Once in awhile I like to profile local establishments I enjoy. Since I’ve cover saunas on this site as part of our home gyms category (perhaps not the best categorizations but it’ll have to do), I thought I’d do a local write-up about the Vancouver spa sauna called The Art of Sauna.
I’m an avid sauna user. While I don’t have a sauna in my home, I use one at my local community center several times per week.
Last weekend, while in the community center sauna another fellow suggested I try The Art of Sauna in Burnaby, BC. It’s a spa dedicated to saunas and steam rooms. They offer massage as well which I hope to try in the future as part of the overall experience.
What does Art of Sauna offer?
They offer the following sauna and steam room options:
- Russian Banya: large hot sauna where you can pour water on the rocks. My favorite by far… but it gets hot.
- Dry Finnish Sauna: Large dry sauna. It’s a beauty and cookin’ hot.
- Dry Aroma Sauna: I actually didn’t have time to use this. It looks good though. Next time.
- Turkish steam room: Not as hot as other steam rooms, but it’s huge and a neat experience. If you like lounging for a long time, this was a decent experience.
- Eucalyptus steam room: This was decent but could use a stronger eucalyptus infusion. You couldn’t really smell it all that much. I love eucalyptus steam rooms and would love it to be stronger.
- Aromatic steam room: Again, the aroma wasn’t all that strong but the steam room was a good experience.
- Roman room: This was one steam room that I ran out of steam to try. By this point I was cooked.
- Himalayan salt room: This isn’t hot at all (mildly warm). It’s a nicely appointed room but it didn’t do much for me. I think it’s meant to be a meditative experience.
There are chairs throughout the facility that you can sit on in between sessions. They are pretty much patio chairs, which is good. Because you’re soaked with water and/or sweat, they can’t very well put sofas and armchairs throughout. The floor is tile as well with rubber mats placed on them.
While the facility is decent in aesthetics and comfort, there’s room for improvement. That said, the actual steam rooms and saunas are amazing.
Ice-cold water bucket dumps: This was awesome. See below.
How does it work?
First off, you need to make an appointment, at least that’s what we were told. This makes sense since the place can only accommodate so many people. I booked a 2-hour slot from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm on Thursday.
Be sure to complete the online waiver form before showing up as well. This takes only a few minutes (it’s a very slick system).
Upon arrival, I found the receptionist to be friendly. Not that there’s much they need to do. With towels in hand, I proceeded (with my buddy) to the locker room to put on my trunks and lock my belongings.
From there it was a plethora of sauna and steam room experiences.
Is the Art of Sauna facility clean?
Yes, the facility is clean throughout. The locker rooms were immaculate. Each steam and sauna space was spotless. There were not bad smells anywhere (no mean feat for any steam room). I was very pleased with the cleanliness.
Is the facility nice?
I’ve been to much nicer spas but this wasn’t bad. It’s fairly plain decor-wise, but it’s clean and spacious. The locker rooms are actually quite good.
The saunas and steam rooms themselves are amazing. They were clean, large and the facility spared no expense on them. In fact, I have to admit the Finnish sauna and Russian Banya were the two best saunas I’ve ever used.
Steam rooms must be cleaned regularly and these were. They were large, offered plenty of great seating and set at decent temperatures.
While I love a good steam room, I prefer saunas and the saunas at the Art of Sauna did not disappoint. The Russian Banya where you can splash water
The ice-cold water bucket dump
There are a couple shower areas in the facility that have a water bucket dump. You walk in, pull the rope and a huge bucket of ice-cold water pours down on you. It’s exhilarating, refreshing and amazing. I did this three times. It elevates the experience big time. I’ve used cold dip plunge pools in the past, but the bucket dump worked great for a quick cool-off so that you’re ready to go for another round.
What should you wear?
Most people wear a bathing suit (as did I). You can use just a towel, but undergarments or going naked is not permitted.
Was it crowded?
I went on a Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. It wasn’t too crowded at all. In other words, there was never a time when there wasn’t room to use a sauna or steam room.
What else do they offer?
Your entry fee includes a shower towel, a smaller towel to sit on in the sauna and a very cool electronic key for the electronic lockers.
There are water dispensers located throughout the facility which came in handy since I forgot my water bottle. You’d think with how often I use the sauna, I wouldn’t forget the water bottle.
The locker rooms include two showers to clean up afterward. Note, however, that soap or shampoo is not provided so bring your own.
The locker rooms are spacious and actually quite nice to use.
This place is a full-blown spa offering (none of which I tried but will book a massage in the future):
- Skincare services.
Is there parking?
Yes and this was great. There is free underground parking which is convenient.
How much does it cost?
My 2 hour session cost $40 plus tax. It’s a little steep, but it’s also an elevated sauna experience that isn’t offered many places. I wouldn’t go daily but once in a while it’s a nice splurge.
For $60, you can go for four hours.
They also sell a variety of bulk passes which reduces the per-visit cost.
Where is the Art of Sauna?
Since I work in downtown Vancouver, I’d love it if this place opened up a location downtown. Instead, it’s in Burnaby which is a bit of a haul from downtown Vancouver. It took me 45 minutes to drive there in rush hour. While I wouldn’t do this drive daily, once every a few weeks is worth it. In the future, I’ll probably go on a weekend when there isn’t much traffic.
It’s located at:
7818 6th street, Burnaby,
British Columbia, V4N 4N8
Will I go again? Do I recommend it?
Yes, I will go again. I thoroughly enjoyed my two hours there. Unless I add on a massage, two hours is more than enough time.
If you’re into the sauna and/or steam room experience, this is a great place to go.
Visit the Art of Sauna website for more info. The FAQ is decent.