The oldest and most famous of Moscow banyas, Sanduny, as it is nicknamed, is also the most expensive and prestigious. Its clientele ranges from politicians and businessmen to show-biz personalities. In terms of quality and variety, it is unrivalled.
rnThe antique interior is sumptuous and decorated in a flamboyant mix of Gothic, Baroque and Moorish styles, with Romanesque columns, chandeliers, stained-glass windows and mosaics. It is possible to rent a private cabin or room (a curtained-off area resembling the first class compartment of a train).
rnAn attendant brings you anything you need, from vodka and tea to towels and vennik (birch twigs, for beating yourself with…). They will also arrange times for a haircut, massage, pedicure or manicure. Best to get a Russian speaker or someone who is experienced in the ritual to accompany you!
rnThere is a great atmosphere of bonhomie at Sandunovsky and a visit is de rigueur for the hedonist. Prices for a two-hour session range from 400 roubles to a private banya for 3,700 roubles (for 12 people) per hour.