapped up in a towel if you want and nobody minds. I have seen women doing this when they first arrive until they get comfortable then going naked afterwards. I’ve also seen women stay wrapped up throughout, even in the sauna and steam room, so it really is up to you.

    I’ve also noticed recently a lot more younger people visiting (18-30) which is good. When I first started going I was late 20s and the average appeared to be 40+. Now there’s a lot of people in their mid 20s visiting so old enough not to act like idiots but young enough to have a good conversation with.

    Hope this helps people decide whether to go. I think it’s a shame more women don’t go though I can understand why this is.

  8. Jay Green says:

    I used to live in London and have been to Rio’s a few times. As a single male just wanting to relax in a sauna without the restiction of clothing I went to Rio’s. On my first visit I thought I had found the perfect place as it was mid week and had a mixed client base, with males and females up to & over 60 years of age. Some visitors wore full smiwsuits, some only wore the bottom half but the majority were naked. It didn’t feel seedy on that visit.
    The next time I went it was the weekend and there was a very different client base that time. It was more a male dominated place with a few couples and two or three single women. It didn’t feel the same. I could see men following the women around from steam room to sauna to shower and just starring at them. One woman seemed as bad as she was approaching single males and couples whilst in the sauna…..and you can use you imagination as to what she was getting up to under the water.
    I’m sorry to say my second visit was short lived as I didn’t like the feel of the place anymore. I think the best time to visit is during the day in mid week.
    I now live in the midlands and I have visited Clover Spa & Hotel. This place is like no other in the UK. It has been voted by trip advisor as the number one hotel in the Birmigham area. It has also featured on the Hotel Inspector on CH5 and is now improving the experience for guests. The description Sarah gave was spot on so I don’t need to expand on it.
    Clover Spa & Hotel is well worth a visit, you will not be disapointed, you can book on line and the rooms are very clean and tidy.

  9. Misha Evans says:

    Thank you all for the brilliant tips + discussion! I was desperate to find a ‘proper’ sauna somewhere in UK and gave up really (we are based in Mid Wales) … Now we are planning a weekend break in Clover thanks to this blog. Thanks soo much!

  10. Taylor says:

    Rios naturist club in Kentish town is a great place it’s open almost 24hrs around 10 for single women and 21 for single men has great facilities Google it it’s one of the leading naturist clubs

    • Andreas says:

      I’m a German living in London (past 14 years)
      and can only echo Stef’s comments on the
      Elixier Health Club – always friendly, only affordable place for a “normal” sauna in London. Bring your own book (as magazines in there old or non-relevant) and expect to miss a place to lay your head down to rest which is what strikes you most, I think (Except the naked staff of course!). Wood inside the Sauna could do with an upgrade but, hey, this is indeed the only Sauna that really gets to a good hot temperature.
      I’ve been there on and off and – combined with a short walk at the nearby Alexandra Palace with great Night and Day views across London – has always helped me to relax from a hectic job. Massages in there – tried them twice, really recommendable, but only if you don’t mind the 35 Pounds for 30 minutes (!) . But this then includes the Sauna facilities for the whole day,so worth it if you have time.Elixier opens early Afternoon though,Not before midday at all.
      Hope you find this useful.
      Don’t expect a Big Place though,it appears rather small if you’re there for the First time.But the friendliness of the staff really Makes up for it.
      See you there One day :-),
      Andreas

  11. ryansmilla says:

    It sounded like it would almost be worth a trip to Wood Green (to think that I used to live in Finchley and never knew!), but the lack of chairs or loungers is really too big a downside. Shame.

  12. PaulG says:

    Hiya folks, having read through all your comments I have to add my recommendation on Clover Spa, it really is a great and relaxing hotel, quite unlike anything I’ve come across in the UK. I haven’t tried Elixir but intend to very soon as it sounds similar to what my fiancé and I enjoy experiencing. I’ve been visiting many of the amazing German (and Austrian) spas regularly for the past 10 years and am totally addicted to them (my favourites are Therme Erding and Baden-Baden Friedrichsbad). I introduced my fiancé to them a year ago and she absolutely loves them too, and we both get so frustrated at the lack of decent places in the UK. Why is this country so prudish and weird about experiencing spas the natural and hygienic way? Quite ironic considering this is one of the largest porn markets in the world. And why are spas here so darned expensive, with day rates easily exceeding £100 at some places? By contrast, most spas in Germany, including the spa resorts like Therme Erding, charge between €20-30 for around five hours and a little more for the whole day.

    Unfortunately we did try Rio’s a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday evening and found it absolutely awful and totally contrary to what one expects to find in a spa, in fact it was the total opposite to anything I’ve even seen in Germany and in my opinion a place like this would not last a day in that country. For starters, about 70% of the couples were wearing bathing suits in the jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms which I found really repulsive (scientifically proven to spread so much unwanted bacteria and body wastes). Then they were all talking at the top of their voices in the saunas and steam rooms whereas we are used to the tranquility and respect shown in German spas. I also noticed a number of men and women sitting on the sauna benches in their swim suits without towels under them and their feet on the benches as well, which was a total anathema to us! The steam rooms have nothing to wash the marble benches with so we ending up standing the whole time.

    Lastly, there were definitely some couples “playing around” in the overly packed jacuzzis (and even in one of the saunas!) so this is clearly not a spa that is serious about health and hygiene but seems to be focussed on just providing a steamy venue for swingers and lifestyle folks to indulge themselves at. Speaking of hygiene, or lack thereof, we noticed piles of used wet towels lying on the benches and all over the floors in the steam rooms and around the facility, how hard is it for the staff to ensure there are bins for them or that they are taken away regularly?

    Suffice to say we were in there for less than 30 mins and will never return.

    If I ever win the lottery the first thing I will do is open a swanky German-style spa in London with strict rules and proper facilities, I have no doubt it will be packed with folks who are looking for a decent non-swinger/lifestyle nude spa. Just look at how popular Clover Spa is becoming, what a shame for the London crowd that it is up in Birmingham, but then again can you imagine how busy it would be if it were in London!

    • Dominic says:

      Could not agree more Paul. There is a huge demand that is not being met here. We are crying out for it. I have tried Bristol Gardens in Brighton. Not as sedy as Rios but it’ still not the real deal.

  13. Roy says:

    I am a Brit currently working in Germany and having tried spas here, and loved them I can only say to a German if you’re looking to find the same in London you can more or less forget it. When my Russian girlfrIiend ( a country with a huge sauna tradition)visits here she is happy to go to mixed saunas provided they are hygienic and men do not behave like idiots. She has been happy on both counts. However if I took her to Rios I am sure would be minus a girlfriend and with a balck eye. I think it is a disgusting place for reasons already mentioned. Elixir is genuine though I know from chatting with some staff they have had to work hard at making sure would be wierdos get the message that there are no extras and they will not hesitate to remove a man who tries to behave inappropriately. The massages are excellent and genuine, the staff performing them are naked in accordance with the ethos that it is a naturist establishment and brands itself as such. As for hygiene people in UK just do not seem aware of norms like keeping feet on towels and Elixir unfortunatley exists in a culture where this lack of awareness exists. Though I do agree they should install a hosepipe in the steam room. The premises are small.. but with London rents what to expect..? However as said elsewhere it is extremely friendly and is the only sauna I know in London I’d consider taking my girlfriend to…every other sauna I know of insists bathing costumes are worn which is simply isn’t the way to get a saunas benefits. Hope this helps

  14. PaulG says:

    Hi again,

    As a follow on to my previous comment and in line with Roy’s comment also, my fiancé (who is also Russian like Roy’s girlfriend) have been twice to Elixir over the past couple of weeks and have enjoyed our experiences there despite the obvious shortcomings already mentioned. I have actually written to Clive (the owner who hasn’t been there when we were there) about the lack of a water source to rinse off the bench in the steam room. We were forced to use towels to sit on because I noticed black hairs and dirty marks on the steam room bench which was somewhat off-putting, further exacerbated by our having to use the same towels to then dry off after showering. Nobody else seems to be bothered by it and just plonk themselves straight down on the bench without any towel. I haven’t had any response from Clive so I guess it isn’t going to be rectified anytime soon – we’ll simply ask for two towels in future, one for the steam room/sauna and another to dry off.

    The massages are actually really good, the ladies are clearly well trained and one mentioned she is continuing her massage courses in different techniques as it is her livelihood outside of Elixir as well. The fact that they are naked whilst massaging clients is pretty much irrelevant as one is either face down or looking straight up at the ceiling (I always relax with my eyes closed anyway), so it’s really no different than if they were clothed.

    Disappointingly there is an absolute dearth of other women visiting Elixir, and one could be forgiven for initially mistaking Elixir for a gay sauna as it is frequented mainly by single men, however my fiancé did not feel ogled at or uncomfortable at any time, and I wish more women would go there to balance the scales somewhat. Everyone is very friendly though, many have been regulars for years and are very welcoming. One other thing though: we are used to the tranquil silence of German spas so it has been quite an adjustment to get used to the loud talking in the sauna and steam room, but hey ho, this is London…

    All in all, Elixir is the ONLY place in London to go to for a totally above board and enjoyable naturist spa experience, at least until the UK wakes up and there is more demand for, and supply of, this type of spa. I do still prefer Clover Spa but it is just too far to go to regularly from London.

  15. Ian says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with previous moments about German and Austrian saunas, having been using them for a couple of years now and really enjoying the uninhibited nakedness. Even my wife now is enthusiastic about going naked in them. In Austria the sauna workers often go in naked too to perform the towel flapping routine. Anyway, I digress! After reading reviews I tried Elixir and found it really friendly and inviting. The first time I went it by chance coincided with a Christmas party so was very busy as it is very small it was rather crowded. However, I was now hooked and took my wife there one Friday afternoon who thoroughly enjoyed it though didn’t have a massage, whereas I had a half hour one. I have been back twice since, on Wed afternoons, and had 90 min massages which were awesome. Both masseuse and client being naked is nice, I hate being covered (even in Germany they place a small towel over you) and whilst most of the time you can’t see the masseuse when you’re face down it is very pleasing to see her naked ( hey, I am male after all!) when flipped over and does add to the pleasurable experience. I found the massages very sensual, entirely above board, guilt-free and I recommend them. However, don’t have just a 30 minutes session, it is nowhere near long enough. Nor is 60 minutes! Elixir is a lovely place to be and is difficult to leave. However, as already mentioned, they really must put a hose-down facility in the steam room and scraper so that hygiene is as good as it should be. By being just about the first guest there on the last two occasions I had less concerns becuse the facilities were freshly cleaned but I wouldn’t fancy using the steam room without sitting on a towel after others had used it. So please, management, put a rinse-down facility in there. And ladies, there really is nothing to be concerned about, just ask my wife who was totally at ease.
    I did try Rios one afternoon and the facilities are great, especially as there is a pool, my favourite bit, and no evidence of dodgy behaviour however it was early in the day and there were not many people there. A couple of ladies there were covered up, either with towel or bikini, which is not appropriate for a supposedly naturist venue. There are “relaxation rooms” and also a “couples only” area upstairs so it is clear that less innocent activities do go on. Parking is a nightmare so best go by train; having to come out after 2 hours to repark the car because of a two hour time limit is not conducive to relaxation.
    I will definitely be returning to Elixir as soon as I can, I’m not so sure about Rios though the pool was inviting.
    Recently my wife and I tried EdenGarden in Chingford for an overnight stay. It is a naturist guest house with spa facilities and is wonderful, so friendly, and you can laze around naked dipping in and out of the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. Hosts are wonderful. Highly recommended. We are returning to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We will try Clover Spa too some time.

    Ian.

    • PaulG says:

      Thanks Ian, great feedback! In terms of Elixir management doing something about a hose in the steam room I suspect they aren’t aware of this blog, and they have not responded to my email about it, however if more visitors to Elixir send emails to them via their contact details on their website then maybe they’ll get the message eventually and do something about it. The frustrating thing is that there is water piping right outside the steam room leading to the shower so it would be a relatively quick and inexpensive feature to install. I am still using a towel in the steam room as lately I have seen all kinds of little hairs and other “matter” on the steam room bench. How it doesn’t bother the other visitors and the hostesses who use it without towels is beyond me! Hey ho, it is still the best that London has to offer so one can only hope they’ll improve the facilities as time goes on.

      Thanks also for the info on Eden Garden, my fiancé and I will check it out sometime soon.

  16. joe says:

    Please help me and my partner would like to find a genuine sauna in London or Essex area and don’t like the look of Rios or elixir we don’t consider ourselves naturist but would just like to use a sauna how it should be used without costumes . There is a place called clubNat in Swindon but for women only but they can take there partners which is fine but know nothing about the place , has anyone been ? Is there anywhere we could go even if natural night was once or twice a week . Centre parks used to do this on a Wednesday and Saturday night which we went to no a few times when there but why has this stopped ? We seem to be going backwards in this area which is strange when you see how many brits now go nude on holiday

  17. Dieter says:

    Joe, if you’re in London give Elixir a go. It’s genuine and the only one in London.

    • Joe says:

      Partner unsure because of not many females use the place how often do you go and how many women are there on a Sunday

      • PaulG says:

        Joe, it’s never guaranteed but you’ve hit on the day most likely to have more couples and women at Elixir. My fiancé and I tend to now go on Sundays together (I sometimes use it by myself during the week due to more flexible work hours), and on a couple of the Sundays there have been half a dozen women there but at various times, i.e. not all together at the same time. A recent newbie we chatted to is a single woman who is unfazed at the disproportionate male/female ration as she is there for the sauna/steam room and therefore not worried about what gender surrounds her. There are always at least three therapists and one or two hostesses there to balance the numbers, but that said there will always likely be more males than females. I have never seen any untoward staring or overtures from any males towards females, the atmosphere is always very relaxed and friendly, many of those who go to Elixir are regulars and have been going there for years. However, we still need more couples to boost the female numbers so please have a chat to your good lady and try to give it a go. If you do go on a Sunday afternoon hopefully we’ll meet and we can chat more.

  18. Jim says:

    what is rios like now? we’re a couple considering going there for the first time in a few weeks and have never done this before. Are we to expect a lot of touching or guys following my wife around?

    • PaulG says:

      Hi Jim, you need to be aware that Rios is openly more than just a naturist spa, the website alone makes that plain when it talks about evenings getting a bit more adventurous, or words to that effect. It is essentially a lifestyle place where pretty much anything is tolerated. I avoid it because it does have a lot of single males gawking at any girls in the nude or following them around even if they’re with a partner, and up to 70% of the patrons wear bathing suits which makes it even more uncomfortable for those in the nude. The last time I was there with my girlfriend she did get a lot of open stares and we ended up with a few blokes trailing our every move, the fact that she’s hot doesn’t excuse that, there should be a respect for others which doesn’t seem to exist at Rios. Additionally, I found the patrons there very loud in the saunas/steam rooms, there were wet towels lying in piles inside the steam rooms, and there was plainly a lot more going on in the jacuzzis than relaxing (hygiene!). So my plain feedback is to rather go to Elixir, it is a lot smaller with a very regular patronage, but at least it is totally above board, EVERYONE is nude including the hostess (who serves behind the bar and mixes with the patrons in the sauna/steam room/jacuzzi) and the therapists who give really good, professional massages (naturist but absolutely nothing more). There does tend to be a bit of an imbalance between males v females on most days but we do see other couples there fairly often and once in a while a single female, but I must add that the single males have always been respectful, friendly and generally nice chaps. There is not even a hint of anything inappropriate. And anyway, with an average of three female therapists plus the hostess on duty every day that does help to make any visiting females feel less conspicuous. My girlfriend has never had any qualms about Elixir, but I suspect she’d rather jump into a fire than ever go back to Rios…

      • I.S. says:

        Hi Jim, I totally agree with Paul G. If you go to Elixir neither you nor your girlfriend will have concerns. Rios does have good facilities however so if you do go make it early in the day, midday or so as there are few people there (on the Wednesday that I tried it) and none of the ‘goings-on’ that probably occur later in the day. If you fancy an overnight stay somewhere then I can recommend EdenGarden in Chingford which is a lovely naturist spa b&b guesthouse, right on the edge of Epping Forest. The facilities are clean and modern and the hosts just so friendly and welcoming. It only has three rooms so isn’t crowded.

  19. James says:

    The massage there is lovely. I booked it with a lady called Natasha. She is tall, slim and has got very big boobs. i think they’re fake ones and she’s from some other country, but anyway she always sucks my cock and lets me cumm in her mouth. Other than that the place is ok !!

    • PaulG says:

      Clearly someone is living in a warped fantasy land. There is no Natasha at Elixir (I know the management there well), and there absolutely would never be that kind of behaviour going on there. Very sad that you felt compelled to share this small-minded drivel with us when we’re trying to have a constructive, positive and factual exchange. Hopefully you’ll grow up soon, in the meantime take your silly little comments elsewhere.

      For the adults on this blog thread who aren’t suffering from delusions of adequacy, and who are interested in a serious exchange of facts, this can be found in highlighted red text on the Elixir website (http://www.elixir-of-life.com/massage.html): “(Warning: To ask for sexual services at any time will result in immediate termination of the massage without refund. Elixir is a genuine naturist spa.)”

      • Ian says:

        PaulG.
        Any recommendations as to what would be considered an appropriate tip for, say, an hour’s massage at the Elixir?

      • w says:

        If you pay for a massage does it include entry fee in the cost or do you still have to pay the £16 on top?

      • PaulG says:

        W, if you book the massage in advance they won’t charge you the entry fee when you enter, if you have paid the entry fee already and book a massage whilst in the spa then they’ll deduct the entry fee you have already paid from the cost of the massage.

  20. Ian says:

    I am concerned that my email address on an earlier posting was made public despite a promise that that would not happen. Could someone please advise as to how to remove it?

  21. PaulG says:

    Hi Ian, I’d suggest you contact Stephanie, the owner of this blog and ask her to remove your address. You can find her contact details via the Home button at the top of this page which provides her website address which has that info. Maybe she can take a look at this thread at the same time and remove any stupid comments from idiots!

    In terms of tipping, it’s entirely up to you. I normally give 10% for massages anywhere, but at Elixir not that many patrons actually give tips so anything you give will be gratefully accepted.

  22. Fred says:

    Having been introduced to the wonderful sauna scene in the Netherlands many years ago and making a point of visiting one whenever I return I’m truly disappointed and dismayed at what your saying about the state of British saunas. I’ve never ever felt uncomfortable in NL but I don’t think I’d ever venture into a British ‘sauna’
    What on earth is it with Brits, nudity and sex?!

  23. Darren says:

    I visited Elixir for the first time today. After reading various reviews it sounded the best place. My only previous naturist experience has been on beaches. I’ve never done a spa (sauna, etc) before so didn’t really know what to expect.

    At the reception, I paid and was given a towel and locker key (I got a second towel later on as the first got quite wet eventually) I entered passed the reception to a small bar area with stools, there was about three men wrapped in towels seated reading or drinking. I was shown beyond that initial room by the receptionist who was very helpful. There’s a corridor with three numbered rooms for the massages, the lockers are on that corridor where you can leave your things. At the end you turn a corner passed female and male toilets (also a lockable small changing room). At the end is a jacuzzi with the sauna, steam room and shower located in the same area. There’s a bench by the way to sit on if you wish. There’s a second shower in the disabled toilet (but its just a shower).

    As I went earlier in the day it wasn’t very crowded, four maybe five other men. Aside from the female clothed receptionist, there were two naked masseuses who mingled until it was time for a massage (it felt mixed as a result – one engaged an older member in a long conversation). Everyone was very friendly and I had some enjoyable conversations with one guy. There was no awkward uncomfortable atmosphere. I felt instantly at ease. You very quickly just adjust to being naked. Whilst I wouldn’t class myself as a naturist per se, in this kind of environment it makes sense. Being a naturist venue it seems to personify the values so I doubt any woman would feel ogled (fixed eye to eye contact). There really was absolutely nothing sleazy or sordid about Elixir.

    I had a 30 minute massage (£33 – inclusive of the standard access fee). It seemed to go very quickly and if I go again, I’ll have a longer massage. It was very expertly done – I almost fell asleep. The rooms are dimly lit and it didn’t feel strange that the masseuse was also naked. She was brilliant at putting me at ease.

    I really didn’t want to leave by the end. It might be small (I went prepared to not expect a massive setting so it felt right) but with the amount of people that were using it never felt an issue (maybe if its busy it would be an issue). When I left there was only one of the masseuses using the steam room as others had left or were having a massage.

    I hope to have another visit before the summer ends. And it would probably be perfect for the winter months. Hooked!

  24. will golden says:

    That’s brilliant I am sure!
    I am asexual from birth, born with no genitalia through penile agenesis. I am incapable of sexual activity, sensation or desire. But I have to pay £15 because of the psychological disorders that drive the average man into sexual obsession/addiction.
    Surely, as someone less likely to have sexual intentions even than the £3 privileged females, I should pay £1.50!
    It’s life in general for me; I don’t even get the enjoyment of sex but I get punished for its perversion.

  25. Keith says:

    Having just returned home to the UK after a lovely time in Munich and ‘sampling’ a swim / sauna complex there, i am now very reluctant to ever again visit your normal, everyday UK sauna, as i know i would be totally disappointed ! The differences are amazing… we just don’t know how ‘to do’ saunas in this country…

  26. Ian says:

    Keith,
    Yes, you are absolutely right and I feel the same. However, provided you can go forego the pool, which I admit is my favourite bit, then as mentioned earlier in the thread there are some rare places you can get closer to the European experience, namely EdenGarden, an excellent guest house with spa, Elixir, small but friendly and totally above board, and CloverSpa, which I am told is excellent. Do try them in between trips to Germany.

  27. Dominic says:

    I’m afraid it’s a depressing fact that most British people, brought up on a diet of tabloid titillation and Carry On films are simply incapable of divorcing nudity from sex. This is the reason we cannot replicate the spa experience found on the Continent. It will be ever thus I’m afraid.

  28. Ali says:

    I’m a bit late to this party, but having lived for over a year in Sweden and now planning to come back to the UK I’m really not enjoying the prospect of having no sauna. However, have you considered the idea of going to the Finnish Church in Rotherhithe? They have gender segregated sauna hours but it only costs £6 a visit and you can go most nights of the week. I think I’ll be going there when I return to London.

  29. Mark says:

    Hi, i couldn’t agree more about the comments on the German approach to Therme and saunas. I go about 6 times a year for long weekends to Baden Baden, Wildbad, Munich and a number of water parks, swimming pools and saunas around FFT. Fabulous – No comparison with the UK.

    There are a couple of places in London ….

    Porchester Hall Turkish bath in Queensway – it has a plunge pool, sauna, 3 hot rooms and 2 steam rooms. You can get snacks, massages and there is ample room to relax. Nudity is not an issue.

    Iron Monger Row – below the swimming pool near the city road roundabout. Recently refurbished the facilities are pretty good but on the men’s day you have to wear a swimming costume as the the female staff patrol the facilities (we are in England ! )

    Both are clean and well run. They are run by Better aka GLL aka Spa London and cost around £27 entrance – top end membership of the gym gets unlimited access to these and countless other gyms, pools and smaller sauna eg Marshal Street baths (Soho) and Oasis which has an open air HEATED pool (not far from Holborn).

    There is also a place in Islington called Banya 1 but I have never been but I have heard good reports.

    It is strange that with such a diverse mixture of cultures in London doesn’t have Sento’s or Korean bath houses.

    Please feed back on your experiences and any new venues.

    Mark

  30. Mark says:

    PS : When I say “Nudity is not an issue” I mean on single sex days …..

  31. @ommunist says:

    Go to Rickmansworth. HydeAway spa. Look no further. Proper alternatives are Canning Town – http://www.newdocklands.co.uk , and already mentioned Banya Nr. 1 (kinda expensive).

  32. Kevin says:

    I tried Elixir last night for the first time, with some trepidation. I wasn’t sure what to expect although I had generally heard good reviews and it is approved by British Naturism. I was recommended to book in advance for a massage (£34 for 30 min) as this would include full use of the facilities.

    I wasn’t disappointed. Although the place was very small, and the staff were very friendly, although it took a while for me to get used to them walking around naked! The massage was excellent, and I would go for a longer one next time. The steam room was good as was the jacuzzi although the sauna was out of action. That was a pity because alternating between the steam room and sauna is meant to be good.

    Although it was 7pm on Friday, there were only me and two other guys there, one of which like me was a first timer. So none of us was brave enough to take off our towels and subscribe to the naturist ideal. Maybe next time. That meant that they got very wet in the steam room. I was not offered another dry one. However, the other new guy was a professional masseur and he said that it was very good, so obviously to be recommended.

    Would I go again – yes, I think so, as the jacuzzi and steam room, combined with the massage, were very restful. I slept well last night and am much more relaxed today!

  33. Charles says:

    Your ideas about English weather are stereotypes, not based in fact, and this article clearly shows you can’t bear anything to be different from back home. Expatriation is not for you. Go home.

    • IAn says:

      I and I think most rational readers took the comments about the weather as being just about the conditions experienced at the time the author wrote them. I can’t see anything about it being a comment on ‘typical’ English weather. And many ‘natives’ would agree that the weather often is wet and miserable, this summer excepted. I suspect you’re showing a rather dubious xenophobic side to your nature. Perhaps you should keep your comments to the BNF website, if they have one.
      IS

  34. Jon says:

    Hello Stefanie. I found your post very interesting and while you wrote it a few years ago I see the comments keep coming.

    As a UK person I have only very recently had an experience of the German sauna which was quite a culture shock! What I found interesting was how you as a German would want to have a sauna the German way (minus swimwear and presumably gender a non-issue) and yet you still wouldn’t consider yourself to be actually a naturist. .

    Out of curiosity I have a couple of questions for you:

    Firstly, would you say most Germans visit saunas regularly (or at least have tried) or is it the kind of thing that only a relatively small number of Germans would be comfortable with? It seems to be quite a big part of the culture in parts of Germany at least.

    Secondly, related to that, would you say religious groups and the churches in Germany would be generally in favour of people using sauna this way, or would it be discouraged by those groups? Perhaps it is just a total non-issue, I have no idea.

    Just very curious to know, I find these culture differences quite fascinating. Would welcome answers from any readers in the know too if Stefanie can’t answer.

    Many thanks

    • Paul G says:

      Jon, I can’t answer for Stefanie but I can give my own perspective, having lived for two years in Frankfurt previously, and having been to Germany hundreds of other times. I have also spent at least a week or more per month in Munich over the past three years, and regularly go to different hotel, municipal and private spas, including the world’s largest thermal spa resort in the world, Erding Therme, next to Munich Airport, which on a busy day will have well over a thousand people walking around naked and enjoying over 25 saunas and steam rooms, and tropical oasis of palm trees, heated pools and other attractions.

      Having been to German and Austrian spas literally hundreds of times therefore, whether they be in hotels, ski resorts, municipal spas or private ones, the experience and culture is the same throughout. Generally, in any spa throughout Germany, it is accepted and expected that everyone will be “textile free”, which is the literal translation of the German expression for being naked in the spa. This has been the case for many generations, in fact probably for hundreds of years, and stems from a desire for natural health and hygiene when enjoying the purifying effects of a sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. Germans have been doing it all their lives, as families or individuals, and therefore it is the only way they know of how to really enjoy the detoxifying benefits of a spa to the full. Any other way is considered unhygienic and less beneficial. It has nothing to do with religious belief because there is no sexual connotation associated with it. I have many times observed groups of young or old German males and females, clearly all just friends, sitting together naked at spas and chatting or playing cards together completely in the buff, just as much at ease as if they were fully clothed.

      It is clearly hard for other cultures, or people from other countries, to understand this, possibly because of the intense associated of nudity with sex, but I can assure you it is completely natural and innocent within the realms of German/Austrian spas. In fact, if you try to go into a German sauna or steam room with a bathing suit on you are very likely to be spoken to firmly by an offended German who will not be comfortable with you taking a toxic bathing suit into a hygienic sauna/steam room. I personally observed an American woman try to enter a sauna in a Munich hotel, wearing her bathing suits, and literally screaming in horror when she saw everyone in the sauna was naked. She rushed out to complain to the staff in the spa area about it, only to be told very firmly to remove her bathing suit or leave, because “this is Germany and we don’t wear clothes in the sauna!” The signs at most spa will show bathing suits with a red cross through them, or will even more clearly state that all clothing or bathing suits must be removed before entering. Of course, towels are quite acceptable and can be used to cover up private parts, but not in a German steam room where even towels should be left outside, and hoses with taps are available inside to wash down the marble or stone benches before/after sitting on them.

      Studies have actually shown that many random bathing suits that have been tested have been hosting an alarming variety of dead skin cells, different bodily fluids, fecal matter, blood, etc. It is no wonder that anyone focused on hygiene would not want to sit onto a steam room bench for example, directly after someone in a wet bathing suit has just been sitting there. Studies have also revealed a surprising fact: many people do not wash their bathing suits when on holiday, they tend to just hang them to dry in the shower or bathroom, and then pack them into their suitcases when returning home where they go straight back into the cupboard.

      Other studies have shown that bathing suits or clothing interrupt the natural flow of sweat and interfere with how well the body can detoxify or purify itself when in a sauna or steam room.

      Having adopted this sensible way or enjoying spas over the many years I’ve been visiting them in German and Austria, I cannot now enter a spa where people are wearing bathing suits, for all the reasons above, it is simply an anathema to me and I’d rather not go at all than have to be exposed to that.

      Hopefully this answers your questions.

      By the way, for anyone wanting to enjoy the ultimate experience of a German spa, try the world famous Friederichsbad in Baden-Baden. It has a 17 stage process that one goes through, from warm up sauna rooms to natural thermal steam rooms (the steam comes straight up from hot thermal water in the earth below), to being scrubbed vigorously from head to toe, to being covered in nourishing cream at the end to rejuvenate the skin, and even being wrapped like a baby in warm blankets to sleep for 20 mins in a quiet, dark room. You will leave feeling like a million bucks. And yes, it is entirely mixed and naked! 😉

      Cheers
      Paul

      • Jon says:

        Hello Paul

        Thank you very much for your detailed response. I found what you said very interesting and really appreciate the time you took to write it.

        You clearly are very familiar with the culture, and what you say kind of confirms what I suspected (I only had the recent experience and a vague awareness of how things were there). I had heard that German saunas were this way, as well as in other German speaking nations including Austria and the German part of Switzerland (and also the Netherlands and some parts of Eastern Europe including Czech Rep. I believe). Still it was another thing to actually experience it and I wasn’t sure whether it was something most German people embraced or not.

        It seems from what you say that it really is a very big part of the culture though and probably the majority of Germans have some experience of it even if they don’t go regularly. I believe that unlike in the UK even regular swimming pools and gyms in Germany will very often have a sauna and I am sure that “German rules” will apply there too.

        Of course putting all sensibilities aside it does make sense to do things this way. I knew about the hygiene reasons for not using bathing suits which you explained and I am sure that is correct. Also it kind of makes sense when you are trying to sweat to allow the skin to breathe as much as possible (besides that it is just very hot!).

        I know some other countries, like the Finnish, also stick to the no bathing suit rule but I believe they tend to be strictly single sex. What makes the German, Austrian etc. way different is how it is mixed sex too.

        It is interesting that for a German like Stefanie, she would not consider herself a naturist yet she would be willing to go to the naturist place in London in order to have the kind of experience she is used to (a “normal” sauna). So I suppose that is true for most of the Germans who use the sauna. It is just the way they do things but they would not necessarily be lifestyle “naturists”.

        As a person from the UK it still feels kind of surreal when I think of my own experience. Straight away the changing rooms were divided into female only and a mixed area (no men only section) and everyone had to walk past the mixed area to go in and out anyway! After that there were several saunas, a swimming pool (no costumes allowed), hot tubs, and mixed communal showers as well as an outside area with other pools (it was quite a large spa complex). People would then be in and out the various places, showers and pools before and after saunas, and towels and robes would be constantly on and off. As you say towels were used in the sauna but just about everyone I saw did not cover up at all when they were in there (I only saw one person do that and even then not completely).

        As you say, apparently not a sexual thing at all. It just shows how much modesty and attitudes to the body is a cultural and context determined issue. One interesting thing I observed was that in spite of the relaxed attitude to nudity there were some unspoken rules people followed, and people would still cover up in between sauna, showers, pools etc. and at those times it would always be that the men had at least a towel around the waist while women would cover their top half too with a towel or robe. I suppose anything else wouldn’t be modest! So I think it is all about context and situation and you know that any overtly sexual behaviour would be frowned on at the very least.

        As for the religious question, I thought it might be the case that some churches would discourage their members from the sauna for modesty reasons. From what you say though I strongly suspect that most don’t and it really is just a non-issue for most German people. Although I am certain Muslims must be an exception to this (mind you there was a very large mosque just down the road from the sauna I visited).

        Sorry for going on so much, but as I say I just found it all very interesting.

        Thanks again
        Jon

  35. Mery says:

    Just have a look here
    http://www.gobanya.co.uk
    Best!

  36. lorniemcv says:

    Hi Stefanie, I think this is a really interesting article. I have just started my own blog on saunas and steam rooms around the world. I live in London and love going to a sauna to relax and wind down. However I have really struggled to find a good one that isn’t part of a members only gym or is a gay sauna. It is bizarre. I have found a good one just out of London near my mums which I will do a post on soon.

  37. northlondoner says:

    An interesting article about the lack of what I would term proper saunas in the UK. Similarly to many of those who have contributed comments, I too visit Elixir, which is less than half an hour away from where I live. A sauna without swimwear is simply comfortable, whereas with one is not. I have said about German saunas that they are not naturist saunas, just saunas, and that is how I think it should be.

    If you are looking for a mixed spa which is a sauna and steam room and those there are going without hidden intentions, then the choice seems to be Elixir or Clover Spa. How fortunate Germans or Austrians are to have a much wider choice.

  38. lorniemcv says:

    Love this post, so so true. I have just posted a very similar post on my new blog – please check it out! Have you managed to find any other good ones in London?

  39. dan says:

    http://www.better.org.uk/leisure/porchester-spa

    Check out London’s finest bath house, I’m going there this Sunday the place looks beautiful… This is a helpful article wish you had more venues reviewed x

  40. Dirk says:

    Yet another German in London seeking a pure Sauna.
    On my search I came across the Finnish Church. Sounds like the real thing.
    http://www.finnishchurch.org.uk/107-sauna
    Anyone been there yet?

    • Ali says:

      Dirk – same Ali as earlier in this thread. I tried the church and loved it, I go there nearly every week, it’s a great sauna and has a very nice and friendly crowd (and the people who work there are wonderful too). It’s very social and welcoming, and I’ve even made some good friends there 🙂

      The only down side is it’s not that big, and the hours for men are a bit limited, so if you have a busy schedule or you live/work far away from it you might find it hard to go. Maybe I’ll see you there sometime 🙂

      • Stace says:

        It’s a pity there are limited genuine relaxation spots in London. Spa Heaven in South Woodford caters to people who just want to unwind and destress. There is a hot tub for 3 people on site and professional massage is also available. Individual use only, not a communal setting due to the size of premises; 1 hour hot tub use is only £30. Hot tub and massage: £70.
        Unsavoury types are welcome here. This is a genuine relaxation zone only.
        Best wishes to all.

      • Stace says:

        Typo on my above post: i meant to say unsavoury types are most definitely NOT welcome at Spa Heaven. Please do not book if you are looking for anything other than genuine relaxation.
        For those who are looking for a genuine peaceful setting, feel free to book on soheavenlymassage.co.uk or contact on the number shown on website.
        Thank you.

  41. What i don’t realize is in fact how you are no longer actually a lot more
    well-liked than you may be right now. You’re very intelligent.
    You recognize thus significantly with regards to this
    matter, produced me in my view consider it from a lot of
    numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved except it is something to do with Woman gaga!
    Your personal stuffs great. All the time handle it
    up!

  42. Jake says:

    If you want a proper Finnish sauna, you ought to buy one. http://www.finnmark.co.uk is the only place that sells Finnish-made, Finnish-designed saunas to the UK market.

    • Hi Stef
      I have some good news for you – I have managed to find a couple of saunas in London that aren’t too expensive and are “traditional” saunas. The best one has been Marshall Street Spa in Soho which is only £11 to get in. I have yet to write my review of that one however please do check out my blog for some other reviews – https://springsaunaswim.wordpress.com

      • Springsaunaswim, when you say “traditional” saunas do you mean that they can be used without swimwear? If so is allowed in the mixed sessions at Marshall Street Spa? I’d be VERY surprised if so.

        So Marshall Street Spa is one of these traditional saunas, what is the other one??

      • Austeianman says:

        Looking at their website it seems to be traditional only in the sense of British traditional. It does appear to be European style. If someone has actually tried it and knows differently please do let us know?

  43. Austrianman says:

    Correction: it does NOT appear to be European traditional!

  44. Stan says:

    Hi, just to let you know that there is a small guesthouse in Chingford, (N/E London) that has “clothing-free” sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. But it is only available to guests staying at the b&b. http://www.edengarden.co.uk

    • Austrianman says:

      Yes, this is a gem of a place, we have stayed there several times and are long overdue to return. Highly recommended.

  45. Austrianman says:

    Have recently revisited Elixir now known as Naked Hands Spa. Sad to say, it’s not the same. Receptionist very friendly but no staff to mingle with clients like before until I was just leaving. She was also very happy and friendly so I wish I could have stayed beyond 7pm and maybe the atmosphere would have improved with her arrival. Massage was OK but therapist seemed disinterested and was looking into space, apparently.
    Showers we’re poor with one being impossible to adjust temperature to a bearable cool enough temperature. It must be very difficult to profitable and have enough staff but unless it gets back its previous appeal I can’t see it lasting much longer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s