Spa Castle alternatives?
March 12, 2010 2:52 PM   Subscribe

NYC filter: I've been a fan of Spa Castle for a while, now, and treat myself from time to time when I've just met a deadline or need a break from stress. I'm about due for my next trip, but now I'm curious -- are there other, similar facilities in the city that I should try instead?

I love that I can pay a flat fee and spend the entire day wandering around in my dweeby-looking uniform, basking in the saunas and floating around various pools. In particular, I enjoy the women-only bathing pools in the locker room, and often spend hours there soaking in the heat while I unwind. And I appreciate the family-friendly feel, with no skeevy vibe interrupting my relaxation.

But I'd hate to be missing out on other spas or bath houses that might be better, cheaper, easier to get to or just more interesting in some way. Suggestions don't need to adhere super-closely to what I've described above -- I'm adventurous and don't mind trying new things! I'm also willing to go pretty much anywhere in the city that can be accessed by pubtrans.
posted by Narrative Priorities to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You should try the Russian and Turkish Baths on 10th Street. Great for a shvitz!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:23 PM on March 12, 2010

Best answer: The Russian Baths near Fulton St are mixed gender but fun, though probably not as nice as spa castle. They are nicer and bigger than the 10th st Russian baths which other people on here will probably direct you to.
It's $30 for a day pass and they have a pool, hot tub, many saunas of varying hotnesses, a steam room, a cold plunge pool, showers, a restaurant, a cafe, and locker rooms.
Bonuses: old hairy russian dudes with funny sauna hats and professionals will beat you with tree branches while you steam for an additional charge.
I think they also have massages but I haven't gotten one.
Do get beaten, though, it is interesting and fun.
posted by rmless at 3:28 PM on March 12, 2010

Best answer: I sometimes go to Coney Island Banya. I lived in Scandinavia and got to love the saunas there. I was happy to find that Russian Banyas are very similar. Coney Island Banya is $25, very clean, and authentic. The wonderful cedar sauna is a very hot treat, but there is also a cold pool and a stream.

Most of the people there when I went were Russian immigrants, lots of families. They told me about the practice of beating each other with birch branches, which is also practiced in Finland. You need to bring your our birch branch though. The lady who runs it is rather brusk...I would pay by cash because she gets angry about credit cards.

The also have a restaurant, so if you want some delicious Russian chicken soup after you have sweated out, you can get it there.
posted by melissam at 7:42 AM on March 13, 2010

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