A River West warehouse is transformed into the ultimate destination for soaking in style.
With eight soaking pools in a rehabbed paint factory-turned-spa, Spanish import AIRE Ancient Baths has unveiled its largest location yet in River West (Photo courtesy of Aire Ancient Baths Chicago)
There are spas, and then there are spas, where the surroundings are as luxurious and indulgent as the services themselves. And when it comes to the Chicago spa scene, there’s perhaps no better example of this type of all-encompassing experience than newcomer AIRE Ancient Baths.
With locations in New York and throughout Spain, the Spanish company specializes in converting historic buildings into decadent soaking centers. The Chicago outpost opened at the end of 2017, after a search for just the right space. “Finding a unique historical building in each city is one of the most challenging elements. We’re dedicated to finding buildings with character and soul,” explains Amadeo Serra, CEO of AIRE Ancient Baths Group. In Chicago, this proved to be an expansive River West paint factory built in 1902. At 20,000 square feet, it’s the largest Aire location to date. “So many times the building chooses us,” says Serra. “As soon as we walked into this space, we knew it would be a very special place to create AIRE Ancient Baths Chicago.”
A three-year transformative restoration ensued, during which careful care was paid to both reveal and preserve the building’s original exposed brick, wooden beams and industrial columns, notes Serra. Additional historical materials and design elements—white Spanish marble floors, 16th-century stone fountains—were added to enhance the character of the building and create the brand’s signature calming aesthetic, coupled with warm candlelight throughout. “Our concept is about relaxing both the body and the mind,” says Serra of the end result.
And of course, there are the actual baths: eight hot, cold and salt options, including an indoor-outdoor bath unique to the Chicago location. And with a strict number of only around 20 guests admitted per hour, it’s easy to feel as if you have this posh pleasure palace all to yourself—all the better to appreciate every last detail of the exceptionally luxe space. $70-$450 per person, 800 W. Superior St., 312.945.7414, beaire.com