Modern life is a fine balance where ever you live in our increasingly hectic world. Stress, while useful when running away from lions, torments to distraction and throws us into bouts of illness no matter how advanced we are in our fancy pants urbane living. Even in Seville it´s good to switch off or ´desconectar´as they like to say in these parts. Yes, I know it sounds hard to believe; how stressful can it get hanging out in cafés, gaily moving from tostadas, to tapas, to siesta and back agan. But despite not chasing one´s tail in a never ending rodent race, speaking for myself, some quiet time serves me well. And if this means lolling around in a Moorish inspired hammam, the more´s the better.
And this is where the Aire de Sevilla Arabs baths come in. Housed in an old palace in Santa Cruz, as soon as you step through its majestic doors into the cool patio within, any brain activity and decision making is short circuited and rendered useless. At every turn there is a helpful attendent to hand you towels, explain patiently for the umpteenth time how the lockers work and to usher you to where the bathing action is. The only decisions required are ´have I got the cojones (balls) of steel to leap (or crawl) into the freezing plunge pool and do I take my towel with me or leave it in my locker?´
The rest of the time it´s an amoebic existence of floating around in womb temperature liquid, drinking cool mint tea, sweating in the steam room and bobbing about in the jacuzzi. Frankly very stressful stuff. The baths also offer a range of massage and body treatments, all taking place in an atmospheric candlelit room. I was fortunate enough to receive a 30 minute relaxing going over, but there´s a mesmerizing array of more elaborate treatments such as a relaxing 4 hands ritual and the water massage to avail of.
You have to book online in advance to ensure you get a slot, as if you leave it too late the more popular times are usually taken, and it´s also important to remember to bring your swimming cossie, although you can rent or buy one there.You also get to wear fetching little rubber slipper thingies, which protect you from any outside invaders, so no need to bring pool shoes or the like. And check out the website for any special offers or events, such as the live flamenco on Tuesday nights, although I think this would have sent me into a catatonic stupor that I perhaps would never had made it back from.
Aires de Sevilla Baños Arabes, Calle Aire 15, Sevilla, Tel 955 01 00 25