First off, let’s be clear: There won’t be any nudity and certainly no sex.
Not at a new “urban bathhouse” – Sacramento’s first – set to open this summer on the upper Broadway corridor.
Instead, owner Cori Martinez, is envisioning a wholesome “retreat” where guests – men and women, wearing swim attire – can enjoy communal hot and cold soaks in indoor saltwater pools, get a sauna and steam, possibly have a massage and lounge around later with a cold-pressed juice drink or kombucha tea.
“I feel we all need to take the time to slow down and take care of ourselves on a regular basis,” Martinez said of the bathhouse that’s debuting in July at 2415 27th St.
Already open at the two-building complex is Martinez’s Asha yoga business, which recently relocated from its original site in midtown. The combination yoga-bathhouse – to be built out with an investment of between $400,000 and $500,000 – may be the only such operation in the country, according to Martinez.
Asha Urban Baths and Yoga is also the latest venture in a region fast embracing wellness trends ranging from sensory deprivation tanks to nitro coffee and pressed veggie juices, and another sign of renewed investment along the Broadway corridor – the site of new housing, restaurants and other retail uses.
Martinez, 39, said she’s always appreciated the restorative benefits of hot and cold water plunges and felt it was time Sacramento joined larger cities – San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, among them – where communal health-oriented bathhouses are becoming fashionable.
Her idea is to capture a bit of the “old world” feel of ancient Roman or Turkish baths but make it “luxuriously California comfortable” with mood lighting, modern tile and wood design elements and even a retail shop selling plush towels and other bath wares.
The centerpiece of the business will be two baths – a 12-by-13-feet saltwater tub heated to about 100 degrees and a smaller saltwater pool that will be set at a chilly 55 degrees.
Sacramento is such a progressive and health-conscious community and people will appreciate having an alternative place to practice wellness.
Cori Martinez, owner of Asha Urban Baths and Yoga
Those looking to relax and eliminate stress may just opt for time in the hot tub along with a sauna or steam session, Martinez said. That experience “relaxes the muscles and, with the mind-body connection, you respond by being mentally relaxed as well,” she said.
But those needing an energy boost can cycle between the hot and cold pools.
“It will be invigorating and rejuvenating,” she said, adding: “We all can relate to what it’s like to jump into cold water. There’s a shock to the whole system that wakes you up.”
After being relaxed or “woken up,” guests will be able to sit in indoor and outdoor cabana areas and socialize while eating healthy snacks and sipping juices and teas.
Martinez, who ran a yoga studio in Hawaii before moving here eight years ago and opening Asha, said her goal is to keep the new business affordable so people can make it part of their lives on a daily or weekly basis. The charge for using the baths will be $25 per visit, with extra fees for those also seeking massages.
The goal is to keep the same friendly vibe at the baths that regulars experience at Martinez’s yoga business, where people typically are greeted by name when they arrive for classes.
Some of the bathhouses opening in other cities are clothing-optional venues. Martinez said she decided to require bathing suits at this one, noting that patrons are apt to run into co-workers and neighbors.
“We want it to be a comfortable, community environment,” she said.
It also will be quite distinct from the sort of “bathhouses” that have come to be identified with casual sex in some cities.
“Clearly,” Martinez said, “that’s not what we’re doing here.”