Wed, 15 Jul 2020

Yes, there's probably a banya in your country, too. The U.S.1. Russian Banya of Dallas, Carrollton, Texas

Russian Banya

The owners of this Russian Banya in Texas went a long way to create an authentic experience for visitors. The restaurant space is decorated with a colorful replica of a traditional Russian stove, not to mention replicas of Ilya Repin's 'Barge Haulers on the Volga' painting behind the counter and countless balalaikas hanging on the wall, too.

The banya is heated up to 220F (104С) with 60% humidity - the ideal temperature for a Russian banya. There's also a milder Finnish sauna (heated up to 180F with 10% humidity) and a Turkish steam room (heated to 110F, with 100% humidity).

The place serves authentic Russian dishes - herring under a fur coat, bread with fat (salo), salad 'Vinegret', borsch, and others - and has four stars out of five on TripAdvisor.

Amid mostly positive reviews, some do not recommend the place because, in the words of one disappointed guest, "the shower area looked like a set for a Saw movie and was not clean at all". Little does he know most showers in most Russian banyas look like this and this might be just the thing that makes the place authentic.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Photos can be viewed here.

2. Downtown Banya, Everett, Washington

www.downtownbanya.com

This Russian bathhouse provides a little more pricey service compared to the afore-mentioned one, but it comes with benefits. One of them being bathing with a true Russian "venik" - bundles of birch, oak, or eucalyptus branches.

This is how the owners define the roots of the experience: "When the Apostle Andrew visited the land that would become Russia, he observed their ritual bathing practices and remarked that they lashed themselves so violently they "barely escaped alive".

To be honest, there is some truth to it, but the owners of the bathhouse urge not to worry: "Don't be afraid, the voluntary 'torture' Andrew described is not nearly as brutal as it sounds."

Click here for the bath house's website and here for a menu of authentic Russian cuisine served there.

Photos can be viewed here.

3. Red Square Spa, Chicago, IL

RED SQUARE CHICAGO

This is very likely the top banya in the U.S. Named after the main square in Russia, the Red Square Spa seems to have it all: spacious sauna rooms, a lovely decor reminiscent of the Kremlin walls that you do see around the original Red Square in Moscow, and the dining room at the spa is akin to a train ride: flat screens give guests an impression of being on a train that rides through the vast Russian countryside.

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

4. Russian Bath & Spa, Queens, NYC

www.qfspa.com

This is a spa complex at the heart of which lies a truly Russian steam room. Yet, it offers not only that, but also a rich woody decor, redwood locker rooms, a huge swimming pool, a jacuzzi for 12 people, a refreshing cold plunge, a Russian hot sauna, a Finn dry heat cedar sauna, an aromatherapy steam room and modern rain showers, according to its website.

This venue has mostly positive reviews and seems very popular among locals in Queens. This is why it "gets busy on the weekends", as one reviewer has noticed, but that only makes it a more authentic experience.

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

Canada5. South-Western Bathhouse & Tea Room, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

www.banya.ca

This bathhouse located in Mississauga collected an impressive collection of traditional Russian household utensils - samovars, teapots, balalaikas, khokhloma dishes, etc. - and utilized them as decorative elements. One of the most impressive achievements of this bathhouse is its collection of signature Russian teacups widely utilized on trains in Russia throughout its history.

The steam room is very spacious and is equipped with a wood-burning brick stove, a paramount condition for an authentic Russian banya. And although the interior looks more Canadian than Russian, the steam room compensates for this minor flaw.

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

6. Steamul Sauna, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

www.steamulsauna.com

In the absence of Russian decorative elements, this bathhouse may not look as authentic at first sight, but it does seem to provide an authentic experience of a Russian banya. The key to that is the fact that the steam room is spacious and is equipped with a genuine massive wood-burning stove that no doubt can generate some serious steam and heat.

It also has a tiny cold water swimming pool - a required feature of any banya in Russia - and offers massage services as well.

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

The UK7. Banya No.1, London, U.K.

www.gobanya.co.uk

This is an upscale venue for true banya connoisseurs. The temperature inside is usually lower than in other steam houses (158F/70C). "The high levels of superheated steam cause the body to sweat profusely and then detoxify," the owners promise.

www.gobanya.co.uk

This posh bathhouse also offers an icy plunge pool, icy bucket showers, hot stone room, massage room, and rest area.

Its menu is full of Russian delicacies, such as herring, caviar, borsch, pelmeni, salmon, vodka, and others. The bathhouse also offers a private experience they proudly call the 'Private Banya Taiga', where "Taiga" refers to a biome found on the territory of Russia, consisting of pines, spruces and larches.

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

8. The Bath House - Russian Banya, London, U.K.

russianbanya.co.uk

This bathhouse just opposite Buckingham Palace claims to "blend the traditions of the authentic Russian banya with the best of the contemporary spa".

The rich interior is a distinctive feature of this bathhouse - it features artful mosaics, posh decor and an impressive wood-burning stove. Arguably, this is one of the most elegant Russian bathhouses outside of Russia.

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

Germany9. Russian sauna Banya 'Berezka', Berlin, Germany

Russian sauna Banja "Berezka"

This is a very down-to-earth option for those who feel nostalgic about visiting a middle-class bathhouse in Russia cheaply.

The spartan interior is guaranteed to remind visitors of a provincial bathhouse on the outskirts of a distant Russian city.

Despite the apparent lack of luxury, visitors mostly leave positive reviews, often thanking staff for their being very welcoming: "Great place, especially the VIP area. You can calmly take a steam bath and relax without strangers. The shower itself is a bit old, but otherwise everything was fine. Brooms (veniks) for 5 euros. Drinks and food for a fee. Particularly nice staff, very friendly and helpful. Thanks for our stay. It was great!"

Click here for the website.

Photos can be viewed here.

Click here for a list of best banyas in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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