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.
4 thoughts on “Sauna Deco provides a thermal oasis, right in the heart of Amsterdam”
I’m interested on feedback and advice on how to operate a public sauna. I moved to a river town, San Marcos, Texas, 2 years ago and had the idea to get a sauna active at a city park alongside the river. I’ve submitted a proposal to the city and upon interest to move forward I would start working through the planning stage. During COVID I purchased a used 2 person vertical cedar barrel sauna, put it on a trailer, and took it to a friend’s personal training/fitness center. My small beginnings of a mobile sauna! But the operations side, mainly if theres a charge for timed use, an app/webpage to sign up for time slots, etc. Any and all knowledge on not reinventing the wheel would be welcomed. Thanks!
Like yoga studios a bunch of years ago, there’s a budding movement towards public saunas. You can look at the map on this website where we have listed public saunas. You can check out their websites and see how they handle reservations. And don’t forget that liability form!
Thanks for the response. I really enjoy the podcast and have listened to some on public saunas and have been to a few myself. This unique challenge/difference is in basically renting time on a spot on the bench as compered to a day pass. This would operate as a sauna at a city park, in contrast to a company/individual operating their own bath/sauna house. Are you aware of any municipal/city owned operated saunas? It can be challenging to open folks up to new ideas. I’m not even in it for $, I just want to be in a community which could have, enjoy and embrace such a thing! Again, thanks for your time and input. Love what your doing man!
Yes, your vision is “sauna in the public domain.” And you are correct in that this is a challenge, “to open up folks to new ideas.”
This is why we have had success with mobile. Eg. the 612 Sauna Society. And also several sauna reservation businesses that I promote and applaud here on saunatimes. Mobile is easier as, just like with food trucks, health and building inspectors set down their clip boards, knowing that the project is not necessarily “on their turf” but are “just some temporary visiting.” So, it’s a matter of obtaining an occupational permit. And off you go.
Now, if there were to be an engaged community who wanted to advance sauna as an amenity as part of a city park, well, someone is going to need to champion the effort and deal with a lot of “well, what if…” from committees, park boards, zoning, planning, concerned parental sub agencies, anti fun curmudgeons and who knows who else who may come out of the wood work with their whistles and arms up, and hands waving “no, no, no!”
What a buzz kill, huh, Mark? If this were easy, there’d be kick ass saunas in lots of city owned parks. But on the bright side, where there is public sauna traction action, much like with craft brewing and yoga and coffee, is on the edges, where artists meet enterprise.