What is banya?
Banya is the East European cousin of the Finnish sauna and Turkish hammam: somewhere to come with friends or family to relax, unwind and enjoy the time-honoured traditions of hot steam, cold water, and more.
What should I expect?
The joy of banya – one of many – is that you can choose the flow. But a typical visit has four elements:
1. Find your table in the lounge, then head to the steam room (we call this ‘parilka’ or ‘banya’ – the words are interchangeable). Sit back, or lie down, then warm up, relax your muscles, and detox. Wearing a banya hat is also good (it cools your head and protects your hair).
2. Cool down (in the plunge bath, under water buckets or the shower). Then have a drink in the lounge, or return to the steam, heat, repeat…
3. Time for treatments! Try one, two or three: the amazing parenie leaf ritual; soap massage; classic massage; scrub, or wrap. See our packages.
4. Relax in the lounge, sampling some of our chefs’ home-cooked delights. Then you might head back for a last steam, or another treatment, or if you must, home. But we know you’ll want to come back soon…
This is my first time. What should I do?
Please don’t worry if you’re new to banya and feel unsure. Relaxation will soon take over. Some guests say coming here is a bit like a mini-holiday. The only priority is to do what you want: whether sampling a new sensory adventure like parenie, or receiving an expert massage, or savouring our delicious food and drink. If you have questions, our staff are on hand to advise or the best treatments and organise the schedule.
What is the hat for?
The classic banya hat – very fetching, we must say – is a great way to cool your head and protect your hair in the heat of the parilka (steam room). Bring your own or we have some available for purchase.
Do you need to book in advance?
We recommend pre-booking, either by phone or through the website. You can book for one person or a group.
I have more quetions.
Just give us a ring.
How does booking work?
You can book a session to use the banya facilities (for two hours: we call this ‘na razvedku’ – ‘try it out’) or book a package comprising of the session and one, two or three treatments (three hours duration).
What is included in the session?
You will be allocated a table in the lounge which is yours for the duration of your session and have access to all our facilities. You will also be provided with a towel, bath sheet and flipflops. We give you a single towel and bath sheet to try to minimise the environmental impact of the business, but you can request more linen for a small fee. You are also welcome to bring your own towels, flipflops, banya hat, robe and toiletries like shampoo. If you book the Private Banya, we will provide you with lines, robes and hats for your group’s use.
Can I request a specific table?
Where possible we will accommodate requests, but at busy times tables are allocated based on group size.
If I need to reschedule my booking, what is your cancellation policy?
Our cancellation policy is 48 hours. If you’re rescheduling a booking that is more than 48 hours in the future, call us. If your booking is in the next 48 hours, you can transfer your booking to a friend. Just give us a ring and we will do our best to help.
What if I’m running late?
Call and when possible we will extend your session. Please note that this may not always be feasible during busy times.
Do I need a bathing suit?
On mixed days swimwear is compulsory (if you forget to bring yours, you can buy it from us).
Can children use banya?
Yes, children of 10 years and older can use the banya and we also offer children’s treatments. We ask that parents keep a close eye on them throughout.
Is there parking nearby?
You can usually park on Beeston Place (near the Goring Hotel) or Grosvenor Gardens. Parking is free after 18.30, after 14.30 on Saturdays, and all day Sunday.
How can I reach you by public transport?
We are located 5 min walk from Victoria station.
I’m pregnant. Can I use banya?
We recommend that you consult a doctor before booking your visit.
How hot is the banya?
The temperature in the steam room is around 70 degrees with humidity of around 30%. This is hotter than a hammam but cooler than in a typical sauna. The combination of heat and humidity produces a deep, relaxing heat.
What treatments do you offer?
Read about our treatments here. We offer parenie, massage, scrubs, body wraps and soap massage.
What ingredients do you use in your treatments?
Scrubs are performed with Ukrainian honey, sea salt or coffee; wraps with blue clay or seaweed; soap massage with olive oil or tar soap. All the products we use in our treatments are natural and organic.
What is parenie?
Parenie is the traditional treatment that accompanies a banya and is best described as an exhilarating leaf and steam massage using bundles of birch, oak and eucalyptus leaves (known as veniks). These have been soaked in hot water beforehand to soften and release their natural aromas and nutrients.
I didn’t book a treatment in advance. Can I choose when I’m there?
If we can fit you in, we will, but booking in advance guarantees that you get what you want.
What sort of food and drink do you serve?
See our menu here. The menu consists of classic Eastern European dishes prepared in-house by our team of Ukrainian chefs. You can order food and drink at any time during your visit, dishes and beverages that perfectly complement the hot-cold-hot pleasures of banya.
Can I drink alocohol?
Rehydrate on our delicious home-made, classic non-alcoholic drinks. Water is served free, in addition to a variety of other options. Many guests enjoy a drink after a session in the banya and we serve excellent German beer, Ukrainian vodka and French champagne. But alcohol is not recommended before using the steam room and we reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who is intoxicated.