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A London barge might be converted into a floating spa, complete with an open-air swimming pool

If it goes ahead, the floating spa will also feature a Finnish sauna, plunge pool and hammam

Written by
Katie McCabe

How do you make a new London spa sound original? You put it on a boat. That seems to be the thinking behind the proposed Water Cures Spa project – which, if it goes ahead, will be located on an old Dutch barge moored in West India Quay, complete with a 25-metre open-air swimming pool on the top deck. In other words, it’s a floating lido. 

The proposed mooring of a barge ‘providing a naturally filtered chemical-free open-air heated lido, sauna, plunge and wellness facilities’ was submitted to the Canal and River Trust in May. The founder of Water Cures Spa, Nico Thoemmes, said he wishes ‘to create a new spa culture in the UK doing away with “luxury” and “pampering” and instead share the mental well being, physical recovery and social benefits of the spa’. While the water of the open-air pool will be heated, the lack of chemical treatment will mean it’s closer to the feel of a lake than a chlorinated lido.  

If it goes ahead, the spa barge will also feature a hammam, steam bath, treatment and therapy rooms, a Finnish sauna, cold plunge pool and open-plan botanical space for relaxation and exercise classes. The proposed opening hours are 6am to 11pm, which sounds pretty late for a spa, but just right for an early boat party. As it’s being promoted as a ‘well-being hub’, an on-barge bar seems unlikely (though the planning doc mentions a lounge serving snacks and ‘on trend’ drinks, whatever that means). 

According to the planning application documents, the Canal and River Trust has agreed to the mooring ‘in principle’ but the rest is still under consultation. It’s by no means a done deal. Remember the plans for a floating lido on the River Thames that made headlines in 2015? Sadly that one hasn’t appeared yet. That insane-looking plan for a rooftop infinity pool on a 55-storey building has gone pretty quiet too. But it’s been a rough year, and an open-air swim in a floating lido sounds like a pretty good way to make up for it. So let’s wait and see. 

To find out more about the Water Cures Spa project visit the website

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