Dezeen Magazine

Bath and Barley spa

Beer-filled baths and straw beds feature in Brussels' Bath & Barley spa

Set in a vaulted cellar in the old city centre of Brussels, Bath & Barley is an updated take on a traditional Czech beer spa from design studio WeWantMore.

Beer spas offer beer-infused spa treatments, most notably beer baths where guests soak in water mixed with hops, malt and medicinal herbs.

Straw beds in spa
WeWantMore has designed the Bath & Barley spa in Brussels

Bath & Barley is the "very first" beer spa in Belgium, according to local practice WeWantMore, offering a modern take on the traditional day spas.

"Beer spas are a tradition in the Czech Republic but not in Belgium, despite our nation's rich beer culture," the studio explained.

Spa stained-glass screen
Privacy screens were designed to look like stained glass

"We noticed that most Czech beer spas are more beer than spa – dark, lots of neon and an overall pub vibe," the practice added. "This wasn't our idea of a soothing wellness experience."

"Instead, we decided to create a sense of relaxation and intimacy, but with a link to what distinguishes Bath & Barley: beer, bathing and Belgium's beer."

Bath & Barley spa
The spa's reception is located on the ground floor

To realise this vision, the studio drew on a palette of raw natural materials such as lime stucco, wood and straw, alongside copper and stained glass to evoke Belgium's medieval beer brewing culture.

The spa is split across two floors, with the oak bathtubs nestled into the vaulted basement and framed by draft beer machines, where guests can pour themselves a pint.

Bath & Barley spa tasting counter
A stone tasting counter defines the entrance space

After the bathing ritual, guests can use the spa's sauna or rest on a staw-upholstered lounge that allows them to "connect with nature", according to WeWantMore.

"The design supports social wellbeing and creates a unique escape from the daily rush," WeWantMore said.

The spa's reception is located one level up on the ground floor and is wrapped in curved copper sheets to resemble the kettles used in traditional Belgian breweries.

Dried barley hangs from the ceiling above a stone tasting counter, where guests can taste a variety of beers and select the hops they want to add to their bath. 

Brussels basement spa
Steel balustrades depict the different stages of brewing beer

"The natural scent of the dried barley branches dangling from the ceiling adds to the sensory experience and sets the mood," said the studio.

Ecclesial illustrations from Bath & Barley's visual identity are integrated throughout the interior in the form of privacy screens, which resemble stained-glass church windows, and steel balustrades that depict the different steps of the brewing process.

Spa interior by WeWantMore
Copper accents feature throughout the interior

Bath & Barley has been shortlisted in the leisure and wellness interior category of this year's Dezeen Awards.

Other projects in the running include a hotel spa in the Maldives designed by Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27 and a Shenzhen cinema with a copper-lined lobby.

All images are courtesy of WeWantMore.

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Bath & Barley
Bath & Barley
Bath & Barley