HigherDOSE at 11 Howard, NYC
Rather than go the traditional spa route, the boutique hotel transforms 5 of its rooms into infrared saunas
While the science is still indeterminate on whether you can really sweat out toxins, spending 25+ minutes in an infrared sauna—where infrared light waves heat up the body, rather than the air, making it easier to stay inside longer—can often feel, well, euphoric. It's our go-to move when coming off of an international flight, when muscles are especially sore, or when you're just in need of some quiet time. Knowing that there are enough shared locker rooms and shower situations in New York City (as well as insufficient hotel spas offering the same overpriced facials and manicures), boutique hotel 11 Howard is offering something much more peaceful and secluded, by transforming 5 of its hotel rooms into individual infrared sauna rooms, each complete with their own private shower. The entire experience is enough to make you look forward to temperatures 155°F and above, even in this city's sweltering summer.
The rooms are run by HigherDOSE, which has a total of 3 locations in the city—with one in Williamsburg on its way—but the 5 saunas installed at 11 Howard are more deluxe as they're the only ones with private showers. The mood is Lynchian when you walk in—blackout curtains drawn shut, just dim red lighting. A remote control allows you to select between different colors within the sauna's medical grade chromotherapy lighting. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet—each supposedly has its own "healing properties," but we approached it more as a mood and energy enhancer. There's also an aux cable inside to play music off phones, and a console to store the phone so it doesn't overheat. Don't expect hi-fi: The speakers are buzzy and a little muffled, but they get the job done. Strip down to nothing and see how long you can stay inside (most people need a hydration and fresh air break after the 20-minute mark), as sweat surfaces from places you never knew could.
You can book a session at 11 Howard from HigherDOSE's website, where 60 minutes in the room (which, if you set aside time for an ice cold shower afterward, means about 45 minutes in the sauna) goes for $85. If you somehow convince a friend to join you in the sweatfest, the price goes down to $50 per person.
Images courtesy of Keziban Barry