Valentine’s Day 2022: AIRE Ancient Baths, A Greco-Roman rebirth in Carlsberg

I didn’t think the heavens of the body and soul would once again open up like when I met well-being king Ole Henriksen from Nibe and his world-famous ‘Escape to Tranquility’ concept in Hollywood, Los Angeles 20 years ago. But it happened anyway recently at AIRE Ancient Baths ( in Vesterbro, of all places. 

The entrance to AIRE is discreet and tucked away at Ny Carlsberg Vej 101 by the Dipylon Gates, which once served as the entryway to New Carlsberg Brewery. Now it offers scents of delectable essential oils from its equally discreet doorway to AIRE. 

Fruits of a Storm
Morten Storm is the name of the fiery soul who eight years ago applied for permits at Carlsberg and various authorities to restore the historic New Carlsberg Brewery buildings from 1881 and create AIRE Ancient Baths in the mould of Greco-Roman baths. 

It is the very same location that Carlsberg once stored tons of malt required to produce the legendary Carlsberg beer back when the brewery was in operation. 

The Spanish founders of AIRE in Seville have already sprouted roots in other major cities like Barcelona, New York, Rio and Chicago. Likewise in a historical building in London, where author James Matthew Barrie once resided when he invented Peter Pan. 

As is the case with the Carlsberg buildings, the AIRE founders have transformed all its buildings to their AIRE concept whilst respecting the history, architecture and spirit of the location. AIRE Ancient Baths in Carlsberg Byen opened for the first time to the public in August 2020. 

Never before have temperature differences in water been as easy to navigate. From Caldarium (40ºC) plunge straight into the frigid Frigidarium (6ºC) or brave the Flotarium with salinity levels that rival the Dead Sea. 

Suds in the shallows
The concept of time evaporates in pure enjoyment at AIRE, where people speak in quiet voices and move about slowly. Its dark and roughly-polished basement bricks and baths are illuminated with dimmed candlelight while the tranquil sound of New Age music provides an unforgettable experience. Options such as a massage, a bite of chocolate, some bubbles or a mesmerising beer are available. 

Of all drinks I despise the most, beer takes the cake. I spit it out like a four-year-old tricked into tasting it by my grandmother, who said it was juice. 

But AIRE’s therapeutic Carlsberg beer bath is something else with minerals and elements from Brewer Jacobsen’s world-famous malt and yeast concoction, which gives the skin renewed radiance and glow. Served with a delicious side dish and three different Carlsberg beers, I gleefully lapped it up for the first time since my ‘grandmother experience’. A wine bath is also an option at AIRE.

I again embraced the cold stone corridor (Pediluvium), a careful stroll in icy illuminated water up to the ankles across beautiful white stones. I then gazed up at the estuaries of silos past that once released grain into vessels where malt germinated and now exist as wonderful life-prolonging baths.

A ode to Carl and Wilhelm
I actually get quite emotional thinking that my old neighbourhood has such an exquisite bath. I grew up taking worker baths on Lyrskovgade on Saturdays on jaunts with my mother. 

Vesterbro’s once bad housing reputation steeped in depravity has given way to expensive apartments, creative hipsteria, snobbish attitudes. It’s somewhat off-putting for an oldschool child of the neighbourhood. Throughout my childhood, it was if Carlsberg was hermetically sealed in a big unknown landscape, aside from occasional mini train trips topped off with a free soda for the kids. 

And now I’m taking in the water hibernation in Tepidarium following a bath with a thousand nozzles (Balneum), the aroma-detox steambath (Laconicum) and, last but not least, the beer bath!

Completely relaxed and happy in the water, I spare a thought for brewer Carl Jacobsen and architect Wilhelm Dahlerup’s building gem, which is so complete and well thought out in innovative 2020. Five hours into my unique AIRE experience, with a glass of bubbly in my hand, for the first time in ages I can proudly proclaim: AIRE Ancient Baths is in my neighbourhood, Vesterbro. 

Githa Schultz (photo: Dan Henrik Møller)