By Devon Butler
On a rainy and irritatingly cold day in May, I left work early (aka 6pm) and hustled to the nearest subway station at Bryant Park. Jumping off at Broadway-Lafayette I struggled to hold my purse, balance the heavy tote on my shoulder and hold my umbrella high and forcefully enough to combat the whipping wind. Down the peacefully quiet Mercer street, just a few block from Washington Square Park, I stepped into Haven Spa.
I’d visited Haven once before for my very first Brazilian wax (which was pleasant as far as that kind of thing goes) and had been eager to return for a more relaxing service. I opted for the brand new 90 minute “Tourist Massage.” While I’m no tourist, living in New York subjects you to similar conditions: sore feet, sore legs (from thinking you can walk to the subway in heels) and sore back from shlepping your commuter tote bags around the city.
“How could I not be utterly relaxed lounging under the stars wrapped in heavenly fabric?”
The front of the spa feels like any traditional salon–an array of products for sale, a waiting area, friendly front desk attendants–but when my name was called and I walked through to the back of the salon I was instantly transported. A dimly-lit hallway, lush velvety curtains and serene quiet punctuated the peaceful atmosphere of the space. I placed my damp clothes and umbrella in a locker and changed into the softest robe I’ve ever felt, stopping only to briefly enjoy the steam room.
I took a seat on a cushiony couch, helped myself to some green pomegranate tea and looked up. Hundreds of twinkling lights beamed from the ceiling, I took my first deep breath all day–how could I not be utterly relaxed lounging under the stars wrapped in heavenly fabric? Oh right, I realized, I hadn’t even had my massage yet.
A soft voice ushered me into the treatment room where I lay face up on a table much more comfortable than the one I was waxed on. The room was dark and zen music played somewhere above my head. She began the massage at my feet, I was told this would be more vigorous than a typical massage. Unlike other massages I’ve had, this one was more energetic. Swift movements and tuning worked out various kinks in my body.
The goal of the Tourist Massage is not just to help you relax, but more so, focuses on the most affected parts (feet, legs, shoulders, neck) to center you and help you sync up to your current time zone. Using more vigorous techniques, hot and cold applications and slowly moving your limbs into various stretches, you emerge recharged and realigned.
Whether you live in New York, plan to visit for NYFW or walked the entire length of Central Park on a hot summer day, this is the ultimate revitalizing treatment–if not for just lounging in the robe alone.
What’s your fav spot to relax in New York City?