Best spas in Berlin
Smack bang next to the sprawling Charlottenburg park, Tiergarten, you’ll find a more private oasis – and another huge one at that. Vabali is designed to welcome guests for the whole day, with countless saunas, steam rooms, terraces and pool areas to explore. Modelled on a small Balinese village, the place just oozes tranquility and gentleness. Sauna infusions begin with green tea in the mornings and end on a slumber-inducing bedtime concoction at 11pm. Bonus points: the fantastic Asian and Mediterranean-inspired food.
If old-time opulence is what you’re after, then go west. We highly recommend spending an afternoon surrounded by chandeliers and twinkling candles and lavishing yourself with expensive French products at Guerlain. Go for the Das Waldorf half-day transformative experience for a cool €275 or the Cocooning Imperiale full-day body extravaganza for €550 (any treatment booked for over 90 minutes includes spa-basking time and a gown).
Tucked down a cobbled street in the middle of foodie district Prenzlauer Berg, the beautiful old town baths have now reopened as an elegant hotel with an even more extraordinary swimming pool and a modest underground spa. Designed in 1898, the main room’s high ceilings and beautiful tiles exude old-world elegance. To get a sense of the building’s history, take one of the city bath tours on Tuesdays (no registration required). Either way, make sure to check out the ice fountain.
Don’t be fooled by the Cronenberg-esque sci-fi name. Liquidrom, near the historic Potsdamer Platz, is heaven. This serene and design-chic domed spa, complete with skylight and futuristic dimmed lighting, has seen its popularity soar since it began inviting DJs to play ambient classical/electronic music that reverberates throughout the saltwater. The salt caverns and four nude saunas all come at a decent price, starting at €45 for the Wellness Day Classic package. We say book yourself an aufguss session right away.
Close to Mitte and the tourist jamboree that is Alexanderplatz, find celebrity favourite Cowshed (inside Soho House). The glamorous underground lair is built in the old, industrial Third Reich Youth HQ. Gentle music seeps through red velvet curtains as you wait on a plush chaise longue for your deep tissue massage. Head to Cecconi’s upstairs for a post-relaxation meal.
Berlin insiders know all about lake culture and the Freikörperkultur (FKK) movement, which translates roughly as ‘free body culture’ and endorses naturism at lakes and marked bathing areas. Just an hour outside Berlin in the wider Brandenburg region, you’ll find exquisite spa retreat Fontane Theme in Neuruppin, which welcomes nudists and comes complete with thermal baths, a wild swimming lake and a top-notch restaurant.
If Thai massage and Asian infusions are your thing, Yi-Spa might be for you. After a morning spent gazing at some of the best international art collections in nearby Museum Island, check into this well-decked-out spa for a quirky and unnervingly delicious-sounding treatment. Mango and rice peel? Banana and sesame mask? They’re so fragrant (and foodie) you may even want to skip dinner. Book well ahead.
This sprawling hammam is for women only. Opened in 1988 as the first Turkish bath in Germany, Hamam Berlin is unpretentious and super-affordable, with prices starting at €27.50 for a three-hour visit that includes slippers, towels and a robe. Its typical Kreuzberg exterior is unassuming, but the spa inside is beautiful.
What would a Berlin spa list be without inclusion of some freaky foot action? Less fetishistic than it sounds, the Lakana Thai Massage and Fish Spa caters to the adventurous and unticklish spa-goer with an exfoliation technique originating from Jordan. Rest assured, the aquariums are ‘constantly being cleaned’ so you can sit back and let the Garra Rufa fish nibble away at your dead skin without (that much) hesitation.