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Specialty Spas in NYC

Specialty Spas in NYC

A sampling of spas featuring unique treatments that provide instant tranquility.

All spas are not created equal. While there is a plethora of spas in the city offering typical plain vanilla massages, Manhattan also brims with spas that offer unique treatments, ranging from a Middle Eastern massage ritual to a Hawaiian oil-infused bamboo treatment. 

File 4113Pratima Spa: The Allure of Ayurveda, 110 Greene Street, Suite 701, 212-581-8136

In this SoHo oasis of tranquility, intricate Indian wooden carvings, flickering candles, and eco-friendly materials made me feel refreshed even before I entered the massage room. Founder Dr. Pratima Raichur is a chemist, aesthetician, and Ayurvedic doctor who has provided holistic healing to thousands of men, women, and children for over forty years, specializing in treating difficult skin problems. The spa’s treatments are rooted in the 5,000-year-old art and science of Ayurveda, the belief that we are all created from five fundamental elements—space, air, fire, water, and earth. Our unique composition of these elements composes our “dosha.” One look at the radiant, flawless face of 73-year-old Dr. Raichur should convince you she’s an expert in skin care and healthy lifestyles. 

I selected a half-hour Scalp Treatment ($65), where fragrant Indian oils were gently stroked through my hair and scalp. As the heady scent of sandalwood filled the air, sending me into a deep state of relaxation, I felt tension draining from the top of my head as the therapist gently massaged away the blockages that had been created from my clenched jaws and other facial muscles. With each powerful yet soft stroke, I seemed to melt into the massage table. After massaging my scalp, the therapist performed a brief back and shoulder massage and a mini-facial. When I stood up after several minutes of soothing relaxation, I realized that the massage had released a great deal of my tension and I ambled to the dressing room like a drunken sailor. Of course this is just one of the many treatments you may receive at the spa and, if you mention, you may receive a 10 percent discount.

File 4119Great Jones Spa:Water World, 29 Great Jones Street, 212-505-3185

I began by relaxing in the three-story high Water Lounge that features a cascading waterfall, expansive thermal hot tub, and cold plunge pool, free for guests receiving treatments over $100. After this I experienced the Aromatic Hot Towel Infusion ($140/60 minutes, $200/90 minutes), where I selected a soothing scent that pervaded the perfectly heated, wet towels enveloping my body, enabling my therapist to more easily massage away my tension. Short on cash but long on stress? For $50 you can spend three hours on weekdays in the lounge, soaking in the facilities and munching on complimentary snacks with a side of herbal tea.

File 4125The Spa at Trump SoHo: Unwinding at the Hammam, 246 Spring Street, 212-842-5505.

This elegant two-story spa welcomed me with a dark-toned, latticed door, and majestic marble fountain. Exotic fabrics from the Middle East and North Africa enhanced the upscale ambience. As I walked into the spa, I entered two authentic hammams—steamy domed rooms adorned with gleaming mosaics—where I was pampered with traditional Middle Eastern and Turkish bathing rituals. While I relaxed on a heated slab of marble an attendant cleansed and rinsed my body by pouring water from a shining silver pan and exfoliating my dead skin with a mildly abrasive mitt. I was then treated to a gentle cascade of soft bubbles created from exotic oils. The process was repeated until I forgot all my daily troubles and my skin glowed ($150 /45 minutes; $190 /60 minutes).

Linda Tagliaferro has been a freelance writer for 21 years and an artist all her life. She freelanced for The New York Times for 9 years, and is the author of 9 books for adults and 30+ nonfiction books for children. She’s also a contributing author of four travel books published by National Geographic.