Ramillies House, 1-2 Ramillies St, London, United Kingdom, W1F 7LN
This 24-hour gay sauna in London manages to squeeze many facilities into a small space. Sweatbox attracts locals, tourists and some of the hottest men who like to hang out after the bars in Soho have closed.
Features include a fully equipped gym, a 40-man steam room, 14-man jacuzzi, ‘steam maze’, dark rooms, private cabins, chill-out lounge, massage services.
Free HIV testing and Hep B vaccination available every Monday (5pm-9pm). 24-hour and 48-hour passes available.
nearest station : Oxford Circus
weekday: 24 hours
weekend: 24 hours
venue Sauna | features cafe, internet access, steam room, massage, sauna, maze, jacuzzi / hot pool, relaxing cabins, dark room, gym | customers: gay
“I went to Sweatbox during the naked Saturday afternoon and spent about two hours. You are given a modesty cloth about the size of a facecloth should you need it. It was relatively busy with about 20 guys there. I enjoyed the experience and saw men making out. In fact two guys starting a bj right beside me.
I am in my late fifties and rotund but had no difficulty finding someone who wanted to make out. I enjoyed my time and would not hesitate to return again.“
Steve on 23-Feb-2020 | Problem with this review?
“Really unfriendly staff and high security entry. A lot of involvement with staff and overly complicated entry system just to get in.
Bar area is big empty cold room with little furniture. Has a massive jacuzzi which is monitored by staff and no sex is aloud. The sauna and steam room were not working/switched off. The only wet facility (barely)working was the showers. Not hot or powerful enough. Weird layout and bad lighting in cruise area. It was very quiet and mainly an older crowd 40-60. Thought this was odd as it was under 25's free that night. Maybe picked a bad night to visit and it would be better with a hot crowd in. However entry is far too expensive at £21 to not have working showers, saunas, steamrooms. Staff didn't offer me a 24hr pass when leaving. After talking to the manager I was given a refund though. Would give it a miss in future.“
Alan on 06-Feb-2020 | Problem with this review?
“Clean and good, busy from Friday to Sunday.“
Sim on 22-Jan-2020 | Problem with this review?
“I’ve traveled around the globe and have experienced different bathhouses. Sweatbox however does not match very well as far as the layout goes.
First time visitors should know that when one enters the main area (bar, lounge and jacuzzi all in one) you will see the guys heads peeking over the jacuzzi’s edge while the bartenders ‘monitor’ what’s going on like teachers over the classroom. Sitting in the jacuzzi was awkward as it feels one is being checked all the time and everyone was hesitant to make a move so it missed the entire point of having one.
The maze area is very limited but they have a maze-sauna which is different.
A constant back and forth between the bar to change between your locker key and your tag is a pain in the ass, particularly if you want to use the gym.
Staff check whether you have underwear under your towel at the bar/lounge/jacuzzi area which is quite ridiculous as you can fetch your locker key and access in it at any time.
Cubicles are functional but it could be nicer if the area had a more cruisey atmosphere.
Thumbs up for cleanliness though! Please just keep an eye on the soap dispensers. They often run empty.“
Rolf on 03-Jan-2020 | Problem with this review?
Renovated to Sexy Perfection
“I've been a fair amount times to Sweatbox over the years and a couple of times since the renovation - they've really ironed out the teething issues and it's a place to meet sexy guys, relax, unwind and have a lot of fun.
I went on a Tuesday and it was so busy - no other London sauna can match the number of (hot) guys that go. And the fact I got to get a work out beforehand makes it top notch. Every time I go to Pleasuredrome it's just full of people paying to sleep in their cabins and not worth the money.“
Michael on 17-Dec-2019 | Problem with this review?
“Loved every second I was there. Very clean LOVE THE HOTTUB! some staff have great personalities and will have a laugh with you. Extreme friendly environment.“
Josh on 13-Dec-2019 | Problem with this review?
Great first time
“Staff were polite and helpful, great place to go to relax and meet new people.“
John on 13-Dec-2019 | Problem with this review?
Visiting - good location and fun place
“I have been to this place and I find it really hot that they have a gay gym and sauna all-in-one. Haven't seen that anywhere else. The only thing I wish for is that they had a bar with alcoholic beverages downstairs like in some other European saunas, so that it was possible to relax with a drink and chill. But i understand that it may not be possible because of regulations. I like the idea that its a place where gay men can just hang, work out and not necessarily have sex, but that option is available if you meet someone you like or if you come with someone. The monthly membership cost is affordable, great location. It now can be considered a historic place as it has been around for a while. Its great that this place aspires for men to be better, physically active and perfecting one's body. It would also be interesting to add a quiet lounge with wi-fi where members could come to study.“
Maksim on 09-Dec-2019 | Problem with this review?
what have the done to it?
“Never been the biggest fan of this place. I find the clientele to be really stuck up. I'm a bigger bloke, not fat but chunky. If you're not a muscle queen, don't bother.
Their recent renovation has just killed it, this ridiculous red box and not going back to lockers thing!
Much better saunas around.“
benjamin on 03-Dec-2019 | Problem with this review?
First time, good experience
“This was my first experience in a gay sauna, and was pretty pleased with it. I’m 19, fit, and chose to go to Sweatbox on a Monday while I was visiting London as the entry fee was free for -25yo on Monday’s (turns out you do have to pay 1£ for the towel, but it’s totally fair).
I spend 20min outside of the sauna walking around the block as I was nervous to get in. Around 5pm I finally open the door where I found myself in a queue to get in. The guy at the counter explained me very well how their locker and box system works (Basically the items you want to access while in the sauna must be handed in at the counter and put in a red box, you can access your locker only while leaving as they keep the key when you receive the bracelet to be able to access downstairs)
Once I got changed, I went to the main floor where you will find a tv where people where hanging around watching Netflix, a bubble bath, and the bar where l handed my key in to get my bracelet. The guys in the sauna where around 30 but there where also several around my age. I spend the first 30 min visiting the place. There are to floors under the main one. On floor number -1 I found the sauna and a steam maze I really liked, there were some really fit jocks around 21-25 that day.
I continued wy exploring and ended up on floor -2 where you will find cabins, and several areas less interesting to me such as the dark room (don’t go there, only old men) and a leather swing.
In my opinion the place was clean, and didn’t smell bad like I read on some other reviews.
Once I had seen all the place I headed back up and chilled in the bubble bath. There were several people, but one guy caught my attention. He was young and sexy and kept doing eye contact with him, but I was still pretty nervous to talk to him. I ended up going to the steam maze where a lot of guys came to talk to me, and for a reason or another they all thought I was Russian lol. Some where a bit old, I don’t mind just speaking but, hen they proposed more I kindly declined. At that moment I wasn’t nervous anymore because the guys where actually respectful. Of corse sometimes while in the maze some guys touched my bum, but no biggie.
The hot guy from the bubble bath was in the steam maze as well but once he found me another guy I had no interest in sat next to me and talked. I was pissed and try to find him back. I found him had long eye contact and smiled to him. In the maze there was a very light shower where I went, and lost my towel. He followed me in and we started making out.
In the cabin you had lube and condoms, it was clean, however both of us where wet and therefore the mantras was slippery, they should change the material or pattern so that we can have a better grip. Anyway, we started our business and was very hot. I expected to bottom as he was very tall meanwhile I am 1,75m, but ended up top. For bottoms there are places with a douche to be sure you are clean down there. Once done we went to the shower, some other young guys I had talked to where kinda sad that I hadn’t done anything with them, but I’m sure everyone can find fun there and they won’t have problems finding someone.
Oddly enough I talked the most with the guy I just had fun in the locker room, as we went out at the same time. We made out one last time, and then headed both back to our place. I keep a positive experience of that night.“
Lucas on 22-Nov-2019 | Problem with this review?
Good location and great place
“I have been several times. I like the sauna, and location is unbeatable in Central London. You can go on certain days and times where you can find a lot of people to play and have fun. Weekend nights are the best, friendly staff, busy and good atmosphere.“
Rydo on 18-Nov-2019 | Problem with this review?
Amazing location and staff
“Perfect location, in a nice secluded agreed behind Oxford Street. Staff and fun, friendly and.... Well.... Beautiful haha. The space is so cool now it's been refurbished and spotless. The gym facilities are perfect for getting a good pump on before you hit the steam.toom to relax away the days stresses!“
Ollie on 07-Nov-2019 | Problem with this review?
“Spent a few days in London and visited Sweatbox. Found the staff friendly and helpful. Bit difficult finding your way around to start with but very pleased with the place. Had a massage from Judah which was great and I would thoroughly recommend him.“
D on 02-Nov-2019 | Problem with this review?
“Boring/Dirty/Pretentious/high security prison! Yes, it feels like if I was getting into high security prison CCTV, control room, do not return to lockers policy, no alcohol sold, metal barriers to access downstairs, “show me your towel” etc.. (they even ask me to show them my nails). The staff ain't friendly at all, they don’t give you directions nor instructions specially when told them it was my first time since they re-open it.
Filthy and very slippery specially the stairs, Lube and condoms on the floor which it makes it very dangerous and very easy to fall! No signs on where the areas are or where to go, I got lost two-three time’s looking for the toilets and when I found it they were “out of order”. The cubicles small/filthy/smelly/wet, same for the playing area.
The concept is okay modern/industrial but they've got it completely wrong with the design.
Definitely won’t go back nor recommend it.
Good bye sweatbox (I will miss the old Saturdays foam party, a bit filthy but fun)“
Marc on 20-Oct-2019 | Problem with this review?
Ruined by the refurb
“So disappointed in the refurb. This place used to be such good fun. Before it was done, it is was always busy. It needed work but had its charms. I went there yesterday and it was dead. It felt like they were more staff than customers. It used to be busy on a Friday afternoon after work, not anymore. It feels like the owners main consideration in the refurb was: how do we stop customers taking drugs? The result is a totally contrived entrance system which feels like airport security. It’s confusing and uninviting. There isn’t really a nice place to chill out now. At least at airports they have nice places to sit. Compare this to other saunas in European capitals and there is no comparison. They’ve spent a lot money on the refurb and the result is a sauna no-one wants to go to. Such a shame and a waste of an opportunity. They took a good sauna and ruined it. Obviously the owners have no idea what makes a good sauna and have wasted their money.“
J on 19-Oct-2019 | Problem with this review?
Should have never been refurbished
“It was a great sauna before the refurb. Just to go in is like going through security at an airport. 1st check drop your valuables, 2nd another key for a caged locker, 3rd key swap at bar for a fob to swipe through the gates to the sauna. This takes ages. Not necessary and for the nervous guys this will make you stay at home. The sauna is all too confusing with a jacuzzi in the bar. The worst is to check your phone you need to swap another key. Since the refurb it’s quieter for sure so now I visit pleasuredrome.“
Chris on 06-Oct-2019 | Problem with this review?
Not worth a visit
“Visited today since it was renovated . I agree with some reviewers . Worst than before . The system is like queuing for an immigration service . Very slow reception. You have to pay , leave valuables in a box ( good ) then given the key to a very crowded transparent caged lockers . Once locked you have to check in to get another wrist band for sauna entries . You can’t go back to your stuffs ( u might have to pay I’m
Not sure ) . The cabins are so bad than before like a cheap container . Everywhere is wet and slippery . A health hazard . Dark room is very small and not fit for purpose . Lots of well lit area with curtains that nobody uses . Didn’t bother to go to steam or the pool . On your way out another long queue . If you go horny you came out feeling horrible . Not worth it unless you are a tourist .“
Fabree on 30-Sep-2019 | Problem with this review?
“I've been to a few saunas up and down England, this was hands down the best sauna experience I've had in the UK. It's all the little things in this place that add up, it's incredibly, even for a sauna, the sauna cruise area, where I guess the name comes from, is fantastic, the showers all worked, which is really impressive for a UK sauna, I went late on a Thursday night and the clientel wasn't old, but wasn't young, everyone's a bit loose at that time and there was someone and something for everyone, the staff where friendly and nice, the layout of everything works really well, the top level and the lockers are really neat and look pretty cool, although I'll say the "bed" area in the basement is a little uninspired.
The downsides is the towels, they don't really work, I guess it's so when you take them in the sauna they don't get soaked but I don't really like the way they feel.“
Matt on 17-Aug-2019 | Problem with this review?
Sterile Metallic Cold
“Sweatbox after the renovations is top, but the decor, design and set up is 1970s, best defined as cold, metallic and sordid.
Yes, it’s clean.
Yes, its staff is polite and professional.
Yes, the location is perfect.
Yet, it’s not a cosy place.
It doesn’t offer a warm and comfortable atmosphere.
Its setup is disjointed.
The tv and the “bar” are part of the reception area.
TV programmes are the typical lame gayish stereotypical programmes.
The old TVs showing adult films in the corridors have vanished. If adult films are no longer possible, put on some TV sets and show clips or something. Bring some life to the corridors and contours.
It’s sad the place improved from a logistical and hygienic perspective, yet it lacks the flash and the action, essential ingredients a gay person looks for in a sauna.“
Peter on 15-Aug-2019 | Problem with this review?
“I live in London for almost a decade , this sauna really needed a refurbishment, it was done from last year, but in my opinion the results were worse than before. They tried to give a modern appearance that could be good, however from the first week after the expected reopening, many failures in water drainage, in the steam sauna that works as cruising also, the water was flooded on the floor; in the second basement, you could feel that are under a rain, because inside of the cabins and glory holes the water is dropping constantly that was a nightmare for users. Few months ago they closed the showers area for repair works, it was ok because there are other showers in the second basement; actually they closed the steam area for repair works again, leaving a tiny place for users. However the entrance prices are the same and the users do not enjoy the facilities at 100%, this issue should be mentioned at the reception and offering a discount for the inconvenience caused. It is a shame that after they made a big investment for refurbish the results were not satisfactory for users. The staff team is better that before, now they are new workers, very friendly and polite.“
Anthony on 24-Jul-2019 | Problem with this review?
Good relax in London
“Very good sauna actually. Spacious and clean enough. Staff super friendly and cleaning work happening all the time. Just the fire doors are a little confusing for new people.
Lots of hot guys and actions. I think half 20-35 and the other half older.“
Gary on 12-Jul-2019 | Problem with this review?
“I can see why they call it sweat box.
The air is uncomfortably hot in there. The whole place feels claustrophobic and stuffy. The Cain's are the tiniest I've seen in a sauna. The security system is a bit over the top, which adds to the feeling of entering some strange world that you can't escape from.
Sorry to sound negative. Lots of hot guys there btw. “
David on 07-Jul-2019 | Problem with this review?
Nice, friendly, crowd
“The size of the place is medium big. I attended several times during a month long visit to London.
Every time I attended it was pretty busy, large variety of guys, from all sizes and ages.
The first floor has jaccuzi and A gym.
It has a sauna in the -1 floor. It has several rooms so you can walk around or just chill. If you don’t like what you see you can just walk to another room which sometimes I appreciate it. I must say that one of the deeper rooms tended to smell like urine but as long as you were not there, it was gone. However in general the place is modern and clean.
There are some cruising cabins in the -2 floor as well as some darks rooms, fetish room, and showers. There is enough to find one empty whenever you need it. Lube and condoms everywhere which is nice as well.
The staff was super friendly all the time and they try to avoid drug consumption which I appreciate as well.
They have hairdryers in the lockers.“
Latapi on 24-Jun-2019 | Problem with this review?
Refurbishment Not Done well
“I went last Sunday, asked to put valuables in a box at reception which I guess is good considering you're putting the rest in a cage which was exposed and didn't feel safe. I don't get it, why can't they just have a proper Locker. Prices are good in comparison to other London Sauna with the passes. Then the confusion starts, you have to give key in, in exchange for an arm band, then you go through a revolving gate. This you must do all the time if coming back out. Then you don't have access to your belongings until you leave.
So if you have plans and need to get contacted by somebody forget it. It was hot and humid as it has always been before the refurb. No flip flops as is normal in the UK but it was dirty and nobody cleans. one floor down you have steam room which is narrow and claustrophobic. Only one person can pass at a time and its total mayhem. Showers on that floor not working and tiles missing off the steam room bench area. Downstairs gets even worse, small suspended cabins, dirty as nobody was cleaning, limited showers for amount of people and once again very hot and humid, bad ventilation and it smelt musty and mouldy.
A maze of confusion and door open door close scenario. Probably a fire hazard precaution. Would have been simpler to design a more open area instead of such narrow passageways. I bought a 48 hour pass, but threw it away for the second day. Never going back again. They advertise that after 17 May, there is Dean Street presence for sexual health screening and advise you to call to check. After several attempts to call, I eventually got through and the guy I spoke to didn't know what Dean Street was and then replied no, they don't come here anymore. It's a shame, as I really enjoyed this place and was hoping with so much money spent, it would be best sauna in London.“
Joe on 19-Jun-2019 | Problem with this review?
“First at the arrival staff at the reception was nice and friendly. I didn't like having to put my phone in a box and leaving at the reception. The lockers are just small cages it didn't feel very save leaving any valuable there.
They don't give you a flipflop to walk around. Downstairs toilets and shower area were smelling very bad. I didn't see any cleaning going on for the whole night. in the basement a lot of leaking of water dropping even inside of the cubicles from the ceiling.
I hated walking in a barefoot in so much dirty. Shower gels were all empty and it was just bottles thrown on the floor.
Gym was closed.
I won't come back!“
Leo on 10-Jun-2019 | Problem with this review?
“The staff were very welcoming and super friendly. Nice relaxation area. Cruising in the steam maze was hot. Excellent for exhibitionists ;)“
Jake on 01-Jun-2019 | Problem with this review?
Good facilities but basement area soaking wet from leaks
“Full on checking in process, quite complex and confusing.
Great huge facilities, however the basement area where the cubicles, glory holes, sling, small dark area was sopping wet from leaks above. Floors wet, all paper hand towel rolls were soaking wet.
We went 3 days in a row, hit and miss for action. Busy place.
Great value for a 48 hour or 7 day entry pass option.“
Peter J (56yr old) on 29-May-2019 | Problem with this review?
“Sounds so hot! Never been but would love to.“
Harry on 20-Jan-2019 | Problem with this review?
“Go for it - I'll be there in October ;-)))“
Dieter on 04-Sep-2019 | Problem with this review?
Might as well have gone home to Putney
“Was there a while back and afterwards decided I shouldn't have bothered. Hardly anyone there, rude staff, not a nice environment.“
Nick on 21-Oct-2018 | Problem with this review?
“A visit here proved an appalling way to treat a gay man at a gay venue. Particularly when the owner has stated in interview that he wants to help resolve the loneliness epidemic and create a safe haven. Rubbish!
I have membership (so they have my details on record) but I had to endure the most horrendous personal search on entry to the locker room. In full view of everyone. It is degrading.
The bouncer was obnoxious and rude. He barked at me twice to empty my pockets, as if I was deaf. His fingers and his nose were in absolutely every single small item from my bag, which was emptied across a small table. He immediately confiscated my empty water bottle as if it was his right. It is my property! Show some respect!
I was also carrying medication, so Heaven knows what would have happened if he had found it. He insisted I put my eye-drops in, there and then. I explained that I didn't want to. He was then on his radio right away, to announce what had happened to the front desk. It was the coldest of dispatches, as if I was the lowest of the low.
In this manner, I was brutally packed off: my personal belongings together with my wits in disarray. Just horrible. It was an upsetting ordeal. It was a personal assault. I felt nothing but traumatised.
It would prove a distressing experience for anyone wishing to make a discreet visit to a spa.
When I received my card, I asked at the desk if I really would be so stupid to bring in illegal substances with my details on file. The guy at the desk would only keep repeating "Everyone gets searched!" quite nonchalantly, as if he hadn’t a care, least of all for my welfare. Why should he, you may ask. It was obvious how distressed I was. How callous can you get. There was no trace of empathy. No understanding. No apology. Nothing. No awareness that is was a paying client, let alone a human being, to show concern for.
I recall, a few months prior, when another staff member tried to push me out of his way as I was walking up the stairs. He looked dumbfounded when I wouldn't allow it. Do the staff here, let alone the disgracefully aggressive bouncer, have any customer service training? They have zero knowledge of compassionate communication.
On the night in question, I went on to another spa instead. I was allowed entry no problem. I enjoyed a calm and relaxing evening, and made a new friend. Their bag check was quick and appropriate. I was treated with kindness, courtesy – and above all RESPECT. Their staff were warm and friendly, and knew how to treat their visitors.
My rating here reflects that I got to use none of the facilities. The cleanliness rating is aligned with previous experience, in consensus with other reviewers.
Maybe things will change with the refit. Can you refit people's attitudes though? Attitude, to me, on the gay scene, is not a good word.“
Dave on 16-Aug-2018 | Problem with this review?
Can be hit and miss
“I’ve been to Sweatbox a few times now, and as it goes, it’s not the worst sauna in the UK...but I do think the hype that comes with it is unjustified.
I am aware that a few British gay porn producers made movies there, and used the name to boost a bit of advertising when Sweatbox first opened. Good for them! After all, let’s face it, only a small percentage of gay guys go to a sauna just for a jacuzzi and steam session alone.
I would say I have been at least 6 times in the past year. The big advantages are the location to central London & Soho, and the fact that it has a fully equipped gym. I like a good workout, and it’s nice to get a post-workout testosterone boost, and a good ‘pump’ before having a session. Don’t expect David Lloyd facilities though, and the water fountain doesn’t always work, it could do with a cleanup and reorganisation, but it’s a useable and serviceable gym.
Staff on the door are usually friendly, but sometimes busy, so you have to wait a towel you get is pretty rubbish. It gets wet very quickly, but the staff seem happy enough to change a wet towel for a dry one if you take it upstairs. Lockers are a bit too small. I know there’s a problem with 24 hour saunas being used as hotel rooms or impromptu homeless shelters, but if i’ve got a rucksack with a change of clothes for the gym, it is a very tight squeeze to get it all in.
Next floor down is the ‘wellness’ area with a 10-man jacuzzi (but could easily fit more), benched dry room, corner hot dry room, steam room, showers and a sort of maze (not sure what the point of this room is. It’s got a corner area but is mostly just an empty dimly lit room).
Showers are not great. Usually either dribbly or weak, with cold-to-lukewarm water. Only 6 shower heads, and if it’s busy, guys waiting to shower can clog up the area.
Jacuzzi can sometimes be over-chlorinated. Not a good sign. Sometimes, I’ve felt ‘grit’ at the bottom of the jacuzzi, but the water is usually at the right temperature.
I guess this is a bit subjective but the steam rooms are all way too hot, especially the small one in the corner. There can be sporadic outbreaks of sexual activity here, but without a better regulation of temperature or facilities for guys to stay hydrated, I’m surprised there haven’t been more accidents. The wet steam room is of particular note. It’s got benches either side, and a dark area at the back. It’s almost always foggy and slippery, and woe betide you if you’re sitting in the wrong place as a gust of hot steam coming from underneath the benches will likely cause 3rd degree burns.
Lowest floor is the ‘play’ area with a chill-out lounge. Facilities are again practical. There is what looks to be a hall of mirrors, an area with a few cubicles with slings and a large open cubicle area, a small maze area with lockable cubicles and a dark room. There used to be a small movie room showing porn, but this seems to have now been closed off. - Beware the uneven floor heights and steps. I’ve stubbed my toe several times around this area!
As for activities, like with any sauna, it depends on the time of visit, and how busy it is. I think this place has a fairly decent mix on a good day. As for action, again it can vary. I’ve been here and had a few gropes from a few people, but got a bit bored and moved on, but I’ve been in some very raunchy spontaneous group sessions & orgies with some real fit horny guys! The trouble is that there is still no consistency or pattern. You could have a very boring Friday/Saturday night, or an amazing fun-packed Tuesday afternoon. You just don’t know what (or who) you’re going to get.
Lounge area is ok, but usually unmanned. It also seems to be the only place where you can get condoms from if the mood strikes. TV usually shows tacky camp shows, American sit-coms & reality shows etc.
Overall, the place is good. It’s not great, but it’s not as polarizingly bad as the reviews say. There seems to be an objection to being searched once inside. I’ve never had a problem with being searched anywhere, as I don’t have anything to hide. - never had a problem with staff being rude, ever!“
Mike on 10-Jul-2018 | Problem with this review?
“Went on Thursday (31/05/18) was a great time really attractive guys throughout. Nice working jacuzzi at a decent heat, good bubbling. There is a standing steam room and one to sit down both at lovely temperatures. Sauna area was a bit small to be honest, but again good temperature. The cruising area was great plenty of rooms for private fun, glory hole area, sling area, random mirror room.
Free condoms and lube at the bar area would rather they be throughout. For under 25’s you pay a £10 deposit but you get this back at the end on Monday and Thursday. All in all had a great time; would go again. No one was pushy or following me at all, anyone I didn’t really wanna get with I just said no thanks to and they were chill.“
Anon on 02-Jun-2018 | Problem with this review?
Need more dark spaces
“I've been several times to this sauna, and being a good-looking mature guy (51) I've had very good times, good visits and boring ones. Certainly the place could be much better. Managers need to go on a field trip to Germany and check the quality of gay saunas there. Many people say that the place of full of attitude. I'd say not much more than anywhere else and you have to respect that not everyone will like you. A little bit of more dark spaces will help people to relax and just have fun. The current layout doesn't help. People keep going and paying, so changes are not going to happen any time soon.“
Alex on 02-May-2018 | Problem with this review?
“Unfriendly staff. After you paid ur entrance fee that provides u with nothing except two towels u walk down the stairs to be frisked by an unfriendly person in front of everyone in the dressing room. When u tell him that its quite uncommon to be frisked after you paid he basically tells u ur not complying. I've never felt so badly treated in a sauna as this one.“
Rikard on 12-Apr-2018 | Problem with this review?
Yes witnessed that too
“I saw that happen and its not acceptable to frisk ur customers after u have paid and inside. Im boycotting Sweatbox Sauna!“
George on 15-Apr-2018 | Problem with this review?
Needs a refurb
“The place is dark, dirty, scruffy and needs a deep clean and refurb. Yup it's in central London? As always with saunas you pay your money....you take your choice.....but jeez at least make it a nice experience for gay guys...the ones with the decent attitudes anyway.“
J on 15-Mar-2018 | Problem with this review?
Fun on a good night
“Like any sauna, it's all about who happens to be in on the night. Saturday night was fun, but Sunday's crowd wasn't so good. It's a good environment to play in (though the cabins are a little small), and I liked the nicely scented steam in the sauna. Great value if you can go for 2 nights.“
Alex on 13-Feb-2018 | Problem with this review?
Not the best in London
“This sauna is definitely not the best in London, it’s scruffy and dirty, the toilets are badly in need of refurbishment as is the whole establishment. Uneven floors, grotty cabins and facilities. I doubt it has been cleaned under the non slip mats since it opened. On arrival you get frisked by a grumpy mono syllabic security guard who felt it necessary to even open my wallet and check my credit cards. One inadequate tiny towel that is useless for drying off once having used the facilities. “
William on 14-Jan-2018 | Problem with this review?
“Went with a friend when we both finished work one night, intending to head there for a couple of hours. Queued to get into the locker room it was so busy, a real mix of different guys from bear types to young muscle twinks. Impressed with the range of facilities and level of cleanliness - not sure if we just got a good day but would certainly head back to London just for a trip here again. Haven't tried the gym and as a gym goer I don't think I'd like such basic facilities but it's worth a go I guess.“
Jack on 29-Dec-2017 | Problem with this review?
“It is not the best gay sauna in London, the facility is because its location is in Soho, near to all shops, very central, the problem is inside, every time is going worst with old infrastructure, smell awful, that the staff make up with deodorant, lockers are old, showers area is horrible, it needs an upgrade, it is attractive due they have offer the 24 and 48 hours, sometimes the staff at the reception is rude, to be honest, there are better saunas in London than Sweatbox sauna. “
Carlo on 17-Dec-2017 | Problem with this review?
My FAVE in London!
“Sweatbox is my fave out of 4 saunas I visited in London, the busiest indeed! Although it has not the best facilities but the people coming are mostly young and sexy which most of the time my problem because they are not into me, LOL! Their 24 and 48 hours access is also very helpful. As a tourist, you can have fun, beer, dance, music and again more fun in one day (in SOHO).
Security is tight, not a problem purely understandable. Friday evening while in the queue, they stopped 2 guys from entering for bringing something not allowed and the security staff found it in their wallet. They did not also allow me to enter on early hours of Saturday because I am drunk which is blessing in disguise because I passed out. Imagine if it happen to me inside the sauna and not in my hotel room.
I would like to commend their Security Staff especially that black guy for his customer service that is beyond expectation.
MrCens on 04-Dec-2017 | Problem with this review?
Sweatbox UP Ur GAME
“I have been several times, I like the sauna and location is unbeatable in Central London. You can go on certain days and times where you can find a lot of people to play and fuck there.
Remember this sauna is open all the time and you cannot expect the staff to work like ants cleaning every bit of cum there is. It is just impossible.
Anyhow, the manager should be strict and maintain this sauna, kept to a great standard as we have visitors from all over the globe.
If you come to London and you want to go to a Sauna I give you my advice:
- Pleasuredome (END OF THE WEEK) (AFTER WORK TIMES)
(clean, nice premises, pool, not very horny, just to relax)
- Chariots Vauxhall (Friday or Saturday after 2am)
(U can get very hot guys)
- The Stable (Only on JAMIEHP PARTY)
(On private party you can go for fun and relax it pays)
- Sweatbox (Saturday or Monday busiest days)
(saturday you can have fun with visitors and Monday busy with under 25s, U can do a lot)
LATINJUNKIE on 02-Dec-2017 | Problem with this review?
“I went there for one time and I will never go again to this place in my life! The facilities are really dirty and there is water leaking from the roof at the basement where most of the people are located. Terrible! A smell permeates each and every corner to the point I could hardly breathe. The water leakage is next to the electrical cables at the ceiling (i.e. lights etc.)
Also the staff are very rude and aggressive when u try to speak to them or ask for a query.
The most terrible intensive security search (nor just a check) I have ever been into in my entire life. Much more detailed security check than in any airport in the world!!! Absolutely ridicules for a sauna. It is not the W.H. it is just a sauna!
If you don´t want to be checked in every part of your body by staff and if you don´t want even your wallets being opened everywhere and looked- avoid going to this place please.
They even check customers bags and confiscate water bottles.“
Mike on 30-Nov-2017 | Problem with this review?
Why you were checked.
“We cannot comment on your specific experience, but it is important to point out that many London saunas now carry out detailed security checks on all customers.
A number of extreamly serious incidents have occurred where customers took drugs in a sauna. A particularly dangerous drug, GHB, is water-like liquid that could be smuggled into saunas in water bottles.
Without taking extra security measures, these saunas run a very real risk of being closed by the authorities. We are not suggesting you would be involved in this sort of activity, but just clarifying why you were subjected to the checks.“
TGE Staff on 01-Dec-2017 | Problem with this review?
People make the place
“I've been several times on trips to London, always during the day. In general there isn't much action going on - if anyone starts playing in the steam room, a crowd quickly gathers.
In general the facilities are fine, could be better but usable. The staff aren't great, and seem to be suspicious of people in general. I have been lucky enough to have a couple of amazing encounters there, but other times have come away unsatisfied.“
Stu on 28-Nov-2017 | Problem with this review?
Good in parts
“I've been. The location is unbeatable and there are some nice guys there. You pay for 24 hour access which means you can go there for a few hours, then go to a show, and then revisit afterwards, all for the one entrance fee. The showers are fun, as are some of the private and mirrored areas. Condoms and lube are free from the bar area.
Downsides are the place is smelly here and there, especially the steam rooms, while the two sauna cabins are just tatty. The "towels" are really just rags you wrap around and not very sexy, attractive or practical. The security at night is heavy. There are no seats on the toilets.
I wouldn't rule out going again, but plan on trying all the other London saunas before revisiting this one.“
Rod on 26-Oct-2017 | Problem with this review?
Dirty and stinky
“My partner and I were on holiday in London from July 3 to 10, 2017. Was the worst experience in a sauna. That place is the dirtiest sauna in London, all areas were stinky, lots of humidity.“
Luis on 24-Aug-2017 | Problem with this review?
Sweatbox is dreadful
“Sweatbox really is a dreadfully place. The staff are so rude and barely acknowledge you at the reception. I've been twice now on a weekend and on both occasions it was dead, probably about 15 guys. If you've ever been to a sauna in Europe you will think this place is a joke. Not good at all.“
Neil on 29-Jul-2017 | Problem with this review?
Staff need training
“I had unpleasant greeting. Staff member became suspicious that I was drunk. If he had been a native English speaker he would've realized I was a North American trying to figure out the menu of options and he mistook my fatigue (jet lag) for intoxication and turned me away at door. I've never been more sober.“
Billi on 25-Jul-2017 | Problem with this review?
“Despite the ban to poppers, and that most guys got a lot of attitude, it's still the best sauna in town.
If you are local you will probably manage to find out the best day and hour for you. I've always had fun and I'm going back again. The 24 hour pass it's handy for a late first day and and early revisit the day after. You have to leave before your entrance time on the first day. Fair“
Paco on 21-Jul-2017 | Problem with this review?
Best place to meet young guys
“This is only one sauna in London, where you can meet young and nice guys on Mondays or Thursday, other days are not that busy. Don't go in whirlpool, dirty, same like sauna and steam room, bring your slippers.“
Robert on 30-Jun-2017 | Problem with this review?
“22 year old so as it's free on a Monday I can't complain!
Really busy and mixed age and race, was so shocked at how easy it was to go from walking around to one minute later having action with the biggest tool I've ever seen! Not joking i was struggling for days.
It's the perfect place!“
Jack on 13-Jun-2017 | Problem with this review?
Not worth it
“Went on Saturday, May 27 at 10pm, not that many people (about 30). All were older than 25 and some just stood around. Then, went on May 29th, a Bank holiday and Mondays are free for under 25. Thought would have more cuties....more people than Saturday (about 50) but definitely not crowded. “
Ronnie on 31-May-2017 | Problem with this review?
“Been a few times to Sweatbox and always found some fun. I'm a larger bear type middle aged guy so get ignored by some if he body beautiful but always end up hooking up. Second time I went I had a great three way with a guy I'd chatted to in the gym then ended up joining him and a very hot guy.
My most recent visit I had fun with a nice guy from Abu Dhabi and we exchanged numbers and he came back to my hotel for more fun later
I always try and make a visit when I'm in London and the 48hr pass is good value if I am there for a few days, especially as I'd be paying for a gym anyway as the gym is very good.“
Mark on 14-May-2017 | Problem with this review?
It's just meh
“They make out to be the best gay sauna in London but in reality it is just meh. There are often used condoms and bottles of lube on the floor which you step on. There is also often a musty smell, it could do with a deep clean. Facilities are okay at least. However, it is full of older people, middle aged upwards and is very rare you find a young person.“
8-- on 23-Apr-2017 | Problem with this review?
“Taking to account great saunas in Berlin, Paris, Vienna or even Budapest, this is probably the worst gay sauna in Europe. Which is really shame cause London is European gay metropol, and rest of saunas in town aren't much better. Owners of this place evidently capitalising on its location and are unwilling to invest to renovation. (especially bad joke of this place is so called "jacuzzi") No matter how long you going to scrub or sanitise, the place is just overused and old. And you can definitely see and smell it once you are there!
Wouldn't recommend to anyone who's overly hygiene sensitive. If it's your first gay sauna experience, this can turn you off for the rest of your life! Nonetheless, this place is still quite popular due to its location and you can meet some really nice guys there. So, if you're adventurous enough, brace yourself and you can have quite a good fun!;)“
Adam on 20-Mar-2017 | Problem with this review?
24 hour ticket problem
“The clientelle is over 50s and it doesn't get busier than 20.or 30 ppl.
Paid for a 24h ticket. Came back a few hours later and the staff said they had no records to check. Apparently I should have gotten a card to get in again, which I hadn't and was not informed about. They charged me again.“
Peter on 17-Mar-2017 | Problem with this review?
Nice for fun, gym and rediscover yourself
“Not the cleanest place but a lot of handsome boys. Generally people came here for action and you can have a lot of action If you want. In the bar I analysed a Brazilian guy from staff and his simplicity, sincerity attract me a lot. I find him the best guy in this sauna for his general attitude, acting... and I regret that my projects în London are finished. He give me the hope that I can find any moment somebody to love even if my academic mathematics job make me too busy... Conclusion for me is that Sweatbox is a good place to relax but also a place where you can find a boyfriend for long term. May be this is a silly review (for a 30years old man)...but is what i feel .“
2dor on 25-Feb-2017 | Problem with this review?
Love in a sauna?
“Hey, people find love on battlefields with blood n guts so who's to say they can't find love in a sauna? Thanks for being honest. K“
Kj on 28-Feb-2017 | Problem with this review?
I went and I liked it
“After reading so many reviews about this place I decided to go and see it by myself. I think a gay sauna running for that long always has seen better days. But if you are going to a place like this, you cannot expect to enter into a surgery room. It's best to go and see it by yourself. What is clean or dirty depends who sees it. I had a lot of fun myself... and I'm just a regulars mature guy.“
Paul on 28-Jan-2017 | Problem with this review?
Very cold sauna
“I went there 3 times in winter the cabins area is very cold I think there is no heating there I felt very cold and I spoke to one of the staff but it seems they do not care.“
Andrew on 13-Jan-2017 | Problem with this review?
“TRUE..VERY cold...I hate these rooms.“
John on 25-Sep-2017 | Problem with this review?
Nice place but SMELLY
“Nice big sauna but in few areas I really [did not like] -steam room opposite showers and some cabins. Also some areas need urgent renovations.
I remember first months, years when they opened/ it was much better .“
Jan on 03-Dec-2016 | Problem with this review?
“Dirty place, smells bad, towels, (if you can call them that as they are more like floor cloths), are next to useless. Poorly maintained. I would not go back.“
Nick on 28-Nov-2016 | Problem with this review?
“Not too bad but the people there is not a lot“
benny on 09-Nov-2016 | Problem with this review?
Not the best....
“Went on a Saturday evening (my third time in total) and the place, to be honest, is a dump. Given there are some hot guys that go here, but all in all, it in need of a big make over. The steam room/sauna absolutely stinks and the rooms are tiny and of limited numbers. Got the potential to be amazing here due to the location and its location is probably the only reason guys go here. Good service from staff however.“
David on 04-Nov-2016 | Problem with this review?
Great action, but nothing more
“I went to the sauna quite confident it was going to be a nicely maintained place where I can have some fun. Unfortunately, the place was rather dirty, stinked, the saunas were small. There is an urgent need of refurbishment. There was only 1 towel... not enough. Free condoms and lubricants.
But most of the guys were young and handsome. I had an amazing action like never before so I'm going to come back!“
James on 31-Oct-2016 | Problem with this review?
Great London Sauna Experience!
“I have been going to SweatBox for over four years now, whenever I visit London! The staff has always been so nice and kind and treated me with great respect. The day I arrived in London, I always buy a weekly pass, so I can come and go as I please. I have met the nicest people from all over the world on vacation like myself, as well as locals. When your friendly to people I find that people are very friendly to you there. I often joke with the staff, that I'm one of the older customers, yet everyone is still so nice and friendly! I highly recommend this as a fun and relaxing sauna Londothe theme nights are the best! Usually busy! Always fun!“
Jerry on 22-Oct-2016 | Problem with this review?
Dont waste your time
“This establishment needs good redesign and investments. Dirty floor, no tiles only concrete, urine spots in the toilets. The layout and design are not helping shy strangers to establish contacts, just the opposite. Avoid at any cost!“
Dan on 29-Aug-2016 | Problem with this review?
“Well absolutely filthy. Sweaty smelly towels locker room stink of sweat , jacuzzi / stroke large cold bath filthy condoms under feet in jacuzzi and slimy seat even though is says no sex in there.
Private cubicles mat on floor no room to lie down dirty feet walking all over expected to lie down well I can't.
Steam room sauna room was ok and hot. “
Gavin on 28-Aug-2016 | Problem with this review?
Great place to have fun
“Visitor from Australia. Have been there on a Thursday. It was not quite busy and it was foam party there. It was a great night and I get a friend there. I took 48hours pass out. It was good. When I come back again it was Saturday night. So many people around. And some actions that night. Good place to have fun and enjoy. Definitely will come back when next visit“
Feng on 08-Aug-2016 | Problem with this review?
SEBASTIAN IS DESPERATELY SEEKING DAVID!
“'Been to this lovely Sauna and met this fellow David. We were meant to exchange numbers but kinda lost each other at the end of the night. I hope you're reading this and will get in touch. Thanks SWEATBOX!“
Sebastian on 25-Jul-2016 | Problem with this review?
I liked it so much
“The Best sauna clube in London. I went to Chariots (Vauxhall and Covent Garden) and The Stable. These three clubs are not crowded.
Sweatboxsoho is the most crowded one.
Price is average not expensive.
Employees are mostly patient (especially the guy who is baldheaded, he works generally nights)
Everyday, there are lots of guys, but sunday night is quiter than other 6 days.
If you go to London, you have to go Sweatbox at least two times.
On the other hand, Age range changes between 20-50 mostly under 27-28.
Italians and spanish prefer to go there. As a result you have to go Sweatbox. I have been in London 12 days and I went there 6 times :)
Can on 05-Jul-2016 | Problem with this review?
Happy to see improvements
“Visited Sweatbox last Friday and Saturday as i got a unlimited access pass for 19 Pounds. The facilities were much cleaner - steam rooms, sauna, jacuzzi and the private cabins despite being very busy. I think weekend nights continue to be the best because of after party crowd.
There is a good mix of young and middle aged men between 20-40 years from all races.
Hats off to the new Colombian cleaner who keeps the place very clean and is on the job full time.
This sauna will benefit from a bit of modernisation given its great location and the best crowd“
Dan on 21-Apr-2016 | Problem with this review?
Average, could be better
“good size for a sauna, interesting places to explore. Has a few issues that could easily be fixed:
1) More cleaners and more frequently. Number of areas have unpleasant mold and urine smell. Regular cleaning will really help. They must know this; seen this comment in several other reviews going back a while.
2) Cold Jacuzzi - I am stumped by this one; I wanted to sit and soak my knee, but very uncomfortable with not having real hot water. Very disappointing for a sauna
3) What's with the Sham-wow towels they now provide? not really absorbent. It's made of material similar to lint-free cleaning cloths.
Service was good. The guy running the front desk while I was there was nice and helpful to all customers who were speaking with him.“
Alex on 18-Mar-2016 | Problem with this review?
Not good as advertised
“I usually visit Sweatbox and sometimes book a massage. This has happened during the last three years. But unfortunately this place does not change. There is a terrible smeel of mould, premises are not cleaned properly and the staff has an attitude of " I dont care".
In general the frequence is mixed but I have noticed lots of Asians nowadays. Average of age from 20-50. Very few interesting guys.
But I think this is general rule in London. Nice guys dont go to saunas in London unfortunately. It is not like Berlin or Vienna. The gay sauna scene in these cities are quite good.
The location is perfect but the premises looks run down and there is always something broken or something dripping from the ceiling.
The price is the regular price for saunas in London.
So the general rule is: if you dont mind with cleanliness and you dont expect much in frequence, this could work for you.“
Maurice on 27-Jan-2016 | Problem with this review?
Not too bad...
“There is a strong smell of mould in some rooms which I found concerning and they don't supply flip flops like some other places do. It seems a little run down but it is not a bad design and amongst the guys were some good looking ones, perhaps due to the location. The gym looked amazing - I just wish I had my gym clothes with me to try it out.“
Marcus on 27-Dec-2015 | Problem with this review?
Very Much Clean Now
“I went twice -Sunday and Monday as the price of GBP19 included a 48 hour pass. I was delighted to see a full time cleaner and also staff cleaning and spraying freshners around busy areas. Thank you management- the place does not stink anymore!!
I regularly visit Sauna's to relax and meet like minded men. Not necessarily intercourse, but (safe) play is good!!
This place never disappoints - best bodies, all colours and nationalities - best for crowds aged 20-40 years.“
Res on 01-Dec-2015 | Problem with this review?
“I am a visitor in London, visited Sweatbox sauna on Tuesday afternoon around 3pm.
The place got busy after 4:30, and the crowd was very good too, age group 20-40 years. The place wasn't clean but not dirty either!
I had fun with two Italians and also played with another 3 guys in the Steam room. I will visit again very soon...
Feel sorry for one older guy who wanted to join group play but he was told off, and he politely went away. We could have let him stay and just watch.....“
Res on 26-Nov-2015 | Problem with this review?
Never Again 'ever'.Well, 'maybe'.
“...rude staff with a take it or leave it attitude problem. Perhaps they got out of the wrong side of their beds that day. The place wants a damn good bloody clean (filthy, grimy, tired and BORING). In fact it needs to be fumigated and thoroughly steam cleansed to rid it of the stench that wafts through the entire complex.
One ceases to comprehend exactly how management and the owners are otherwise blinkered or oblivious to their workplace environment as to the stench they quite obviously take for granted... A few Air Wick air fresheners would not go amiss, likewise a few automatic air freshener sprays about too. Come on! Clean your poor act up - PLEASE, PLEASE! Will attempt another visit sooner, or later, armed with own towels, flip flops and nose peg (just in case!) and air fresher spray and an extra inquisitive probing attitude!!“
Robin on 23-Oct-2015 | Problem with this review?
My experience at Sweatbox
“I was in London for 5 weeks in the summer from Africa, and visited the Sweatbox three times. I had visited a few other major London saunas before that, it was at either the Pleasuredrome or Chariot Waterloo that I picked some free gay magazines, while reading them at home, I read some articles about the Sweatbox and some lovely pictorial review of the customers staff and facilities, I was already falling in love with the place. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw a cut out coupon for a £5 discount if I come in before noon I think. I went to the Sweatbox box and really enjoyed myself at the cost of £12 only.
I returned a few days later, and still enjoyed the great facilities including polite and very helpful staff. I like your selection of staff really varied in terms of color and age and are all very friendly. A couple of days later I came back exactly on the 12th of August, 2015 and that was supposed to be my last visit because I was already booked to travel back on the 15th. While in the sauna I met another lovely young black guy with whom I became friends with, when he wanted to go he suggested we go out and have lunch, that it can collect a ticket that will allow me to come back. I did as he suggested and to my pleasant surprise the ticket did not only allow me back after three hours but that I can come back the next day and stay up till 3pm without paying a penny. I say this is the best sauna in the world. Your flexibility and foresight is unmatched vis: the 24 and 48 hour policy, the under 25 Monday free entry and £5 rebate. I discovered your facility rather late, close to the end of my visit but I thoroughly enjoyed myself in every visit. I will come back next summer and hope to enjoy myself even more. Thanks and keep up the good work.“
Felix on 14-Oct-2015 | Problem with this review?
Get in touch
“Hi Felix. Were you visiting from Nigeria (tall 6 ft 5 gorgeous black man) and did the black lad (Joel) come from Jamaica. If so, please get in touch. I lost your number and would like to get back in touch. Thanks.“
Joelle on 15-Nov-2015 | Problem with this review?
'Simply the Best'
“I go to saunas for occasional fun. I have to say this is the best because this place is always busy with the best looking men -all ages and color. Friday and Saturday late nights are really good for both - action and crowd, a lot of bi sexual men who come in after party hours. Mondays are busy (and free for under 25's) but action can be very limited.
This is not the cleanest sauna in Europe, but i bet that it has the 'best men- Young, Hung and Beautiful' .“
Maaz on 13-Oct-2015 | Problem with this review?
“I went on a Monday, and yea, got in for free for being under 25. My first experience to a hedonistic paradise proved just fine. A lot of good looking young guys, older hunks, everything was on the menu. I found the guys a bit shy, but that didn't stop me from getting some... and some more. Oh, and I got tested there (seemed like a responsible thing to do), probably the oddest place on earth to do so.“
Igor on 11-Aug-2015 | Problem with this review?
“I was very disappointed with the Sweatbox. I found the facilities to be very run down and badly in need of repair and renovation. The towels were just pieces of material that were very unpleasant and ineffective to use. The Cafe atmosphere was exceptionally boring and what was on sale was so basic it was hard to find anything worth purchasing. The staff appeared to be trying to do a good job with a very bad set of facilities.
There was a dreadful odour throughout the place, some of the showers did not work and often there was no hot water. There was water leaking through the roof in some parts on the lower floor resulting in some sections being cordoned off.
Neil on 06-Aug-2015 | Problem with this review?
“(TGE - This is a verified management response)
It’s true we certainly have a lot of conflicting reviews on a lot of websites. We’re certainly not perfect but the lurching between extremes, I think comes down mainly to two things:
1. Drugs. The gay community in London has a pretty major drug problem right now. We run a zero tolerance rule on drugs and unlike some other venues, we emphatically enforce it. This makes us a lot of enemies (guys we’ve thrown out, banned – even had arrested by the police) who seek petty revenge by writing bad reviews, complaining to the council etc. We enforce these rules as politely but as firmly as we can but we are bound to make enemies along the way. Within drug culture they don’t perceive themselves as doing anything wrong and think we’re just being mean and unfair not letting them have their fun the way they like it. But it’s my belief that the vast majority of our customers are not high and don’t want to be around those that are. So not only is drug taking illegal and dangerous, it’s also bad for business. I’m not just a guy who owns a sauna, I’m also a gay man of 51 who lost a lot of friends to HIV in the early days. I’ve been part of our community a long time and it upsets me dearly that we have achieved so many advances and then we hit a generation who seem determined to kill themselves with a cocktail of drugs. So I am not going to lessen our stance here no matter how many times we get bad reviews as petty revenge.
2. We had a dud receptionist. This is entirely my fault. We had a receptionist who covered the mornings. He used to be charming and much loved and trusted. But slowly I discovered that he would have horrible mood swings and would be very rude to customers. The review entitled “Spoilt by Very Rude Receptionist” is certainly down to him. He has now left us and won’t be coming back. I could go on to explain how his behavior was born out of some terrible issues and stresses that were going on in his personal life but I shan't because what he did was unacceptable and the fact that it went on for such a long time without me knowing is unacceptable of me. I made a mistake in trusting him.
We’ve recently installed audio mics with the CCTV at the reception hatch – this is so that I can monitor the quality of customer service we offer. Since doing so, I’ve been able to directly investigate complaints. Of the 4 where I have done this, one has been a receptionist being a bit brittle and unhelpful (and I was able to watch it back with him and he accepts he was in the wrong). But the other 3 were customers being abusive because they weren't getting what they want and my staff being firm but fair. They then complain to me or go online to write an angry review. When they write to me I’m now able to respond pointing out exactly what happened. One of them accepted it and we’re all friends again. The other two were furious (I was calmer than Buddha!) and said quite blatantly they were going to give me bad reviews all over the web. We love in a culture where this is becoming too many people’s default act of revenge. As far as I’m concerned trolling is like an infantile form of terrorism – both relying on a cowardly anonymity.
With regard to 24 and 48 hour passes, our rules are quite clear and all are written in our terms and conditions clearly framed in the entrance lobby so they can be read before entry. They are also written in and around the building to remind people:
24 and 48 hour passes work like this.
Both start the moment you purchase them and end 24 or 48 hours later. If you overstay beyond that, you are liable for another day’s admission. However we also have a maximum stay of 8 hours with no return within 3 hours. Our reason for this is we are not a hotel and we do not think it is healthy for anyone to remain in a sauna for more than 8 hours. And if you are, there is a strong likely-hood that you are on drugs (see above). We never enforce this on the first offence (although I believe our dud receptionist above did try to). Receptionists are briefed only to warn customers if they have stayed more than 8 hours and only take it further if they are a repeat offender. It was an initiative I developed along with THT and David Stuart of 56 Dean Street. It allows us to have a reason to throw out people we believe are high but can’t prove if they go over their allotted time.
There are some customers who get it into their heads that if they come back 5 minutes before their pass runs out, they can come in and stay as long as they want. I don’t pretend to understand how they think this is in any way an interpretation of a 24 or 48 hour pass but when they do, we politely explain the situation to them. Recently we had a customer turn up with 9 minutes to go on his pass. Our manager politely explained this to him and said he would need to take a £17 deposit before letting him in but that this would be returned as long as he left within the remaining 9 minutes of his pass.
The customer’s English was not good (a common problem – often it’s very hard to explain things) and he took affront and was verbally abusive to my manager who remained calm but firm. I know this because the customer then wrote to me with a series of false allegations to get my manager in trouble. Fortunately I was able to watch and listen to the whole thing back on CCTV and I could see for myself that it was the customer who was being abusive.
When I pointed this out to him he replied “Fxxk you I hate your sauna anyway it stinks and is disgusting” To which I responded by asking if he hated the experience so much why was he so desperate to come back? He didn’t reply to that.
To be honest most of the reviews I see on the link you sent me don’t surprise me. It’s kind of parr for the course. You can’t make everyone happy. You have to piss a small amount off. But as we’re currently by far the busiest sauna in London, we’re clearly making enough guys happy.
Oh and our 24 hour pass costs less than a single entrance to the 2 main Chariots venues (£19 single entrance) and Pleasuredrome is the same price as us for just one entrance. All have maximum stay rules.
Unlike other London saunas we’re owned by a gay couple and we look after our staff like an extended family. I hope that ethos pervades into the way they behave with customers. I think mainly it does but I’m sure not always. They have to deal with a lot of abuse and this in turn can make them defensive at times. We train them hard and do what we can to give them the confidence they need to smile and let it wash over them.
Of all the entries I saw in the link you sent me, the only one that surprised and upset me was the one saying “Only for the fit and young”. I hope nobody on my team told him this – it’s certainly not our policy and I loathe any form of bullying, discrimination and body fascism of any kind. Really loathe it. I grew up gay and bullied. A lot of bullied people go on to bully (there are a lot of gay bullies out there I feel). I don’t. And I don’t let my staff. If ever I felt this was what we are saying, I would be furious. That said we do have an image for being full of young and fit guys. And we do have a lot of them. And some of them are probably picky. But a lot aren’t. One of the happiest parts of my job is watching the friendships made at Sweatbox. We all tend to sex-shame saunas as being nothing more than meat markets. That’s only true if that ’s how you want to see it. I’ve made some of my best friends in saunas. We know guys who met at Sweatbox who have gone on to get married. And the friendships can often often transcend age, ethnicity and body type.
My partner and I are getting married in August. I’m closing the venue for the night so that all the staff can come. On top of that, 25 of our guests are friends we’ve made through Sweatbox. And they’re not all young and fit!
Perhaps this chap came on a Monday night in which the Under 25’s get in for free. That can be pretty full on, it’s true. One of the reasons we do that is because we also have 56 Dean Street doing HIV testing on Monday’s and the Under 25’s are often shy to go get tested at a clinic.
I’ve taken the time to write this detailed response because I was very kindly offered the right of reply. However I don’t hold up much hope that my response is going to change many minds. Those that like us and get us don’t need the reviews – they know. Those with negative attitudes are only ever going to believe I’m a cynical businessman who sits all day counting his money and caring jack shit.
Nothing I say is ever going to change that. That’s a change that has to come from within. So I think it’s something of a pointless exercise entering the ring with a bunch of anonymous trolls with an axe to grind or a prejudice to re-enforce. But I’m here, nonetheless.
I like my business, I’m proud of it. I’m fond of my staff (our staff parties are awesome!) and I like the vast majority of my customers. I don’t even hate the druggy ones – I just don’t want them doing it in my building. But what I don’t like is anonymous bullying. And that’s why I don’t really want to be represented on any site where that can happen. I’m too old, frankly.“
Mark on 04-May-2015 | Problem with this review?
Full of young fit guys you say!
“--- and u25's get in free on Mondays? It sounds like Mondays hot would be worth it just for the eye candy.“
Steve on 17-Jun-2015 | Problem with this review?
great, maybe open another
“I love the place and the long reply from the owner. However he should consider a 2nd maybe near Waterloo and bigger would be great. In regards to the weekend pass, it's a nice idea and cheaper than other places however the 8hr rule sucks a lot. In regards to your not a hotel well there in lies my only issue.
I would like to visit SB a lot however I work a lot in London but live an hour away. I do 12 hour days if I get there at 8pm I would have to leave at 10pm to get home and sleep. Otherwise I could have fun till 2am get some shut eye and be back at work at 7am. I think the gym and sauna idea is awesome - two birds one stone and would be interested in going their daily when i'am working but this takes me from 20 nights a month to 2 nights a month. Hence a bigger site with more cabins would be great and yeah charge more for sleeping. Making people leave does mean some people can't use your sauna no where near as much as they like due to getting home and back to work after. What rules apply to monthly membership? Is it still 8 hr limits. btw I don't do drugs I hate them and i'am happy you work so hard to get them gone.“
Jason on 03-Oct-2015 | Problem with this review?
“I absolutely loved your reply,never been to Sweatbox,but after reading your reply next time I,m in London will definitely visit.
Really can't wait!“
John on 29-Jul-2016 | Problem with this review?
“I read all the reviews and so I emailed the venue using their "info" email address. I got back a "failure message" So I filled in their mailing list sign-up. I put a message in the 'gym membership' section. I received a reply from them, now I have a direct email address. I have put all the complaints to him & await there response. Will post update if they reply.“
Peter on 29-Apr-2015 | Problem with this review?
Difficult to beat
“I am a regular visit to the capital. Always try to find time to spend a few hours at Sweatbox. Although slightly claustrophobic, the facilities are reasonable, usually it seems pretty well maintained and clean, but the main attraction in the crowd. Never seems to disappoint. Had plenty of fun on every visit in the past few years. Attracts all types & colours which is really cool. Regarding earlier comments, I am over 40, but look after myself. Never had a problem gaining entry.“
Peter on 21-Apr-2015 | Problem with this review?
24 hour 48 hour pass - not true
“Come and go as you please its not true at all, unless you know how the 24 hour 48 hour pass works you will have a shock on leaving if you may have over stayed! You will be fined your repeat fee of entry for only even 10 min late leaving. The pass does not explain this in small print and there for will confuse you. This is however a money making ploy and a very nasty and unprofessional one of that.
If you have any problems you can rest assure the owners of the sweatbox will not be contactable nor when you are fobbed off with there email address will they never respond back to you - very very bad manners.
On reflection the sweat box is one of the most unclean unhygienic of saunas smelling of urine in the one steam room opposite the shower area. The cleaners do nothing apart from stand about playing on there I phones instead of keeping the sauna free from unhygienic matter.“
Adam on 05-Apr-2015 | Problem with this review?
Only for the fit & young, not for the rest of you !
“It is all ways the way for places like this to be for the slim fit and young !
If you turn up and you are 40+ you are told you will not fit in. I chatted to a friend and ask hin the try it out as I had not gone in after being told to old . Yes, he was told he was to fat. But where do guy like us have to go under a train ? As you can see by the Photos not fat or old guy let in - what a shame.“
Simon on 29-Dec-2014 | Problem with this review?
“This place is Heaven on Monday nights. Whatever you're looking for, it's there! I've had such a great time, often with young guys who are there for the first time. Hot & romantic. This place is not called Sweatbox for nothing. The cubicles do not seem to be ventilated at all, so it gets really hot and sweaty! I actually like that. The place is quite clean for a sauna and is patrolled regularly. You can come and go as you please for either 24 or 48 hours. It's good value, especially the 48-hour pass. The staff is courteous. My favourite place so far in London.“
BreakfastOf on 20-Sep-2014 | Problem with this review?
Spoilt by very rude receptionist
“I went with 2 friends on Monday 29th September, one of whom was under 25 years old and was allowed in free. This is a brilliant concession. We arrived at 3pm and my other friend and I bought a 24 hour pass for £17. We had a great time although the small bar was expensive as they don't allow you take in your own food or drink which we thought was bad. Tea is £2 a cup! At 9am on Tuesday we decided to go out for breakfast. My younger friend went to get a fresh "towel", which incidentally are more like polishing dusters. He was greeted by a very rude middle aged man who told hum off for staying beyond midnight. He was told that he had to leave and that we had to leave too although we were downstairs changing at the time. My friend came back down and told us what had happened. We all went upstairs to meet this receptionist and straighten things out. We met a very rude and sarcastic middle aged man of repellent aspect who proceeded to chastise my young friend again. It seems that although under 25s are allowed in free on Mondays, the 24 hour pass rule doesn't apply. We apologised for the mistake and my friend was charged Â£10 for the excess time he had spent inside. That should have entitled him to stay for the rest of Tuesday. We all wanted to stay until 3pm on Tuesday when the 24 hour passes expired. When we questioned this he said that my younger friend had leave. I said that we all wanted to return together after an hour or so until the two 24 hour passes expired. He stated that he couldn't return, even though he had just paid Â£10. He said he could lose his job and said there was a rule that no one could have more than 16 hours in the sauna under "Health & Safety" regulations. They sell 24 and 48 hour passes so that was clearly a lie. He said he would photograph my friend and put him on the rogues gallery of banned customers. When I questioned all this he said I was "taking the p**s! We all remained calm during his ranting, but clearly he was a devotee of the Basil Faulty school or customer service. I was then asked to pay my bar bill which amounted to £6.50. I asked him if he could change a £10 note and he very rudely replied, "does it look like I haven't got change, I got a till"! This man spoilt an otherwise enjoyable stay at this sauna and we decided not to fully use the 24 hour passes we had and took our business to another sauna. If you happen to be the owner of Sweatbox and you are reading this review I strongly suggest you sack that employee as he will lose you valuable business. We all have customer backgrounds and were appalled at his attitude. We will return again and sincerely hope he has gone.“
N on 05-Oct-2014 | Problem with this review?
“I had a good time when I went. The younger receptionist was brilliant. He was new there - I think it was his first day. The older guy is quite shirty especially about giving out cups of free tap water. I outstayed the 'time limit' so had to repay on leaving. Overall, had fun in there so not too bad.“
Chris on 16-Jan-2015 | Problem with this review?
“Great for tourists. Very central and busy. Visited London during May holiday weekend - spent too much time at Sweatbox :) but very much enjoyed the "sightseeing".“
Joe on 28-May-2014 | Problem with this review?
Great for tourists
“Great for tourists - central location makes it very convenient. Very nice gym on the ground floor. The sauna is in the basement. £18 entry fee, but you can by a pass for 10 visits for £100. Locker room feels very secure with security cameras. Free condoms and lube available. Being an Asian visiting London I find that Sweatbox tends to attract a mixed crowd with quite a few Asians and British guys who like Asian :) 4 - 8 pm is peak time, particularly Sunday. Like other London saunas, it does not look very clean and air in the basement feels a stuffy. But overall, still think it is a better option that Chariots.“
Nat on 17-Nov-2013 | Problem with this review?
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