New York, Spas & SalonsSpa at the Surrey

Continuing with my newly formed (but best ever) tradition of Friday after work spa visits (first the Ritz-Carlton, then the Plaza), I checked out (and into) the Upper East Side’s newest luxury spa a couple weeks ago- the gorgeous space at the recently reopened Surrey Hotel. Being mostly a downtown New York gal, I never gave the Upper East Side its due attention but something about the elegance of this institution captivated my interest from the moment I learned about it.  The Surrey Hotel is a throwback to the turn of the century Edith Wharton  glamour that gave New York it’s rich and illustrious history. Built in 1926 as a residence hotel, the original Surrey was home to some of New York’s  most recognized names- JFK. Bette Davis. Claudette Colbert. Located at 20 East 76th St just off Madison Ave, The Surrey resides at one of New York’s most desirable addresses.   The hotel recently underwent a $60+ million renovation, completed in November 2009, under esteemed interior architect Lauren Rottet who said her inspiration was the ideal of a New York City townhouse passed down through the generations.

The new Spa that opened on the second floor of the Surrey is just as intimate and elegant as one would expect.  Upon entering the spa, guests are directed to private booths, sectioned off by lush draperies and complete with their choice of beverages to relax before their services.  The staff at the Spa is incredibly prompt, professional and warm. Despite having arrived in a somewhat frazzled condition with no makeup- I was never made to feel uncomfortable or out of place.

The Spa at the Surrey does not use locker rooms- instead each client has her own personal room or suite, complete with couches, armoire, and private bath. Cheryl Jacobs, spa director, says that the rooms are designed so you feel as if you were getting a service in your own home- a really great touch that this editor (who spends many hours in sterile treatment rooms) really appreciated. The spa has three rooms and two oversized suites.  There is no walking around communal lounge rooms in your robes here – the entire experience at the Spa is very private and discreet.

The Spa at the Surrey is anchored by two product lines: Parisian botanical performance skincare line Darphin and an Australian Aboriginal body care line called Li’tya. The products are central to innovative treatments such as Black Pepper Slim & Detox Wrap (90 mins), Kodo Massage (60 mins), Jetlag Renewal Facial (60mins), and a relaxing facial/body treatment aptly called Dreaming (180 mins).

Since I had a big weekend coming up, I opted to try the Darphin Black Pepper Slimming Wrap, an energizing hour and a half long service which included a full body exfoliation, massage, seaweed wrap and moisture application.  As my technician explained to me, the massage portion of this treatment is designed to target fatty tissue, often poking and pinching at it to help release toxins stored within which will then be flushed out during the wrap. The wrap itself contains black pepper and caffeine, which stimulates the body and is a natural diuretic, helping flush out excess retained water.    The moisturizing treatment at the conclusion smoothed the look of skin.  Though I am generally skeptical of the claims of slimming treatments, I did feel much tighter in my abdomen area at the end of the service.

The thing about experiencing the Spa at the Surrey is that you never want to leave.  The entire experience is so tranquil and lovely- it’s truly a sanctuary in this ever- bustling city.  The spa offers a number of half day and full day escape packages, which one day I’ll have to take the entire day off of work just to experience and rejuvenate.  Spa prices are also incredibly reasonable compared to other luxury spas in New York- a 60 minute massage goes for $150 and a half day renewal for under $400- figures this editor estimates are 10%-20% cheaper than comparable spas. And if you can’t get enough of The Surrey, like me,  be sure to stop downstairs for a drink at Bar Pleiades, which a friend described to me as the “inside of a fantasy Chanel bag.”

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