If someone blindfolded you, put you a flight simulator for 11 hours and guided you into Glow Bar, you'd definitely think you were in Los Angeles. That would be a slightly elaborate prank to pull, because Glow Bar is, in fact, a stone's throw from Oxford Circus in London. The pale-pink salon is next door to blow-dry bar DryBy, and a hop and a skip from Psycle.
Glow Bar is home to infrared saunas downstairs, and a bar and shop stocked with all manner of accessories and edibles to get you glowing upstairs. Infrared saunas have long been popular on America's West Coast; Californians swear by them for their ability to detoxify, burn calories (one study showed that a 30-minute sauna can burn 600 calories), and boost circulation.
There are other benefits aside from the calorie burn. The warmth is great and will definitely get you through the colder winter months. Infrared saunas have also been found to boost collagen (for plumper skin), release endorphins to give you a post-sauna high and to aid sleep. Sounds tempting, right? Keep scrolling to find out more about the Glow Bar experience.
Glow Bar is a haven for anyone into alternative therapies. There are crystal hair combs, crystal water bottles, palo santo, and sage bundles for smudging. You can buy adaptogen powders and jade rollers.
There's a bar and seating area that's an Instagram dream—there are plants everywhere, and the walls are pink. Downstairs, there's a chill-out area where you can hang before or after your sauna, and it's decorated with every item on our dream living room wish list: velvet sofa, check; brass lamp, check; sheepskin rug on chair, check; jute rug, check!
Before the sauna, the team recommend a warm moon milk, a hot drink made with almond milk and natural adaptogenic powders. Afterwards, go for a cold moon milk or plenty of water (which they infuse with citrus fruit). I chose the Glow with rose, beetroot and schisandra, which is thought to help lower stress. It tasted like Turkish delight.
Upstairs, there's the bar area that serves food and drink, and the shop to browse. The changing rooms have lockers as well as two showers complete with shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, so you don't need to take your own. Towels and robes are provided. There are GHD hairdryers and straighteners and R&Co hair products, alongside Origins skincare.
For the sauna treatment itself you need to take swimwear. There is a connecting door from the changing rooms to the saunas. Once the sauna pod is ready for you one of the staff members will collect you from the changing room. There are four saunas, two of which have bigger lobby areas for two people. Yes, you can sauna with a friend of partner if you so wish.
Each pod is a little like a changing room. You have the "lobby" where there's a shelf for you jewellery, a bottle of water in a charcoal filter bottle and a Muji diffuser wafting out clouds of spa-like aromas. A glass door divides the lobby and the sauna itself, which is typically sauna-like with slated wood walls and a seat.
The clever bit is the cubby hole where you can put your phone and link it up to the speakers. You can listen to your playlist, put on a podcast, or sit quietly and meditate or snooze, if you prefer. I sat up for the entire time, but you can lay out on the bench and prop your legs up against the wall for a further circulatory boost.
It gets very hot very fast, and you soon find yourself going red in the face and sweat a lot. At some points, I found it too hot, so I simply stepped out and had a little water before resuming my position in the sauna. After the 45 minutes were up, I showered. You can't really get away without showering because you just get that sweaty.
I definitely got a good high afterwards, thanks to the endorphins, and that night, I really did sleep like a baby. I woke up the next morning vowing to return, knowing it would definitely help with my winter blues.
The Insider Tip
Everyone raves about the Yoni Moon Milk, but if you like rose flavours, you have to try the Glow (pictured below). It's really good ice-cold.
The Finer Details
Directions: Glow Bar, 70 Mortimer Street, Marylebone, London W1W 7RY. Get the tube or bus to Oxford Circus. Head north up Regent's Street, and turn right onto Mortimer Street. It's on the left-hand side.
Cost: £45 for 45 minutes. It's an extra £15 if you share the pod with another person (which works out at £30 each).
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Sunday.