Whenever winter rolls around I have an ache in my bones to jump in a natural hot spring. It’s one of many things I miss about living in Japan, and unfortunately—despite being a pretty volcanic region—we don’t have many options near to the city. We must rely on saunas and hot baths, but cleanliness is always a concern in public settings.
Banya 5 has been around for almost a decade and it is still a clean, fresh environment to warm up and slow down. In addition to their basic bath experience, they offer massages and other spa treatments. Located in South Lake Union, it can make an especially good gift for friends in tech and biotech working in the neighborhood, who may want to take a half-day to rejuvenate.
This is the only item on our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide that will probably be given as a gift card, but you may also consider just giving an IOU if you have flexible schedules. That way you can go with the recipient and allow them to choose from the menu, then take care of the bill. You’ll be part of the experience, and if you haven’t had a spa treatment in a while, it’s an experience you may well need after the stress and parties of the holiday season.