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There is a very old and traditional sulphur baths in the old town of Tbilisi, Georgia called Abanotubani.

I assumed it would've been originally a Turkish hamam and have only segregated sex bathing.

But doing some asking around with locals and Googling I now get the impression that mixed bathing is allowed at all, at least in some of the baths.

But what I can't find is the solid facts. I know there are a series of numbered baths. I know at least some of them some of the time are public and I believe men must be naked. I do not know for sure if there are also possibilities to rent a private bath for a group or for a group to visit a mixed public bath. Also if mixed bathing might be permitted only on certain days or at certain times, or if mixed bathing must not be naked.

Where can I find all the rules and information on how to use the Abanotubani baths? Or can we take a mixed group of about ten people to rent a private bath to use naked?

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Well a group of my friends went this afternoon (7 lari per person for one hour) and there was a mixed public bath which was not nude. The other questions are still open. –  hippietrail Jan 2 '12 at 20:02
    
Isn't this going to be specific to a particular bath rather than a common answer? –  Ankur Banerjee Jan 5 '12 at 13:18
    
If the answer is yes to any one of the baths (they're all right in the same place) then the answer to the whole question is yes. So far I can't find a website for the baths generally or for any of the individual ones or anything else with specific details. –  hippietrail Jan 5 '12 at 14:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

My boyfriend and I (female) were able to rent a private room at the Blue Baths in September '10.

Okay, here's the Long Answer: At any one of the baths, it is possible to rent a private room, exclusive of massage and kisa (skin scrub). From my personal experience, The Royal Baths have the single best/nicest room (gorgeous blue paneled "dressing room" with sofas plus separate bathroom), but it costs a full 60 lari and is suitable for a much larger party than just 2. Their "next tier down" (40-50 lari rooms) aren't comparable to similarly priced rooms in other baths. I imagine 3-4 people could fit in one of these.

The Blue Baths - 50 lari gets a gorgeous large room (again with a separate dressing room/lounge area); 25 lari (what I paid with the boyfriend) gets a tiny, dingy, slightly dirty-seeming room (with ostensible "dressing area" but no sofas, etc) so it's worth paying more.

The Baths Halfway Up Grishashvili St (sorry, not sure of the name. Right where the Bohemia sign is) offer a perfectly pleasant, if not visually stunning, room for 25 lari: this is possibly the best value-for-money bath in Tbilisi.

Massages and skin scrubs cost extra; the going rate seems to be 10 lari per service per person (in all baths). The attendant will knock and enter - be aware that there is no expectation of modesty on either side: often the attendant will be wearing nothing but a bikini bottom regardless of gender (note that this is not sexualized; in my case, the woman was an older, 60-something professional who just didn't want to get her kit wet. However, it does seem that prostitutes do use the baths as a front (with the tacit acceptance if not cooperation of the workers), so mixed groups and/or groups of men seeking massages should be extra clear that this is NOT what is going on.

Tea can generally be brought to the rooms by attendants for 5-10 lari.

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could you perhaps flesh out the answer? Great that we finally have someone answer this, but any more information would be appreciated. –  Mark Mayo Mar 20 '12 at 23:22
    
It would great to know how much it cost, if the price was per hour, does private mean no attendants as well as no other customers, etc. –  hippietrail Mar 21 '12 at 7:50
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nice re-done answer!! –  Mark Mayo Mar 21 '12 at 9:20
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This is now an excellent answer, just what the site aims for! I have heard from Georgian friends that in some of the baths you can even buy beer. I don't know which ones or if the prices are inflated. –  hippietrail Mar 21 '12 at 10:00

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