We always pronounced it Éire, as in the Irish word for Ireland, but the way to say Aire is in fact Ai-ra. As in irate. And if you are in anyway irate/stressed/tense, a visit to these Ancient Baths in Tribeca will sort you right out. Since opening last summer, we’d been meaning to give it a test run but we were just so… stressed! And busy! Last week howevs, we finally made it to the giant space on Franklin Street. Upon check-in, guests are given a cup of amazingly delicious red tea and shown to the changing room. Little non-slip slippers are provided and must be worn even in the water, just like when you’re a kid and your mom doesn’t want you get a verruca at the public pool, only now we’re adults in America and it’s about not slipping and an injury lawsuit. You put on your swimsuit and are led below street level to an enormous bare-brick candlelit space with several pools and glass boxes housing steam and massage rooms. It’s impressive and the kind of place they would probably film a scene for Sex & The City were it still shooting. We even had our very own Samantha moment when we were shushed for talking above a whisper. You must whisper! The pools range from saltwater to the most intensely bubbly Jacuzzi we’ve ever been in, and some non-bubbly pools of varying temperatures. The idea is to go from warm to hot to really cold (a plunge pool called a frigidarium), repeating the cycle several times. The process relaxes the muscles, after which you can have those muscles stretched out during a 15, 30, 45 or 60-minute massage in one of the glass box rooms. FYI, as massages go, ours was exceptional. Between pool dips you can chill in the seating area and drink more of that delicious red tea, relax and ponder on how some ladies like to wear bikinis to the spa, and no judging, isn’t it more of a one-piece situation? Maybe not everyone has a one-piece? Anyway, you should go to this place, it’s really something.
88 Franklin Street, New York NY 10013 Rates begin at $75 for a 90-minute thermal bath session. Massage rates vary. Ancientbathsny.com