New York spas: where to go on the Upper West Side

Which New York spas are best for denizens of the UWS? We toured the 'hood to find four of the best treatments above 59th Street.

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Upper West Side residents will find these New York spas both down-to-earth and totally luxurious. Take the opportunity to relax after visiting museums, or add it to the list of things to do on weekends in the city.

RECOMMENDED: New York spas guide 2013

  • Photograph: Francis Dzikowski

    New York spas: where to go on the Upper West Side

    Robert Stuart Salon

  • New York spas: where to go on the Upper West Side

    Polished Beauty Bar

  • New York spas: where to go on the Upper West Side

    Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa

  • New York spas: where to go on the Upper West Side

    Bluemercury

Photograph: Francis Dzikowski

New York spas: where to go on the Upper West Side

Robert Stuart Salon

Robert Stuart Salon: Linkage Meu deep-conditioning treatment

  • Price band: 2/4

Although Robert Stuart’s eponymous salon has been around for 30 years, that doesn’t mean it’s out of touch. The neighborhood institution moved from its original Amsterdam Avenue location to a larger, industrial-chic space in 2011 and is constantly updating its offerings. To wit, it recently added Japanese hair-care brand Milbon’s new ultra-moisturizing treatment, which takes place entirely at one of the four washing stations. After analyzing my hair to determine which formula (fine, normal or coarse) would work best, a stylist lathered my locks with Neu Due shampoo and began the 15-minute, three-step process. First, she worked a orange-and-grapefruit-scented amino oil through wet strands to create an even surface for the next round: a lemon-lime–scented moisture veil. A final rose-and-jasmine collagen top-coat was massaged in, followed by a thorough rinse in cold water to seal off cuticles. I immediately noticed that my tresses were softer, shinier and easier to style after receiving a blowout ($50–$65, depending on stylist). Everyone leaves with four ampoules of at-home treatment to prolong the silky-smooth results for up to five weeks. Regularly $50. Mention TONY to receive 20 percent off this service and 10 percent off a blowdry or haircut through FEb 28.

  1. 461 Columbus Ave , (at 82nd St )
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Polished Beauty Bar: PBB Signature manicure and PBB Signature pedicure

  • Price band: 1/4

Bargain mani-pedis are a dime a dozen on the Upper West Side, but the clean, sophisticated environment at this eco-friendly spot makes it worth the slight splurge. Sisters Micki and Susan Nam opened their glam salon in 2006 with an emphasis on green practices: The air is filtered to minimize exposure to noxious fumes; soy nail-polish remover and Pharmacopia all-natural citrus- and lavender-scented products are used during nail services; and Zoya’s chemical-free polish line dominates the selection (though Essie, CND and OPI Shatter lacquers are also available). My pedicure took place in one of the six leather massage chairs and included an exfoliating leg scrub (made in-house with brown sugar, aloe vera and lotion) and callus removal using a soapy paddle grater. Next, I moved to the seven-seat communal table for a manicure, where I had a direct view of the classic films (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, To Catch a Thief) playing on the wall-mounted flatscreen. My pampering session concluded with a brief neck massage at the dryers. Bargain hunters, take note: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, manicures are complimentary with a pedicure purchase. Manicure regularly $12, pedicure regularly $30. Mention TONY to receive 25 percent off a standard manicure and pedicure through Jan 31 (not to be used with other promotions or gift certificates).

  1. 250 W 78th St, (between Broadway and West End Ave), 10024
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Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa: Warm Cocoa & Oatmeal wrap

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be in a chocolate-wrestling contest, this messy, hour-long body treatment will give you a pretty good idea. Developed by head aesthetician Nina Patino, the seasonal service incorporates organic ingredients to make dull winter skin radiant. After I stripped down to nothing but a shower cap and a pair of disposable undies, Patino applied a freshly made scrub—a combination of warm flaxseed oil (moisturizes), cayenne pepper (reduces the appearance of cellulite), organic brown sugar (exfoliates) and fresh lemon juice (brightens skin)—all over my body using quick, vigorous strokes. Once both sides were sufficiently coated, I waddled over to the locker-room shower to rinse off in warm water and bask in the steam room to prep my skin for the wrap. Upon my return, I lay down on a heated sheet of tinfoil as a goopy mix of antioxidant-rich cocoa, anti-inflammatory oatmeal and stimulating cayenne was spread over my body like frosting. Patino then transformed me into a human chocolate bar, wrapping me in the foil and a blanket for 20 minutes. After a final rinse under lukewarm water, my skin was so supple and smooth, I didn’t need to apply lotion for days. 60mins regularly $195. Mention TONY to receive 10 percent off this service through Jan 31.

  1. 160 Columbus Ave, (between 67th and 68th Sts), 10023
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Bluemercury: You Glow Girl facial

  • Price band: 2/4

Designed to showcase cofounder Marla Beck’s M-61 skin-care line of natural products, which launched in May 2012, this relaxing facial lives up to its namesake promise. The service took place in the tiny two-room spa hidden in the back of the high-end beauty boutique and began with a quick cleanse using a gentle vitamin-E foaming face wash. Next, my aesthetician, Natalia Higginbotham, applied the line’s glycolic-acid Power Pro-Peel, which tingled as it dissolved dead skin cells. As this happened, a scentless body cream was massaged into my hands and arms. In lieu of a steam machine, two hot towels were wrapped around my face to open up pores for a round of extractions. I was then left to rest for two minutes as a Fast Blast Vitamin C mask fizzed and foamed on my visage. Hydrating Vitablast C and Hydraboost serums, plus a slick of eye cream and lip balm, provided total dewiness, while Higginbotham stroked an oxygen wand over my skin, adding major plumpness. I emerged boasting a lit-from-within radiance that lasted upwards of a week. 50mins $95. Mention TONY to receive a free M-61 cleanser (worth $26–$35) when you purchase this facial through Feb 6.

  1. 2305 Broadway, (between 83rd and 84th Sts)
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