A Guide for the Banya Newbie:
1) You check in and pay your admission. You lock your valuables in a numbered private safety deposit box. Do not worry, I am here to tell you that your phone and wallet are safe! Your safety box number then serves as your account number for any food, drinks or spa services you order.
We LOVE birthdays! If it’s your birthday let us know!
2) You’re issued a lock and sent to the locker room to change into your bathing suit, locking the rest of your things away. The locker/restroom is big, clean, and the lockers can fit everything you’ve been lugging around all day. There are showers, soap, and if you need shampoo or conditioner just ask at the desk. We recommend you bring your own favorite products. People credit Banyas with curing all of their fatigue issues in about 5 minutes flat! Its just that kind of place!
3) We recommend you bring your own slippers but if not we have slippers available to buy or rent. Head to the main pool area and grab a towel, two per guest.
From there, you choose your own adventure:
Do you start out with a nice steam, a dunk in a pool, a hot/wet sauna, or sit in the hot tub for a bit? Yes, the tub is supposed to be very hot, and yes the pull-chain shower is supposed to be very cold, but what is unique about our Banya, as opposed to others, is there are lots of options for in-between temperatures. There’s a tepid pool (traditionally, it’s ice cold) and also temperature controlled showers on the main floor. Besides being a really social activity, the point of visiting a banya is to move your body from temperature to temperature based on the age-old Russian theories that doing so will increase circulation and raise your body’s immunity to sickness & give all your internal organs a spring cleaning! I can’t really testify to the physiology, but I do know that after visiting our banya, if you really do it right, you will feel as if you’ve spent a week on vacation! The facilities are very clean–The cleanest of all the Banyas, and the staff work really hard to keep it that way. We take great pride and care in what we do.
Here are some things that may make your time at Brooklyn Banya more enjoyable, if you know them up-front:
a) Brooklyn Banya caters to people from all over the planet. We welcome lots of new customers with language barriers and sometimes it can be a bit chaotic. Be patient, but not passive. Russian ideas of customer service are a tad different from the norm in America.
b) At some point in the sauna, you will see people beating one another with leafy birch branches. This is normal, enjoyable, and also supposedly increases circulation. It definitely exfoliates. If you want you can buy your own Venik (oak leaves) and whip your friends with it! We sell them at the front desk for $15 or you can experience the real deal from our very own “ PLATSKA MAN “ for $40
c) You will occasionally see fragments of birch leaves floating in the pool or hot tub. It’s just what happens.
d) The Restaurant: Always ask about our specials .The really good stuff is on the menu and authentically Russian. Pickle plates, borcht, blintzes with caviar and a large pile of garlic potatoes, home made dumplings, SO GOOD! Everything on our menu is cooked with love!
If nothing else do try a pot of black tea with honey and cherries its what we do. So Russian!
e) Drink water the whole time. And when not in the pool or the hot tub, keep a towel around your head to help regulate your body’s temperature. This protects you from turning into a giant blob of jelly after only an hour into your visit and helps keep you hydrated.
Now its time to get BANYA –GIZED ! Please let me know how your experience was!