Live like the gods and experience superior relaxation at Barcelona’s sumptuous Arab baths
“Please, you can take a seat on the hot stones,” whispers a young woman with a serene smile and huge black eyes. She holds her palms together and gives us a gentle bow as we tip toe away. The heat soaks into our bones and we take deep lungfuls of cinnamon scented air that’s thick and humid and cleansing.
The light is low, a flickering, burning shimmer of gold against bare-brick walls. Over the flames we find a gilded teapot and pour thimbles of honey-hued tea that fills our senses with the kick and punch of sweet and spice.
“Please,” she whispers, “come this way.” She gently shakes two women out of their meditation and tells them to do the same.
“First you go in baths from here to here, from hot to cold. And there is the sauna. We will come to get you when it’s time for your massage.” She bows away, disappearing into the fog that droops low from the arched ceilings. We lower ourselves into the glowing waters of the bath. It’s hot and soothing and drenched in candlelight. Holding hands, we float with closed eyes and our ears submerged. The ting and tang and thrung and swoon of Arab music pulsates through the water and puts me in a trance.
I jump in the smallest bath. It spikes me with a cold jolt, goosebumps take over and my breath is taken. I’m alive. We sneak into the sauna, ducking below the steam and gasping for breath, and only after we sit down do we realise that there are two other couples in here, still and lifeless on the white-stone benches. We last maybe a minute or two before heading to the salted bath, where I close my eyes and imagine myself floating slowly through space.
The black eyes are back – it’s time for our massage.
Sylvie is greeted by a male and I by a female. In hushed tones, we’re told to lie down on the tables, slotting our faces into the little open space. Our world’s are separate now. First a towel is placed over my back and legs and pressure is applied, shaking my hips and waist and vertebrae gently into place. There’s oil and elbows being worked into the arch of my foot and I struggle with both pain and pleasure. She works each muscle group, finishing at my temples and finally whispering in my ear, “Ya esta,” – that’s it.
I struggle to my feet, unable to balance or focus, my legs like jelly, completely intoxicated by the sensualism of it all. Sylvie smiles and takes my hand and we float through the air and back into one of the baths. My mind is completely still now, my body renewed, and I wonder how I will manage to live the rest of my life without always feeling this way.
Make it Happen
Booking: Visit the official website to find out more and choose which treatments you want to experience. You can book your visit here.
Price Range: From €29 to €135
Address: Passeig de Picasso, 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Nearest Metro Stop: Jaume 1 (Yellow Line)
Note: I was a guest at Aire de Barcelona but this in no way influenced this write up. Also, because my camera isn’t waterproof, the photos come courtesy of Aire de Barcelona.