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SPECS  upscale spa drawing inspiration from the public bathhouses of ancient Roman times – features a course of pools, baths and steam room to relax the body and mind and treat the skin – environment is dark, sexy and beautiful – massages also offered
GOOD FOR  complete relaxation – massage – new experience – intimate date
CROWD  mostly couples and groups of women, refined Tribeca vibe
ENTRY reservations are recommended and can easily be made online or over the phone
MENU OF SERVICE  enjoy the baths in 2 hour increments ($75) – additional services include massages, private room options: wine, cava, olive oil and kerala rituals – MENU
HOURS/LOCATION  Sun-Thurs 9:00am-11pm, Fri/Sat 9am-1am – 88 Franklin St. TriBeCa – MAP

Electric Relaxation – Tribe Called Quest

Slow walking tourists, subway door hogs, a constant cacophony of car horns… stress builds up pretty quickly in NYC. We live in a culture of go go go and most have no way of coping with it. Time to take a lesson from the Romans… Public baths are used as a form of relaxation in many cultures, but the Romans knew how to do it with style. Bathing rituals which included alternating between hot and cold baths were a common form of hydrotherapy. They also played a part in lavish banquets thrown for guests and men of high status and wealth.

Aire is inspired by these baths of ancient Roman times and does a fantastic job of translating these rituals into an upscale style TriBeCa spa. The experience at Aire is flawless from start to finish. The lobby is grandiose but inviting and calming. Friendly staff is immediately attentive and ready to guide you through your journey. High tech locker rooms provide a wrist band that act as a key to your locker and a ticket to enter the spa. The spa is dark, steamy and sensual with votive candles littered throughout. There is a low rumble of water jets as soothing music echoes off the tall brick walls. The space is breathtaking and very well laid out.

The spa features 6 different pools along with a Hammam (steam room) and a lounge area with heated marble stone. There is a natural order to approaching the baths which is explained beforehand. First comes the Tepidarium. This is the largest pool and sits at a beautiful 97 degrees. This pool gets your body temperature up and starts the relation process. Next is the Caldarium. This is the hottest pool sitting at 102 degrees. At first the extreme temperature is a shock, but you will soon feel your muscle tension melting away. Your next move comes with slightly terrifying choice of Frigidarium cold pools…  57 degrees or 50 degrees. There is actually a giant block of ice floating around in the 50 degree pool. A plunge into one of these sends blood rushing through the body and is an exhilarating born again type experience. This process is also said to produce a slew of health benefits. It’s then time to get your body temp back up and enter the incredible Flotarium (100 degrees). This is a heavy salt water pool easing the ability to float. The idea is to spread out and float motionlessly across the pool. Music is played under water so as you are floating you don’t miss out on the relaxing tunes. Lastly, there is a 97 degree propeller jet bath to cap off the water therapy.

After the bathing ritual, move on to the steam room which features beautiful marble steps and is enclosed in a glass room. The room is set at 102 degrees and the experience is intensified by aromatherapy oils that invigorate the senses. The lounge area sits outside the steam room and has heated marble stone benches along with tea and fresh organic juices to help rejuvenate. When your session is complete, staff will walk around the spa tinging a set of Chinese bells. After changing, the attendant in the locker room will spin dry your bathing suit and pack it neatly in a zip lock bag for you.

So next time the stresses of NYC are getting to you… before you punch the subway door hog or step all over the midtown tourists… head down to TriBeCa and relax in luxury at Aire Ancient Baths.

-E

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