Travis Talmadge and Jason Goodman never liked spas. “[It’s] often an isolated experience,” they told Vogue, “but bathhouses are bustling, fun, and engaging places.” So they co-founded Bathhouse, a wellness destination that mingles the vibrant social elements of bathhouses with state-of-the-art treatments at reasonable prices. Combining the best parts of a no-frills banya and a first-class spa, it opened in a former Williamsburg factory awash in exposed brickwork and subway tile. Five years later, and the duo has unveiled its second act, a three-level haven in Flatiron that delves further into redefining our notion of the spa experience.
Bathhouse Flatiron trades its predecessor’s industrial details for nocturnal allure—think a nightclub or hotel bar rather than classical thermae. The moody palette comes courtesy of Rockwell Group, which embraced the “Hero’s Journey” motif from classical mythology. Each component at Bathhouse, the firm says, would have a narrative corollary to an epic odyssey, including mentors guiding visitors along the road to R&R. “A defining piece of Bathhouse’s ethos is about connection,” founder David Rockwell tells Surface. “This element of connection is important in our work as well. Where can we create space for meaning and memories?”
Answers lie at nearly every turn. A monolithic travertine reception desk quickly sets the tone, as do portals of luminous fluted glass escorting guests underground to a domed vestibule. Locker rooms are intentionally labyrinthine to amplify the sense of mystery; black mirrored portals create intimate clusters of changing areas, enhanced by the shimmering, water-like reflections of glass pendants. Descend further to six thermal pools and treatment rooms, which feature heated hammam benches clad in black meteorite stone, ceremonial cedar-lined saunas, and cave-like scrub rooms bathed in gentle light. The downlit lounge and café on the way out will surely buzz with a convivial sense of post-treatment calm—a surefire sign the odyssey is drawing to a close.