For spa lovers, a vacation just isn’t a vacation without some regimented relaxation, especially in New York, where the grit and grime can really get under your skin — both literally and figuratively. After staying at about 200 hotels throughout New York City, our reporters have compiled a list of the best hotel spas in the city.
Guided by Asian, European, and Ayurvedic philosophies, the ESPA spa is one of the best spas in North America. Guests receive free access to the aromatherapy steam room, Finnish sauna, and "experience shower" (unlike at the Mandarin Oriental, which charges $50 a day), and are encouraged to arrive an hour before their treatments so they can enjoy organic teas in the comfortable Asian Tea Lounge. The facility also includes a glass-enclosed pool overlooking the city.
Asian-inspired, plant-based treatments, such as the signature Sake Ki massage with ginger-and-black pepper ointment ($280 for 80 minutes); stunning design using woods and stone; and a lantern-lit pool under a 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse roof make Sibui Spa one of the Greenwich Hotel's best assets.
Similar to its other locations in Bordeaux and Spain, the 8,000-square-foot Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at the Plaza focuses on all-natural, grape-based treatments. (The wine theme comes naturally for the French founders, who own the Bordeaux vineyards of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.) Crushed Cabernet scrubs can be followed up with a glass of wine.
Sense Spa just opened this newly renovated facility in October 2008. It has a sparkly, mosaic-tiled staircase that leads guests to its beautiful treatment rooms below, where Sisley products enhance the wide range of spa treatments. The prices aren't likely to enhance your serenity -- they start at $280. Given about 24 hours' notice, though, the spa can arrange treatments at almost any time of day for guests. If you arrive at 6:45 a.m. and need 90 minutes of Sento Vital Flow to refresh, they'll make it work.
This gorgeous spa, with Asian accents and fresh orchids throughout, offers a full range of treatments, from manicures to massages. A 50-minute massage runs over $200, and most treatments are over $300. But if you purchase a spa treatment, you also get access to Experience Showers, an Amethyst Crystal Steam Room, and a Vitality Pool. (Only guests staying in suites have free access to these facilities; other guests can pay $50 per stay to use them.) For the ultimate in luxury, guests can book a private, 650-square-foot VIP spa suite that replicates an Asian-style home and has its own fireplace, elevated bath, steam shower, and dual massage beds.
The 14,000-square-foot Guerlain Spa -- one of two in the U.S., the other being at the posh One Bal Harbour Resort hotel in Miami -- opened in September 2008 and offers a wide range of luxurious treatments using the Guerlain brand's signature products. Most spa treatments (including those tailored for men) cost $300 to $500, but the highest of the high-end experiences is the $2,175 Sublime Deluxe transforming day experience, which lasts seven hours and 45 minutes.
The Trump International Hotel and Tower has a 6,000-square-foot spa facility that was renovated and expanded in 2012. It offers extensive services, skin treatments from a celebrity skin specialist, and quality facilities that include an indoor pool, steam rooms, and saunas.
The Palace's large spa is top-notch, but its prices aren't quite as steep as at some of the higher-end luxury hotels. Treatments, such as the chardonnay sugar scrub ($170 for 50 minutes) and the Palace signature facial ($160 for 50 minutes), use Naturopathica, Phytomer, Phyoceane, and Olavie products. Guests can enjoy beverages in the spa's eucalyptus steam room prior to start relaxing before their treatments.
The W New York houses one of the city's most popular spas, Bliss, which originated in New York but has now expanded into franchises all over the world (usually in conjunction with W Hotels). Located on the hotel's fourth floor, this brightly lit spa with cloud-covered walls and a happy blue color scheme has an extensive menu of available treatments. Compared to other luxury hotel spas, the prices are reasonable -- manicures start at $25, massages at $70, and waxes at $15. But the spa's most beloved feature might just be its free brownie bar.