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Banya No 1 founder, Andrei Fomin, sets sights on global expansion

Andrei Fomin, founder of Banya No 1 in London, wants to take the Russian spa brand global, with plans to expand to France, Spain, Austria, Dubai and the US
At the heart of Banya No 1's appeal is its authentic Russian banya experience
Banya No 1's flagship is located in Hoxton - its other locations include a South London outpost in Chiswick and a bath house in Tbilisi, Georgia
Active projects underway include a new location in Fulham and another larger facility in Tbilisi
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Our goal is to take the banya into the global mainstream of wellness and spas
– Andrei Fomin
Credit: Banya No 1

Andrei Fomin, the mastermind behind London’s Russian bathhouse and spa concept Banya No 1, wants to take his brand global, according to an exclusive interview with Spa Business.

Since its inception in Hoxton 11 years ago, Banya No 1's flagship has steadily gained popularity, attracting locals, tourists and A-list celebrities including Justin Bieber and Kate Moss.

Off the back of its success, Fomin expanded the brand's portfolio with a second London location in Chiswick and its first international outpost in Tbilisi, Georgia, which offers overnight accommodations.

Now, with ambitions to expand to France, Spain, Austria, Dubai and the US, Fomin envisions a future where the timeless benefits of the banya are accessible worldwide.

"Our goal is to take the banya into the global mainstream," he said.

Current projects include a new location in Fulham, London, and an additional larger facility in Tbilisi.

The offering

Banya No 1 patrons can enjoy a range of experiences, from shared areas with steamrooms and cold plunges to private bookings in the Taiga banya.

Central to its offering is the Parenie treatment, a rejuvenating ritual conducted in a specialised Russian banya sauna. Utilising oak, birch and eucalyptus branches, Parenie not only envelops participants in super-heated steam but also employs warm leafy compresses for deep muscle relief, akin to aufguss.

Prices vary depending on the package, with options for tailored experiences including massages, scrubs, and traditional delicacies.

But the heart of the offering is the banya steamroom. "Unlike saunas, which are often secondary facilities, it's a focal point," says Fomin.

At the Hoxton flagship, the authentic cabin is built from 6m-long kelo logs – a type of Arctic pine he's particular about because it continues standing for 50-100 years after it dies and when cut is immediately airtight so steam cannot escape.

Humidity inside is up to 60 per cent and although the steam is created at a scorching 700˚C in a massive brick stove lined with cast iron, it cools to 60-70˚C for the experience.

Guest demographicsUnlike many spas, Banya No 1's male/female ratio is an almost even 52/48 split. Other guest insights include: more than half (55 per cent) come with their partners, 30 per cent are solo guests and 15 per cent come as part of a group.

Banya No 1 welcomes guests from diverse backgrounds, offering a familial atmosphere and a range of treatments suitable for all ages.

“Banya is a cultural thing,” he adds. “It has nothing to do with nations or politics. Banya is everywhere – Kazakhstan, Armenia, the Baltic states and Ukraine. It might have different names – like in Latvia, it’s a pirt – but the principles are the same.

“It’s so interesting to me,” Fomin concludes, adding that the marketing message hasn't changed in 100 years. "These are old and time-proven practices."

To delve deeper into the history of the Russian banya and Fomin's ambitious plans for Banya No 1, head to the latest issue of Spa Business magazine.

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Andrei Fomin, the mastermind behind London’s Russian bathhouse and spa concept Banya No 1, wants to take his brand global, according to an exclusive interview with Spa Business.
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