Roadtrippin’ 2023: Haines’ Zen Bathworks perfects the art of relaxation

Roadtrippin’ 2023: Haines' Zen Bathworks perfects the art of relaxation
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:27 PM AKDT
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HAINES, Alaska (KTUU) - Kent Larson’s business, Zen Bathworks, features beautiful wooden hot tubs and Japanese soaking tubs called ofuros that are made by hand in his Haines studio. The tubs are often referred to as “works of art” but Larson said he wants his customers to treasure the experience they provide. It’s why he says he specializes in the art of relaxation.

Zen Bathworks offers two basic products including hot tubs built from cedar that are constructed like a large wine barrel. The tubs look almost rustic from the outside, but they are filled with modern frills like programmable hydrojets. They can be heated using electricity, gas, wood or all three.

But if those tubs are considered high-tech, Zen Bathwork’s other product is anything but. Based on traditional Japanese soaking tubs, ofuros have a simple design that can be built to a customer’s size specifications. The company makes them in three different types of wood, including teak, red cedar and a Japanese wood called hinoki. When wet, hinoki gives off a lemon-ginger scent which is why Larson said it’s his most popular wood.

Larson said the custom tubs sell mostly to customers in the Lower 48 as well as abroad. They range in price from $10,000 to $30,000 and are meant to last a lifetime.