Mon Jan 25 2010
Body by Brooklyn
Body by Brooklyn: Platza
275 Park Ave at Washington Ave, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (718-923-9400, bodybybrooklyn.com). 15mins, $44; mention TONY to waive the additional $44 entrance fee. As I lay facedown in a 205-degree Russian river-rock sauna, platza master Ben placed a wet towel over my head to help me breathe and proceeded to tickle and thwack me with two wide, flat oak-leaf brooms. Eight minutes later, we were done (he took it easy on a first-timer), and I was told to sit with my feet in a plunge pool, close my eyes and wait for further instructions. Those never came, but what did was a large bucket of ice water that Ben dumped on me. As I reclined in a chair in my gown, he wrapped my head and feet and told me to take a nap. The whole procedure sounds sadistic, but it was truly invigorating.
Best part: “Do you smoke weed?” Ben asked, “because your body will feel high after this.” Duuuude, I did feel buzzed.—JS
Haven: Baby’s Bottom treatment
150 Mercer St between W Houston and Prince Sts (212-343-3515, havensoho.com). 30mins, $50. Popular with frequent waxers, the Baby’s Bottom treatment aims to remove breakouts and bumps for a blemish-free butt. We started with an ass-cheek exfoliation, acid wash and steaming to prep for the main event: extraction. The process ends with a high-frequency electrical device to soothe broken skin, and a calming cream. In 30 minutes (or however long it takes to get your rear in shape—aesthetician Mariola will extend the session till she’s good and done), my buttocks felt better than ever.
Best part: The acid wash burns a bit and the electrical device tickles—your ass gets everything but a deep-tissue massage.—Adam Fulrath
Home Spa: Retexturizing hand treatment
300 Court St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-596-8668, homespa.com). 30mins, $45. Behind a shabby black facade I discovered this unexpectedly cozy spa, a little-known stalwart for 13 years. Bookcases bulged with New Agey and anatomy texts, and the faint smell of patchouli hung in the air. Once I was settled on her table, my therapist applied a series of lotions and exfoliants, working from my fingers and palms up toward my elbows, even rubbing her sweet-smelling elixirs into my shoulders.
Best part: As soon as my paws and arms were balmy, she slipped them into plastic baggies to speed up absorption, wrapped them in warm towels and dragged a stool to my head for a gentle neck massage.—Jordana Rothman
Ohm Spa: Ultimate SpaRitual manicure
260 Fifth Ave between 28th and 29th Sts, seventh floor (212-481-7892, ohmspa.com). 50mins, $45. I nearly nodded off during this eco-friendly nail treatment, as the manicurist applied acupressure to my hands and arms, then slathered them with all-natural vegan scrubs, oils, creams and hot paraffin. The intoxicating almond, Chinese jasmine and French lavender scents in the nontoxic goods made the multiple massages and wraps doubly soothing. Despite the fact that the polish used was formaldehyde- and chemical-free, my nails never looked better.
Best part: The therapist wrapped each of my arms in plastic and bound them with a hot towel—who knew I’d leave with healthy nails and thinner limbs?—Donna M. Airoldi
Wink Eco Beauty Bar: Bikini facial
602 Vanderbilt Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-3443, winkbeautybar.com). 30mins, $40. I pulled my pants and undies off and lay down with my legs crossed Indian-style, exposing my entire, uh, lady blossom. The chatty “facialist” wiped the area clean with witch hazel before examining every curve and fold with a bright light and an enormous magnifying glass. Then she opened the pores with a hot towel and scrubbed me with a gentle exfoliant. Because I’m blessed with a pimple-free pussy, she followed that up with a soothing mask. But most clients receive about 20 minutes of extractions and ingrown-hair tweezing, which is said to be as painful as pulling hairs out of your armpit. As absurdly awkward as the ordeal was, the area felt cleaner than ever.
Take note: You risk feeling like an adult having her diaper changed.—L. Coolan
Yelo Spa: Alpha Sphere Intense Session
315 W 57th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (212-245-8235, yelonyc.com). 25mins, $30. Entering the space-bubble room, I was a bit intimidated by the wing-shaped “bed” called the AlphaLounger that supposedly would put me to sleep. After I lay back on the heat-sensored contraption, breathing in the lavender scent that I’d chosen, the vibrations emanating from the device became stronger, and barely audible tones grew louder. My thoughts blurred and I drifted off, awoken 12 minutes later by a virtual sunrise. Initially a bit disoriented, I left feeling surprisingly more refreshed than if I had taken a power nap on my own.
Best part: Yelo’s AlphaLounger is the only one of its kind in the country.—AB
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50 spas for $50 or less
Try some of these luxurious low-cost treatments, whether you're into massages, facials—or beatings with oak leaves.