This guide to the best day spas and bathhouses of Melbourne is going to help you relax and rejuvenate until you simply melt into a puddle of chilled vibes. Treat yourself. Treat your partner. Let’s get sweaty!
Crown Day Spa
Vibe: This is where you come when you want to impress someone.
The best descriptor of Crown Spa would have to be ‘opulent’.
From the blown-glass chandeliers to it’s ancient Grecian and Moorish cues, to the ginormous skylit-pool next to Heston’s “Dinner” that greets you as you enter – it is day spa on an epic scale.
There are more hydrotherapy activations beyond the grand entrance, which split into male and female zones, with a unisex area for hangs after your treatment. The vitality pool and steam rooms (both heated to 35 degrees) are perhaps the most frivolous part of the experience, and they sit alongside relaxation rooms with the requisite dried fruit, herbal tea, and mineral water.
There are 17 treatment rooms, including Deluxe and Indulgent suites. The latter is a double-height room the size of a New York penthouse studio. It’s an extra $100 per person to have 30 minutes of this private “Indulgence”. But if you’re treating someone like your Mum or your partner, I say go big or go home.
The spa also has a full-scope hair and nail salon. Products used here are La Prairie (known for their “Skin Caviar” range and that’s no euphemism, it’s really caviar) and surprise local brand, Subtle Energies, who have an understated organic botanical range.
Spa hours: 6am-10pm
Treatments from: 10am
Chuan Spa at The Langham
Vibe: This is where you come when you need to re-balance
Often cited as “the best day spa in Melbourne”, the Chuan Spa at the Langham has a gorgeous Chinese decor and focus on Eastern wellbeing practices.
You can choose the Tri-bathing ritual or to re-balance your Wu Xing, the Five Elements, a foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). When I booked online I did a survey to find out which of the Five Elements was out of whack. Earth was the element I needed to harmonise, so I chose to be scrubbed and mudded before hitting the bathing and massage.
In terms of bathing, the Chuan has a pool, a salt-water jacuzzi, a river stone snail shower, and a heated sauna. The mixture of hydro experiences was invigorating.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 6am – 9pm
Park Club Health & Day Spa, Park Hyatt
Vibe: This is where you come on a rainy day for a high-tea and spa double-feature.
A lovely spot to stroll to on a weekend afternoon, the Park Hyatt is nestled between St Patrick’s Cathedral and Parliament. The building has an air of old grandeur – a place your aunty Millicent would feel quite at home. And the fresh lemongrass and deeper patchouli scents help to transport you into ‘zen zone’ as you descend into the belly of the day spa.
The Park Hyatt has quite a famous indoor pool, with pillars that resemble the Pall Mall Royal Automobile Club’s famous Roman columns. It’s a little more intimate, but it’s got a vibrant mosaic of water goddesses on the end wall that frames a 25-metre lap pool, jacuzzi and (I must say) tasteful children’s pool.
Each change area has a steam and sauna room, so both genders can smoke, steam and dream. There are single and double treatment rooms. The products used in the spa are local Melbourne brand USPA and new UK brand Linda Meredith, which is supposedly great for more advanced treatments on dry or mature skin (see: Aunty Milly).
Spa hours: 6am – 9pm
Peninsula Hot Springs
Vibe: This is where you come for family-friendly Hot Springs, just be sure to come early or it will be hectic!
When we all started travelling a little more and experiencing worldwide spa delights we asked ourselves, but where are the hot springs in Melbourne? Well, there’s Hepburn and others, but nothing has quite the cache that Peninsula Hot Springs does.
Beautiful landscaping of inland coastal Victoria has made this THE hot springs destination for Melbournians. Famous for the hilltop pool (everyone’s favourite, and I mean, everyone – it’s always full, even at 6am), the traditional style Turkish hamam, and the reflexology walk. They’ve just added new attractions to the bath house area, including a fire and ice situation, a deep freeze, and an amphitheatre.
They have a Spa Dreaming centre that sits apart from the more communal springs, with its own bathing experience and day spa treatments. It’s pretty darned relaxing in this section, you certainly feel more serene when the kids aren’t doing laps around you. I was sad that I had to leave before I could enjoy a lunch snack in my robe – they have a really nice restaurant ripe for lounging.
Hours: 7am – 10pm
Vibe: Authentic Japanese neighbourhood bathhouse or sento, run by super sweet proprietors. This is the real deal.
This convivial bathhouse, officially named Ofuroya but known more lovingly by locals as ‘the Japanese Bathhouse’, is the neighbourhood local that everyone should experience. Opened in 1999, they have been the winter warmer for 19-years now!
This is maybe the one true bathhouse in Melbourne. People love visiting alone or with friends. At $32 for entry, this is a wonderful and cost-effective way to get your mindfulness (and washing!) quota in. They give you a Japanese washcloth to use during and a Yukata (pj’s) to wear afterwards. A bathe and shiatsu is the best combo, you will walk away free of knots! The bathing is gender-segregated, but you can commune together in the Tatami lounge for water, tea or light Japanese cuisine. The Tatami lounge is perhaps the Melbourne locals’ favourite bit about this establishment. Just don’t do what my friend did and forget to put on the Yukata bottoms in the shared space, it will be very embarrassing!
This is the people’s bathhouse. It’s a joy to visit mainly because of the beautiful people running Ofuroya. It is customer service at it’s warmest. The baths each hold 8-10 people at a time so booking is strongly recommended.
Tues to Fri 11am – 9pm
Sat, Sun 11am -7pm
Mansion Hotel and Spa @ Werribee
Vibe: Come here if you want a country retreat without actually going to the country. And a decent hammam!
The Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa is a great place for an overnighter or weekend stay. It’s got beautiful grounds to explore, delicioso dining, and extremely comfortable beds (those pillows, it’s all about the pillows isn’t it?). If you want to go to the country, but not really, this is the place for you. You’ll wake up feeling a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
This spa is surprising. Alongside the expansive indoor lap pool, and the usual decadent massage and facial offering (they use Payot Paris product), the Mansion Spa has possibly one of the best Hammam experiences in Melbourne. This might be down to the products they use. I recall an orange-scented masque, but not that weird Imperial Leather soapy smell, a really high-qual one with those deep notes (yeah, I’ve read some Le Labo literature). Also, anywhere you can “add a glass of French champagne for $14 and chocolate coated strawberries for $12” has pretty much won me over.
In my future-me visualisations, I imagine myself in thick woollen oversized jumpers, sitting next to a fire to keep warm from the chill clean air, utterly relaxed from a deep steam and massage at the Werribee spa.
Monday to Saturday 9am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 5pm
Amara Wellness Centre
Vibe: Come here if you want a high-end hammam/ if you are a Footballer or WAG
Dr. Zara has created a little oasis above Sydney Rd at this Hammam come wellness centre. There is a focus on high performance here because Dr. Zara is a trained endermotherapist, which is described on Amara’s website as “a French word for ‘mechanical stimulation of cells’”. I don’t exactly know what that means, but it’s said to assist in the treatment of conditions such as fibrosis, arthritis, scarring from burns, and even frozen shoulder!
I once visited Amara and experienced the Hammam ritual with a friend. The rooms are a bit cosy, but they transport you with the Moroccan motif and the heady steam (it gets super steamy in the smaller rooms, I loved it!). They mixed an aromatic paste of rose and eucalyptus that was applied to our skin to soften it in preparation for the scrub, or “gommage” as they call it in European hammams. This was mixed by the spa attendant, and no lie, was absolutely beautiful.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am – 6pm
Spa de Marrakech (Mont Albert) – a Hammam come Roman bathhouse. Features a warm mineral water bathing pool (heated to 39 degrees), steam room with colour therapy, and ice fountain!
City Baths (CBD) – The original Melbourne bathing house. Ask to see the old wrought iron claw-foot baths and the traditional Mikvah bath, the latter still used today! Aquarobics here is really fun too.
The Fitzroy Pool (Fitzroy) – a friend of mine has a ritual she calls the “Schvitz and Spritz”, which involves heating yourself to the max in the steam and sauna rooms, and then walking (swiftly in winter) to the deep end of the pool, jumping in and swimming back to the saunas. Rinse and repeat until you’re pruney.