How do I book a private banya?
One of Russian life's greatest joys has to be the banya. An oasis of tranquility, indulgence and relaxation in an otherwise — let's face it — stressful city like Moscow, there's nothing like a good steam and soak in an traditional bathhouse to ease that hangover or cure those aches and pains. While purists would argue that you need to head to one of the city's public bathhouses like Sanduny to benefit from the full banya experience, getting naked in front of complete strangers isn't everyone's cup of tea.
If so, head to sauna.ru. The handy encyclopedic website allows you to search for a banya according to criteria like price, location and capacity. You can see photos of the interior, a map location and both a phone number and online booking form to reserve your venue of choice. It's worth noting that the price displayed per hour is for rental of the entire banya, not the price per individual. 2,000 rubles an hour might seem a lot, but split between 15 you're looking at a bargain. Prices are cheaper in the daytime and on weekdays and it's worth looking into additional costs if you bring your own food and drinks with you.
Frankly, even if you're not in the market for a private steam session, the website is a lot of fun to browse. With many extravagant banyas boasting banqueting tables, slightly seedy looking "relaxation rooms" and pool tables as standard, hunting for your banya is half the fun. All you need to do is remember to request a stylish felt hat to protect your hair and the veniki (birch branches) with which to beat your poor tired body. Better yet, ask your friend to do it. After all, banya bonding is the best type of bonding.
For more information see sauna.ru