A visit to a stellar spa hotel is essential, because while the best Broadway shows, best pizza in NYC, best things to do in NYC are covered, Manhattan isn’t exactly known for its zen-like atmosphere. And after a day of exploring the city, what’s better than stepping out of your walking shoes and into slippers and a fluffy robe for a day of pampering? Exactly. Luckily, Gotham is chock-full of spa hotels that will melt—as well as scrub, buff and steam—a hectic Big Apple day right off you.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC
Best spa hotels in NYC
The Cornelia Spa at the Upper East Side’s intimate Surrey Hotel allows its guest the ultimate New York City luxury: total silence. Once inside one of the private “pied-a-tierre”-style rooms, technicians offer customized treatments like the Delicate Skin-Restorative Ritual, a facial for delicate skin, and The Mother’s Journey Massage with a Lymphatic Drainage add-on for new and expecting mothers. Each treatment ends with an amuse-bouche tasting of cupcakes and other treats, plus flowers from the Cornelia’s in-house Bouquet Bar.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) guides the holistic all-body treatments at this luxe Columbus Circle hotel. East Asian-inspired treatments include body massages with custom-blended essential oils as well as “Time Rituals,” which tailor experiences according to a body’s specific craving (yowza!). The Spa also offers a nearly 3-hour Thai Yoga Experience, that includes a foot massage, full body stretching, and an herbal bath.
This iconic New York institution offers the city’s only Caudalie Vinothérapie signature spa, pampering guests with the French cosmetic line’s grapeseed-powered, free radical-fighting polyphenol products. In addition to body scrubs like the Crushed Cabernet and Merlot Friction—both of which finish with a refreshing Vichy shower—Caudalie also developed a Fresh Grape Manicure and Fresh Grape Pedicure exclusively for the hotel. Oh-la-la!
The Greenwich Hotel’s subterranean Shibui Spa is a cozy, cavernous escape from the nearby Financial District. Mimicking the warm, low-lit style of the lobby, the space has all bells and whistles but still manages to not be ostentatiousness. Stand-out treatments include the Healing Birch massage that utilizes birch, shea, peppermint, and helichrysum oils to reduce inflammation and dry skin; the oil-free Traditional Japanese Shiatsu, performed on a traditional tatami floor to stimulate energy flow. End your decadent day with a dip in the heated swimming pool.
Feeling relaxed in bustling Midtown? It can be done. In fact, The Benjamin’s entire mission is to actually improve sleep with its Rest & Renew program. Developed by a sleep medicine expert, it offers a pillow menu, sleep masks, blackout curtains, noise machines, and custom spa treatments to help induce Z’s. Guests can also receive treatments like an hour-long Swedish massage as well as Jet Lag Rejuvenation.
In the past decade, Bliss has cemented itself as one of the premier, design-specific venues for wellness. Bliss 49 at the W’s Lexington Avenue location spans over two floors (22,000 square feet!) with a massive selection of signature treatments ranging from the dark-spot diminishing Transluminous Facial to the acne-scar erasing Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial. And of course, the entire range of culty products are available for guests to maintain their Bliss-ful glow long after the vacation ends.
To say The Waldorf’s 19th floor Spa—with jaw-dropping views of Midtown—goes the extra mile is an understatement. Aside from being one of the few spots in the country stocked with Guerlain products and Guerlain-trained therapists, the hotel ensures you leave feeling and looking great by keeping makeup technicians on-hand for post-treatment touchups. Talk about a full-fledge facial!
Unlike most NYC spas, Exhale puts just as much emphasis on high-quality fitness classes as it does on splurge-worthy treatments. In other words, get ready to sweat before sinking into that much-deserves massage or facial. Exhale offers barre, cycling, yoga, and holistic wellness packages; even its spa treatments are fitness-inspired, including the “facial bootcamp” that promises to whip that skin into shape.
Weary travelers can soak up lavish luxury at this hotel’s 7,000 square foot spa and fitness center. With customizable reflexology and Swedish massages, the Lotte caters to those checking-in for a quick spa treatment and day-long pampering sessions. Visiting during the colder months? The Winter Specials specialize in treating chapped hands and feet.