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I caught up with Chris Amos, from London gay sauna Pleasuredrome, to talk about why gay sauna still matter.

With the rise of hook-up apps, there was a sense that the days of the gay sauna or bathhouse were finished. Why do you think that saunas like Pleasuredrome continue to have a role to play in the lives of gay men?

The rise of hook-up apps has impacted on the gay social scene –  especially bars and clubs. However the sauna scene is still flourishing, perhaps even more so. A lot of people are actually using the apps inside the sauna, or to meet at Pleasuredrome as it’s much safer to meet here than go to someone’s flat.

Also, in London, many people share their flats . If you want to hook up privately and can’t take them home, Pleasuredrome offers deluxe pods which provide an alternative to expensive hotel rooms.

Pleasuredrome promotional shoot
Pleasuredrome promotional shoot | Photo: Johan Cloete

Men come to Pleasuredrome for all sorts of reasons. Some come after going out, on their way to or from work, some men prefer to not use apps. Lots of visitors to London come too, some men just come to relax and enjoy the facilities.

Plus, in the sauna, you can see other guys in the flesh and hook-up there and then.

Has the way that gay men use saunas like Pleasuredrome evolved in recent years?

With the rise of apps, and the credit crunch that hit the UK in 2008, there has been an erosion of the gay scene, with less venues to visit. But Pleasuredrome is an institution in the centre of London. We never close  –  we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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As venues have closed, more and more men have been trying out Pleasuredrome. We’ve noticed a younger crowd coming in since we’ve offered a discount for under-25s.

Pleasuredrome promotional shoot
Pleasuredrome promotional shoot | Photo: Johan Cloete

We’ll soon be expanding Pleasuredrome to make the spa 50 percent bigger. This will enable us to open an additional 22 deluxe pods  with TV, power points to recharge mobiles and controllable lighting.

We are also very excited about creating Britain’s first steam maze. A brand new stone spa pool with unique water features will also be added.

What sort of guys go to a sauna like Pleasuredrome?

There’s a lot of diversity in London. This is reflected in the guests that we have. We get young guys, older guys, bisexual guys, married men, guys wanting to experiment, tourists, all nationalities, jocks, slim guys.

We have a very open policy and welcome all guys.

Pleasuredrome promotional shoot
Pleasuredrome promotional shoot | Photo: Johan Cloete

What days of the week and times of day are the busiest at Pleasuredrome?

During the week, we’re busiest between 4pm and 9pm. On Fridays, we are packed from 4pm to very late, and Saturdays from 4pm all the way through to Sunday morning and Sunday afternoons. We always have guests.

Is a London sauna, like Pleasuredrome, different in any way to saunas that I might find in other cities around the world?

Pleasuredrome is different to other London saunas. We focus on offering the best facilities  –  steam rooms, saunas, spa pool  – and keep these clean and well-maintained.

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With the expansion, we really are aiming to be one of the world’s great saunas. The steam maze will be an experience. The owners have visited saunas across the globe and will incorporate the best of what they’ve seen into the Pleasuredrome expansion.

Pleasuredrome promotional shoot
Pleasuredrome promotional shoot | Photo: Johan Cloete

Do you ever have any shows or performances at Pleasuredrome?

We never do special parties or theme nights - despite many requests from promoters to do so. We have found that the few times we did special events, it put off our regular clientele. Our priority is to always offer a clean, safe environment for our guests  – an experience that every time that they visit, they know what to expect, no surprises.

At Pleasuredrome, you always know it will be busy, you’re welcome, and you know what you’re going to get.

If I’ve never been to a sauna before, but I’m interested in trying it out, what advice or guidance would you give?

Going to a sauna can be daunting experience for first-timers, which is part of the thrill of the experience. There’s a degree of freedom and relaxation that can’t be found elsewhere.

So many men to meet and see in the flesh, as opposed to navigating fake profiles and constant messaging on dating apps -  here, you can see for yourself. Most guys are surprised how friendly people are. There aren’t too many men who only come once and never come back - that says a lot.

Pleasuredrome promotional shoot
Pleasuredrome promotional shoot | Photo: Johan Cloete

Click ‘See gallery’ to see all the steamy photos from the shoot.

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Places & Parties

La Demence: hunt the bunny this Easter

From 19th to 21st of April, Brussels is the centre of one of Europe’s craziest gay parties.

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La Demence – one of Europe’s largest gay parties with almost 3 decades of existence – is back!

Wonderland is the motto for this edition of the iconic party that will take place in Brussels from 19th to 21st of April.

Some of Europe’s best Djs get together in two of Brussels hottest clubs – Fuse and Palais 12 – with darkrooms, condoms and lube aplenty.

It’s an explosion of colour, music and hot sexy guys.

Photo: La Demence

Here’s the line-up for the Easter edition:


Friday 19th April

Opening Party at Fuse

DJs

Level 1:
Andrei Stan (RO)
Steven Redant (ES)
Paul Heron (UK)
Ben Manson (FR)

Level 2:
Breizbear (BE)
Elias (ES)
tbc
Mister Mola (BE)

Level 3:
Darling Peter (NL)
Kenne Perry (BE)

VJ AlexEtJeremy (NL)

Shows by Jean-Marie Desreux (FR)

Saturday 20th April

Main Party at Palais 12

DJs

Main Room:
Andy O’Kean (CH)
Andrei Stan (RO)
Steven Redant (ES)
Pagano (UK)
Chris Bekker (DE)

Upper Room (NEW!):
Kenne Perry (BE)
Skippo (DE)
Elias (ES)

VJ AlexEtJeremy (NL)

Shows by Jean-Marie Desreux (FR)

Sunday 21st April

Closing Party at Fuse

DJs

Level 1:
Andrei Stan (RO)
Sebastien Triumph (FR)
Kenne Perry (BE)
John Dixon (FR)

Level 2:
Breizbear (BE)
Elias (ES)
D’Alessandro (IT)
Steven Redant (ES)

Level 3:
Jo (disco set) (BE)
Bernard Gavilan (BE)

VJ AlexEtJeremy (NL)

Shows by Jean-Marie Desreux (FR)


Three nights, three parties! Ready to go through the looking glass?

Buy your tickets for La Demence before they are sold out!


Photo: La Demence

Click ‘See gallery’ to see photos from previous editions

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