New Yorkers are constantly on the go, and it's no shock that stress in our lives can throw a major roadblock on our quest to find peaceful places to relax. But ask yourself this: When was the last time you actually took a spa day? Sure, you can rely on Spa Week for discounted treatments twice a year, but you deserve to treat yourself at a day spa all the time! The best spas in New York can be downright expensive, which is why we scoured Gotham for affordable facials and massages, so you can get your mug and back in check. And while trying something cheap and under the radar can sometimes be sketchy, trust us—these treatments are worth every cent.
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If a traditional, straight–forward mudpack is what you seek, you can’t go wrong at this West Village spot. The cozy all-purpose spa is not only easy on the wallet, but on your time (Eve takes walk-ins). When you go, book the 30-minute Escape treatment, which will revive and nourish your skin with two phases of exfoliation, a custom mask from the spa’s product line and a facial massage followed by moisturizer and sunscreen for $55. Sign us up, please!
It’s tough to keep a fresh face when it’s hot as hell, but it burns more to drop almost $200 on a skin-care service. That’s why Heyday—the minimalist one-month-old facial bar—offers a deal that fits into your schedule and budget (minus the annoying wind chimes). Consider this NoMad spot an anti-spa. There’s no real menu, just two options—a 30-minute ($60) or 50-minute ($95) treatment—that are bookable online or via app. The skin-care therapists will customize the session to your needs (like getting rid of pesky dry spots or pimples). Better yet, this place opens early and closes late on weekdays (Mon–Fri 7am–10pm), so you can pop in before or after work rather than sacrifice your weekend of beaching and boozing.
Like the products, the facials here are ahh-mazing (highlights include the apothecary and warm oil masks). And while the spa’s typical prices can be a stretch (most range from $160 to $180), Kiehl’s is making it easier to put your best face forward. Spa 1851 recently launched an Express Remedy menu including two 30-minute facial options—one brightening, another hydrating—that for go $75, so you can get a quick radiance boost on your lunch break with time to spare. This spot is great for dudes, but we also recommend trying the Re-Energizing Facial Masque ($15) at Kiehl’s Barbershop on Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen.
Note: This spa is not super-luxurious, but for doting and soothing salves, booking a mini facial treatment (40mins, $35) is totally worth it. The aesthetician will usher you into a small room with an unexpectedly comfortable bed and proceed to mollycoddle you with cleansers, creams, toners and moisturizers that will soothe your mug. You can opt for extraction and a combo facial-shoulder massage (both will cost you $55) followed by a 15-minute mask.
The mini facials (30mins, $60) are European-style at this quaint spa, meaning they consist mostly of massages in order to create a glowing complexion. The specialist will use several firming scrubs, working them into every pore. But once the lavender mud mask hits your skin, you’ll drift off for ten minutes, then wake up (without any red blotches or puffiness) and be ready to hit the bar.
Trusting someone with your face takes guts, especially if you have sensitive skin and breakouts. You want to make sure you end up pink (not beet red!) after a good scrubbing. Cue licensed aesthetician Nami Murata at True Beauty. The Williamsburg beauty shop debuted a 30-minute acne-zapping facial ($30) this year, during which Murata deep-cleans, exfoliates and massages your skin, following it up with a kelp mineral mask and scalp massage. Bonus: All the ingredients (like raw honey, rosewater, brown sugar and argan oil) are completely organic.
Inspired by the Israeli beauty industry and its heavy reliance on products containing ingredients from the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv native Dorit Baxter opened her eponymous New York spa in 1980, and while the massages are not the cheapest, you will get your money’s worth. Book a basic Swedish massage (60mins, $89), consisting of long, relaxing strokes to increase blood circulation and body energy.
Struggling with kinks and knots? This joint will knead them till they’re gone, guaranteed. After discussing your target areas with the therapist, sink into a heated bed for a basic Swedish massage. The therapist will massage your oiled back with constant pressure, then move on to a brief foot, neck and head rub (30mins, $55).
If you’re looking for a really great deep-tissue massage, then this is the place for you. Best of all, the service costs $41 per hour, which may be the best deal in town. During the rubdown, clients are treated to a private room (with a door), and by hour’s end your tense muscles will be raising the white flag.
This Williamsburg spa is basically a yoga studio, but also offers excellent massage services for prices that won't necessarily ruin your bank account. A one-hour Swedish massage runs for $80, deep-tissue massages clock in at $90 for an hour and hot stone massages run another $10. Plus, the spa frequently runs Groupon deals, and offers bulk massage packages to keep prices down, though the therapists' hands alone will keep you coming back for more.
The therapists at this spa offer soothing rather than intense massages, so don’t expect deep-down digging. But for $65, your masseuse will definitely untangle a few knots and de-kink your neck, shoulders and back, rocking your spine out of its stiffness. In a half hour, your muscles will feel totally relaxed and reenergized.
Walk into this small but uncluttered spa, where your therapist will lead you to a relaxation room complete with Celtic-sounding music and incense. The therapist will give your bod a traditional rubdown using unscented oil on your back and legs, while working efficiently to de-kink your troubled areas. For $45, you can totally justify spending a small chunk of change for 30 minutes of peace.