Spa Experience reopens in Islington’s historic Ironmonger Row Baths

The London spa has undergone a major two-year restoration project


By Wendy Golledge

01 February 2024

Spa Experience has reopened its branch within Islington’s Ironmonger Row Baths after a two-year closure.

The closure came about as the result of a fire that ravaged the grade II listed building in 2022.

A comprehensive programme of renovation has created a new 950sqm spa with five treatment rooms and fully restored thermal facilities. Additional treatment space will be added on the first floor in May 2024.

Facilities include salt and juniper saunas, two steam rooms, an ice room, a cold plunge pool and feature showers supplied by Sauna360.

There are comprehensive Turkish hammam facilities, including a couple’s wet hammam treatment space, a relaxation lounge and new changing rooms.

Women with long brown hair starting directly into the camera

“The fire in 2022 caused considerable damage but, following two years of hard work, the spa now boasts improved facilities. We are proud of what has been achieved and looking forward to inviting customers back to treatments and thermal spa experiences.”

Melissa Evans

National manager, Spa Experience

Victorian-era thermal baths

“Ironmonger Row is unique in so many ways,” says Melissa Evans, national manager at Spa Experience. “It’s a beautiful, grade II listed building, which has played an important part in the social history of the year.

“The thermal baths were first introduced in the Victorian era and we have tried to embrace that heritage while introducing modern facilities and treatments.

“Spa Experience is part of GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), which is a charitable social enterprise. We work in partnership with councils to deliver a quality service that locals can afford.

“Our ethos focuses on affordable excellence, and making the facilities and treatments we offer accessible to all.”

White and marble spa area
There are two thermal zones at Ironmonger Row Baths – Contemporary and Traditional

Refurbished thermal zone at Ironmonger Row Baths

The thermal area, which is split between a Contemporary Zone and a Traditional Zone, is the vision of Sauna360.

The original Ironmonger Row Baths was built in the 1930s with swimming pool and old-style bathing house with hot rooms and cold plunge in the basement.

Focused on creating a feeling of space and relaxation, Sauna360 has used giant full-height tiles and longitudinal floor tiles to draw the eye to the glass-fronted salt sauna.

In the contemporary zone there are two large saunas. The juniper sauna contains a juniper wall, which provides its own natural aroma, while in the salt sauna there is a large salt wall.

A steamroom in a spa
In the traditional zone there are a series of interlinked hot rooms

The Traditional zone boasts a series of interlinked hot rooms in large ceramics, with increasing temperature as guests get further in.

Outside the hot rooms are a drench bucket, cleansing shower and plunge pool, which includes a heat recovery system to use the heat removed from the plunge water to heat to the learner swimming pool.

Sauna360: bringing the outside in

The Sauna360 Wellness concept was used in all the thermal rooms, allowing effective air flow and enhancing the bather experience.

“We understood the previous operational difficulties with this site and we had the opportunity to address these in so many ways,” explains Jeff Le Clos, senior commercial manager at Sauna360. “We have transformed the area, creating a feeling of space and relaxation. Longevity was a leading motivation, to ensure products and finishes allow for effective maintenance and reduced wear and tear.

“The variety of thermal facilities offers a full selection hot and cold wellness applications, flowing though the spa. The use of printed graphic glass flows through the facility bringing the outside in and creating a spacious, fresh feeling despite it being a basement spa.”

Man with beard leaning against a tree

“The number of thermal facilities on offer at IRB is very rare for a central London leisure centre. Our focus was to redesign the space into an upmarket, attractive London spa open to all. The project is driven by our ECO-SAUNA energy saving concepts – reusable heat, less waste and capturing this waste to use elsewhere in the building.”

Jeff Le Clos

Senior commercial manager, Sauna360

[comfort zone], Tea & Tonic and Ashmira Botanica

A team of 20 therapists led by spa managers Allgood and Tanya Ngonyama will offer [comfort zone], Tea & Tonic and Ashmira Botanica treatments. A two-hour thermal experience will also be on the menu.

Treatment beds are Gharieni supplied by Ellisons, uniforms are by Taylor Made Designs and towels and spa linens are from BC SoftWear.

Fitness equipment is supplied by Technogym, software by Gappt and lockers are from Ojmar.

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