Time Out says
Find stillness through sauna or cool off in an ice-bath at Bondi's latest wellness space
The year-round balmy climes of Bondi's Curlewis Street are pretty far removed from the early dusks and hibernative winters of northern Europe, but the traditionally Finnish ritual of sauna has found its place – perhaps peculiarly – in the Sydney suburb most famous for its sun and surf.
Within the walls of Slow House, a light-filled, stone-walled space on Curlewis Street, founder Natassjha Higham has created a ‘wellness space’ that brings together the elements of fire and ice. Sweat it out in a private, light-wood-panelled sauna for an hour, and then immerse yourself in a shallow ice bath with water set to exactly six degrees for a cooling contrast. It's an almost-entirely hands-off experience: you can meditate in the sauna or stretch, but you can also listen to music on your personal iPad or catch up on some Netflix. The scent of palo santo wafts through the space, giving it an incense that’s heady but not overpowering.
“We’re just giving you the tools to come and have your own self-care moment," says Higham. “You can sit down and read, pump some tunes, watch Ozark for an hour… and just walk out feeling like you've really done something for yourself."
The key treatment here is the Signature Slow. First, you rub a sugar scrub of grapefruit, rose and fractionated coconut oil onto your skin for exfoliation. It’s all made fresh every single day, about an hour before each appointment. Then, step into the cedarwood sauna – instructions are laid out for you, and you can adjust the temperature and humidity to your needs. Once you've sweated it out, rub a ‘booster’ oil over your skin and then towel off (you can grab one of Slow House’s striped sets if you haven’t brought your own) and finish with a facial LED light mask to encourage collagen building.
While you book into a treatment room, which includes a sauna, a shower and bench space, you're left to your own devices for almost the whole appointment time.
“We give you the space, the longer timeframe, the scrubs and the oils… and we're not in there with you, you're just doing it for yourself.”
Instead of an overly attentive beauty therapist, or an eager-to-please waiter, here, you’re allowed to manage your own time and your experience through the space. Slow House also functions as a social space, for those who want it: ice baths can seat six people at a time.
“Not everyone can stop. People find it really hard. We’re not telling you that you have to meditate, or sit in absolute silence for an hour,” says Higham. “You can do what you need to do.”
The person before me was blasting vintage Akon on full volume during their sauna, so it must be true: self-care is different for everyone.
At Slow House, a Signature Slow treatment costs $149, while an ice bath alone comes in at $35 for 15 minutes. A coal sauna session is $35 for an hour, while and an infrared sauna session for one hour starts at $49. One-off treatments are available, or you can get a membership that starts at $39 per week.
Time Out was hosted as a guest of Slow House.
151 Curlewis Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 9am-9pm; Sat 8am-5pm; Sun 10pm-7pm|