Seville – AIRE Ancient Baths Review

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One of the highlights of my trip to Seville was my visit to the AIRE Ancient Baths complex.

I love historic buildings, relaxing massages, and ancient history – have I found the perfect combination?

This sensory delight was certainly a memorable way to start my trip to Andalucia.

Who/what is AIRE?

AIRE is a European company that creates luxury spa experiences based on ancient bathing rituals. They describe themselves as “temples dedicated to the relaxation of body and mind in which time does not exist”.

I am immediately on board.

AIRE rooftop plunge pool at sunset with view of cathedral.

What’s an ancient bath?

AIRE Ancient Baths are inspired by the tradition of bathhouses throughout the Roman, Greek, Ottoman and Moorish empires. The facilities combine several ideas from different bathing traditions.

The main two levels house several different pools of varying temperatures including an icy plunge pool and a hot pool, a salty flotarium, and a jacuzzi room. There’s also a hammam room with two intensities of steam and a heated rooftop plunge pool with epic views of the cathedral (pictured above).

The Seville baths are located in a 16th-century Mudéjar building with lots of stone, brick, and wood details, giving it a very different feel to your typical Turkish hammam.

There’s also a stronger emphasis on relaxation here. More than a spa, it’s a complete sensory experience that will whisk you away to a distant time (only with better smells).

One of my bugbears with modern spas is lack of ambience so for me this concept is perfect.

AIRE candlelit floratium.

Booking your session

You can purchase access to the pools/hammam by itself or a combination ticket with one of the treatments (known as ‘rituals’).

I opted for the 45-minute massage in a 2 hour session for €102 euros. There are cheaper experiences – you can just visit the pool complex for just €52 – but at the time of booking this seemed to be the minimum for visiting the rooftop pool (it’s worth it). I added on cava and truffles as an extra.

For a truly unique experience there’s also the Wine Bath experience where you can submerge yourself in a tub of Ribera del Duero followed by a massage (I might have to come back for this), or a floating massage in the water.

You can’t choose when your massage is within the session though.

My session

Woman having a massage at AIRE.

I was asked to arrive 15 minutes before the session so that I was changed and ready for the beginning of my slot.

After waiting in reception for the start time, I was guided to the changing rooms where I was assigned a locker which contains a robe, a towel, wristbands denoting my experience, and some spa water shoes (to be worn at all times).

When ready, I made my way downstairs to the hushed pool level, where a member of staff greeted me and explained how the session would work.

Staff are courteous and speak English and wear black robes which make them look a little like members of a secret society. 

I was then ushered upstairs to the rooftop where my cava and chocolate truffles were awaiting me next to the heated infinity plunge pool.

The views across Seville’s terracotta rooftops and whitewashed buildings are breathtaking. I was the only one up there for a good 10 minutes, it was a lovely moment of peace and gratitude to start the experience off.

It was January when I visited. Sunny but still with a nip in the air, so the heated pool (bathtub-warm) was a joy.

I was allocated about 15 minutes up on the rooftop (I didn’t have a watch so it was a bit of a guess but I headed back down after I’d finished my drink) then it was time to start exploring the pools. Someone would find me when it was time for my massage, no need to worry about the time.

Candlelit thermal pools at AIRE Seville.

After that I hit the steam room and the subterranean vaulted flotarium before making my way through the pools.

There are 3 pools:

  • Tepidarium 36ºC/97ºF
  • Caldarium 40ºC/102ºF
  • Frigidarium 16ºC/57ºF

The jacuzzi pools are in a separate room.

There seemed to be a mix of couples, friends, and solos in my session.

I enjoyed the unobtrusive and  relaxing music (with an ancient/spiritual vibe) which played throughout the rooms, and conversations are kept quiet.

The whole place is candlelit and smells incredible. Candles are placed inside Moroccan-style latticed lamps and lantern that flicker constantly.

Candlelet massage room with screens at AIRE Seville.

I was called for my massage roughly 1 hour into my session and led to the treatment room.

The massage area is in a large room with beautiful wooden ceiling and beams, with tables curtained off for privacy. 

My 45 minute full-body massage was absolute bliss – I didn’t have high expectations as spa massages often disappoint but this exceeded my expectations, thank you Maria. Next time I would definitely book the longest massage possible.

After my massage I had time for one more float in the flotarium before a gentle tinkly bell rang out to signal the end of the session.

The showers contain L’Occitane shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, and the changing rooms have hairdryers. 

Verdict

This is already one of my favourite things I’ve done this year. It felt like fantastic value and was particularly enjoyable in January as an escape from gloomy winter weather back home.

I will definitely be incorporating AIRE into my travel plans for other destinations. It’s perfect for a special treat on your weekend away. If they ever open a hotel I’m right there!

Things to note

  • There are showers in the changing room but little time to have one before your session starts. There are showers next to each pool but with no privacy. So you’ll want to arrive freshly washed.
  • I also found that my skin felt dry afterwards so probably want to bring your own moisturiser.
  • The massage tables are curtained off rather than in separate rooms, which might not suit everyone’s privacy preferences.
  • Swimsuits for ladies seemed to be the norm.
  • At the time I visited masks were to be worn at all times except when in the water. You can leave them with your robe, there are plenty of hooks around the pools (it might be worth bringing a distinctive mask if you have one).
  • The robe is on the smaller side so you may wish to request a different size in advance if you’re larger than the Spanish average (which is pretty small). You can also request different sized shoes.

Where do I find it and how can I book?

AIRE street sign in Seville.

Interior courtyard, AIRE Seville.

AIRE is located down a quiet alleyway in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood of central Sevillesee location on Google Maps.

It’s a 5-minute walk from La Giralda and easy to find, particularly as the street is also called AIRE. You can smell the divine smells as you walk past. 

You can book on the AIRE website.

Where else do AIRE have locations?

Exterior signs for AIRE Seville.

AIRE currently have locations: New York,  Chicago, London, Copenhagen, Seville, Barcelona, Almeria, and Vallromanes (Catalonia).

Prices and treatments vary by location.

Signs and courtyard © The Mediterranean Traveller

All other images © AIRE