Lake Steam Baths in Denver
One of my intentions this year is to simply stop more often and do absolutely nothing. Sounds easy, right? Not for me. I have to schedule the time to just be still. But there is one place that can motivate me to just slow down and that’s the Lake Steam Baths in Denver.
Lake Steam Baths on Colfax is one of my favorite escapes and on my list of places to frequent more often in 2018. It’s been around since 1927 and not much has changed over the decades which is absolutely part of the charm. Twenty bucks gets you in the door for the entire day to soak in the very, very hot, hot tub, sweat it out in the eucalyptus filled steam room, pour buckets of cool water over yourself in the cavernous sauna or simply lie like a beached whale on the cool white tiles in the main room.
Spa treatments range from salt scrubs (only $10) to massages ($35 for 55 minutes or $52 for 80 minutes) reflexology ($18 for 30 minutes) and detox foot baths ($20 for 30 minutes). The last time I went I opted for a massage and reflexology treatment, combined with hours in the tub and sauna and my total for four hours of blissful relaxation was $73 before tip. Not bad.
The bathhouse was originally owned the Hannon Hyman family to cater to the customs of what was then a largely Russian Jewish population. Today the spa attracts people from all walks of life. I love it for the diversity and the absolute beauty of humanity. Although you can wear a bathing suit, you might be the only one. And for me this is part of the charm — being completely, and unashamedly naked for hours with women of all ages and sizes and colors. It always makes me feel more comfortable in what my body looks like after being at the bathhouse for a day. I especially love seeing the really old women because of the pure joy they express in just simply being alive and being together.
Spa food? When I was there recently, I saw a woman, completely naked, reading the list of spa treatments while eating a bag of Cheetos. While not my idea of spa food, my girls would definitely say that is totally what spas are for — pure indulgence!
It’s open for women-only on Mondays and Thursdays and the first Sunday of every month. I certainly hope Lake Steam is around a long, long time because I have images of a decade (or two) from now going down to Denver each week with a few girlfriends for an afternoon of soaking our then-old bones, getting vigorous salt scrubs and endless yakking and laughs.