Time for a Bath. An Ancient Greek & Roman Bath
What I like about Chicago is that no matter what neighborhood you live in you can always go to a different country. By Uber. China, Mexico, Ukraine, India, you name it. One gloomy Tuesday afternoon I decided to go to Greece. I heard that Chicago welcomed Aire - ancient baths styled after the traditional Roman, Greek and Ottoman baths, and I had to see for myself what that’s all about.
I read about Greek baths in my History class in middle school, so I was excited to see the images from my books come to life in the 21st century. I emailed Aire's corporate office, and they sent me instructions on the use of cell phones along with an official permission to bring my phone since I am a blogger. To be honest, I had no idea that phones were not allowed inside. No big deal, I totally understand that for the purpose of total relaxation and non-distraction all the gadgets should be left in your locker.
The baths are located at this large beautifully remodeled warehouse in River West. Upon the entrance, I was welcomed by the friendly staff who immediately made me feel like I was the only person in the entire place. Unlike in the old school ancient Greek baths, at Aire you should actually wear a bathing suit. You get a locker, a robe and special slip-ons that you wear inside the pools. I changed and went downstairs where all the baths are located. As soon as I took my phone out of my pocket to snap a few pictures (I came early and nobody was around), I was immediately approached by a staff member and informed that no phones were allowed. How did anyone even see anything? I literally had the phone for half a second. I said that I had permission, but still felt like I was an undercover spy while taking pictures of the ambiance. So be sure, nobody will ever accidentally snap a picture or disturb you by talking on the phone while you are at Aire.
There are several pools with various temperatures and for different purposes. The largest one is intended for floating. The water isn’t as salty as in the sensory deprivation pod that I experienced before, but still enough to keep you on the surface. The experience is really zen. There is this magical music playing at all times and when you float you can feel the vibrations created by it.
The next best thing was the outdoor whirlpool that you can get to by diving under the plexiglass. There is also a small waterfall outside, and there is nothing better than soaking in the hot pool when the temperatures are close to a zero.
Other pools are just different sizes and temperatures. There are two steam rooms in the see-through cubes with different essential oils. You can relax on heated stones or scrub your worries away with salt that is just piled between the rain shower and one of the pools.
Honestly, if you have a free afternoon and $70 spare dollars, don't even hesitate. It seemed like most people came with their significant others, but I say go alone to truly disconnect and relax. It is very quiet, so don't bring your friend who likes to talk loudly, it's not the place to catch up. Someone asked me if you can drink there, absolutely not. They do serve herbal tea and cold water by almost every pool. If you are a phone-obsessed person like me, I guarantee you, you will survive two hours without one (although I did go to the bathroom once to check my messages and emails *insert a facepalm emoji*). Enjoy the baths!