Four Local Baths Where You Can Soak Your Stress Away
Because baths are the new spas.
It seems like every culture but ours has some kind of detoxing bath tradition. Luckily, you can find everything from Russian pinewood steam baths to Korean charcoal rooms all around Philly. Check out the four options below for total relaxation:
If you’re not shy: Chung Dam Spa & Fitness
Get ready to get naked: Stripping to your birthday suit is de rigueur at this Korean jjimjilbang bathhouse, where men and women split up before circulating through an endless course of steam rooms, hot baths, and services like reflexology. (Good thing the doors don’t close until 11 p.m.) Three must-do’s: detox in the mugwort-infused herbal steam bath, catnap in the hot clay and charcoal room, and opt for a body scrub. $25 admission; 41 East Cheltenham Avenue, Cheltenham.
If you want to culture-hop: Southampton Spa
This no-frills Russian bathhouse has swimming pools, hydrotherapy tubs and, best of all, borscht. Arrive with friends via the free shuttle and sweat your stresses away in the stone and pinewood steam baths. Go all out with a traditional platza massage — a rub with a steamy bundle of eucalyptus and birch — then hit the adjoining restaurant for vareniki dumplings and a shot of probiotic-packed kvass. $40 admission; 141 Second Street Pike, Southampton.
If you crave total silence: Flotation Philly
Need a break from all of life’s distractions? Close the lid on a personal sensory deprivation pod and spend the next hour in 10 inches of warm water infused with soothing Epsom salts. Though you can adjust, there’s typically no light and no sound. This leaves your mind free to Zen out — and wander back to wherever it was headed before your iPhone got in the way. $59 for an hour; 534 East Girard Avenue, Fishtown.
If you want to be transported: Joseph Anthony Retreat Spa
The Turkish bath experience here is, in a word, trippy. You’ll lounge in an ornate room outfitted with heated tile benches and stare up at a ceiling dotted with color-changing lights while steam fills the space. The next 35 minutes are best spent alternating between the cold fog and warm rain shower settings while you slather on muds, oils and scrubs. $55 by appointment; 400 West Sproul Road, Springfield.
Published as “Baths Are the New Spas” in the April 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.