Barley bubbles: beer spa opens in Brussels

By Bart Biesemans and Christian Levaux

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgians will soon be able to relax in hops and barley as a new beer spa experience is about to open for the first time in Belgium.

The "Good Beer Spa" in southern Brussels was founded by 42-year olds Benedict Biebuyck and his girlfriend Ana Bordonada after experiencing one in Prague in the Czech Republic two or three years ago.

Biebuyck prepares the mixture for the jacuzzi: hop, yeast and malt combined with beer. He mixes it and then pours it into the jacuzzi, where clients will sit for 45 minutes.

Ahead of the June 4 opening, they invited a few neighbours who said they enjoyed the smells and the relaxing atmosphere.

"I heard that it really rejuvenates the skin so, who knows, it might make me look 10 years younger! And also I like the smell, It's very natural, I feel very much in nature!" Aleksandra Tarchini, a 34 year-old web designer from Bulgaria, told Reuters.

Dermatologists, however, may disagree with the skin benefits. Vera Rogiers, the head of the department of dermato-cosmetology at the Free University of Brussels' faculty of medicine told Reuters that she would be more concerned about sitting in a bath for 45 minutes as it breaks the barrier function of the skin.

"These substances, these natural products contain quite a bit of active substances but it's not just a question of active substances, the concentration plays a very important role."

"That concentration is extremely low, so if you then go and sit in the mixture with a low concentration, it does nothing for the skin," she said.

Biebuyck and Bordonada now look forward to receiving the public next month who will be able to book a private jacuzzi for up to two people for 115 euros ($139.10). The price includes access to unlimited access to draft beer served from the tap.

($1 = 0.8267 euros)

(Reporting by Bart Biesemans and Christian Levaux, Writing by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)