Relaxing New York Activities: A Day at the Water Spa

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Step away from the hectic hustle of the city streets to pamper yourself with these relaxing New York activities. We could all use a little detox, right? There’s almost nothing that a Swedish massage or a soak in the Jacuzzi at a water spa can’t fix. So shake off the city, slip into bliss, and get your relaxation on at one of these four full-service Manhattan spas, bathhouses, and mini retreats.

Great Jones Spa

In the steam room at Great Jones Spa, a dense cloud of eucalyptus-scented mist floats around you, so thick you can barely see the other side of the room. If it’s a drier heat you crave, slip into the sauna across the hall, where river rocks line the walls and reflect the scorching temps (the room hovers between 150 and 194 degrees Fahrenheit). The highlight of Great Jones is the bright, solarium-style lounge, a welcome respite from the concrete jungle of Manhattan. Flip through a magazine, put your feet up, or simply take a nap besides a grove of palm trees while the rush of a three-story indoor waterfall calms your nerves. Light spills in through a stretch of skylights overhead, making the whole place feel warm and tropical, even on dreary days. Hungry? No problem. The juice bar upstairs will deliver treats right to your lounge chair. The pineapple and cucumber combo is perky and refreshing, which is exactly how you’ll feel after a few hours here.

Aire Ancient Baths

Aire Ancient Baths is an expansive, subterranean water spa swimming with options for indulgent relaxation below the water line. The candlelit hideaway will have you mellowed out from the moment you descend the steps and slip into this ethereal oasis. Take a soak in the heated pool and let your mind drift while you gaze at a row of flickering votives along the water’s edge. After your four-handed massage (that’s right, two sets of hands work through your tired muscles), suspend yourself in the Flotarium, where you’ll be buoyed by salt water to induce a dreamy weightlessness that will have you hovering in a state of well-being long after you’ve reemerged onto the streets of Tribeca to continue with your more earthly New York activities.

Wall Street Bath and Spa

This no frills, classic Russian bathhouse and water spa provides a new opportunity to unwind around every corner. The traditional Russian sauna at Wall Street Bath and Spa is the hottest, at 195 degrees. As you soak up the heat, you can lay face down on a cedar bench for a Platza treatment. While you sweat out all those toxins, a man will lightly brush, tap, and buff your body with a bundle of oak leaves, the astringent properties in the foliage expanding your pores and exfoliating your skin. Alternate between the heat of the saunas (there are three here) or the steam room next door with a chilling jolt at the end of the hall in the 52-degree cold pool for an intense but exhilarating plunge that is said to reduce inflammation.

Juvenex

Attention insomniacs. Take a break from all those late night New York activities and unwind at Juvenex any time the mood strikes. Tucked away in a nondescript Koreatown building is this glittering spa that stays open 24 hours a day. Iridescent blue tiles shimmer throughout a trio of Japanese-style soaking tubs scented with sake, ginseng, tea tree, and lemon so you can take a soak before your treatment. Or slip into the steam room, where you’ll be enveloped by the woodsy scent of pine and eucalyptus, a seasonal addition to the usual mix of exotic herbs and foliage. A stress relief massage will work out tension in your neck, back, and shoulders, while a full body scrub will slough off all the dirt and grime you didn’t even know you had. When you’re done, take a seat at the bar where a cup of corn tea (surprisingly mellow and smooth) will be waiting for you.

  • Aire Ancient Baths

    88, Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013

    (212) 274-3777

  • Wall Street Bath and Spa

    88 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038

    (212) 766-8600

  • Juvenex

    25 West 32nd Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001

    (646) 733-1330

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