Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Like it Hot

We have found the ultimate luxury in Holland; the Elysium Centre for Well-Being. We spent our entire Saturday at this sauna/spa extraordinaire, just north of Rotterdam.

This center has more than 23 saunas, steam rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, Jacuzzis & jetted tubs. They had several shower areas which had wonderful lavender shampoos, body gel, oils, lotions, and even salt scrubs. They also had a couple restaurants, where we had a fruit smoothie and a snack, and ate lunch in our robes. How cool is that?

This was my favorite steam bath. I loved the beautiful blue tiles.

(Of course I couldn't go around taking pictures of this lovely place, so I pulled these from their website.)

Let me back up one step and preface this experience with some background info. As you probably know, sauna's and steam rooms are huge in Europe & Scandinavia. It is almost a way of life for some people. Chad and I had never really been into them in the States, but our gym here in Rotterdam has both, so we tried them out, and we've been growing fonder of the experience. It is a great way to ease sore muscles after a workout, or just to relax and clear your mind.

One thing we had to get used to, though, is the nudity. Bathing suits are not allowed. It has less to do with lack of modesty, and more to do with hygiene. Whatever the reason, it is a big adjustment at first. You can wear a robe or towel to and from the sauna, but you leave it all behind when you go in, just taking a towel to sit on. At the gym, I just leave my towel wrapped around me (because I might actually see someone I know!). But on Saturday we did as the natives do, and went au naturel. I haven't been naked around that many strangers since the day I was born!

Picture the below scene, but with everyone sitting/laying On their towels, instead of keeping them wrapped around them. In the end, you just get used to it.

This was the beautiful Moroccan themed sauna, that had a fireplace in the middle, built under one of the dunes in the garden.

Elysium has a huge indoor facility where most of their saunas and pools are. There is also a large outdoor area with gardens, pools, and saunas hidden in the dunes. Our favorite sauna was the Russian Banja, tucked way in the back of the garden. You walked on stepping stones across a pond to get to the cute little cabin, and it was surrounded by green plants and trees. Very peaceful.

It was a relaxing day, going from hot tubs, to saunas, to the cafe and resting room. But, we did have some playful fun, too, in the salt water pool. The salt water is much more concentrated than sea water, so you easily float no matter what position you are in. We flipped & floated & pushed each other around the pool for a long time.

We really enjoy going to the sauna, and if you are considering partaking in a European sauna we do highly recommend it. Just be prepared to leave those North American modesty issues at the door, and step on in.


*Here's their website, if you're interested (though it's in Dutch):,,,,,,/

1 comment:

Brandi said...

That place looks incredible! I have been tempted to go to a place here, but it is a lot less fancy. More Eastern Bloc style sauna. The nakedness in Europe cracks me up. Especially since most of the time it is the old men who go all the way!