Insider's Guide to Spas
Miranda Aaland/Archimedes Banya

Day Spas

Archimedes Banya

Stephen Kiesling

  • Archimedes Banya
  • San Francisco, California
  • 415-206-9000

Imagine a sauna two stories tall. Open the door and head up the cedar stairs, gaining in altitude and heat, till you reach the highest cedar bench—an intimate perch where the thermometer reads 190 degrees and 20% percent humidity. Ahhhh! Almost immediately the sweat starts to bead and then to pour. And this is the cool sauna! The hot one—200 degrees and 10% percent humidity—is the next door down the hall. Across from that is a Turkish Hamam, a steam bath so thick with steam that it is in fact like walking into a hot bath. Immediately you feel yourself tenderizing, practically melting in your own juices, until it’s time to take the plunge under the continuous waterfall at 55 degrees! O…M…G!!!

What is this place?

It’s San Francisco’s new temple of sweat—the Archimedes Banya—built by the Russian mathematician and Lincoln University president, Mikhail Brodsky. A passionate sweat aficionado, Brodsky’s dream house provides a complete total body workout—inside and out—where all you do is cycle from extreme hot to extreme cold until it takes everything you have left to carry your IPA up to the roof-deck overlooking the Bay. Ahhhhhh-some.

For more, see In Search of the Perfect Sweat:

Stephen Kiesling

Stephen Kiesling

Stephen Kiesling is the editor in chief of Spirituality & Health magazine. He was the youngest member of the 1980 US Olympic Rowing Team and the oldest competitor at the 2008 Olympic Rowing Trials. A Scholar of the House in Philosophy at Yale, he was a founding editor of American Health and Spirituality & Health magazines. Stephen is the author of several books, including The Shell Game and The Nike Cross Training System, and has written for The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, and Outside. He has been featured in The New York Times and The Boston Globe and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including Today and All Things Considered.