Few times a year my two good old friends and I gather together to exchange news. Our program is always the same. First we meet each other in the Ateljee Bar Torni. This bar was founded in 1951 and it has an amazing view over Helsinki.
From the Ateljee Bar we move on to the Yrjönkatu Swimming hall. In my opinion it has the best saunas in Helsinki. There is an electric sauna, a steam sauna and a big wood-heated sauna (my favorite!). Usually we rent a small locker room to chat in peace.
Yrjönkatu Swimming hall has kept its original architectural spirit and it has served people of Helsinki since 1928. There are separate shifts for women and men. And don’t be surprised, customers may swim with or without a bathing suit.
After two hours of bathing we are ready for a dinner. Our next classic destination is the Cultural Restaurant Kosmos, a traditional meeting place for Finnish artists and journalists. In Kosmos time has stopped and you can still feel the original 1920’s atmosphere: white tablecloths, chandeliers and palm trees.
And you know, after sharing time with my beloved friends, enjoying a good sauna and tasty food, the world always looks brighter…
Ateljee Bar Torni
Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall
I visited a home and garden fair in Lausanne, Switzerland (www.habitat-jardin.ch) in the beginning of March, and saw many interesting things there. But as always as a Finn, saunas catch my attention.
I found a very unique sauna there; one wall at the end of a barrel sauna was a half a sphere. The view was a panoramic one that brings you so close to nature and lets you enjoy it. How easy is this? Just pick the place for your sauna, this company comes and puts it together for you on site and you can start enjoying! This sauna was made out of Canadian red cedar. All the details were nicely finished and especially the cedar smell was really vibrant.
I was happy to see Helo and Harvia sauna stoves at the fair, but those were the only Finnish sauna items that I was able to find. While living in Geneva I have met many people, not only Finnish, who have saunas in their homes or chalets. I think people have found this Finnish way relaxing here too. There is clearly a real demand for saunas in central Europe. The wooden outdoor tubs seem to be very popular here as well. I couldn’t help thinking that Finnish sauna manufacturers and other sauna products should be more available and present here. We have a lot to give and share about our sauna traditions.
Author and photos: Anne
Last year I got my favorite Mother’s day gift from my family: a spa gift card for a quality time in a luxurious Day Spa and Sauna Resort in New Jersey. And because I didn’t want to go there alone, Kati generously volunteered to join me. Of course I asked first my loving husband, but unfortunately he doesn’t like spas, yet. That is something I have to work on in future.
Then one rainy day we headed towards our spa destination. The place had all different kinds of saunas and facilities: Russian dry sauna, Russian wet sauna, Turkish sauna, Aromatherapy sauna, Jacuzzis, swimming pools and Ice cold bath tubs. There was also a wide menu of beauty treatments to choose from.
We decided to take a treatment package called Girls Night Out. With an exfoliate facial and a full body scrub, it sounded just what we needed. I also noticed that there were some side by side couple treatments available. Getting my husband there could work someday, but Two Bodies One Soul in Tranquility did sound slightly unrealistic.
Kati and I started with a facial. It was relaxing and gentle. After the treatment we admired each other’s glowing cheeks and were absolutely sure that we looked younger. We ordered fresh and tasty smoothies from the bar while we waited for our body scrub. And it was really worth the wait! This rough and almost primitive treatment was not meant for sensitive or shy people. But afterwards we felt so good!
Our spa adventure in New Jersey surprisingly proved that you can get hooked on sauna, but you are also able to get hooked on a body scrub. And to celebrate Mother’s day, we are already planning a new exciting body scrub trip.
We would like to wish a tranquil Mother’s day to all mothers!
The Spa we visited: http://www.brcsaunaspa.com
Author and text: Laura
We Finns are not the only ones who love sauna. Here in New York we have found many different kinds of sauna cultures from all over the world. One of the liveliest comes from Russia.
There are several popular Russian saunas, banyas, in Manhattan. We visited one of them, situated in the heart of the hectic financial district. The Wall Street Bath & Spa offers different kinds of saunas, from steam to red-hot wood-heated saunas to relax. Their pride is an authentic Russian sauna room with a stove made with 16 tons of rock.
This Banya is not fancy and it seems to be a homey meeting place for Russian immigrants far away from home. There is friendly chatting going on in the spa restaurant as well as in the relaxing area next to a big swimming pool. There is no rush and we could easily spend hours there.
Later we heard that 90 percent of Banya customers are other than Russians. In fact, many New York Finns are regular Russian sauna goers. It looks like that Banya offers us the most traditional sauna experience we can have in New York.
Russians baths in New York
Authors: Kati & Laura
Photo: The Wall Street Bath & Spa