When Covid-19 hit, Tash Higham and Jody Coggan were among the many people who began practicing a little DIY self-care at home.
As frequent travellers to global wellness hotspots through their work in the fashion industry, the pair found themselves missing the therapeutic benefits of spas and saunas overseas.
“We travelled many times a year for business to places like Los Angeles, Bali, Tulum and New Zealand, where we would often find ourselves looking for a sauna to take a moment of stillness and relaxation on a busy schedule,” Higham tells Broadsheet. “Once Covid hit, we spent many weeks at home keeping healthy with daily saunas in our backyard, ice baths in our bathroom and regularly adding scrubs and LED masks to our online shopping cart.”
While most of us have since retired the face masks, iso haircuts and fitness videos, Higham and Coggan decided to take their backyard saunas to the Bondi wellness brigade.
“We decided that what we were doing at home could well and truly be enjoyed by anyone and everyone under one roof,” says Higham.
The result is Slow House, a wellness centre on Curlewis Street in Bondi that combines infrared and traditional coal saunas with ice baths, Omnilux LED therapy and body scrubs.
“We offer the facilities and space to enjoy an hour or more to yourself or with a friend,” says Higham. “We felt that Bondi is the heart and soul of the Sydney wellness community, so it felt like the right place to be.”
Walk into the light and airy space located right by Australia’s most iconic beach and you’ll instantly feel soothed by the pale colour palette and curvilinear architecture, courtesy of Prospace Design. A series of arches recall Turkish hammams and Roman bathhouses, but with a contemporary reboot that includes complimentary iPads loaded with hot yoga, boxing and Pilates routines for use in the saunas, and a curated retail selection of health and beauty brands such as Orchard St from Sydney, Brisbane’s Oway, New Zealand’s Daily Wellness and Imbibe from Byron Bay.
Broadsheet tries the Signature Slow, a luxurious 75-minute treatment that begins with a self-administered coconut-sugar body scrub to slough off dead skin cells pre-sauna. After a shower to rinse off the deliciously scented grains, it’s time to slather on an Oway oil to replenish the skin then step into the Clearlight cedarwood sauna, set at a piquant 55 degrees. If you have your doubts about sitting naked in a hot box for 45 minutes, we’re here to tell you it actually feels amazing – especially if you just relish the quiet and solitude, forsaking the iPad in favour of some stretching and gentle yoga poses to while away the time.
The purported benefits of using infrared light to heat the body’s core temperature include detoxification, muscular pain relief and a boost to the metabolism and immune system. Though the validity of many of those claims hasn’t been scientifically proven, we emerge beatifically calm and re-energised before undergoing 15 minutes under the Omnilux face lamp to calm and plump the skin.
Infrared saunas have been spreading across Sydney faster than you can say “namaste” but what sets Slow House apart is its attention to detail and luxury. Coggan has owned a fashion agency for the past 16 years; Higham worked there as an operations and sales manager for five years, and the pair’s experience in aesthetics and customer service comes through in everything from the abundant floral arrangements at reception to the chic striped towels and sleek water carafes in the saunas – plus the Mayde herbal tea blends served post-sweat. If you’re going hot and slow, you may as well do it in style.
Ground level, 151 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach
0431 387 391
Mon to Fri 9am–9pm