Like most New Yorkers, the Baad Lamb and I have limited space and so we have stopped collecting stuff. Instead, on holidays, anniversaries and birthdays, we are apt to give each other spa treatments, a luxury that is memorable but involves no ongoing servitude and accommodation.
We have tried a variety of NYC spas but there is one to which we frequently return. It is located in the Chelsea Piers complex.
Unlike other day spas, the Chelsea Piers Spa allows you to bracket your treatment with access to the entire facility for the day. You can use the steam/sauna. You can use the weights or aerobic equipment. You can use the huge running track. You can swim laps in the mammoth pool and enjoy the adjacent hot tub. In good weather, you can relax on the outdoor chaises longues overlooking the Hudson River and the Jersey skyline.
When you check in, you'll be issued a robe and flipflops. Towels abound, as do lotions and notions, and some very good tea in the tranquil waiting room when you're ready for your treatment.
This year, we chose the 80 minute Swedish massage. The 50 minute version is great, but if you're stressed and rushed in daily life, the 80 minute extended version gives you the minutes you need to decompress and then fall deeply into that dreamy half-awake half-asleep state. (If you go, ask for Scott. He's the best.) We also tried the "Soothing Salt Body Polish". The Baad Lamb like it well enough, but I was dissatisfied with it. It seemed that the lady who did it was rushed and I kept wanting to say "Use more salt, dammit!" Also, I wanted to sit up and do it myself because she just didn't seem to be getting it right. It certainly left us with soft skin but that is probably because the meager salt is mixed into grape seed oil.
If not for the fact that the 63rd Street YMCA is a fine gym and very close to our home, we would definitely consider making the Chelsea Piers our gym.