Onsen (San Francisco)

Onsen, a new Japanese-inspired bathhouse created by the husband-and-wife team of Sunny Simmons and Caroline Smith, opened its doors in November in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Housed in the former City Automotive building, the 3,200-square-foot, six-treatment-room spa features premium day-spa amenities, alternative healing treatments, and a tea house with a Japanese-style café, a premium sake and beer program, and a tea service featuring hand-crafted selections from Mountain Rose Herbs and Red Blossom Teas. The design concept involved a blend of old-world and new and even incorporates some of the elements of the building’s history, including the reimagining of the former auto shop’s mechanic’s pit into a 10-person hot soaking pool. Treatment offerings include massage, acupuncture, reiki, facials, and body treatments, and, along with the soaking pool, the communal spa area features a dry sauna, a steam room, and a cold plunge shower. The bathhouse also stands out for its community outreach—it offers community services one day a week with free acupuncture for veterans and a sliding pay scale for neighbors who can’t afford or have never experienced alternative-health treatments.

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