Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘We made it’: HAVN Harbour Saunas docked permanently at Victoria’s Inner Harbour (PHOTOS)

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As of April 11th, the Inner Harbour’s newest addition is docked in its new home for good!

HAVN Harbour Saunas is the brainchild of Nick Van Buren, who started the iconic Victoria clothing brand ANIÁN. He teamed up with Kurtis Vallee, HAVN’s CFO and co-founder from the get-go, to bring their shared vision to fruition for Victoria’s residents and visitors alike. 

Van Buren built a small sauna boat no bigger than 12-feet long that could squish five or six people into the sauna. 

HAVN began because Van Buren was looking for his next business venture and somewhere to focus his creative energy after selling his shares in ANIÁN to his past business partner.

During this time, he remembered his time converting the sauna boat using reclaimed driftwood. Van Buren started to think big with the idea and eventually got his idea funded and approved by numerous organizations, including Victoria’s city council.

Valle and Van Buren acquired a 1943 barge from West Cracroft Island, just off Port McNeill and immediately got to work with construction at Ogden Point.

Now, with construction mostly done, sewer lines being installed and the sauna barge’s harbour moorage infrastructure nearly complete, HAVN has moved into its permanent home right beside Harbour Air in the Inner Harbour. 

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Van Buren has worked tirelessly to bring his vision to reality through the whole process, and he has been hands-on every step of the way.

“Today’s my first day not actively working,” Van Buren told Victoria Buzz as he gave a tour of the vessel. 

“I probably wear a toolbelt eight hours a day, then about four to six hours a day I’m doing the business aspect of it.”

(Photo by: Mackenzie Duncan/HAVN Harbour Saunas)

The layout of the vessel will have guests walk through the main entrance of the barge on the starboard side. There, they will be greeted by reception.

From there they will make their way into a shared change space with several ‘wet stalls’ that have a private shower and ‘dry stalls’ to allow people of any gender identification to change with privacy. 

Up a flight of stairs that will take you to the second floor on the top of the barge, are trees, gardens as well as numerous saunas with unique viewpoints and pools of various temperatures. 

The main features of the sauna barge will be: 

  • Three saunas with unique features and views
  • Two cold pools to relax in and cool down on a hot day
  • Two hot tubs perfect for evening relaxation
  • Two outdoor showers on the roof of the vessel
  • A relaxation cabin to give a reprieve from the sun
  • An exfoliation shower 
  • A garden patio 
  • A retail boutique 
(Photo by: Mackenzie Duncan/HAVN Harbour Saunas)

The vessel’s stern has a large space that will be utilized once construction is complete as well. Van Buren is unsure of what this space will become at the moment, but for now he is thinking it will be an events space that could be used for yoga, weddings or concerts. 

Once construction of the spa’s operating space is completed, Van Buren will shift his focus to finishing that space. 

The next steps for Van Buren and his team are to finish construction, finesse the HAVN brand, making the webpage look as good as the space and market the business. But the hurdles don’t end once the space is open.

“Switching from a construction business to a spa operator business,” Van Buren laughed. “I’ve never done that before.”

“I’m sure it’ll come, but those are the next steps.”

HAVN Harbour Sauna will officially launch and be open for business on June 1st and pre-bookings are already open and filling fast on their website. Rates start at $75 dollars for access to all of their amenities.

(Photo by: Mackenzie Duncan/HAVN Harbour Saunas)
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Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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