|Bored with the same old saunas? Tired of sitting on the same old faces? Well, get thee into thy chariot and tool on down the great southern motorway to the cow-cocky capital - Hamilton!
Yes, Hamilton now has two establishments for fans of steamy pleasure. There's the tried and true 10 High, out by the main trunk line in Frankton, and a newcomer, Guyz, in Victoria St, and what a newcomer Guyz is! It's better than any sauna currently available in Auckland. Though as a died in the wool Aucklander I can't compare it to, say, Wellington or Christchurch saunas. Looking rather classy in silver grey, black and cherry red, a clever use of space means Guyz never seems small, just comfortable - though I'd hate to see the crush in the tiny locker room when they get a crowd of more than three. And it's not just the newness and cleanness (spotless!) that thrills. No, there is a real feeling of somebody cares about this place, it's been put together with love (or do I mean lust?). Though, in retrospect (that means thinking it over, petal), the place has yet to develop that truly satisfying raunchy ambience that always makes a good sauna great. Of course, at two months old it's still finding its feet so if you take advantage of the early bird special ($16 between opening time and 5pm), it might be advisable to do a byof (no, that's bring your own 'friend'). (And after he's enjoyed himself and you, why not ask him to share the cost of the petrol that got him there?) But after 6pm, no worries, that's when the locals come out to play. You enter an airy lounge with wide screen tv, comfy couches and two internet connections, watched over by an eager to please guy on the counter (a part owner, I think). There's a display case of exotic lubricants, free cold water (strange, no tea or coffee - maybe that's to please the local gay Mormons) and a limited range of snacks and drinks (nothing alcoholic). There's a large porn tv room, an impressive looking sling room (has to be hired but you can look into it through the grille in the door - mmm, is that a cat-o-nine tails I see before me?) and a rather perfunctory maze that turns out to be a corridor with private cubicles attached. Nice cubicles with extra nice couches and paper dispenser and water spray bottles on hand for couch cleaning. There's quite a large dry sauna, an off-the-floor, step-up-into-it jacuzzi, classy chairs scattered about if it all gets too much for you, and a swelegant steam room which contained the only major complaint I have about the place. The upper bench in the steam room! It's not only slippery but it slopes downwards! Oooh, nobody wants to feel that insecure sitting in a steamie! And later on when the locals arrived they already knew not to sit on that upper level. Still, the lower bench is fine, as is the single-level long bench opposite. To be really picky, there could be a rubbish receptacle in the loo and, as usual, there are conflicting noise sources - the telly versus the thump-thump music stream. But the approachable guy on the counter was only to willing to turn up the telly 6pm news and turn the music down. And in both the dry and wet saunas it was reasonably quiet. The fabulous showers are even better because you're not on view to passers-by, though you are to anyone else in the showers, but I suspect this might appeal to those who like to save water by showering together. It's certainly private enough to. Guyz is toward the northern end of the main drag, Victoria Street, down a driveway between a Housing New Zealand building and a curtain showroom, in fact it's a door in the wall halfway down the drive under the curtain showroom. You'll find a free mint on your towel in the locker, there are extra free mints on the counter (hmmm, bad breath epidemic in Hammy?) and I was offered a lollipop to suck on as I left but no thanks, I'd already enjoyed a couple of lollipops in the steam room. Condoms and lube are in your locker, with safe sex posters on the wall (aimed at the young but there was a decent age range among the clientele), ensuring you a safe and steamy, swelegant time with the gays at Guyz. I don't know why 10 High advertises itself as open at 5pm (closed on Mondays), because it's actually open from 1.30. Of course, the pickings are slim during the afternoon, but if you're going to be open why not say so? After you've gazed at the large lockers and wondered if they're big enough to take a farmer's gumboots, you enter an intimate lounge with a large telly screen inset in the wall. This lounge becomes downright cosy in winter because there's one of those closed-in fires and they fire it up and my, the atmosphere gets downright homey (or do I mean homo-y?). Leaving the lounge, you can turn to the right and find the saunas, the showers, a plunge pool (more later about the plunge pool), the loo (more later about that, too) and a rather strangely shallow jacuzzi pool. Turn to the left and go up the stairs to a corridor (it creaks just like the upstairs at the Centurion, so it lets you know when someone's coming). Off the corridor are two large rooms with double-bed sized couches, the walls painted a hideous matte olive green, with cheap flowery curtains. At one end of the corridor is a maze area, rather ingeniously laid out given the lack of space, but obviously designed with only the slender in mind. Also, during daylight hours the maze is ablaze with light. And though I do enjoy seeing my other half, no matter how temporary and fleeting he may be, that much light I and my crows feet do not need. At the opposite end of the hallway is the main porn room with a wide screen telly set in the wall. Opposite the telly is a roomy, comfy (mmm, neoprene!) kneeling area surrounded by a u-shaped couch along the walls. You get the picture? Halfway up the stairs are a smaller porn telly room cum exercise machine room and opposite it another private cubicle. The wooden bench tops in the steam room give it the most secure feeling of any of the steam saunas I've tried, though, as usual in these places, the floor can be a bit slippy (or is it just my stumpy legs?). Both the steam and dry saunas are the epitome of tranquillity, places you can really relax in, and the plunge pool! oh, the plunge pool. On a sweltering summer afternoon it's a heavenly, luxurious treat. It's not big - about two bears wide - but it's deep (up to my hairy old chin) and it's cool, oh so cooool. Yum. The showers are in a circular area that reminds me of a cow-milking thingie and don't ask me about the jacuzzi, I hate them. That much heat is not conducive for sex, didn't Cole Porter tell us so? (see lyrics of Heatwave, or listen to Marilyn crooning it). And as for the loo area! It's been painted and tiled and the lights work! How's that for the impact of competition? Condom and lube are neatly stored in the door of your locker and the guy on the door is a firm believer in running a hands-on managerial style and is quite the local icon. He also runs the bar next door to the sauna so alcohol is available. So, you pays your money and you takes your choice - $15 for the tried and true at 10 High or $20 for the virginal Guyz. GuyZ Sauna 856a Victoria Street Hamilton 10 High 10 High St, Frankton John Curry - 17th January 2006