Is there anything more rejuvenating than a good soak and steam sesh? Whether it’s a traditional Japanese sento, a bath of milk and roses, or a good ol’ sweat out in the sauna, you and your achy muscles will feel tip-top after visiting one of these Melbourne saunas and spas.
Norbu Infrafred at The Olsen
Norbu is more than just a little bit luxe. It’s the in-house spa facility at The Olsen Hotel in South Yarra, though it’s also open to the public if you book ahead. Norbu offers an infrared sauna treatment, dubbed The Detox Box. It’s the perfect treatment for those of you that find regular saunas just a touch too hot to comfortably enjoy—the trick is it’s heated to a slightly lower temperature than regular saunas. Book ahead for this one as space is limited.
Our Friends over at Miss Fox are well versed in all things pampering and relaxation (seriously, have you tried their facials?!) But there’s more to this big hitting beauty salon on Little Collins Street than manis and facials. They’ll fix you up a sensational soak session faster than you can say bubble bath. The 1001 Roses milk bath is my pick for something a bit different (and decadent!) Hot tip: For a pretty penny, you can add on in-tub scalp massages, champagne and macaroons. Heaven?
One of our top picks for traditional Japanese bathhouses in Melbourne, it’s hard to go past Onsen Ma. This CBD bathhouse is run in the tradition Japanese format—it’s not for the prudish, though private baths are available. Undress, wash, and then sink into the deep baths of super hot water. It’ll take a moment to adjust, but your muscles will thank you later.
Gravity Floatation Centre
Northcote & Armadale
It’s not your usual soak or steam sesh, but loyal regulars swear by the wellness benefits that flotation has to offer. Gravity Floatation Centre, which has locations in Northcote and Armadale, offers sci-fi-esque looking pods that you may be hesitant to climb inside upon fist inspection, but rest assured they’re only filled with skin temperature water and Epsom salts—the ultimate combo for a deeply relaxing float. You’re completely in control of the lighting and whether or not the lid is open or closed. Though for maximum relaxation it has to be lights off, lid shut. Most people book in for an hour long float, though the patient (or very stressed?!) often opt for a two hour session.
Sunlighten is a favourite with those that enjoy heat, but not humidity. There’s no steam or any of the moisture that comes with a regular sauna at Sunlighten, meaning that you’re safe to take your iPad or kindle and settle in for an hour or two. Instead of the sweats you’ll be treated to a gentle, soothing warmth in one of their pristine timber cabins, with fresh towels galore. You’ll find it in the heart of South Melbourne, on Clarendon Street.
Another day spa offering situated inside a hotel, The Langham’s Chuan Spa’s Tri-Bathing ritual is well worth a look in if you’ve got some time to spare. Kick things off with the spacious salt water jacuzzi then continue on to the traditional style sauna before enjoying a river stone snail shower. Intrigued? The conceptual shower design forces 12 jets of water onto separate muscles groups while invigorating you from above with a generous rain shower and steam.
The Japanese Bath House
The Japanese are really on to something with their bathing traditions, and it’s no wonder—the ritual has been around for over 1000 years. The Japanese Bathhouse in Collingwood is the original bathhouse of its type in Melbourne, operating since 1999. Affording Melburnians the ultimate relaxation, The Japanese Bath House is run as a traditional sento and is segregated into men’s and women’s areas. As with all traditional Japanese bath houses, it’s kit off, rinse with hand held bowl, and then jump in for a relaxing, long, hot soak.
For Something a little less luxe, but still very pleasant and functional for a solid soak and steam, MSAC has a pretty flash set of facilities. You can tack it on to the end of your swim or workout for no extra cost, and there’s a steam room, a sauna and the hydro pool upstairs, which is a constant and very pleasant 32 degrees. Or you can just go along, scrap the workout, and reeeelax.
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Image credit: Onsen Ma