A year ago, Jane and I spent a long weekend in an Airbnb apartment kitted out with a sauna, hot tub, and massage chair. It inspired us to try to create our own home spa, and to start this website.
Recently we took another long weekend – this time to a ‘proper’ spa hotel. Partly to relax, partly to get some mountain air in our lungs, and partly to scope out the competition – you know, see how the pros do it and invent ways to make our home spa even better.
I recorded the conversation we had after the trip – here’s the transcript:
Philip: Jane, what were your first impressions of the hotel?
Jane: The drive there was very picturesque… up in the mountains. We found our way there pretty easily. But it was hard to get in!
Philip: That’s because you were pushing a door that said pull.
Jane: That’s not what happened… sigh! Let’s talk about the spa.
Philip: You were very impressed with the rain shower heads.
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Jane: Yes I was. They made the shower experience just a little more special.
Philip: In most showers around the resort (by the sauna/pool/sanarium etc) – and in our rooms – we had a choice between the rain shower head and the standard one. I think I used the rain shower head every time. What about you?
Jane: Yes. I also used it all the time. But I wouldn’t want to only have the rain shower head at home, because sometimes I don’t want my hair to get wet. Is it easy to have both? Anyway, new topic. We had an infrared sauna session almost as soon as we arrived. You did all the research for our recent article about them so that was my first actual go in one.
Philip: What did you think about it?
Jane: I thought it was an interesting experience to sit – not lie – with your back very close to the heater. The room doesn’t actually heat up that much but your body gets warmed up from the inside. So you do start to sweat after 5 or 10 minutes. I don’t remember exactly when. Yeah, that was strange at first but actually quite pleasant.
Philip: So are we more likely to get one now?
Philip: It makes sense to me because you don’t waste all that heat and you only need a small space.
Jane: A normal sauna of that size probably needs an hour to heat up, right? I wonder how long it takes to get that infrared thing ready? Does it take ages to warm up or something?
Philip: It’s just ready. You just sit in and turn it on. Boom.
Jane: So energy-wise that has to make much more sense than a standard sauna, if you’re going to use it every day.
Jane: Still, I do like the traditional sauna experience – or steam bath. So the ultimate luxury would be the choice between the two types!
Philip: But if we could only afford one or only had space for one, what would you go for?
Jane: Difficult. It’s more tactile in a normal sauna. But I’m a bit of an infrared sauna fan now. I was really amazed in your article that you can lose 600 calories in a session. If I wanted the true luxury spa feeling, just for special occasions, I’d go with the normal sauna. But for health benefits, regular use and all that, I’d go infrared. What’s your take?
Philip: I think the infrared suits our busy lifestyle more. Just get in, press play. Don’t have to plan and prepare so much. Yeah. What else did we do? We had a session in a bronze bath full of sea salt oil. ‘The Emperor’s Bath’, they called it.
Jane: That was nice because the bronze kept the temperature really well. A normal bath loses the heat after ten minutes, right? But in the bronze tub the water kept warm for the half an hour we were in. Didn’t you think so?
Philip: Yeah but for me it was more a visual thing. It’s like a fantasy version of a bath. Like in a commercial. The oil stuff was great on your skin, wasn’t it?
Jane: Easy to replicate at home. Get a pack of sea salt… Probably even some coconut oil… I’d have to research that! Maybe even some bath oil is good enough.
Philip: Would you want one of those bronze baths?
Jane: If you’re building a new house or renovating then it’d be an option. I imagine they’re quite expensive.
Philip: How much more would you pay for one of those?
Jane: I don’t think we have enough baths to justify it. I’d rather buy a fancy shower head. Just use the bath you’ve got, put some nice salts in, and the key thing for me is to eat or drink something cold while you’re in there. They gave us some champagne, which was nice, but it could have been some fresh mango or some other fruit. It’s luxurious and easy to recreate.
Philip: The wifi was only in a small area of the hotel. Was it like a digital detox for you?
Jane: My first reaction was ‘oh no!’ But second reaction was ‘oh this is good!’ It really made me aware of my habits, like checking my social media all the time instead of actually wanting to look something specific up. It was very good, I think.
Philip: Did it help you relax?
Jane: I felt my mind was a bit calmer. In everyday life it’s easy to get overstimulated and fidgety and doing many things at once. Instead of being focused. Yeah.
Philip: [Grins] So are you planning to turn the router off half a day a week or something like that?
Jane: I’m hoping I use the phone more consciously now… But to block the internet off would be difficult because we have different rhythms. I don’t see that we’d find a time where we could both do it.
Philip: You had a nice time?
Jane: Absolutely. It was heavenly. It does help to get away sometimes. Get away from distractions.
Philip: But Complete Home Spa is all about replacing expensive hotels and doing it at home. We should be able to recreate this experience here in the house. Right?
Jane: You know, I think it might be deceptively easy to do all the research and buy all the things – that’s easier than actually allowing yourself some quiet time. Maybe we need to actually book the time in our calendars.
Philip: I know what you mean. Book that time where you just take a bath and go in the massage chair with your phone turned off. But you start by making a space that’s so nice and you enjoy being there and it’s a mini holiday every time you use it.
Jane: So we’re on the right track with this site then!