Photo by Charles Gullung
Banya 5's plunge pool.

Seattle's new public bath warms and relaxes

Vanessa McGrady,  – December 29, 2004

John Goodfellow’s Banya 5, a modern, 3,600-square-foot bathhouse, contains all the essential antidotes to a Northwest winter. “It feels good, especially in the cold and the damp and the rain,” Goodfellow says.

Negotiating the place takes a bit of instruction. Begin by warming up in the shower and 115° Turkish steam room. Then head to the 190° stone sauna, where you can try a light slapping with oak leaves. Nothing kinky ― but the tannins are good for circulation. When you’ve reached your personal heat-saturation point, plunge into the cold pool, then even yourself out in the tepid saltwater pool. Head to the hot tub or the steam room to warm up again, then repeat the routine as you wish.

Once your pores have had their workout, opt for a full-body salt scrub or algae scrub ($30 for 20 minutes), sip ginger-mint tea in the lobby, and revel in the knowledge that you didn’t have to go back to the Old Country to feel this good.

Bathe right

Banya 5 ($25; 217 Ninth Ave. N., Seattle; or 206/262-1234) has both men’s and women’s days; call for information.

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