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If you happen to have a beauty or wellness junkie in your life, there are few better gifts to give them than a treatment or two at one of New York City’s best spas. NYC certainly isn't lacking in worthwhile salons, but that’s exactly why it's so hard to decide on the right place and experience. Whether you’re shopping for a mom-to-be massage, a facial for a jetsetter with air travel-stressed skin, or a couples massage for you and your significant other, you'll find something below. Read on for some of the most luxurious experiences you can gift, from 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse treatments to Greek, Roman, and Ottoman-inspired baths.
This spa at Tribeca’s Greenwich Hotel draws inspiration for its menu — and aesthetic — from Japan, complete with a 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse roof forming the gorgeous skeleton of the spa. For giftees who love pampering, there are few better places, and it’s definitely worth splashing out on a day that they’ll be left dreaming of. The Bamboo Glow body treatment, lasting two incredible hours, involves a mint mineral bath and algae wash — or, if they’re more into massages, choose one from the Shibui menu that incorporates body brushing for an extra treat. There’s also an incredible range of unique facials, like the Oxygen Awakening treatment, which blasts pores with 100-percent oxygen to help revive faces exposed to harmful pollution, smoke, and frequent travel — all of which stress skin. It also includes a glycolic peel, face massage, and oxygen finishing mask. The spa’s eponymous facial, using In Fiore products from Japan, is also a treat, with breath work incorporated into the treatment as well as two masks that work in sync to refine and balance skin.
Johanna Vargas is an esthetician to the stars, and her New York City spa, located centrally in Midtown across from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, is a testament to her skill and expertise with skincare. She uses all-natural products with high-tech treatments like microcurrent, LED light therapy, and oxygen infusions for unique therapies that let your skin reach its highest potential. Estheticians work carefully with visitors’ individual needs to develop a customized plan for addressing unique skin issues. There’s also a line of Vargas’ skin care products available to buy there if they really fall in love with one of the treatments. If you’re splashing out, gift the hour-long Triple Crown Facial, which is both the spa’s signature treatment and one of its most popular options. It combines microdermabrasion, microcurrent, and oxygen-infused therapies to trigger collagen and elastin production for more vibrant, refined, youthful-looking skin beginning the second it’s over.
This spa near Union Square’s signature product line, Biologique Recherche, hails from France—and it delivers on every single bit of its hype. It’s not in the vein of the organic, zen-like day spas you might see elsewhere: instead, the spa is chic and modern in millennial pinks and brass accents, and the product focus is squarely in laboratories that work to deliver the best in skincare innovation and results. The extensive menu—we’re talking pages and pages—is full of incredible options that visitors can mix and match to create their perfect day of pampering. We highly recommend the Fix-It-All facial, which does exactly what it sounds, or gifting your favorite Francophile one of the spa’s famous Le Lift Parisienne facials—guaranteed to leave skin exfoliated, toned, and repaired—maybe even throwing in a little extra for one of the brand’s products to take home and keep the glow going. If body treatments are more your lucky giftee’s thing, then the Detox Wrap with natural sea mud and a heaping helping of antioxidants is a restorative treat. (PS: There’s also a location in Philadelphia if you find yourself there.)
This very off-the-tourist-radar place might be one of the most intimate, least pretentious spas New York City has to offer. Daphne feels straight out of Paris, thanks to both the cozy setting and the product lines: France’s Biologique Recherche, one of the best lines there is in the skincare world, and Germany’s Medical Beauty Research. The estheticians here specialize in treatments like micro-needling and microcurrents in their approach to results-driven skin care that will make your lucky gift-recipient glow, and men are also covered with dedicated treatments like the Restore facial, which specifically revives facial skin that’s been scraped over by a razor a few too many times. The Ultimate Facial, however, is the full-on package, with a non-surgical facelift and customized peel and mask, as well as an eye treatment and oxygen infusion. We love that no matter which facial you choose, you can select from a list of add-ons to customize and enhance your experience.
Aire Ancient Baths
Get a dreamy taste of Spain at this Tribeca spa, the idea for which was conceived first in Seville and influenced by the Ottoman, Greek, and Roman bathing traditions. It’s gloriously romantic and serene, with the spa centered around the integral element of water. The website bills its mood as a “temple dedicated to the relaxation of the body and mind in which time does not exist”—and, well, given how easy it is to lose track of a day spent in here, that’s pretty accurate. Guests actually have plenty to do without a treatment and you can buy a package to just visit the thermal baths alone. The facilities are huge, with six different baths to soak in, and relaxing spaces in which to sip tea and infused water. There’s also a hot tub and a sauna, but if you want to go all in for that special someone this holiday season, there’s a wonderful range of massages and special treatments like a Himalayan Salt Bath Experience. If you order from the website, they’ll send a physical box with a gift certificate to your recipient’s house for something to unwrap during the holiday season.
Spa de La Mer
Located centrally off 5th Ave and 53rd St., the country’s only Spa de La Mer features treatments exclusively starring the famed company’s indulgent skin care products — regarded among beauty editors as some of the very best in the industry. Located two levels below ground, the spa is a true retreat from the sirens, traffic, and crowds outside. With a gift certificate in hand, your favorite skin care addict will love a day spent here—and you’d seriously impress by splashing out on the La Mer Baccarat Facial, which uses a diamond-powder exfoliation treatment, facial massage with crystals, and a face mask using La Mer Miracle Broth—which derives its benefits from sea kelp and is only available at this spa. Our ideal day in New York City would definitely involve a late morning here followed by a post-spa, dreamy wonder through the Museum of Modern Art across the street.
Haven Day Spa
This spa on NoHo’s Mercer Street is one of the best places to escape downtown. There’s also a wonderful “mini-escape” menu of 30- to 60-minute treatments for those who might not have time in their busy schedules for a full-on day at the spa (or as a little treat for yourself amid the stress of holiday season). The Spoil Me Rotten package is basically a day-long vacation which includes facial therapy, a massage, mani-pedi, and an Island Wrapture body therapy treatment—plus $20 toward any boutique item, so they can keep the luxury going back home. If that’s a little out of budget, there’s also a package with express versions of these treatments, with a clarifying treatment and scrub instead of intense facial therapy and a wrap.
Located on Fifth Ave, one of NYC's busiest hubs, Nuansa Spa is a self-described “urban escape” that aims to relax stressed-out New Yorkers and in-the-know tourists alike. Treatments are luxurious, with great gift options like the Samunprai Thai Poultice, which uses steamed, herb-filled bundles to detoxify the body during massage, and a seasonal Thai yoga treatment that combines Shiatsu acupressure and meridian stretching for energy stimulation, as well as deep relaxation and flexibility work. What really puts this spa a cut above the rest is thoughtful, luxurious details like chocolate truffles, bubbly, a choice of essential oils for a massage, and slippers waiting for guests the moment they step in the door. With a decadent hour-long prenatal massage suitable for those past their first trimester, it's a great gift for expectant friends
Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular spa gifts in NYC. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different spas and read over 60 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.