A trip to the spa leaves you feeling like a new person. So why go out when relaxation can come to you? Building the ultimate in home pampering is becoming the new normal for many Hamptons’ homeowners. Bud Handel from East End Spa Service, in the business over 25 years, finds that most homes being built in the Hamptons over $2 million right now include some aspect of a spa or sauna room.
When deciding where to build the sauna, Handel says it is wise to consider somewhere relatively private for obvious reasons. It is becoming increasingly common to install saunas in finished basements or home gyms and exercise rooms. For convenience he usually builds a dressing area adjacent to the sauna with a bench, hooks, and shelves for towels. Handel suggests an area where you have close access to a shower if you dare to participate in the Norwegian / Swedish method of taking a real sauna bath, where you jump back and forth between the extreme heat
of a sauna and a frigid shower. Handel explains, “I guess that their
theory is that it tightens up your skin. In the old days you jumped into a cold pond.”
For those lucky enough to be located near the ocean, the scenic views give homeowners the option to have spa settings with a gorgeous backdrop. Handel’s favorite spa and sauna combo included an ocean front facing steam room with curved heated glass so it would not fog up while you were in the steam room enjoying the stunning view of the ocean. The homeowner even created a massage area with table and installed an outdoor hot tub overlooking the ocean just steps away from the sauna, shower, and steam room. How do you top that?
Homeowners have also had some unusual requests. The strangest sauna Handel created was for Russian clients who wanted him to build what they considered to be a true Russian bath where temperatures rise above 200 degrees. Handel accepted the challenge, building the walls out of teak and putting in two heaters which had to be modified to allow the temperatures to go above the normal preset of 190 degrees.
The benefits of a spa and sauna don’t end at feeling totally relaxed. In fact, with high-end sales and rentals in the Hamptons this amenity is expected, much like a pool or tennis court. “A sauna is a must for the perfect Hamptons’ home spa. And absolutely de rigeur for the perfect escape,” says real estate pro Renee Dahl of Rosehip Partners in East Hampton. “The busy movers and shakers don’t have time to drive, or be driven to the spa, and sharing random DNA? So last century! You can’t have all the bells and whistles without the steam from those hot rocks.”