Day and water spas
Spots where you can lounge for hours after treatments.
Tue Jan 25 2011
Photograph: Julia Gartland
Body by Brooklyn
Body by Brooklyn: The Works 275 Park Ave between Washington and Waverly Aves, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (718-923-9400, bodybybrooklyn.com). Regularly $80. TONY deal Mention TONY when checking in to receive 20 percent off a full-day pass, which includes access to hot and cold pools, saunas and a steam room Thu 27--Feb 9 (regular price $45, free with treatments over $80).
My aesthetician, Rosa, began by turning off the lights and donning a head flashlight, to keep the room dark during this multifaceted 90-minute experience, which includes a manicure and a pedicure, plus foot, head and hand massages. While I reclined on a table, she rubbed a moisturizing plum-blossom scrub onto my hands and feet, then wrapped my hands in moist towels and plastic wrap and slipped them inside electrical warming mitts. As my extremities softened, Rosa administered a fantastic head and neck massage. The shebang ended with a lacquer of sparkly purple polish.
Best part: Aside from the tension-dissolving treatment, the spa's wet lounge—featuring a Russian sauna, a Swedish sauna, a Turkish steam room, a thermal hot tub and a cold-plunge pool—is a great place to detox from a big night out.
Why it's worth it: The Works adds decadence to a standard mani-pedi and includes access to the hydrotherapy wet-lounge facilities. Spending $80 or more on spa treatments gets you into the wet lounge, otherwise it's $45 for full-day access.—Jaime Jordan
Spa Castle: Day pass 131-10 11th Ave at 131st St, College Point, Queens (718-939-6300, nyspacastle.com). General admission Mon--Fri $35; Sat, Sun, holidays $45.
Set aside a whole day to explore the various relaxation options (not to mention the food court) at this sprawling Queens destination—like heated outdoor "waterfalls" designed to power-wash away back and neck tension, and saunas lined with various wellness-inducing substances, such as Himalayan salt and real gold. Additional treatments are available for extra fees (foot and hand massages are $40 each, body scrubs start at $50), but there's no hard sell, and you'll find more than enough ways to chill out for hours without getting bored or shelling out more cash.
Best part: The city view from the heated rooftop pools is lovely—especially at night.
Why it's worth it: While there are other water spas or baths where you can relax all day, few offer facilities this large or immaculate at such a bargain price.—Ethan LaCroix
Russian & Turkish Baths: Black Mud Treatment 268 E 10th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-674-9250, russianturkishbaths.com). $48.
The dark mud from Israel's Dead Sea is said to have many (almost miraculous) healing powers: Not only does it exfoliate and draw impurities from the skin, but some say it can cure arthritis, heal muscular ailments and slow down the aging process. I just wanted to feel soft and silky. Inside a private shower stall adjacent to the public bath area, I lay down on a padded plastic table while I was rinsed down and then lightly massaged with an herbal-scented oil. After another rinse, the slick, thick mud was slathered over my body and left to soak for ten minutes while I zoned out under a towel. A final shower washed off the goo, and the whole experience left my skin incredibly moisturized.
Best part: While the treatment isn't touted as a massage-focused service, it does include a killer scalp and face rub that almost made me forget about all of the Russian chitchat in the background.
Why it's worth it: Before and after the 30-minute-long mud service, I hung out in the public bath area (admission $30), which consists of several old-school rooms including an aromatherapy steam room (where I lounged before my treatment in order to open my pores) and a super-refreshing cold pool that I took a dip in afterward.—Laura Lanz-Frolio