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Photograph: Prue Hyman

Spas for any situation

The best spas for a girls' day out, romantic getaway, all-day escape and more.


RECOMMENDED: Find more spas in NYC

John Allan's: Signature Full Service

Think of this bundle as a tune-up for your entire head: It comprises a scalp-massaging shampoo, conditioning treatment, hot towel, haircut, manicure and shoe shine. While I sipped a brewed iced tea (other offerings range from espresso to beer), I was escorted from station to station within the midtown outpost. The whole shebang took only 45 minutes, but I never felt rushed: I had the option to hang out all day at the bar and play a few games of pool in the lounge. Instead, I treated myself to an intense deep-tissue massage (60mins, $105).
Best part: If you're in a rush to go somewhere, you can multitask by getting the haircut and manicure at the same time.
Why it's worth it: A single visit isn't much costlier than a salon appointment, but each club also offers an annual membership (one location $750, all four locations $850), so you can go as often as you choose.
Visit for details. Regularly $68.
TONY deal First-time clients who mention TONY when booking receive this treatment for $38 through Dec 31.—Adam Fulrath

The One Men's Spa: 30-minute full-body scrub treatment and 60-minute massage

A small, communal changing area marked employees only and a towel instead of a bathrobe, made for an inauspicious start to this luxurious doubleheader. But once ensconced in the candlelit treatment room with a glass of perfectly serviceable red wine,  I quickly forgot these minor affronts. My masseuse, Leo L., worked a honey-and-herb scrub firmly over my body, yielding surprisingly effective results. The litmus test? The rough skin on my feet disappeared for weeks. Once Leo had washed my hair and hosed and toweled me down, I was led down the hall to a VIP room (with Jacuzzi, walk-in shower and banquette) for the massage. His combination of Swedish and shiatsu, plus a smattering of Thai, put me in such a mind-bendingly relaxed frame of mind that I mistook a siren from the street for a bird call.
Best part: To ease into the treatment, I began with a soak in a tub containing milk extract (to soften my skin) and rose petals (because that shit just looks nice).
Why it's worth it: There's a steam room to hang in with your bud. It's normally reserved for VIPs and regulars, but if you book an hour-long scrub or massage, they'll accommodate you, too.
TONY deal Mention TONY when booking any full-body scrub or massage for 10 percent off that treatment through Dec 31.—Jonathan Shannon

Wellness Men's Day Spa: Wellness Luxury Plus package (men's facial restoration and 60-minute massage)
  • Health and beauty
  • Flatiron
  • price 4 of 4

The first thing that struck me upon entering this five-year-old spa was the soothing, slightly musky aroma emanating from scent machines. I was led past a row of leather seats with foot baths (a perfect spot to shoot the breeze with your buddies while having a foot treatment; $35–$58) to a massage room for a divine rubdown. Then I was taken to see facial specialist, Rafael Lopez, in a treatment room reminiscent of a dentist's office. The similarities didn't end there: Inquiries about my nonexistent skin-care regimen left me with the same sheepish feeling I normally get after my teeth are examined. After the application of numerous Kon Ya and EltaMD products (including a French micropeel that exfoliates like the American version, but also rehydrates and rejuvenates), a series of light massages and a misting with water, the extractions began. Using a needle, Rafael worked at five spots and blemishes on my face. I had to grit my teeth throughout (this is a man's facial, after all—no squealing allowed!), but the spot on my forehead had disappeared by the next day. No pain, no gain, right?
Best part: My masseur, Lee Chen, had intuition that bordered on the psychic: By using the Swedish technique of kneading and rubbing, I didn't experience my usual massage-table discomfort.
Why it's worth it: If you're serious about your skin, the no-holds-barred facial is for you.
212-366-9080, $204.—Jonathan Shannon

Truman's Gentlemen's Groomers: Signature Facial
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Midtown East
  • price 2 of 4

This sunny salon and spa doesn't have leather recliners or any other Mad Men–evoking trappings found in some pamper palaces aimed at men, but it does have complimentary booze—perfect for easing the jitters of guys not used to beautifying. My facial was scheduled before noon, so I skipped the hooch, but after a few minutes of extractions at the hands of a very sweet (but surprisingly strong) woman named Estella Eckardt, I wished I'd taken a big gulp from the bottle of Dewar's in the reception area. "You may hate me now," she said, as tears rolled down my cheeks. "But you'll thank me tonight or tomorrow."
Best part: A delicious-smelling wine-derived mask and a soothing shoulder-and-neck massage almost justified the pain that preceded them.
Why it's worth it: Estella was right: My skin is brighter, clearer and smoother than it's been in years—and the effect lasted for more than a week.
212-759-5015, $140. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking for a complimentary manicure with any spa service through Feb 29.—Ethan LaCroix

Haven Spa: Haven Hand Renaissance manicure and Haven Foot Renaissance pedicure

Each Renaissance treatment takes about an hour, and Haven will give you and up to three mates access to the intimate lounge, where you can sip booze (there's a BYOB policy) while picking out your polish colors. At the pedicure station, chill out with Wi-Fi-enabled iPads loaded with tons of games—one device is provided at each chair—then settle into the comfy manicure bench (a great spot for gabbing).
Best part: My technician, Mariana Mejia, described the treatments as a "facial for your hands and feet," and she meant it. Wearing the heated mitts and booties for 15 minutes sent waves of comfort through my body, and I could feel my skin soaking up the moisture.
Why it's worth it: My nails stayed flawless for a week, and the extra hydrating massage repaired the chapped skin on my hands.
212-343-3515, Hands $35, feet $70. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking this pair of treatments with a friend to receive two gift cards for a classic European manicure ($19 value per person) through Feb 21.—Jayme Klock

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

Busy girlfriends whose schedules only seem to align at odd hours can meet up whenever they please at this 24/7 Korean spa. After spending time in the cavernous jade-rock sauna, soaking in tubs infused with lemons (for detoxification) and warm ginseng (for healing), plus a brief stint in the 115-degree steam room, it was time for my invigorating 40-minute scrub. Using ginseng and other Korean herbs, therapist Heidi Park used exfoliating gloves to diligently scrub off piles of dry, dead skin from every inch of my body while intermittently dousing me with warm water. A soapy lather and quick shampoo left me squeaky clean for my tension-reducing, half-hour massage with Lisa Kim. Once my knots were kneaded into submission, Kim placed cool, refreshing cucumber slices on my eyes.
Best part: Any one-hour treatment grants free rein over the extensive facilities, which include a baked-clay dry sauna with a tatami-mat floor, where I rested postmassage.
Why it's worth it: Ladies-only hours are from 7am to 5pm daily, making it an ideal way to unwind on the weekend with your amigas.
646-733-1330, $115, with 30min massage $165.—Melody Serafino

Cowshed at the Soho House New York: Pretty Party
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Chelsea
  • price 3 of 4

If you're looking for a ticket into New York's chic and elite members-only Soho House, here's a cheat: Book a day-long Pretty Party at the venue's in-house spa. For the flat fee, you and your group of six to 12 guests get private access to the spa. Decompress in the eucalyptus-scented steam room, or veg out in a fluffy bathrobe in the posh relaxation area. You set the vibe: Bring your own music, book a group yoga session or a fortune-teller (for extra fees), or just spend the day relaxing like royalty. To top it off, everyone leaves with goodie bags filled with coveted Cowshed products.
Best part: For the Pretty Party, guests can choose between two 30-minute "speedy" treatments (massage, facial, manicure or pedicure) or a one-hour facial or massage. My aesthetician, Elena Capo, promised that my skin would look radiant for a night out, and though I dozed off during the massage and mask, I could see a supple, youthful glow once I woke up.
Why it's worth it: Once you're finished, you'll be escorted to the energetic sixth-floor dining room for a three-course seasonal meal at one of the family-style tables or in one of the more intimate dining areas throughout the floor. Either way, you're likely to rub elbows with celebs at the bar—or at least feel like one yourself.
646-253-6111, Each person $295 (includes one hour of treatment, plus champagne, appetizers and three-course meal).Jayme Klock

BeSu Salon and Day Spa: Divas Spa Day
  • Health and beauty
  • Hair salons
  • Gramercy
  • price 2 of 4

After offering an array of complimentary beverages (champagne, wine and tea), skin-care specialist and masseuse Alla Bor began my comprehensive beauty treatment with a relaxing 30-minute lemongrass-oil massage. Once my back and shoulders were loose, Bor quickly assessed my skin type ("beautiful, but very dry"), then got to work exfoliating, deep-cleansing and eliminating blackheads during a 45-minute facial. To top it off, she applied a thick seaweed face mask followed by a nutrient-rich moisturizer that left me feeling trim and rejuvenated. It was then on to get my locks shampooed and styled by hair guru Holly Cheema, who used Krastase and Moroccanoil products to give my newly wavy hair added texture and extra hold—perfect for a girls' night out.
Best part: A former nurse in Russia and trained aesthetician, Bor personalized the treatments by meticulously walking me through each step to explain what products make sense for my skin while highlighting the health benefits.
Why it's worth it: Though the spa has regular business hours (Mon–Sat 9am–8pm; Sun 11am–6pm), the staff is flexible and willing to work with patrons whose busy schedules may require visits outside normal hours.
212-420-6565, Regularly $160. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking for 15 percent off any service through Feb 29.Melody Serafino

  • Health and beauty
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

In a lavender-oil-infused couples room, massage therapist Giselda Anyz expertly combined two of the spa's signature massage styles—the customized pressure of the Townhouse Relaxation with the stretch-and-pull method of the Eastern Meridian, which also incorporates pressure points—to leave me feeling as limber as a jellyfish. Another technician, Carol Park, zeroed in on my fianc's stiff right shoulder, determined to rid him of a particularly stubborn knot by using her elbows and Juara candlenut cream.
Best part: Even though the massage lasted a full hour, Anyz encouraged me to prolong my mini getaway by enjoying the steam room and luxurious showers in the women's dressing area.
Why it's worth it: The dimly lit room set a serene tone for our side-by-side rubdowns; we departed refreshed and reconnected after a grueling day.
212-245-8006, Regularly $270. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking for 20 percent off the Duo Package through Feb 29.—Mona Lisa Macalino

O Spa: Couples Retreat

At first, I wasn't sure what to expect from this kitschy venue—I'd never been to a spa with glowing, neon pink hearts on the wall. My doubts diminished once my massage therapist, Lily Yip, began to work her magic. Using Dermalogica products and aromatherapy, she quickly found my tense spots and tended to my sore muscles with swift, sure strokes. Beside me, my fianc was snoring within half an hour of his rubdown commencing.
Best part: Yip massaged every appropriate inch of my body, including spots that many other massage therapists miss. Who knew an ear rub could feel so good?
Why it's worth it: The 35-minute mini facial after the hour-long massage took my relaxation to a Zen level.
718-833-8811, $243. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking to receive 10 percent off all couples packages through Feb 29.—Mona Lisa Macalino

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 3 of 4

Winter in New York can leave me with chapped skin, unhealthy hair and a tightness in my limbs that I just can't shake. This traditional Korean technique includes a full-body scrub, massage and even shampooing. My boyfriend and I lay next to each other while massage therapists Sara and Michelle treated us with textured gloves and natural, vitamin-rich apple wraps, lavender lotions and milk rinses. (Make sure to request the couples' treatment when you make your appointment.)
Best part: Both of us walked away with our skin the smoothest it's ever felt.
Why it's worth it: We were pampered from the minute we walked in to the minute we left: Five different flavors of infused drinking waters were offered, along with cushy robes and slippers. We were even allowed to choose what kind of music played during our session (we opted for jazz).
212-255-6457, $215. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking a 90-minute, weekday appointment for a complimentary 30-minute hand rejuvenation (normally $50) or foot rejuvenation (normally $60) per person through Mar 31.—Jolie Ruben

Water Lily Spa: Couples Special

Both my boyfriend and I have jobs that require us to lug around heavy equipment, and our bodies pay the price. Cotton towels are the norm here (though they'll break out robes and slippers, if requested), but 90 minutes of classic Swedish massage and foot reflexology made up for the bare-bones environment and lack of amenities. Our therapists' balance of aggressive knot-busting and gentle kneading managed to repair much of the damage to our beat-up muscles.
Best part: As relaxed as we felt during the session, the total calm we felt when we left the spa was even more rewarding.
Why it's worth it: If your S.O. isn't naturally the spa-going type, but you both need some TLC and downtime, you can drop less than $200, treat yourselves to some good old-fashioned rubbing, and your guy won't have to learn what a brown-sugar slimming body mask entails.
212-343-7942, Body massage and facial or foot reflexology for two $188.Jolie Ruben

The Peninsula Spa: Deep Tissue Experience

Massage therapist Carly Clark began my 120-minute reprieve from chaos with a ginger-and-sea-salt foot buff, followed by a quick sensory test (comparing various scents on cotton pads and my own skin) to determine which aromatic lotions and oils would suit my needs. From there, she transitioned seamlessly through four treatments: a circulation-stimulating dry brush that used cactus bristles to slough off dead skin; an exfoliating body polish, which refined my epidermis with apricot kernels, aloe vera and spearmint; a balancing facial cleanse and red-clay scalp mask; and a tension-obliterating full-body massage combining body joint-mobilization techniques with the deep-tissue modality.
Best part: Booking a treatment that lasted for at least two hours granted me access to the rooftop pool and fitness center, which encompasses a full weight room, machines and a group-class studio. (The locker rooms are even stocked with tees, shorts and socks to borrow, in addition to plush robes and slippers.)
Why it's worth it: Everything at this serene retreat—from the eucalyptus-infused steam in the thermal suite to the plush, adjustable relaxation-room beds—invites you to shut off your brain and luxuriate.
212-956-2888, Regularly $550. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking this treatment on a weekday (Mon–Fri) for 25 percent off through Feb 10.—Sarah Bruning

Setai Wall Street: Signature massage

You may find yourself avoiding the Financial District unless you live or work there, but the one-hour signature massage at this sleek spa is worth braving the crush of commuters for a midweek appointment. Spa treatment manager Manny Ramirez spoke with me about my problem areas and inquired about any injuries. He confidently worked the tension out of my body, often quietly checking in about the pressure, the temperature of the table and my comfort level.
Best part: I thought my lower back was the real trouble, but Ramirez took account of my sore leg muscles, burned out from running, and smoothed the tension away with a series of rhythmic techniques.
Why it's worth it: Depending on your time constraints, the signature massage can be booked for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, and warm-stone ($55) or aromatherapy treatments ($25) can be added on based on your needs. You're welcome to hang in the tea suite after your treatment for as long as you'd like (herbal drinks, truffles and a selection of pretty art books await), and patrons are also free to access the Aqua Grotto, featuring eucalyptus-infused steam, a Jacuzzi and sauna.
212-792-6193, Regularly $185. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking or at appointment for 10 percent off any treatment through Feb 8.—Sharon Steel

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 4 of 4

Tucked inside the Plaza Hotel, this wine-and-grape-obsessed spa's new "beauty under an hour" treatments are far from rushed. You can choose from a selection of four options that feature combinations of wraps, facials, manicures and bikini-waxing. I opted for the Vine Reset, which stars a detoxifying clay wrap infused with lemongrass. While the wrap set, I lay on a toasty warm table as my technician massaged my scalp.
Best part: After she showered off the clay, my arms, back, legs and stomach received a layer of revitalizing Caudalie lotion (saturated with the antioxidant benefits the brand is known for). My skin felt nourished and stayed smooth and bright for days afterward.
Why it's worth it: Any treatment here defines splurge, and each of them are carefully and professionally executed with exquisite, high-quality products.
212-265-3182, $230. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking or at appointment for 10 percent off any treatment through Feb 25.—Sharon Steel

The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, New York: Nature's Radiant facial
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Upper West Side
  • price 4 of 4

The jovial receptionist greeted me with a petite cup of the spa's signature mountain berry tea and a warm washcloth laced with the spa's earthy signature Quintessence fragrance (ginger, mandarin, frankincense and juniper), which helped me settle in after a taxing day. My facialist, Patricia Walsh, cleansed and lightly massaged my mug before carefully inspecting it for blemishes, blackheads and other signs of distress. Since I had "remarkably clear skin," she focused on hydrating the parched areas and toning the rest with organic Amala products: First came a gentle exfoliating skin polish, then an ultrasonic exfoliation (like a traditional crystal-based microdermabrasion but without visible signs of irritation), a firming microcurrent-based ocular treatment (the equivalent of a nonsurgical eye lift) and a moisturizing mask. When my time concluded, I emerged radiant and refreshed.
Best part: Before my appointment, I had just enough time to kick back in the heat-experience lounge, which boasts an amethyst-crystal steam room, rainforest shower and oxygen vitality pool.
Why it's worth it: Throughout my facial, Walsh expertly wielded the spa's CACI machine, a new high-tech device that serves a multitude of functions. In this instance, it retrained my beleaguered eye muscles and allowed the hydrating serum to purportedly saturate 4,000 times more deeply than if the aesthetician used her hands alone.
212-805-8880, 50 minutes: Mon–Fri $225; Sat, Sun $235. 80 minutes: Mon–Fri $340; Sat, Sun $355. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking or at appointment for 10 percent off any treatment through Feb 25.—Sarah Bruning

Body by Brooklyn
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Clinton Hill
  • price 4 of 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, 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

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Queens
  • price 3 of 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, Daily 6am–midnight. All-day admission Mon–Fri $35; Sat, Sun $45.—Sophie Harris

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

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, Pedicure $35, manicure $20, Swedish massage with hot-stone therapy $90.—Elyssa Goodman

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, 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

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