Want to take in a little rest and relaxation next time you’re in the Big Apple? Here are some fun off the beaten path places to visit in New York for a little pampering.
The $40 Spa Day Pass
For $40 during the week or $50 on the weekend, you get complete access to what can only be described as a water park of relaxation for grownups (although let it be noted that children are allowed, and it can get pretty crazy on the weekends…if at all possible, take a day and go when they’re all at school!)
Located in Queens, this 100,000 square foot complex offers just about everything your mind, body, and soul could possibly desire: a gold sauna, jade sauna, salt sauna, color therapy sauna…not to mention the amazing rooftop pool and hot tub. Oh, and gender specific sauna, hot tub, pool, and steam room facilities where you are encouraged to relax in the nude…(I feel like it’s important to mention those things ahead of time, right?!)WHERE: Spa Castle 131 10 11th Avenue College Point, New York
The Manicure + Pedicure
I’ve been going to Aroma Nail & Spa for years, even though I live no where near the neighborhood. Seriously, for the price, they’re that good (I even went here for my wedding mani/pedi!). They take their time, focusing on making sure the cuticles are looking neat, that your polish is applied perfectly, and they even include a hot stone leg massage into the price.
Another bonus: unlike other nail salons, the ladies at Aroma are never pushy about upgrading your package.WHERE: Aroma Nail & Spa 349-399 East 13th Street New York, New York
The $20 Haircut + Blowout + Style
For those times that you want a quick trim/refresher, booking an appointment at this chic Japanese hair salon and training school simply can’t be beat. Granted, they are an actual salon too, but if you book with a master stylist, you will be paying master prices. However, the students are eager to please their professor/boss, and spend a crazy amount of time making sure your hair is nothing short of perfect before you leave.
I went here for my last cut (where I chopped 6 inches!), and could not have been happier. When booking, just make sure you request a student for the listed pricing.WHERE: Hayato 125 East 23rd Street New York, New York
The 60-Minute Foot Reflexology
Whether you believe in Eastern medicine or not, this reflexology leaves those tired, heel-wearing, over-walked NYC feet of yours feeling all kinds of happy again. (The medical part aside, it just feels like a really, really amazing foot and leg rub…I think that’s something we can all get down with!)
Like many Chinatown establishments, the decor is nothing to write home about…simple and sparse come to mind. You sit in over-stuffed chairs for the procedure, and as a bonus, nobody is pushy about small-talk so you can close your eyes and really enjoy the experience (a plus to limited English speaking!)WHERE: New Health World, Chinese Herbs Tuina 63 Mott Street New York, New York
The 60-Minute Full Body Massage
I’ve sung the praises of the Village Chinese Therapy folks before, but I’ll say it again: after 9 years of living in the city, I have yet to find a better full-body massage parlor. It’s nothing fancy: tables are separated by thin paper sheets hung from the ceiling, and there’s even a slight red-light glow that emanates from inside…and DON’T go to the bathroom if you are OCD in the least. But the massage seriously can’t be beat. I pilgrimage down to this place as often as my wallet allows.WHERE: Village Chinese Therapy Center 11 Saint Marks Place New York, New York
Obviously, we encourage you to tip generously on all these services (for the tourists: 20% is the going average for good service in the city.) And while some of the above will accept credit cards, I’d suggest bringing cash if it’s an option, they’ll forgo the sales tax that way (and in NYC sales tax is no joke!)