AIRE Ancient Baths Chicago: Experience Total Serenity of a Thermal Tour
I recently had the opportunity to experience absolute peace and serenity at AIRE Ancient Baths in River West, and WOW, my life has been forever altered! AIRE is a high-end bath house set in an industrial-style building (think exposed brick, concrete walls, and wooden beams). This luxury setting provides the experience of the traditional Roman, Greek, and Ottoman ancient baths and it is a serious treat.
Disclaimer: AIRE Ancient Baths is NOT a real bath house where people actually bathe and/or frolick around in the nude! It’s more like a tasteful and luxury spa with hot tubs.
Upon entering AIRE Ancient Baths through a brick alley, visitors are greeted by a wall of candles in a dimly lit lobby. The environment immediately sets the vibe of total tranquility! Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, the lobby is currently decked out with gorgeous, berry-toned floral installations by a local florist. I instantly felt so at peace just while waiting to be check in.
Table of Contents
|From the Locker Rooms to Bath House
|Bath Options at AIRE
Hot vs. Cold Baths
An Outdoors Bath
Steam Baths with Aromatherapy
Additional Perks: Exfoliation & Cucumber Water
|Valentine’s Day Experiences
|Book Your Experience
Journey to heaven (aka the baths)
So my friend and I were first shown to the locker rooms, which are also incredibly pristine. Just seeing the brick walls and the warm designs with the AIRE logo was so calming. And the rustic marble sinks and large clay vases are super aesthetic! They also have everything you need in the locker rooms: showers, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, towels, hair products, hair dryers, and deodorant. PLUS, after using the baths, the staff dries your swimsuit for you!
We were provided white robes and fitted slippers — the latter are meant to be worn throughout the bath house and in the showers. After changing into our swimsuits, we headed towards the back door that leads to the baths. Once you enter, it honestly feels like you’re transported to a different world.
Firstly, there are candles lit EVERYWHERE inside the main room to AIRE Ancient Baths! Even on the stairs leading down to the baths, candles line both sides to guide you through the dim lighting. Beautiful, serene music plays softly in the background and again, so many clay vases are on display to set the scene of a real ancient bath house!
VARIOUS baths of different temperatures
AIRE Ancient Baths offers several different baths to experience as part of their thermal tour. To just use these baths, it’s $145 per person, which actually is well worth it after experiencing it firsthand!
From hot To cold Range baths
First, there is the Caldarium, which is the hot bath of 102 degrees (fahrenheit). This is easily one of my favorites because I LOVE excessively hot temperatures! It was especially great since I was super sore from the last two days of workouts; I felt all the pain in the my muscles instantly melt away!
The Frigidarium consists of a cold bath and an ice bath, the first at 57 degrees and the second at 50 degrees. My friend and I could NOT get into these. LOL. Even after being in the hot baths, they were way too cold for us to handle. We dipped part of our toes in and almost screamed! Personally, I feel like mostly men would enjoy this one since a lot of guys I know are always sweating and too hot and love cold showers/baths (my boyfriend is a walking heater).
The Baleum is basically like a hot tub with jets, known as the One Thousand Jets bath. Obviously, this one is amazing! The temperature wasn’t too overbearing and the jets are pretty firm, which is awesome.
The Flotarium is the salt water bath. While this one is good to float in, it didn’t really stand out much compared to the others! But it is the first one you see when entering AIRE Ancient Baths.
The Tepidarium or warm bath is 97 degrees and is one of the biggest baths; it’s the most fun to swim in and has various walls and mirrors, which is so cool. But its temperature definitely fits the name — it’s quite tepid!
a bath outdoors
One of my other favorites at AIRE Ancient Baths was the Palestra, an indoor/outdoor bath! This one adjusts to the temperature depending on the time of year. It starts indoors, but then you can swim under to a small outdoor courtyard, which is so cute and rustic! There are even hanging lights above. Scroll down to see the outside part!
The Vaporium are basically two steam rooms with aromatherapy — one has lavender for relaxation and one peppermint to clear the sinuses. To be honest, the peppermint steam room is kind of potent and extremely hot! But what really impressed me was the cold plunge INSIDE the steam room (you will need to take a small dip).
PERKS without paying extra
Between the Palestra and the Baleum is an area with a huge pile of salt or some luxurious kind of body scrub to exfoliate! You can exfoliate your entire body and rinse off under the rainfall shower next to it. This little perk was a great addition for AIRE Ancient Baths to offer to those just wanting to experience the baths without paying for the extra add-ons.
TIP: The temperature on the rainfall shower seemed to be backwards, so if you turn it on “hot” it might feel ice cold (and vice versa). LOL.
Another great perk is the cucumber water they provide throughout the bath house and in the locker rooms! You will definitely need to hydrate after experiencing the various temperatures, and this water was SO refreshing.
Valentine’s Day Experiences
Since Valentine’s Day is just next week, AIRE Ancient Baths is offering some special experiences for both couples and singles to enjoy some extra pampering! All experiences include the thermal tour to use all the baths.
The Velvet Garden Event comes with (or without) a 45 or 60-minute massage with basalt stones and aromatherapy. This experience also comes with hydrogel eye patches, rosé cava, and velvet macarons! Because it’s a limited time offer, this one only runs between February 14-19th.
Love Connection is a similar experience that includes a glass of dealcoholized sparkling wine and truffles! Yum.
The Ultimate Blossom Ritual includes a floral exfoliation with Himilayan pink salt and kukui oil, which is supposed to make your skin feel super sillky! Water infused with white jasmine and lotus is then misted over the body to help dissolve the scrub. After, a white clay body mask with an infusion of sacred Hindu flowers is applied to enjoy with a cranial massage. Two fresh juices are included.
The Signature Wine Experience is one of my obvious favorites at AIRE Ancient Baths and is one of the most indulgent! This includes a wine bath in Spanish Ribera del Duero red grapes — ahhhhh! Also, a 1-hour grapeseed oil massage comes after, as well as a cranial massage with hydrating mask. Don’t be mistaken though, this is one of the pricer experiences at $650 a person and $1,300 per couple! Part of me does feel conflicted though with this one; is it actually worth the money to waste this much wine by bathing in it and NOT drinking it? I don’t know…if anyone has tried it, let me know.
Book your experience
Check out all of the AIRE Ancient Baths experiences (hint, there are MANY!) to book the romantic or relaxing getaway you absolutely deserve! Please note — AIRE is very careful to limit the amount of people in its bath house at a time to maintain a peaceful environment, so book early.
PHOTO/VIDEO DISCLAIMER: My team was lucky enough to have early private media access in order to film here; AIRE has a strict no-film policy during operating hours though to respect the privacy and tranquility of their guests! But TRUST ME, you will enjoy the venue so much more without being on your phone.
DYK? AIRE Ancient Baths is located in eight cities around the world! Have you experienced another location? Let me know how it went in the comments below!