Life in the big city can really wear you out: the interminable daily subway commutes, the hustle at work (and at play), the sheer volume of people who seem determined to somehow make your day even more annoying. New Yorkers, perhaps more than anybody else, need a break every once in a while: a chance to relax, preferably with a massage, a refreshing facial or a manicure at one of these spas. And there’s no need to wait for Spa Week NYC—just pick an excellent day spa (many with affordable spa treatments) that offers just what you need when you want to get away from it all for a day or even just an afternoon.
RECOMMENDED: Check out the full guide to spas in NYC
Find a day spa in New York
The city’s most luxurious spa, located in the opulent Mandarin Oriental, is no bargain—treatments start at $225 and only climb from there—but the hefty price tags come with a level of opulence that’s hard to find anywhere else in the city. Between dips in the oxygenated vitality pool and schvitzes in the steam room lit by an amethyst crystal, surrender to intensive, hours-long massages, aromatherapy and exfoliation treatments that are drawn from far-flung philosophies such as ayurveda and shiatsu.
This Flatiron oasis certainly inspires the calm brought on by uttering its namesake Sanskrit chant, with its plush micro-suede couches, soft lighting and gently tinkling wind chimes. While it offers a standard array of spa services, Ohm’s focus is on gentle but effective skin care treatments using holistic brands such as Shea Terra and Antipodes. Try the signature calming facial ($155), which soothes skin with wild honey, Argan oil and rose water.
No NYC neighborhood inspires existential dread quite like Times Square, but instead of cursing out a stranger or an Elmo, you can always head to Metamorphosis to magically transform, as the name implies, into an enlightened and sane New Yorker. The spa’s 25-minute treatments cater to hectic schedules while still managing to relax and purify: Choose from a deep tissue ($70), Swedish ($60) or aromatherapy massage ($75), or opt for squeaky-clean pores with deals like mini-facials for $50.
The de-stressing process begins just moments after entering this posh Park Avenue space, when you’re issued a fluffy robe and a pair of flip-flops and sent to the Relaxation Room to await your treatment. Outfitted with comfy couches and stocked with tea, lemon water and dried fruit and nuts, the space is a welcome transition to your chosen massage, facial or body treatment. Can’t decide which service you want? Choose one of Oasis’ mix-and-match treatments, which roll three services into one: Its signature package consists of 60 minutes of muscle-melting Swedish massage, 30 minutes of skin-tingling body scrubbing and an hour-long signature facial ($295).
Located inside Tribeca’s posh Greenwich Hotel, Shibui is decked out with all the amenities you’d expect of a five-star hotel: a heated swimming pool, a Japanese soaking tub and changing areas outfitted with steam and rain showers. Japanese influence shows up in the decor (blond wood, bamboo, paper lanterns) as well as the services: shiatsu ($200–$280) and hot sake massages ($220–$300), cherry blossom soaks ($95). What to wear as you luxuriate? A traditional yukata robe, of course.
No need to trek to Queens for the Korean baths or to Bay Ridge for the Turkish ones to get your soak on: Since 2012, Manhattanites have strolled to the luxurious Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca. Head there to soak in temperate (97ºF), hot (102ºF) and cold (61ºF) pools, plus visit the steam room, hot tub and salt-heavy Flotarium—all for a reasonable $77 ($87 on weekends). Afterward, rest on heated marble in the relaxation room while you sip tea.
Brooklynites don’t want for anything these days—not even a luxurious day spa. Located in Greenpoint, this small spa offers a full-size menu of indulgent services: facials, body scrubs, massages and reflexology, all at comparatively gentle prices. Try a detoxing facial for $45, a warm Dead Sea mud body wrap for $80, or an 80-minute hot stone massage for just $80.