Guest post series continues: Welcome Saunatimes correspondent Grant Auerbach, who recently returned from Europe and a glowing visit to Sauna Deco in Amsterdam. Enter Grant:
Sauna Deco is centrally located along the canals of Amsterdam. My college friends and I shared a 12 Euro Uber ride from our hostel in the Uptown Art District. We were foggy and groggy from our night on the town, thanks to plenty of Heinekens the night before. We were looking forward to a good cleanse.
A simple sign out front told us were were at the right place. Entering at our appointed time, we were met at the front door by Melle, the family proprietor.
Inside the lobby, we took note of a few side rooms leading in different directions. The grand foyer gave us a sense of luxury as the decor is ornate and stylish. The decor of Sauna Deco is enhanced by imported authentic treatments from Paris. Very., um.. Deco!
Sauna Deco, here we come
Our crew split off in different directions, looking in awe at the different relaxing areas.
The staircase brought me up to the spa loft, an ideal spot for meditation and yoga.
Down one hallway, we come upon a serene outdoor patio, surrounding more relaxing areas, as well as the massage rooms.
There is no doubt that Sauna Deco provides ample space for cooling down between sauna rounds.
At the end of the hallway, there is an infrared cabin and traditional sauna fronted by a full glass wall and glass door.
I turned back to go to the lobby and rejoined my friends who had a similar peaceful “wow this is going to be great!” look on their faces. I could sense our mutual peaceful state of minds, all aware and anticipation of our sauna session soon to come.
Still clothed, to get my bearings, I took a look at the cool down pool, exotic and tranquil, and adjacent outdoor room with a bench, unexposed to others, welcoming the sauna bather with chilly fresh late November air. I made note that this will be my spot after a good hot room session.
Sauna Deco has lots of options for cooling down. They know how important the cool down is to a great sauna experience. There is a spot to sit, soak and wash your feet, the all important invigorating cold plunge, and the outdoor room: an escape to get outside in fresh air.
Preparing for my sauna, I turned towards the locker area and stumbled upon a second sauna. This sauna is a bit more spacious than the first, more dimly lit, and seemed to have more intense heat than the first.
Walking back to the lobby, past a series of showers, I reconnected with Melle who briefed me on the history and imported Parisian look of Sauna Deco. “My family has had this place for over 30 years and we have been able to expand it over time, having started with just the sauna.”
The slightly larger dimly lit sauna, is set at 100 degrees C. and the second sauna, the one with the glass wall, is set at 80 degrees c. Melle also pointed me to their steam room, located down a wooden walkway, that I had missed during my initial self guided tour.
Melle issued us towels, and keys for lockers, and off we went to explore our sauna session, excited to sweat out our toxins.
We started in the bigger, hotter sauna. We began the all too familiar process on the upper bench. Focusing on our breathing, reclining back in comfort, and taking in that intense radiant heat only available through an authentic sauna.
In the hot room, all the busy-ness of our week abroad disappeared and brought us to the present moment, focusing on the heat and the anticipated relief of our cool down yet to come. Body core temp rising, sweat building, I felt centered and connected within the hot room. The sauna is tastefully designed. wooden paneled backrests, accented lighting, U shaped symmetric bench layout, and the sauna stove inlaid unobtrusively in the corner, away from the coming and going of guests.
Time for cool down
I stepped out of the sauna and considered my options: cool shower, decorated pool, feet shower feature, outdoor chill out zone all called to me in their own unique way.
True to my prediction, I found the best solstice outside, as my body core worked its way back to neutral.
Melle and I connected with our family history of sauna. I told him that I was taking saunas before I could walk, my Dad introducing me to the authentic sauna experience at our Island cabin in Northern Minnesota. Melle and I became kindred spirits, mutual appreciation of what we know in our bones: sauna is a special, sacred experience.
Finishing with a final shower, dry off, dressing, and warm goodbyes, we stepped outside into the city of Amsterdam restored and rejuvenated, with clear minds, reset for our final adventure ahead.
Sauna Deco entry fee is € 20 – € 25. Hours of operation:
Monday, 12.00 – 23.00
Tuesday, 15.00 – 23.00
Wednesday to Saturday, 12.00 – 23.00
Sunday, 13.00 – 19.00
More information can be found at their website here.