Baden-Baden review

Baden-Baden (Bath-Bath) is the best known German spa town. Its not my favourite, but I do have my subscription progamme there, whereas I have my own entry wristwatch which avoids me any queue and something like 15 or 17% discount on everything. It has two different facilities, Caracalla the new one and Friedrichsbad the old one. They are in different buildings, maybe 100 m2 apart and very different in every respect, but run by the same company.

Caracalla is the big, family-oriented one. The ground floor is textile and includes the usual inside-outside pool with some whirlpools and both an inside and an outside crazy river. It also has (exceptionally) a textile hammam, a hot and a freezing cold water cave This part is not my favourite, too many children, too much noise. But then you can take the stairs to the textile-free, sauna land above. First thing you see on your right side is a small outside place for nude tanning, unfortunately too small for everyone to profit from it. Then you get into a larger hall, open to a couple of saunas, foot baths etc. Thats where you take your swimsuit off and put it on an open rack while all patrons admire the view. There is a bar, a small jacuzzi, a really huuuge sauna, a few more smaller one, a nude hammam, co-ed (mainly cold) showers and the obligatory bucket of ice-cold water which you basculate on your hot head after a sauna session Then you can get outside, where there are 3 more wooden saunas. All in all a nice place, well worth the moderate entry fee (I think its 14 euros for 3 hours, but not really sure as said I have my own regular patron access and fees).

Friedrichsbad is an old and majestic building. Its fully nudist and it has two almost identical parts which are used separately by men and women on sex-segregated days. Although women and men still meet (if they so wish) in the central round cold-water pool. In practice, shy women will simply not go there while less shy ones will also use mens facilities but men are not allowed to pass past the central pool.

In each of the two parts, you get to the locker room (and for some reason they actually have some changing booths although I have never seen anyone using them), you take all off and find a clean sheet, you enter, get some slippers and you take a shower in the open under what is likely the biggest showerheads in the world. Then you go to the sauna. There is a very mild one (maybe 45-50 Celsius) and a smaller, hotter one (75 Celsius I think). Then you have the soap massage (if you book it, its around 10 euros). Only 8 minutes, first you lay on your back then on your tummy. It has two massage tables and masseurs are both women and men, you get what gives. You have the choice between a soft and hard brush, then the masseur makes a lot of soap foam in a small bucket and starts cleaning you up thoroughly with his free hand and the brush. All your body, genitals excluded. Thats when you realise that even the soft brush is actually very hard (no, not on the nipples ok, damn, you did the nipples too, this thing hurts!) and will leave you marks for a couple of hours. The end of the session is marked by a frank Teutonic slap on your naked buttocks, which in US would probably be constitutive of sexual aggression.

Squeaky clean you take another shower and from now on you wont have a stich of clothing anywhere near you. Sorry no, the next step is the hammam, seemingly the only one in the world which is heated naturally, by hot mineral water. Here you get a ten inch by ten inch pad to sit on. Another shower then you get into the pools part each of the two part has a biggish chest-high pool and a smaller, shallow one with some bubbles. Then the central, 30 feet cathedral ceiling round one, with relatively cold water, which is shared by the two parts. In co-ed days you can use all of them. As a girl, I can use them also in sex-segregated days, men are nice and dont complain. At the exit another cold-water pool and a freezing-cold small one for a quick dip. Then you can get in front of some huge mirrors and cream all your body (cream graciously provided) or you can pay for an attendant to put and rub it in. There is also a tea room and a sleeping room, where an attendant will wrap your naked self into warm sheets and blankets like a cocoon, its actually very nice) and you can take a little nap.

A ticket is for 3 hours, maybe 20 euros or so, but if you go over time its not more than 2-3 euros an hour. The attractions are numbered and there are inscriptions about how long you should use them, but of course you can in fact use them in any order and for any amount of time you want.

Like in any German sauna, there are more men than women but not overwhelmingly so, so women can feel at ease. Maybe 3 men for 2 women. Friedrichsbad is smaller, maybe 30-40 people in the whole complex at any time, and dedicated more to resting than to partying. No food or drinks in the complex, you can drinks small amounts of mineral water. It is also frequented by more elderly people. Last time I was there, two weeks ago, only one part was open and all days were co-ed. It looks very small and sad with half of it closed. Dont know if it was because of the low post-Covid frequentation of because they are doing some repairs in the other part.

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RE:Baden-Baden review

Great review! I should have had the courage to take the opportunity when I had the chance.

Are they open on weeknights? (That request is on behalf of that former shy version of myself.)

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We have absolutely nothing like these places in australia. It's such a pity because I would love to attend one someday.
The only saunas that I'm aware of are in some gyms. The one i go to has two saunas. one in the female change rooms and one in the male change room. A couple of years ago the sauna in the female room was out of order for what seemed an eternity. I was so pissed off and in need of a good steam I just marched into the men's room and took a seat. Suffice to say there were threats of taking away my membership. I told them it was their fault for failing to maintain the female sauna

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Oh and oddly there were more men in the sauna than usual lol

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Flora, thank you for taking time to review the bath house. I did know it existed and will most likely never make it by for a visit but it makes for an interesting read. You give an insightful tour, now I have, at least, a clue of their operation.

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Sounds like a fabulous place to go and relax, nothing like that in the US that I know of.

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Nothing in South Australia, Sandy? We're served in Victoria by the Macedon areas and Peninsula Hot Springs behind Rosebud, but I'm not sure of your hunting grounds. I wrote a review of the latter here somewhere, strictly textile unless one goes for the premium couple's experience. The general areas, though textile, are nice as you explore the different pools, even on a cool winter's night as we did. I was no more adventurous than occasionally removing my suit beneath the water under dim torchlight.

I'm most envious of the US locations where there are natural springs in national and state parks where they are freely accessible and frequently clothing-optional. Meeting with nature, undisturbed.

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Hmm, Google reports nothing west of Warrnambool. :-( for you.

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Steve, they all close at 11 pm. Only one sauna I know of remains open till 1 am on Saturdays, that's Sinsheim. Sinsheim is also my favorite for partying (I reviewed it here some time ago), Bad Wildbad for resting (I think I have also reviewed it).

I discovered recently a nice one, big and fully nude, in Karlsruhe, maybe I review it sometime. I don't like the ones like Caracalla where the best pools are reserved to textiles.

Sandy, the gym should have offered you free membership, I'm sure word of mouth about the siren who came to the men's sauna has substantially increased membership (!earning more and bigger members....).

I should maybe open a topic to post stories and pics/videos about various dares.

And guys, who do you think will /want to be the girl in the album tomorrow?

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What's nice about Friedrichsbad is not only the setting, the majestic old mosaic etc. Mark Twain famously said about it "After 10 minutes you forget time, after 20 minutes you forget the world.

The really nice part is that you need nothing to go there, no towel, no slippers, no bathrobe... You can just pop in, you get a sheet to lay on in the sauna and slippers for the sauna part, then nothing. So you can just pop in, relax, then dress, go out and have diner in town with no nag to carry.

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Tallinn wrote:

Steve, they all close at 11 pm.

Could have made that happen after work, had I been bold enough... :-(

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