Jan 9, 2024 - Things to Do

Scoop: Asheville-based Sauna House will bring a bathhouse and cold plunge experience to Charlotte in 2024

Rendering of the completed lounge area, courtesy of Sauna House.

Sauna House, a Nordic-inspired bathhouse out of Asheville, is expected to open in Wesley Heights as early as May 2024. 

The 5,000-square-foot space will be located at 1500 West Morehead St., in the same strip as Rhino Market and next to Town Brewing. 

What’s happening: Sauna House Charlotte aims to be the city’s first bathhouse that’s open to the public. Like its Asheville flagship, Sauna House Charlotte will offer saunas and ice baths in a communal space.

Sauna House Charlotte has leased an adaptive reuse space in Wesley Heights with an anticipated opening of late spring/early summer. Photo: McKenzie Rankin

Background: Sauna House CEO Andrew Lachlan opened the business in Asheville in 2019. Lachlan, who’s been sober for 11 years, wants Sauna House to deliver a dopamine hit minus the typical ways we might think of it — like alcohol or social media (Sauna House is a tech-free zone). 

  • Instead, he aims to achieve this through hot and cold therapy, namely saunas and ice baths.
  • Sauna House claims the wellness benefits of these type of therapies include improved cardio vascular health and a boosted immune system and nervous system reset, plus the social wellness component of connecting with those around you.

The intrigue: Sauna House is designed after the communal bathhouses you’d find in Nordic countries — think Finland or Sweden. 

  • In these settings, participants follow a circuit of hot, cold, rest, repeat (Sauna House’s tagline is “hot, cold, relax, repeat”) in an open, shared space. 

Why it matters: The use of social wellness clubs have surged in popularity. And in May, the U.S. Surgeon General declared a loneliness epidemic, citing the need for connection. Sauna House’s leadership is hoping to address both of these trends as it opens its own social wellness hub in Charlotte. 

What to expect: Sauna House Charlotte will be bigger than the Asheville studio, with enough saunas and cold pools to accommodate up to 45 people at once. A typical visit lasts around two hours. 

How it works: Showering and changing into a bathing suit is required when you arrive. Then, you’ll spend about 15 minutes in the sauna, three minutes cold plunging and then recovering on heated benches before repeating the cycle two to three more times. 

Courtesy of Sauna House
Courtesy of Sauna House
  • Sauna House Charlotte will also have private rooms for parties of up to 12-15. 

Yes, and: Charlotte is seeing an uptick in wellness services centered on hot and cold therapy. The Invigory in South End and Waverly offers services like infrared sauna and cryotherapy. An Equinox-style gym called Charlotte Health Club will open in Oakhurst winter 2024 and plans to have multiple cold plunging tubs. 

  • The Plunge House, a business similar to Sauna House, will open in Charlotte on a to-be-determined date in 2024. 
  • Sweathouz (SWTHZ) is another sauna and cold plunging studio opening SouthPark — an opening date has also not yet been confirmed.

Details: A two hour drop-in pass at Sauna House is $45. Monthly memberships vary, but the most popular includes eight visits that average around $20 each. 

What’s next: Sauna House is currently franchising in multiple cities. It’ll open in Durham by summer 2024. 

Sauna House’s flagship in Asheville. Photo: Courtesy of Sauna House
  • Lachlan tells Axios he hopes to open four more Sauna House locations in Charlotte within the next five years, though he hasn’t locked down any locations. Charlotte will serve as a corporate location, and it won’t have separate franchise owners here. 

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