This scene is hot. Literally.
Amidst freezing cold weather and January doldrums, New Yorkers are flocking to a massive dry, coed sauna inside the luxe new Bathhouse Flatiron to get sweaty — and find someone who makes them sweat. The 800-square foot room is heated to 185 degrees Fahrenheit and can fit almost 100 nearly naked Gothamites.
“It’s like all these beautiful people walking around in bikinis and underwear, people are chit chatting the whole time,” said Kenny Santucci, 40, a gym owner and trainer who lives in Nomad. He has been to the sauna several times and thinks it could be a great place to meet women.
“It’s also going to be a hot date spot, that’s for d-mn sure,” he added.
Katie Romero, 33 and a content creator who lives on the Lower East Side, notes that it’s a very good-looking crowd.
“Everyone in there is attractive,” she said. “Is it the lighting? Are they glistening because of the [heat]? It’s a sexy space.”
Indeed Bathhouse Flatiron — an 18-and-over spa that debuted earlier this month and is open until midnight every day — was designed to make people look good.
“We are very focused on lighting the space correctly in a way where it’s appealing aesthetically, and in a way that makes people look like the best versions of themselves,” said co-founder Travis Talmadge of the 35,000-square-foot complex that also includes a huge steam room and six pools heated to various temperatures using energy generated from mining bitcoin. “We built these spaces so multiple people and groups can go in there together and be comfortable and hang out.”
The sauna also comes with a ready-made conversation topic for those looking to mingle. Its expansive size allows for an experience called Aufguss in which a ringleader puts essential oils on snowballs, lets them melt and then wafts the aroma around the space with a towel.
“It’s this weird, great thing that we really wanted to have,” said Talmadge of the ritual, which is performed every two hours. “It’s something for the hardcore sauna-heads.”
The Bathhouse space wasn’t always so sexy.
The 22nd street venue was previously home to a parking garage, which actually made it an ideal for a large spa with underground facilities.
“Parking garages need high ceilings, lots of space between columns, and the ability to carry a load,” said Talmadge, who believes the sauna is the largest in the country, a fact he is trying to confirm. “Those are all the things we needed also.”
Spa-goers pay $60 to $85 for a day pass to use the amenities. Some say the sauna’s size, while sexy, is almost intimidating.
“I was honestly floored when I walked into the space,” said Brian Morr, 33, a photographer who lives in the West Village and notes the sauna is bigger than his apartment.
“It’s pretty humbling, to say the least.”