Old Street Spa at Ironmonger Row Baths
Originally built as a public washhouse in 1931, Ironmonger Row Baths recently underwent a £16.5 million restoration, giving their Turkish Bath Room a luxury spruce. Based on a system dating back to Roman times, the three hot rooms vary from moderate to intense heat. Start off in the Tepidarium (warm room) before scooting over to the Caldarium (hotter room) and finally the Laconium (hottest room). Designed to relax the muscles and relieve pains associated with rheumatism, the Turkish tradition also helps to soothe the soul. If you're gutsy, there’s also an ice-cold plunge pool.
Where: 1 Norman St, London EC1V 3AA
When: Mon., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (women only) & 6-9 p.m. (mixed); Tues. & Weds., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (mixed); Thurs., noon-5:30 p.m. (mixed) & 6-9 p.m. (men only); Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (women only); Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (mixed)
How: Book treatments online.
Between the marble arches, chequered tile floor and glistening turquoise pools, when you enter Porchester Spa you might feel like you've landed in a scene from Death Becomes Her. But while Isabella Rossellini may not be at hand to anoint you with her age-reversing potion, there are plenty of rejuvenating treatments on offer. While away the hours in one of their three Turkish hot rooms, two Russian steam rooms, Jacuzzi and sauna. Built in the late '20s, this is one of the oldest remaining spas in London with surprisingly affordable prices for this part of town. Amongst their treatment packages, they offer a Polynesian body scrub and a Moor mud spa experience. For the general spa, there are women-only, men-only and mixed days throughout the week.
Where: The Porchester Centre, Bayswater, London W2 5HS
When: Mon., Weds. & Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (men only); Tues., Thurs. & Fri., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (women only); Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (women only) & 4-10 p.m. (mixed)
How: Book treatments online.
For the traditional Turkish bath experience, take your weary bones to Pasha Spa in Camberwell. Choose from one of their three ‘Rituals,’ including the Turkish Bath Ritual, the Moroccan Hamam Ritual and the Royal Oriental Ritual. The indulgent Turkish Bath Ritual is a 90-minute private hammam experience including a herbal steam session and full-body scrub followed by a traditional crushed olive oil bubble soap massage. And if that’s not enough to transport you to Anatolia, enjoy a free herbal tea with cake and Turkish delight after your chosen ritual.
Where: 158 Camberwell Rd, London SE5 0EE
When: Mon., Weds. & Fri., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Tues. & Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
How: Book online.
Turkish Bath Hamam, Dalston
From the outside, the Turkish Bath Hamam in Dalston is easily camouflaged amongst the Turkish restaurants, kebab shops and barbershops that the neighbourhood is famous for. It is, however, the only traditional Turkish bathhouse for miles. Step inside the faux-stone facade to the scent of Turkish coffee and hot steam. Attracting mostly locals and the odd chilly hipster, Turkish Bath Hamam offers packages tailored to your needs. Choose from a stress-busting session to their popular Turkish Coffee Package — including a full coffee-based body peel, massage and fresh fruit juice (that part you can drink). If you’re just looking to warm your cockles, spend up to two hours in the marbled hammam and steam room for £20.
Where: 4A Crossway, London N16 8HX
When: Mon., Weds. & Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (women only); Tues., Thurs., Fri. & Sun., noon-3 a.m. (men only)
How: Book online or call 020 7249 5554.
Rio’s Naturist Club
We live in a time when the words ‘steam room’ and ‘massage parlour’ tend to be ... suggestive. While Rio’s in Kentish Town is by no means an X-rated establishment, it does teeter towards the more risqué end of the spectrum. It prides itself as being ‘London’s Leading Naturist Health Spa’, and the hilarious tropical theme allows customers to step in from the cold (and out of their clothes) into a steamy oasis of naked bodies. There are three steam rooms, two new sauna cabins and three large Jacuzzis. It's hardly a place for the prudish, but if it’s piqued your interest, check out their website, where images speak louder than words.
Where: 239-241 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2JT
When: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 a.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; 6 p.m.-midnight (couples only); midnight-7 a.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
How: See prices online or call 020 7485 0607.