REVIEW: Banya No.1, Old Street
West Puente Valley WHAT? Banya No.1 is a super traditional Russian spa club offering thermal (and brutal) ‘Parenie’ massages and a host of relaxing treatments. There’s a freezing plunge pool, sauna and lounge bar, the latter for slurping Borsch (beetroot soup) under pictures of Vladimir Putin. If you’re looking for a calming experience that’s out of the ordinary, this is surely it.
Druzhkivka WHY GO? For a spa day like you’ve never had, leaving you refreshed and thrilled having tried something completely new (and probably out of your comfort zone). Not many therapists encourage the drinking of neat vodka while peeling shellfish in your dressing gown, but quite frankly we think they all should.
We tried the spa’s signature treatment, a ‘Parenie’ (Venik massage – £30 for 10 minutes), which involves lying on a hot bed while huge, fragrant bundles of leafy twigs are slapped across the body to shift air in the steam room, making you sweat profusely. Stimulating blood circulation, this is said to improve metabolism, relieves stress and ease muscle tension.
Essential oils released by the Venik branches boost immune system and prevent skin from premature ageing. While we couldn’t say we completely enjoyed the treatment (it’s super hot, and difficult to stand for those with sensitive skin) we felt fantastic having cooled down with a glass of water (and a dunk in the 7c plunge pool!).
More relaxing treatments available include a honey & salt or coffee scrub, a mud décolleté treatment with a foot bath, and an aloe vera full body & hair mask. You can try a full Siberian body wash with birch Venik (while laying on a hot stone) or a range of massages – choose from Russian, Deep Tissue, Shiatsu, Remedial and Reflexology.
São Luís WHERE? Hidden down a side road between Old Street and Angel tube stations (both a few minutes’ walk), we’ve lived in the area for years, unaware of this little gem.
http://beautyandstyleguide.com/what-your-manicurist-probably-hasnt-told-you-about-acrylic-nails/ ANYTHING ELSE? Wondering what the cute little elf hats are all about? They’re a traditional felt accessory, keeping the head from heating up faster than the body’s core temperature when sitting or standing in a steam room. It also protects your hair!
Amy was a guest of Banya No. 1