Seeking solace with a soak or steam is hardly a new concept: humanity has sought healing treatments for millennia, but NYC truly takes the pursuit of de-stressing to the extreme. It’s fitting that in a city known for excess, there are also a seemingly-endless list of options for a relaxing rendezvous, ranging from budget-friendly to superluxe. Here, in our guide to the city’s finest, you’ll find a globe-trotting selection of beautiful bathhouses: palatial Korean-style jimjibang, secluded Japanese spas, rustic Russian banya, and more.
Photo Courtesy: Aura Wellness Spa
If a midnight massage is what you’re after, Aura Wellness Spa is for you. Located in midtown Manhattan, this Korean spa is open until 2am. Sweat away your troubles in one of the four igloo-like therapeutic grottoes, each with a different composition of climate and materials, and designed for major relaxation and detoxification. And, for an additional fee, add on a massage, facial, or Korean body scrub.
Photo Courtesy: alexareg
Make a soak at Sea Gate’s Mermaid Spa, a Russian banya, the finale to a day at the beach or after a ride on the Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster. This no-frills bathhouse is more functional than fashionable: the wood and slate spa has a Jacuzzi, three toasty Russian steam rooms, a scorching dry sauna, two icy plunge pools, and a Turkish hammam. For the full experience, get a Russian platza, an intense detoxifying and exfoliating massage done with your choice of soap or venik (a fragrant bundle of twigs).
Photo Courtesy: aireancientbaths_us
Located in what was once a 19th-century textile factory in TriBeCa, AIRE draws inspiration from ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman bathhouse traditions, bringing the best of each to city dwellers in need of a restful afternoon. Enter into this candlelit sanctuary of hot, warm, cold, and icy baths and soak your cares away. To take it to the next level, enhance your thermal bath by indulging in your choice of ritual: a full-body massage, a hammam-style exfoliating treatment, or a dip in a 17th-century Venetian well filled with wine.
Photo Courtesy: cityWell Brooklyn
Tucked inside the ground floor of a brownstone-lined block in Gowanus is cityWell, a boutique bathhouse offering up one of the most blissful massages we have ever had (if you can, book with owner Liz Tortolani). The 60-minute body maintenance option includes copious spritzes of aromatherapy, relaxing hot stones and towels, and a combination of deep-tissue and Swedish massage. If the weather is nice, be sure to request it outside under the pergola. Either way, be sure to take advantage of the spa’s facilities: post-massage, take a quick rinse in the rain shower, snag a spot out back in the hot tub, spend a few meditative moments in the eucalyptus-infused steam room, or relax in the cedar sauna.
Photo Courtesy: sojospaclub
East-meets-West at SoJo Spa Club, a massive 140,000-square-foot aquatic playground and jimjibang (Korean spa) on the Hudson River in Edgewater, NJ. (If we lost you at New Jersey, do note free shuttle bus service from Manhattan is available.) A full-service property, SoJo boasts multiple pools (including a rooftop infinity pool) and restaurants, a fitness center, and yoga classes, in addition to an extensive collection of baths, saunas, and spa treatments. Be sure to take advantage of the facilities (many spa treatments include free access to the expansive amenities), but what you’re really here for is a Korean body scrub, a surefire path to baby-soft skin.
Photo Courtesy: The Greenwich Hotel
Head to The Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca for the tranquil Japanese-style Shibui Spa. Slip on a yukata (robe) and slippers and settle in for a spa journey that includes a dip in a heated swimming pool illuminated by the soft glow of lanterns. For the ultimate experience, book the signature Drunken Lotus, which begins with a private soak in an ofuro (Japanese-style tub), followed by a 60- or 90-minute massage with jojoba, cucumber, and essential oils. This luxe treatment concludes with the application of sublime sake-infused towels, which both moisturize and detox your skin.
Photo Courtesy: premier57spa
A high-rise office building in midtown Manhattan might seem an unlikely setting for a spa, but Premier57 is in a perfectly-convenient spot. Owned by the same folks who run the rowdy Spa Castle in Queens, Premier57 is a more sedate Korean-style spa with co-ed indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools. Additionally, there are separate nude bathing areas that offer hot, warm, and cold baths, as well as wet and dry saunas. For baby-soft skin, book the Premier57 K Scrub Plus, an invigorating traditional Korean scrub that includes a body wrap, shampoo, and facial.
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