Spas for any situation
The best spas for a girls' day out, romantic getaway, all-day escape and more.
Mon Jan 23 2012
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Spend a day
- Price band: 4/4
Of the many splendid things about this spot—besides its inviting hot tubs and refreshing cold baths—is that for all its luxurious touches, it's affordable and pretension free. As I walked into the dry lounge, a group of chatty girls ordered drinks at the bar, while a couple of hungover-looking dudes read magazines by the fireplace. The wet lounge has pools galore, a Swedish dry sauna and a Turkish steam room, and you're encouraged to sip a freshly squeezed juice (with a nip in it, if you're feeling saucy) as you soak. The spa also offers massages, body treatments and facials. I opted for a tailor-made shiatsu massage (60mins $120, 90mins $170) from a considerate practitioner named Karen Garzon, while my friend had a facial that left her skin glowing.
Best part: Drink options here are separated into four sections: Hangover Relief, Energize, Weight Loss/Detox, Relaxation. With your beverage (and thus category) choice, you'll get a wet-lounge guide that recommends the order you should visit each area within the facility.
Why it's worth it: Spending a day here is like taking a minivacation, and you'll emerge feeling appropriately de-stressed.
718-923-9400, bodybybrooklyn.com. Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 10am–8pm; Fri, Sat 10am–9pm. All-day admission Mon–Fri $45; Sat, Sun $45, with brunch $55. TONY deal Mention TONY on arrival for 10 percent off admission and treatments through Feb 29.—Sophie Harris
- 275 Park Ave, (at Washington Ave)
- Price band: 3/4
Five years into its existence, this expansive wonderland has taken on near legendary status in NYC, partly for its quirky layout and partly because it attracts a diverse following, with frat boys and families among the patrons. On its first floor are separate nude bathing and showering areas for men and women. To meander through the rest of the complex, you'll don special "uniforms" (pink tees and orange shorts for ladies, grey shirts and blue bottoms for gents). On the second and third floors, you'll find a coed, year-round outdoor water park (bathing suits compulsory) with all manner of heated jets, whirlpools and showers. Inside, there are seven themed saunas; one might have healing minerals in it, while another may feature colored lighting (you select the therapeutic illumination yourself).
Best part: The experience is wholly customizable, and you can be on your own schedule the whole time you're there.
Why it's worth it: You can just pay the entry rate and have a crazy adventure while snacking on dumplings ($10) and corn ($3) from the on-site food court, or you can go for a shiatsu massage (60min $75, 90min $130) and simple scrub (40min $80), followed by a delicious meal in the third-floor Korean restaurant ($12–$20).
718-939-6300, nyspacastle.com. Daily 6am–midnight. All-day admission Mon–Fri $35; Sat, Sun $45.—Sophie Harris
- 131-10 11th Ave, (at 131st St), 11356
Cursed with dancer's feet, my toes never look too pretty. However, for aesthetician Anna Lopinska, they were full of potential. After exfoliating, lotioning and massaging my tootsies, she painted my toes in my chosen color—a Malibu Barbie--like pink. Soon my hands would match, with a manicure that lasted a marathon seven days. Next came a Swedish massage with hot-stone therapy at the strong yet gentle hands of Iwona Zralek. Her warm-oil massage softly released tension in my back, especially when she placed the hot-but-not-too-hot stones on me for extra relaxation. My brain shut off for once, and I floated through the rest of my day.
Best part: Treatments are inexpensive enough that you can choose a few without emptying your wallet.
Why it's worth it: The spa is a hidden, petite getaway, and going there feels like you're in on a delightful little secret. Plus, the staff is sweet without being saccharine.
212-343-9444, redandwhitespa.com. Pedicure $35, manicure $20, Swedish massage with hot-stone therapy $90.—Elyssa Goodman
- 484 Broome St, (at Wooster St)
The Spa at Chelsea Piers
As a person who doesn't relax easily, an aromatherapy massage (nonmembers $110, members $94) with eucalyptus and chamomile oils was a good way to slowly eliminate my stress. Everything about the experience exuded softness and warmth—from the towels I lay on to the oils on my skin and the room's candlelight. My massage therapist, the personable Elinor Guzman, administered a Swedish-style massage; the long strokes down my back helped put my mind at ease. Post-treatment, I relaxed in the spa's communal sitting area, decorated in a calming pale purple. It was then time for my Maritime Algae Wrap (nonmembers $140, members $119), expertly applied by therapist Sasha Beloussova. First I was exfoliated from neck-to-toe, then slathered with a green algae paste. Covered in plastic wrap and a big, warm blanket, I baked for about 10 minutes while receiving a scalp massage with a tangerine essential oil. I rinsed in the same room's shower and was then body-lotioned into further softness.
Best part: If you get hungry, you can nosh on a healthy, reasonably priced snack bar with a stunning view of the Hudson River.
Why it's worth it: A spa treatment grants full access to Chelsea Piers gym and locker room facilities all day, for no extra charge.
212-336-6780, chelseapiers.com/spa. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking any spa service more than $100 to receive two day passes (no expiration date) for the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers through Feb 29.—Elyssa Goodman
- 23rd St at West Side Hwy
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