Taking a Dip at AIRE Ancient Baths

I can’t go for a long old soak in the tub in my flat because I sadly don’t have one, but I can head on over to AIRE Ancient Baths for a relaxing dip. AIRE, inspired by Greek, Roman and Ottoman traditions of bathing, creates modern versions of thermal baths in restored historical buildings in various locations around the world – the London AIRE lives inside an 18th-century building in Charing Cross that was once the home of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie. 

AIRE has worked with the building’s original architecture to transform the space into a sanctuary. The arched ceilings and exposed brick in the main bath area coupled with flickering candles and soothing music really does create a tranquil atmosphere (helped immensely by the no phones rule) and it doesn’t take long to forget that I’m smack bang in the centre of London. 

The main space features a series of pools and baths at different temperatures; there’s the warm Tepidarium (36º), the hot Caldarium (40º), and the cold Frigidarium (one at 14º and one at 10º) as well as the Vaporium steam room, the Balneum jet bath, and the Floatarium salt bath, where you can also have a little salt scrub. You can move around the different ones however you like and there’s also a relaxation area with herbal tea if you want to take a break from the water. 

The whole operation is run like a very tight ship with so many members of staff on hand to make the experience as calm and seamless as possible – there’s someone to check you in, someone in the changing room to explain how it works, someone to take you down to the baths, someone to give you a tour, and if you have a treatment as part of your visit (I had a super relaxing 45-minute as part of mine), someone will collect you from the baths when it’s time so you don’t have to worry about timekeeping. 

AIRE has brought a bit of bath culture to the capital, and though it doesn’t come cheap, it’s a real self-care treat.

2-3 Robert St, London, WC2N 6RL