I've enjoyed going to Harbin Hot Springs for years. But sometimes I don't have the time or energy to make the two-hour drive and I wished that there was some place similar in San Francisco. This place fits that bill! It not only has an authentic Russian banya, Finnish sauna, Turkish hamman, Japanese onsen and other pools and plunges, but also it features a clothing-optional rooftop sun deck with incredible views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline.
It is obvious that there was a lot of investment in this place. All the fixtures appear to be state-of-the-art, and the stonework and murals are absolutely gorgeous. The lockers open electronically with your wristband, although I found that I had to wave the wristband just right to get the locker to open.
One thing different from Harbin is that Archimedes Banya features a restaurant serving beer and wine. It was nice to relax on the sun deck with a glass of draft beer. I didn't try any food, and the menu seems heavy on Russian specialties. Perhaps a light American addition such as a turkey sandwich or a BLT would be a good idea.
Archimedes Banya offers a variety of massages and other treatments. I received a venik platza treatment, which I enjoyed. This treatment, a staple at Russian banyas, involves being gently whacked with birch leaves by the platza master while laying down high up in the banya room.
The facility includes clothing-optional and clothing-required areas, and there are daytime single-sex hours. I would urge Harbin fans looking for a place closer to home to check out Archimedes Banya.