When In Rome, Or Chicago: Thermal Baths Open In Former Paint Factory

By Robert Channick
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Aire Ancient Baths” feature a circuit from ice to cold to warm to hot pools. Other Aire experiences include a private candlelit soak in red wine and a flotarium, a salt-water pool with the density of the Dead Sea.


Chicagoans looking to soak in ancient Roman thermal pools, housed inside a somewhat less ancient restored former paint factory: Your bath is almost ready.

Aire Ancient Baths, a Spanish company, is opening a 20,000-square-foot facility in the River West neighborhood later this month, featuring cold, warm and hot baths, a salt water flotarium, and other spa amenities that were all the rage two millennia ago.

“The whole concept is to bring back the tradition of Greek and Roman bathhouses,” said Silvia Barnett, a spokeswoman for Aire Ancient Baths.

The expansive subterranean baths will occupy the restored basement at 800 W. Superior St., a wing of the century-old River West Plaza building that originally housed the DeVoe & Raynolds paint factory.

The historic location is not an accident for Aire, which launched in Seville, Spain, in 2001 and expanded to New York in 2012.

“In each city we open, we find a historical building, we bring it back to its original splendor,” Barnett said.
The restoration and build-out took two years and cost $10 million, Barnett said.

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