The Saltwater Sauna is a Finnish sauna in a trailer located on Sandbanks Beach, 4 miles west of Bournemouth. Sandbanks is at the end of the Prom, so easy to reach on foot or by bike. It is well served with public transport (the 50 Breezer bus stops here) and there is a large Pay & Display car park, although it is a very popular spot in summer and spaces can fill up quickly.
The sauna accommodates up to 8 people, depending on your booking type. Bookings open 3 weeks in advance and sell out very quickly. You can opt to reserve the whole sauna for 65 minutes, which costs £75 for up to 8 people or for 35 minutes, where the booking limit is 5 people and costs £50. Alternatively, you can book a 65 minute individual slot which costs £15, where you will share with up to 5 others.
According to the website, the sauna provides stunning views to the sea through a panoramic window where you can enjoy stunning sunrises from the comfort of a luxury beach-side sauna. It recommends 10-15 minutes in the sauna before a dip in the sea and repeat… Sounds amazing!
I was really looking forward to my sauna experience earlier in the year, but a positive Covid test the night before meant I wasn’t able to attend. Today, I finally got round to my first seaside sauna and we (my daughter, her boyfriend and I) set off on our cycle towards Sandbanks.
We arrived, and after a briefing, were able to enter the sauna with the other three people who had booked the 9 am slot. It’s quite intimate with six in the sauna, but as everyone is in and out to the sea all the time, this only happened once at the very beginning. After that, we staggered our sea dips and were able to stretch out on the steamy pine and enjoy the view of the sun rising over the bay.
It’s much more fun that the traditional sauna/cold shower/sauna routine; descending from the sauna, then running across the sand for a dip in the sea. Our one hour allocated time passed really quickly and all too soon the attendant was knocking on the changing room door (a bit like an episode of Mr Benn) and it was time to leave.
The company currently has two further permit applications pending to place more saunas along the Bournemouth coast. I really hope they are successful because (a) I really enjoyed my sauna and would love to do it again and (b) it’s a 13 mile round trip from my house and my daughter made me cycle and I was exhausted!